FAQ: Do you listen to music when you workout?

UntitledIt’s question and answer time here at We Beat Fat. This week I’m talking about my music. The simple answer to this question is: yes, I do listen to music when I workout. It wasn’t always like that though. When we first started out walking on the treadmill, I watched a lot of television to pass the time. Our gym has the fancy machines with televisions on every machine, so that it made it nice. As I got use to walking on the treadmill, I ended up switching to music because it helped me keep pace. I used my music as an interval pacer and to be honest I still do! And of course, I do a lot of spinning and music is pretty much the main thing for the class.

When I first started running I HAD to have music. If I didn’t have music then no running was going to be happening. I struggled through workouts without it. Now I’ve moved on from that because some days I can run without music and some days I have to have. At the beginning of the year I ran a couple of half marathons without music on purpose and I ran a couple of races without music unintentionally (my headphones went out). It really just depends on my mood. Sometimes I just get out and run or walk to clear my head and those are the times I just spend with myself so I really don’t need the music. But I know if I feel like I’m going to struggle through a workout/run I must have music! For my birthday I got a road bike and I’ve been pretty content with just riding my bike, no music needed!

What music do I listen to? I try to find any upbeat song I can find. I’m super serious about making playlists for my workouts and spin classes! I was always the girl who was making mix tapes (then cds and now playlists) to share with my friends or express my mood. I always try to find songs that will inspire me along the way. That has become more important to me now than in the beginning. Yes, I did have The Pretty Reckless – Make Me Wanna Die on my playlist, but I had to change it. I really think it was killing my runs sometimes, especially when I played it at the beginning. Now I’m reaching for my upbeat songs and songs that will keep me pushing through my workout.

Tips for making a playlist:
1. If you usually workout for 45 minutes, make a playlist that is at least an hour long. This way if you feel like skipping a song or two you’ll still have music to listen to while working out. There is nothing worse than having to fiddle with your mp3 player while you’re working out. It takes you out of the zone.
2. Add warm up and cool down songs. Don’t start your workout with the most thumping pumping song you’ve got. Build your playlist based around your workout by gradually increasing the intensity of the songs throughout the list!
3. Play songs that you like because you’re going to hear them a lot.
4. Try to find new songs too. They will add variety to your list. It may take some time to find new songs or songs not in the mainstream but it’s totally worth it. Most popular songs get played so much that you might get tired of hearing them when you work out.
5. Make multiple playlist so you’re not listening to the same songs every time you work out. You need variety in your workout and in your music. Don’t be afraid to mix it up.
6. Try different genres of music.
7. Ask friends for suggestions and try everything. It may not all work but some things may work that you never imagined so keep your mind open.

I try to have fun with the lists and give the playlists fun names. I also make themed lists like 80s, boy bands, disco or lists that revolve around one word. I have a playlist with songs just about Wednesday. I know, I’m a little weird. Here is the the playlist I’m currently running with:

Music isn’t the only thing to listen to while working out. I know a lot of people who listen to audiobooks or podcasts. I do not recommend listening to comedy podcasts while working out. I did this a couple of times and I almost fell off the treadmill because I was laughing so hard. But I’m a clumpy person so that could have just been me. Audiobooks are a great way to “read” your book while you’re working out. It doesn’t really work for me but I have friends that get a lot of reading done that way. It’s all a matter of personal preference.

Get to making those playlists. What is your favorite workout song?