I don’t even bother entering the gym without my pair of pink plastic Sony headphones. They’re cheap, and the sound quality is just okay, but this makes them ideal for the painful throes of physical exertion- if a wayward dumbbell were to smash them, I really wouldn’t be losing much. But what the headphones carry- the sound of music- is absolutely vital to my success. A fast song that I adore keeps my heart rate up as I roll through cardio. An angry song with lots of bass and shouting keeps my mind focused when I work on deadlifts. And a quieter, slower song helps me cool down after each workout.
As much as I workout, I’ve spent hours searching for the perfect songs to keep me motivated. I’m already a highly competitive person: an aspect of my personality that I often try to hide, lest it frighten or annoy my friends. But in the gym, my competitive nature propels me to push my limits. It’s one of the few places where I feel largely uninhibited, only having myself to answer to. Listening to songs with strong beats or messages helps me to concentrate, to get in the zone where I don’t care about what the people around me think.
The songs I consistently listen to are listed below and compiled in a larger playlist at the end, but if I were honest I have 3 different workout playlists that I shuffle through. You’re just getting the best of that.
- “Swim” by Surfer Blood
- good for: cardio
- highlights: those drums! And the title itself motivates you to a take on some water-related workouts.
- “Assassin” by Muse
- good for: cardio
- highlights: hardcore headbanging. I speed up whatever I’m doing automatically when I press play on “Assassin;” the song practically compels you to move.
- “Over” by Drake
- good for: lifting
- highlights: throwback Drake was hard-hitting and completely unapologetic- good music to get you through each of those reps.
- “I Follow Rivers- The Magician Remix” by Lykke Li
- good for: repetitive movements
- highlights: this remix takes a great song and gives it a steady beat that’s fun to keep pace with.
- “Rabbit Run” by Eminem
- good for: chin-ups, lifting
- highlights: does anyone sound as angry or powerful as Marshall Mathers? No. If you need to get in a fierce mood to workout, blast Eminem. It’s basic science. Plus, “Rabbit Run” is 8 Mile Eminem- sure to bring a nostalgic smile.
- “Samurai” featuring Katy Tiz by Vanic
- good for: leg raises, jumps
- highlights: the entire song is just packed with catchy, familiar rhythms and emotional vocals that will make your body want to soar.
Check out the playlist below for more workout songs and get moving!