Creating the perfect workout playlist
New year, new me, yadda yadda… how many of you out there had getting in shape as your near year’s resolution? Plenty I should think.
Working out is not an easy thing to do, especially if it’s a new hobby. One of the hardest parts is keeping focussed, especially if you are in a gym. All the grunting coming from the weightlifters is pretty off-putting! Having a go-to workout playlist is an absolute must. There are plenty of workout playlists online that are easily accessible on Spotify, Apple music etc, but nothing can beat creating your own, tailor-made, scientifically proven playlist! This can be achieved by sticking to the following steps:
1) Decide if you want to move in time with the music or not.
Using musical synchronicity may not be for everyone, but it is proven to work, particularly if you are running or cycling. For example, if you take 150 steps per minute, ideally you would want to be listening to tracks that are approximately 150BPM.
Don't know the BPM of your g=favouritetunes? There are plenty of sites that can help! You can look up the BPM of almost any song using SongBPM.com or, if you'd prefer to search by speed instead of a song, Jog.fm has a large database of popular songs organized by BPM. The app RockMyRun is another great resource.
If that sounds like a bit of a hassle, not to worry, you will still get a boost even if you don’t sync your movements to your music
2) Go for tracks with a strong, energetic rhythm or uplifting melodies
There’s a very good reason why you are unlikely to find any Bon Iver or Jose Gonzalez on a workout playlist. While they may be incredible musicians in their own right, it's unlikely that they will inspire you to really push yourself! Definitions or “energetic” or “upbeat” will differ from person to person, but according to a 2011 survey, you should listen out for the following when assembling your playlist:
In order for a song to be properly motivating, it needs to be up-tempo (> 120 bpm) and possess prominent percussive and rhythmical features.” If you are not using music synchronously, opt for music with a BPM between 120 and 145. Faster tempos don't appear to improve performance or motivation. If you can match rhythm of a song to the approximate movement patterns of your exercise, that also helps.
There is also an argument for making sure lyrics are inspirational and upbeat, such as including “Don’t stop me now” by Queen, but again this can differ depending on what your musical taste normally is
3) Structure your playlists like your workout.
This is probably the most important one. You wouldn’t start a workout with a sprint, so don’t start your playlist with one. The most logical way to structure your list is to gradually increase the BPM as your heart rate increases, but it can also be used to inspire you at times when your work out would lull. For example, if on your runs, you know that around the 25-minute mark you start to tire, make sure that the track at that point is something that gives you the boost that you need. Something like “Master of Puppets” by Metallica would do the trick! A final word from us is to make sure that you don’t differ between musical genres TOO much. An abrupt change in speed or style should be saved, ideally, for in between workouts. Make sure you play it in the order its supposed to be played in too, you don’t want random tracks popping up next to each other!
Check out our specially made work out playlist. Use it yourself, or take inspiration from it!