Maybe your gym plays music. Maybe you prefer running to the soothing sounds of nature, or the hum of the city or … a podcast. But for many of us, the gym’s taste in music is intolerable, yet silence is boring. And that’s why we make playlists.
Whether you fancy yourself an amateur DJ or you define your musical taste as whatever’s on the radio, these simple tricks will help you build a catalog of ready-to-go workout mixes. We can’t guarantee they’ll help you break any personal workout records, but we can’t not guarantee that, either.
1. TIMING IS KEY
The first and most important step is knowing how long your workouts usually are, so you can make sure your playlist syncs up. I tend to go for overlong mixes, because there’s nothing more frustrating than trying to complete those last laps to deafening silence. (Unless you use your frustration as motivation.)
2. UNLESS YOU’RE RUNNING A DANCE-CENTRIC FITNESS CLASS, DON’T WORRY ABOUT PACING
In a perfect world, you’d have a few minutes of warmup songs, followed by an increase in intensity, leading into some all-out ragers before easing into your cooldown. Unless you’re getting paid to be that precise, just make sure your songs are upbeat. (I usually just put my playlists on shuffle anyway.) As with a lot of things related to keeping fit, don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. You’re not trying to win a Grammy — or a DJ gig.
3. ALWAYS BE PLAYLISTING
The best inspiration tends to strike when you least expect it. So when you’re at work or enjoying downtime at home, keep your music app of choice open in a background window or on a nearby phone. Add songs as you think of them, and you’ll be surprised at how much variety there is.
4. SHAZAM IS YOUR FRIEND
That banger at the coffee shop. That catchy tune in a new ad. The rocker playing over last night’s basketball highlights. Shazam them all, then drop them in a playlist folder for future use. Pretty soon, you’ll have enough tunes for an all-new set.
5. PERFECT THE ART OF THE MIX
Variety is the key component of any successful fitness regimen. We don’t just mean your actual workouts — mixing up your environment, and what you do before and after your sessions, can give you an extra blast of motivation. This especially applies to your mix situation. I recommend exploring different, unexpected genres, like ‘90s punk rock (Rancid and Green Day always provide a useful kick in the pants). The basslines of classic funk and disco will get you groovin’. And if you’re into this kind of thing, there’s a whole bunch of military workout chants on most of the major music services. Left-left, left-right-left …
READ MORE > PUSH CADENCE TO THIS AUSTIN CITY LIMITS PLAYLIST
6. OUTSOURCE IT
Speaking of the major music services, almost all of them provide a few workout playlists you can just pre-load. Lazy? A little. Personalized? Hardly. But sometimes, you just want one less thing to worry about before you get out the door, and there’s nothing wrong with that.