Importance of the Perfect Playlist to Maximize your Workout!


Long before I was an instructor at DEFINE body & mind, I knew music and a good playlist was an integral tool into how I performed during a workout. Just to give you a sense of how long I have been making playlists—let’s take a jog down memory lane. This blog will no doubt date me…

  • First were the “Walkman” days when my cassette tapes would get me through a run—and so would my Umbro Shorts and Keds.
  • Then, there was the “Discman” days- not very practical because the disk skipped every time you would hop up or down a curb.
  • MP3- getting better! But still took a lot of time to search for music—and the $ to download was not ideal – NAPSTER anyone?
  • Itunes- Finally entering the new age of creating playlist—getting faster, but still $.
  • Spotify and Soundcloud apps- We have finally arrived!!! Fast and financially feasible. Pay a monthly fee for all the tunes you want—and arrange them in any order you wish. (Itunes does this too now)

Once you choose your musical platform to create your playlist—think about the type of activity you will be doing. Are you going for a run outside or on the “dreadmill”- I mean treadmill? Do you have access to a stationary bike? Are you going to be out of town and all you have is that green resistance band you plan to use for some glute work? Narrow your activity down and start playing tunes that remind you of that activity and get you inspired.

For running inside or out: Find tunes with a BPM of 160-180. You can download a BPM app (free) and you tap your finger to the beat. You can also search for songs with this BPM by entering in the search field “160 BPM”. Some songs are tagged as such. Once you start running, allow your feet to hit the ground on the beat of the music. This gives you an audible reference to combine with a kinesthetic reference. It can also produce real results! If your BPM is slightly faster than your comfort zone, then you will work harder! It is all about experimenting and finding something that makes you work a little harder than you would if you didn’t have the music.

Another way to use music is to go easy during the majority of the song and hit faster paces during the chorus- we do this a lot in rev, and you can do this too if you have access to a stationary bike. Add resistance and slow it down to get into more mindful moments and those that create power—then speed it up as the music gains momentum. If you are using a playlist for indoor cycling- vary your music. Those that have faster and slower BPM’s.

If you plan on using your playlist for yoga or some body moves—find something fun! There is so much out there! We use BPMs in the body class that range from 125-130. Finding these songs are easy—usually a remix of what is currently hot. Get into your clam position and make some larger, slower movements, and on the chorus, pulse the movements in a smaller range. Switch sides after about 1minute 30 seconds.

Finally—if you are not a fan of making your own playlist follow someone who, in your opinion, has good music. Everyone has individual tastes and what may work for one person may not for another. I follow all sorts of people! From instructors with other companies, to our own DEFINE body & mind founder—it is important to cast a wide net and follow subscribers who have tastes that are and are not like yours.

My personal faves: DEFINE body & mind Music Director Kirby Jamail; Founder Henry Richardson; Co-Owner Erin Stewart; ATX Instructor Lauren Reynolds, LBK Instructor Kimberly West—there are so many more!!!

Bottom line—music can make a difference! Put in a little time before your workout and it will pay off. And don’t forget to change it up–often! Can you imagine if you came to body, rev, or bounce class and we never changed our playlist for you? I shudder at the thought!!!


Jennifer Harkins
Senior Instructor- body, rev, bounce, hammock
Favorite Quote: “Don’t stop when you are tired. Stop when you are done.”- Anonymous

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