YOU GOT TO PUMP IT UP!
No but seriously…
Music has a HUGE affect on us! H U G E. People listen to music in the car, to study, at the gym, at parties, when they’re bored. People pick up singing and playing instruments as past times and hobbies even without any intention of using it as a career. Why would something play such a prominent role in our lives if it wasn’t important? … I mean I hope that’s rhetorical but just in case… IT WOULDN’T
First, I will talk about the two BIG ways that music affects our beings…
1. Emotional Effect
I don’t think it’s news to anyone that music has a strong hold on our heart strings. Funny how a melody sounds like a memory, right? We all have that song that reminds us of someone or some time in our life. We have the good ones that we hear and we instantly smile. Always. We also have the ones that make us tear up a little even when we try to hold it back. I can list probably a handful of songs for each of those categories without straining to think about it. This is SO POWERFUL! It means that although we may not have control over hearing those first couple beats of a song when it comes on the radio, we do have control over what songs we allow ourselves to listen to. Which means that we can alter our own mood at any time. When you’re having a bad day, you can put on that song that makes you laugh or makes you want to dance and its basically impossible to be upset, at least for the next 3-5 minutes. Once you accept that you have this power, cause we all know its there but sometimes we just choose not to acknowledge it, you can hone in on it and use it to your benefit not only in life but also in the gym!
2. Physical Stimulation
There are a multitude of studies one can find about all the different ways music affects the human body physiologically; from helping brain function to boosting your immune system. The ones that I want to touch upon can directly affect your productivity and results as related to working out. Of the most obvious of these, which many people may already be aware of, is that music STRONGLY affects our heartbeat, pulse rate, and blood pressure. A human’s heartbeat reacts to the frequency, tempo, and volume in songs. When we are working out our best results come when what happens? Comeeee oooon guys I know you know this… Yup! When our heartbeat and pulse increase! So with that said, since our heartbeat will rise and fall to match the rhythm of the music playing, it’s no question that we should be playing fast paced music during our workout time. Directly opposite to how slow music helps us relax, fast music is a natural energizer. So take advantage! Music can also help to regulate our body temperature. Loud music with strong beats will naturally get our blood pumping and thus will warm our body (another positive for working out!). Lastly, studies have shown that music can actually help reduce muscle tension and improve both our body movement and coordination when in a workout. My goodness the human body is pretty darn smart huh?!
( Also check out this awesome article on the topic from Psychology Today )
Now, the question at hand is, how exactly do we make music work in our favor when it comes to working out?
I mean if Dom Mazzeti didn’t hit the nail on the head there then I don’t really know how much I can help you understand it buuuut I’ll give it a shot…
The goal is to get more bang for your buck, in a manner of speaking. Music can either kill your gym sesh or give it more umph than all the pre-workout in the world. Finding the right workout playlist for you can be done by applying a simple formula:
Emotionally pleasing music that is physically stimulating and setting appropriate.
Setting appropriate, Kaitlyn? YES. God help me if I hear Everything Has Changed come through your headphones. For that matter, if I hear you play one single country song at the gym we cannot be friends… Don’t get me wrong, I love a nice summer day when I can drive with the windows down and blast Cruise or lay on the beach playing some Jimmy Buffet and when I’m in an emotional place Taylor is my go-to girl but when you’re doing box jumps and pull-ups trying to beat the clock or you want to PR your front squat that ish WILL NOT get your blood pumping. You’re all in denial. There is a time and a place for all music. The gym is the time when you play the music that maybe you wouldn’t even listen to during any other time but you know when that playlist kicks on you’re gonna GO HAM and not give it a second thought. Personally, I like to kick off a good run with Til’ I Collapse because I mean, come on? That sh*t is motivating as all heck.
So take what we have talked about and apply it accordingly. First, find music that is physically stimulating AND setting appropriate. Does it have a fast beat? Can you blast it so the whole city hears and not look like an idiot? (Hint: I am not referring to people judging you. Anything that is soft music is not meant to be played at that level.) As soon as it comes on does it make you wanna just go without holding back? Good we got the first step down.
Now, let’s talk about which ones you REALLY LIKE (emotionally pleasing) and which ones you just picked because you can feel your blood racing when they play. I’ve always said the car ride, or walk, or prep-time before you actually get to and start a workout is THE. MOST. IMPORTANT. I usually workout at 6 or 9am. If I drove to my CrossFit box listening to sappy soft music I would still be asleep when I got there. Instead I plug in my iPhone and play my top 10 pump up songs of the moment. Usually it’s songs that this corny little white girl rollin’ up in her silver Jeep would be embarrassed or terrified to play driving through the hood haha. Yeah, those are MY songs of choice. But whatever it is, make sure that you are in full flight by the time you are getting into your workout. These songs should make you feel ON TOP OF THE WORLD. You are invincible. You are a freakin superhero for goodness sake. The rest of the playlist, the meat and potatoes of it, just need to be songs that keep your heart rate up and make you not even want to but have to keep moving throughout the entire workout. They also shouldn’t be songs where you are gonna pause just to sing a verse to them. Enough of that.
Music can absolutely make or break a workout. It is something that is sooooo simple to master so do not over look such a little but crucial detail. You will be surprised at the difference a really good playlist will make whether you’re lifting, dancing, running, CrossFitting, or whatever it is. When your body is excited physiologically and your mind is just IN IT you will work a million times harder and thus, in turn, see even better results! I don’t know about you but that sounds pretty darn good to me.