Balls Out: Me vs. Science on What Your Workout Playlist Should Look Like

So I saw this meme the other day about getting to the gym without headphones and how much that sucks. And I totally agree, being in an enclosed area with a bunch of other gross, sweaty people on a machine going NOwhere without any other form of motivation is a pretty sad state of existence. Then I read this article about the scientific perfect playlist for working out—that I’m not sure I agree with–and decided I would write about the art of music in the gym setting. So here is my interpretation of the Daily Mail’s interpretation of what kind of music is going to get you going in the gym.

The study this website looks at examined 6.7 million playlists on the popular music radio site, Spotify, which contained the word “workout” in the title. The study compared the different beats per minute (BPM) to BPM’s found in different modes of exercise, i.e. jogging, dancing, warm up/cool down, etc…

The study decided that, because the average human’s stride rate while running is 150-190 BPM, because rap music ordinarily has half that rate–75-95 BPM—it is the ideal music for running. Additionally, dance music is best for strength and weight training due to its very fast bass. Pop was concluded to be best for repetitive tasks (like warming up on an elliptical to run), because they rarely change beat. Ever. Lastly, because of its erratic beat/tempo, all listening to rock like ACDC is going to do is leave you frustrated with equally sporadic paces as you subconsciously try to match the tempo.

Now, I am not sure if I believe that pop should be solely placed in the warm up/cool down arena just because of its repetitive beat. I often find pop popping up on my Pandora stations and getting a little more excited to be running 6 miles at the same window for twenty minutes. For example, if “Timber” comes on, I am going to speed up, regardless of what science tells me. Also I once ran an 8 mile race in which “All I Ever Wanted” by Basshunter started playing on repeat on m y Ipod. I was too physically tired to change the song so I kid you not I ran the whole way to the song over and over and over. And it went great. And that is definitely a dance song. So, here is a sample of what I might listen to if I did buy what this study tells me leads to the most effective workout.

Warm up (slow on the treadmill)- If I am running on the Seattle U treadmill, it probably means that it is pouring outside and I have resorted to that piece of machinery. It also means it is grey and depressing outside, s I am going to listen to either “Timber” or “Roar” by Kesha and Katy Perry respectively. Those are both, in their own weird poppy ways empowering, pump up songs that are going to get me ready to pick up the pace.

Workout: I’m not going to lie, I am going to probably listen to “Till I Collapse” or “Lose Yourself” by Eminem a couple times in a row because they have the perfect step rate. Then I will probably continue to listen to cliché rap, being the whitest of the white girl out there. Among my favorites is “Remember the Name” by Fort Minor.

So there you have it. There are some samples of what I would consider a solid workout playlist. As for the Daily Mail’s study, you can never count out a little “Eye of the Tiger” or “Final Countdown” just because they may have sporadic beats. They are classic. Period.