Workout Music: Music for Your Ipod to Listen to While Exercising

Amelia Phillips

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Someone I used to train with said that exercising to music was cheating. That you should be listening to your body the entire time and have no external distractions. Where’s the fun in that!

There are certainly times throughout a workout where you must be focussed and ‘in the moment’. You can read my article 5 ways to train like a champion for that. But sometimes, your workout needs to be about enjoyment, needs to pep you up and have you bouncing along with a big smile on your face.

For these types of sessions, I suggest loading your ipod or mp3 player with some kick-ass tunes. Even if your energy levels are low to start, there’s nothing like the Rocky theme to fire you up!

The music I will be talking about will be suitable for the following workouts; Running, cycling, cross training, boxing, boot camp, weights and anything else requiring intensity and effort. They will not be suitable for lower intensity sessions, such as stretch, yoga, pilates, relaxation.

The rules of music when working out:

1. 140 bpm: For upbeat music try the keep the beats per minute (BPM) of the music over 140bpm.

2. Consistent rhythm: Continual beats are often better than frequently changing beats as your mind will naturally zone in and out as needed. A sudden shifting in beats may distract you from an important part of the workout.

3. Do not sing out loud: I don’t care how good the song is, your voice may not be!

4. Don’t have the music so loud that others can hear it: not everyone likes the faint ‘doof doof’ of music next to them on the bike.

5. Be aware of how you sound (even if you aren’t singing): Does your breathing resemble a charging bull? Are your feet slapping on the ground like flippers?

6. When training outdoors keep the sound low for safety reasons: Traffic and pedestrians should be kept under close observation.

My music compilation suggestions for Itunes users:

Find all these by searching in the search icon (top right) in the Itunes music store, or if you have Itunes installed on your computer click on the links below.

1. My Fitness Music: This is a series of workout compilations all put to a 140bpm dance beat, but with varying themes. Click on “See all” in the albums section.

I like; Disco, Top 40s, Swinging 60s, Motown, and 80s pop hits.

2. Power Music Workout: very similar to My Fitness Music, songs all mixed to a faster beat. Quite a good selection of songs, and not so trashy and tinny.

I Like: Top 40s hits remixed.

3. Isweat: I found most of these albums really tacky. I only like a couple.

I like: I sweat volume 16. Great for the rockers in the room. Use for a heavy weights or boxing session.

Isweat 06 top hitz. A good one for the girls.

Other ways to create workout mixes

4. Genius (free): This is a new tool in itunes where it mixes your own library. Make sure you have updated itunes to the latest version. Click on a song you think is suitable to train to, and click the genius button in the bottom right corner. Itunes will find similar songs and create a play list for you. It is ingenious!

5. Pod Casts (free): My favourite is Team Fit Music. There are a number of free workout mixes that you can download as a pod cast so you always have a variety to listen to. The music is unknown (mostly) and pretty repetitive, so listen to it before you sign up for the free downloads. Once they are in your podcast folder, just drag them into your ipod folder, or you can set up the ipod sync so it automatically transfers your podcasts onto your ipod, each time you sync it. Easy! Note there are lots of spoken workout podcasts that talk you through workouts for something different. Check those out if your outdoor sessions are getting boring. Also check out the frequency the podcasts are launched, daily, weekly, monthly.

6. Imixes: You can publish your own playlists on itunes (free), and download other people’s playlists (for a price). There are regular imixes or sports imixes.

Kyles Training: Who is Kyle? I’ve got no idea but he has launched a workout compilation on Itunes that rocks! To locate Kyles training imix, you need to be in the My Fitness music section, and it’s on the right side. There is also an icon to click if you want to know how to create your own imix.

By having a separate playlist for all your workout music (such as On-The-Go) it is just another way of ensuring you are set up for a motivating, and most importantly a fun workout. I don’t leave home without my ipod.

If you have come across any songs, mixes or artists that you like to work out to, tell us about it, or upload a personal imix onto Itunes and let me know. My favourite artists to train to are; Madonna, Gwen Seffani, The Ting Tings, Head Kandi, Ministry of Sound, and remixes of oldies put to a thumping beat! Should I admit to those two Queen songs… you know which ones I am talking about!

Other Posts you might like:

Workout Music: Amelia’s Imix for your Ipod

Meditation podcasts: if you have trouble relaxing or getting to sleep

Feeling flat? 6.5 ways to spark up your energy levels

Crazy Fitness Crazes, Fads and Gadgets! Great video clips including miss world pole dancing champ!

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  • SpinDiva

    This is great. I am still not up on my iPod technology but really need to get with it. I like the options you provided. Great post. Thanks for sharing.

  • Tom Parker – Free Fitness Tips

    Totally agree with you Amelia. I got my Ipod as a present but now I have it I never leave home without it.

    In my opinion you’ve gotta go with “Eye of the Tiger” if you’re going to train to a Rocky theme. My workout music choices are quite different to most. I generally like to train to pop-rock such as Everclear, Bowling for Soup, Stroke 9 and Blink 182 but also find a little dash of heavier rock and rap such as Marilyn Manson or DMX is good for getting me pumped up. Quite a strange mix but it works for me.

    I generally don’t go with a standard playlist. Instead I just load my Ipod up with tunes I like to workout to and hit ‘Shuffle Songs’. I find the music less repetitive this way.


    P.S. There’s no shame in working out to Queen. They’re an awesome group and have some real catchy tunes.

  • Tanya

    Also try – workout music playlists with songs for different workout types, and with different types of music.

  • Amelia Burton

    Hi Tom,

    Yes It’s amazing how many people like to listen to heavy metal when they train… Try using the Genius program in Itunes and it creates playlists out of your existing library. It does a better job than me sometimes!

  • Amelia Burton

    Hi Tanya,

    Yeah great site! I really like the Olympic playlist, it’s great to know what the Olympic athletes listened to to get pumped. My heart is pounding just thinking about it!

    Good find….

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  • workouts

    The next step is really important. You have to make a long-term commitment. If you’re going to change your eating and exercise habits, you won’t be done after six weeks or six months or six years. You have to decide that you’re motivated to make changes that will last for the rest of your life.

  • ivan

    I work out to requiem for a dream by clint mansell that song pushes me beyond what im capable of each time I work out.

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