What Type of Workout Music Will Help Motivate Me?


question-icon-newI just started exercising about 3 months ago and I’m beginning to lose motivation during my workouts. A lot of my friends at the gym have recommended that I buy an iPod and listen to music to get me pumped up. Does this actually work? If so, can you provide me with some upbeat and fast-paced music I can listen to during my workouts which will help to fire me up, stay focused and train harder?

answer-icon-newMusic can be a huge motivator to help you train harder, stay focused and improve your workouts. Music is a powerful emotional tool that can make people feel sad, inspired and even aggressive. Ever seen a mosh pit at a rock concert? This is a perfect example of how music fuels emotion. Heavy hard rock music can bring out aggressive behavior in many people who listen to it. On the opposite end of the music spectrum, have you ever been into a book store and felt like you are intensely focused to read your favorite book for hours on end? Many bookstores have classical music or very light jazz playing softly in the background which tends to help people focus better. The more focused people are on a book, the more they will read it and often times they will be in a much clearer mindset to purchase the book. It all revolves around priming a person’s emotions and overall mental senses which can be manipulated by audible stimuli like music.

You can use this emotional reaction from music to help spike your motivation and mental focus during exercise. It starts with choosing the right portable MP3 player to use while you workout. Look for an MP3 player which is very small in size and has any easy way to attach to your clothing or body. A lot of people like to wear an arm band but those can actually get a in your way a little if you wear a sleeveless shirt while you workout since the headphone cord can get tangled up and restrict your range of motion. I highly recommend finding a music player that comes with a belt clip. This allows you to easily clip the player on your shorts and you can run the headphone wire under your shirt and up out of the neck which will cover the wire and help to avoid it getting in your way while you are working out.

ipod-shuffle-workoutsThe size of the MP3 player is also very important. I have seen some people who attach huge iPods and even their iPhones to their arms with a huge Velcro arm band. They are usually seen walking around the gym adjusting the arm band so it doesn’t fall down to their wrists or come apart while they are doing some form of exercise and it just simply looks ridiculously cumbersome. Or, if they decide to attach the monster MP3 player to the belt, you will see them frantically pulling up their shorts after every squatting or jumping movement, or on every other stride when they are running because the music player is simply too big! So, make sure you choose the smallest MP3 player that holds at least 1GB worth of music for the best option when you want to listen to music while you workout.

I have probably used at least a dozen different types of MP3 players over the last several years and the absolute best one I have found so far has been the Apple iPod Shuffle which is absolutely tiny and only weighs half a gram while holding 2GB worth of your favorite music (around 350 songs depending on the file size). It also has a built-in belt clip that is super convenient and works great along with a battery life of up to 15 hours. If you tend to sweat a lot during your workouts, I highly recommend also buying the plastic gel case that wraps over the iPod Shuffle to make sure it doesn’t take on any moisture during your workouts.

In terms of music to listen to while you workout, I highly recommend choosing your favorite artists and be aware of the artists and songs that get your feet stomping and your head bobbing. You probably want to stay away from slow and methodic music such as classical and jazz simply due to the calming effect this type of music can have on your emotional state. You want to focus on more upbeat and faster music that you can workout hard to. Below are some of my personal favorites for artists to include in your music rotation to keep you highly motivated during your workouts:


  • Prodigy
  • Chemical Brothers
  • Paul Van Dyke
  • Benny Benassi


  • Metallica
  • Godsmack
  • Disturbed
  • Tool
  • Staind


  • 50 Cent
  • Ice Cube
  • NWA
  • The Game
  • G-Unit
  • Westside Connection

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