Rihanna sweats to Fergie, Barack Obama trains to Jay-Z, and Katie Holmes credits Kanye West for helping her finish the New York Marathon. Yep, we’re talking workout music – which can actually make you train harder, tone up faster and feel less tired.
In fact, it acts like a performance-enhancing drug, minus the side effects. “Music helps block out negative distractions and boost performance, breathing and wellbeing,” says activewear designer Lorna Jane Clarkson.
And you don’t need a costly personal trainer to reap the benefits.
Whether it’s high-energy hip-hop or golden oldies, choose music with positive associations so it’ll fasten your pace and lengthen your workout. “Music that inspires you to dance or even tap your feet will motivate you to get moving for other cardio exercise,” says Priscilla Floyd from Six Degrees of Fitness (sixdegrees
Lyrics can also get you into the groove. As Clarkson says, “Anything that focuses on following a dream and never giving up automatically gets added to my playlist.” Try empowering anthems such as Groove Armada’s Easy or Britney Spears’ Womanizer (we won’t judge if you sing along!).
If your fave songs lag behind your preferred speed, quicken them up using Tempo Magic Pro – the app allows you to change BPM to perfectly suit your exercise rate. Or try iWorkout – Music At Your Pace, which lets you program your playlist into specific work and rest periods so tracks start at the optimum time.
An ideal workout tempo (speed) is 120 to 140 beats per minute (BPM), but this will vary. A quick track with heavy beats is best suited to high-intensity cardio and short bouts of strength training. “They have a fast tempo, incidentally mimicking your pulse rate,” says Floyd.
Songs with alternating rhythms, such as Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit, are ideal for cardio interval training, allowing you to up your speed during the faster chorus.
Choose slower music before and after your session – 110 BPM for warming up and 100 BPM for cooling down.
TRACKS TO STRETCH, SWEAT, TONE AND RELAX TO.
WARM-UP (110 BPM)
– Katy Perry
Blah Blah Blah – Ke$ha
CARDIO (120-140 BPM)
Run The World – Beyoncé
Push It – Salt-N-Pepa
Dog Days Are Over –
Florence and the Machine
STRENGTH TRAINING (130-140 BPM)
Heads Will Roll –
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Kids – Sleigh Bells
The Way You Move
Island In The Sun
Float On – Modest Mouse
Your say: What’s your favorite track to work out to?