Categories: Tech

Making a Motivating Workout Playlist


Listening to music while you workout has been proven to be beneficial and help you exercise longer and harder, plus it’s just more fun. But, not all songs are created equal. Wagon Wheel may be your favorite bar anthem, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be any good when you are working out (because it’s definitely not). To make a good workout playlist, you have to pick songs that you like, but that also pump you up and are fast-paced. Slower songs will make you unconsciously slow down as your body naturally reacts to the music, whether you notice or not.

The music you listen to during your workout should be between 120 and 140 BPM or beats per minute. But even if a song is upbeat, that doesn’t mean that it’s BPM is high. I know plenty of songs that should seem like they are good workout songs, but when I actually listen to them while I’m exercising, I don’t feel as motivated. I really like Passion Pit, whose songs are all pretty upbeat, but just not something that really gets me going when I workout. There are programs such as the BPM Calculator for Windows and BPM Assistant for Macs so you can find which songs will help you the most, and save that information into your iTunes library, or simply add it to your playlist.

I usually like to listen to the songs in random order, but Life Hack suggests putting the songs with the higher BPMs toward the end of your workout, so that as you get more tired, the music helps more and you get that extra kick at the end. Spark People has their perfect way to create a work out playlists. You start with a warm up song, something to motivate you but nothing too upbeat because you’re just stretching, lightly getting started. The next song, the get-you-going song, should be like the warm up song, just a little bit more upbeat because this is when you transition into your workout. Always have pump up songs in your playlist, especially if you’re doing an interval work out, because these are fast-paced and high energy songs that will make you pick up your speed. After pump up songs, they recommend having a recovery song, something still upbeat to keep you going, but to help you slow down as you catch your breath. And in between these intervals, (unless you keep doing intervals, which then you just keep putting pump up songs followed by recovery songs until you get to the end of the workout) you have your in between songs, which keep you motivated. Your finale song should be the song that gets you most pumped up because this is when you are the most tired and you need that extra push, and finish off the playlist with your cool down song or songs.

A great way to find good workout playlists is to listen to internet radio, like Pandora or Spotify. There’s also Rhapsody, which not only has radio stations, but lets you make playlists as well, so you can find songs that you know pump you up, and make a playlist out of them. In the age of internet radio, not many people are downloading or buying music anymore, but instead are streaming it, and Rhapsody is a perfect way to do that. There is no limit to how many songs you listen to, and something I like is that you can listen to a song on repeat, which you can’t do on Pandora. You can stream the music when you have a connection, or you can download it and listen to it later, which would definitely be helpful when you are trying to make that workout playlist. It’s ad-free, and you can listen to it on your phone, tablet, computer, pretty much anywhere you are! You can even use Rhapsody on some TVs. You can buy a monthly subscription, a quarterly subscription, or an annual subscription, so you can figure out what works best for you and your budget. They have a huge music collection, and you’ll be able to find every song you want, whether it’s old or new. And, with Studentrate, you can get up to $10 cash back when you sign up for Rhapsody after using their free trial.


I personally like to listen to more alternative music when I’m working out, like Blink-182, because that has really good BPM, and they pump me up, but I will admit that I also love listening to dance jams like Levels by Avicii and 212 from Azaelia Banks. But everyone has their idea of what makes a good playlist, and it all depends on the songs that you like. You can check out some good examples here, here, and here if you need some song inspiration, but just remember that not all songs are created equal. Unless you really want to kill the mood, stay away from your guilty pleasure singing songs like White Houses, and pick those songs that are in the 120 to 140 BPM range. And if you’re looking for the perfect app to use for making one, just check out Rhapsody.

See Also


Sign up for Rhapsody with Studentrate and get up to $10 cash back when you subscribe after the free trial!


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