Music is medicine. It treats pain and reduces stress. For fitness coaches, music can kick a workout up a notch.
About 12% of gym members who sign up in January quit after 24 weeks. As a group exercise leader, you can use the power of music to keep your members motivated and committed to their fitness goals.
You're the leader, but let the music be your assistant coach. Let's discover how music impacts fitness and review some of the best workout songs for your playlist.
How Does Music Impact a Workout?
Listening to music keeps a person focused during a workout. Music decreases external noise, lifts a person's mood, and increases stamina. It's the best tool instructors can use to keep their clients pumped up throughout the workout.
Physical Benefits of Workout Songs
Group fitness leaders can use music in two different ways. First, it can provide background noise during the workout. Or, a more effective method is to match exercises with the beat of the music. This approach turns music into motivation.
Upbeat music enhances physical performance. Fast-paced music increases a person's pace and endurance. The more beats per minute, the higher a person performs.
Studies show cyclists work harder when listening to fast music compared to slow tunes. The research concluded the optimal cycle song had between 120 and 140 beats per minute.
Moving to a specific beat during a fitness class improves motor coordination and balance. People often report positive feedback when exercise is coordinated with music.
Best of all, music is made with the idea of moving. Groovy beats make a person want to move. An upbeat song excites the brain and induces movement.
Mental Benefits of Workout Songs
There are direct connections between auditory neurons and motor neurons. When you hear something, your brain and body react to it.
As a fitness instructor, music psyches up your clients. Music alters a person's mind and gets them in a mindset to perform better. The perfect workout songs make a person forget about their daily stress and focus on the workout.
The Best Workout Songs
Fitness coaches never know who might show up to a group exercise class. People of all ages workout (as they should!), which means you need to create a workout playlist that hits every age group.
When it comes to picking the perfect fitness jams, consider the song's beat, lyrics, message, and length. We've compiled a list of some of the best workout songs of the 80s, 90s, 2000s, and now to help you create the perfect playlist.
80s Workout Hits
For the older crowd in your fitness class, break out some top-notch throwback tunes. Here are a few of our top 80s picks:
- "Eye Of The Tiger" by Survivor
- "Love Shack" by B-52's
- "Livin' on a Prayer" by Bon Jovi
- "Kiss" by Prince
- "Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)" by Eurythmics
Start with "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" by Pat Benatar to get everyone warmed up. Move onto Michael Jackson's "Beat It" and R.E.M.'s "It's The End Of The World As We Know It" to get everyone's heart rates up.
Slower, yet still groovy, 80s tunes like "I Love Rock 'N Roll" by Joan Jett & The Blackhearts and "Burning Down The House" by Talking Heads are perfect for focusing one slower, powerful movements.
90s Fitness Jams
Don't discount the 90s when it comes to creating the perfect playlist. The 90s were full of pop, hip-hop, and rock hits that do wonders during a workout. Some of our top 90s fitness jams include:
- "Thunderstruck" by AC/DC
- "Man! I Feel Like A Woman!" by Shania Twain
- "My Hero" by Foo Fighters
- "U Can't Touch This" by MC Hammer
- "Larger Than Life" by Backstreet Boys
Get your clients pumped up with J. Lo's "Waiting for Tonight." Move into the workout with fast-paced 90s beats like Green Day's "Basket Case," Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit," and "You Oughta Know" by Alanis Morissette.
2000s Exercise Tunes
The 2000s were full of upbeat and explosive jams. The 2000s have some awesome dance and electronic hits, as well as a steady stream of rock tunes guaranteed to increase your clients' motivations. Here are some fitness favorites:
- "Stronger" by Britney Spears
- "Get Your Freak On" by Missie Elliot
- "Last Resort" by Papa Roach
- "Can't Stop" by Red Hot Chilli Peppers
- "Just Like You" by Three Days Grace
- "Mr. Brightside" by The Killers
- "Pon de Replay" by Rihanna
- "Uprising" by Muse
"Bring Me To Life" by Evanescence may have a slow start, but it progresses into a full-on rock song that gets anyone going. And who doesn't feel inspired listening to Kelly Clarkson belt her heart out in "Since You've Been Gone"? If you need to give your class a power push, pop on "Numb" by Linkin Park.
2010s and Now Workout Songs
In the modern era, there are a ton of pop, alternative, rock, and hip-hop tracks to chose from. Some of our current workout favorites include:
- "Good As Hell" by Lizzo
- "Hey Brother" by Avicii
- "Shadowboxer" by Good Charlotte
- "Radioactive" by Imagine Dragons
- "We Run The Night" by Havana Brown
- "Applause" by Lady Gaga
"Roar" by Kay Perry makes an excellent warm-up tune, while "Don't Let Me Down" by The Chainsmokers has an upbeat chorus perfect for pushing your class. Finish your workout with "Titanium" by Sia and David Guetta, which is guaranteed to make you feel powerful.
Other Ways to Motivate Your Clients
Music is an essential tool for motivation, but there are other ways you can keep your clients engaged in the workout.
If you're teaching a group exercise class, get up close and personal with your team. Come down the stage and walk around the room. High-five participants and spend thirty seconds on every member. If you know your students' names, use them.
Tap into your class's competitive sides by creating in-class challenges. Find ways to get your participants to go against one another.
Let your class encourage one another by working harder and focusing on their own improvements. Competition is the best form of motivation, with one research study discovering people attended 90% more fitness classes when placed in a competitive atmosphere.
Don't forget to incorporate fun into your workouts. When the holidays approach, create themed workouts to lift everyone's spirits. Encourage participants to wear costumes or color-coordinated outfits to celebrate special events.
Keeping a workout fun is key in maintaining motivation.
Create Your Perfect Playlist
Music and working out go hand-in-hand. Exercise coaches need to create the perfect fitness playlist to keep their members motivated and focused.
If you're looking for the best workout songs, visit our website. We've got music from various genres that match different types of fitness classes. Click here to explore our music library.