Music during your workout – who would’ve thought it was that important

When creating a Functional Fitness program for yourself, there is plenty to think of. Are you working out at home or a gym. How many days a week are you working out?  How intense will your workouts be?  How long will each workout be? But I suggest you ask one more question – what music, if any, am I going to listen to?

There typically is two different styles of music you hear in a lot of gyms. A gym that has a higher percentage of body builders and weight lifters may steer more to the heavy rock area. I know when I had done that for a while I liked the heavy music because I needed to get “pumped up” for my next set of reps. I needed to get the blood going and get all psyched to bench press the next set with heavier weight. Dance type music just wasn’t going to cut it.

But if you are doing any circuit style or Functional Fitness program, you are not taking breaks, waiting for muscle recovery, just to go intense again with a few reps of heavy weight. You are doing circuits, usually in high intensity, with breaks only long enough to catch your breath. 

So the choice seems simple – upbeat music  is the answer. Maybe more along the lines of hip hop, electronic, decade oriented such as 80’s, or some types of alternative music. 

However, there is research out there that suggests that you need to get more in depth into your music choice. For example, my certifying training suggests that the beats per minute (bpm) are up to 130 for Core conditioning and for older adults, where as it should be up to 132 bpm for sports conditioning.

How do you figure out beats per minute?  Beats me. 🙂

Actually, bad puns aside, there is an easy method. Most of the above described songs come in a 4 by 4 pattern, which means each loop has four steps marked by two bass drum hits and two snare hits: boom clat, boom clat and so on. There are some slight variations, but that will be the reality for most of the music. So you can count each hit like: one, two, three, four, one, two, three and so on.

Now,  tap along with the drum beats for 15 seconds. Now you know that in those 15 seconds there were, let’s say, 32 drum hits. Then multiple that times four, which will give you a count of 128 bpm.

So now that you figured out the songs that have the appropriate beats per minute (bpm) for your program. But there is one final thought here. How about no music at all?

There are many out there you swear by doing exercise alone and with no music. The reason being is that you listen to your body instead of the songs being played. You are more in tune with yourself and you can take the mental game to a whole other level. If that sound like you, then try it out. As for for me, my mind is not that powerful and a good hip hop song is needed to keep me going. You know, a little Black Eyed Peas and I’m off!

So what type of music do you listen to when you work out?  And why?  Let us know, just leave a comment on this post.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Shane

    I always listen to music when I work out. When I’m running, I shoot for music in the 180 BPM range, or something in the 90BPM range that I can double time (you will sometimes see that called SPM for “steps per minute”). That way I maintain the high cadence you need for barefoot/minimalist running. As a musician, I can’t help but run with the beat, so I’m pretty particular. “Lose Yourself” by Eminem is great for this, because not only is it around 180BPM, its driving AND the lyrics are about not giving up and chasing your dream. And I normally hate Eminem.

    This a great tool if you can tap a beat:

    Basically you tap along while you listen to a song and it calculates the BPM for you.

    I’m less particular when I’m doing stuff other than running. I like driving, upbeat songs. I also like driving, dark music. Lately I’ve added both “Party Rock Anthem” and “Sexy and I Know It” by LMFAO to my workout mix, ‘cuz they are hilarious and fun. But I’ve also added AWOLNation’s “Sail” just because I dig it.

    And it also helps to have songs that remind you of good emotions. When my wife ran the White Rock half marathon last year, they were playing the pre-race music on a loop, and the Black Eyed Pea’s “I Gotta Feeling” was played quite a bit. But it was playing while all the runners were getting ready and lining up for the race, and the excitement in the air was palpable. I was proud of my wife for her training, and all of the runners from my church that were running for Team Worldvision (her included). The mood was very celebratory, and the lyrics fit so well, because that evening everyone who ran was going to be celebrating. So now I have that song on my workout mix because it brings that all back.

  2. Nice blog right here! Also your web site loads up fast! What web host are you using? Can I get your associate link in your host? I wish my site loaded up as quickly as yours lol

    1. Kemme Fitness

      I am using WordPress just like you. They are my hosting as well. Instead of using a WordPress theme through GoDaddy, etc, I simply went right through WordPress and paid them to host the site. And forgive me, but I do not know what it means to give somebody my “associate link in my host.”

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