What Is Your Favorite Workout Song?

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I used to be the lead singer in a rock band (that's actually me pictured above, rocking out in one of our music videos).

I grew up in a very musical family (including my sister Natalie Rose, who is a professional jazz soloist) and I played classical violin for 13 years.

Like you may do, I also use music to drive my hard workout sessions. Laugh if you'd like, but my favorite music for exercise is techno, and I am subscribed and somewhat addicted to the free Tiesto podcast and Planet Perfect podcast on iTunes.

Finally, when the day is done, I sit and croon in my living room while playing my acoustic guitar (albeit quite poorly).

What I'm getting at is this: I have a special place in my heart for music, and truly believe in the power of music and sound to affect the mind, mental performance and motivation.

So in today's post, you're going to learn why music can have such a profound effect on your brain and your workout performance, you're going to get to download an audio interview with “Fat Burning Man” Abel James about the relationship between music and your body, and most importantly, you're going get to share what you think is the best workout music!

Let's start with a few helpful resources for you if you want to learn more about audio techniques you can use to enhance your performance (or your sleep, or your focus).

Earlier this year, I interviewed Center For Neuroacoustic Research's Jeffrey Thompson about How You Can Use Sound And Music To Change Your Brain Waves With Laser Accuracy And Achieve Huge Focus And Performance Gains. I'd highly recommend you listen to that interview (or read the transcript) if you want to see how to do cool things such as enhance your focus and alpha brain waves with sound.

Also, at the Quick & Dirty Tips website, I wrote the article “Do Workout Songs And Music Make You Exercise Harder?” (as a response to that article, many readers came up with this list of workout tunes, which range from Will Smith to AC/DC!). In that article I talk about research like this, in which British researchers had 12 men ride a bike while listening to music, and found that by adjusting the tempo of the music to go 10% faster or 10% slower, they could increase or decrease how far the cyclists rode and how hard and how fast they pedaled.

Abel James bookAnd just a few days ago, I taught a “Superhuman Brain” workshop to the private group of personal trainers who I mentor, and in that presentation, showed how it is possible to fool your brain into thinking its time to relax, sleep, be creative or even be happy through the use of binaural beats, which are special auditory tones that can be created in music, tones, or flashing lights (such as the MindAlive CES Light Therapy Device or the Pzizz phone app).

Finally, that brings us to today's audio interview with “Fat Burning Man” Abel James, in which we discuss Abel's book: “The Musical Brain: The Evolution of Music, Language, and the Brain“.

During our interview, Abel and I explore the relationship between music, language  and the human brain, and talk about why music and sound can play such an enormous role in our lives. You'll learn how music can literally rewire your brain.

At the end of the audio interview with Abel, I also include some upbeat, motivational music by recording artist Jhonny K, a friend of mine who is dedicated to making music that frees the soul and makes the body move. Enjoy!

So what about you? What is your favorite workout type of workout music, recording artist, or song? Feel free to share below, along with any questions, comments or feedback you may have about today's musical post.

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32 thoughts on “What Is Your Favorite Workout Song?

  1. Laura L Stapleton says:

    Thanks for the Tiesto, I'm trying them out on my next run. When I'm interval training I always use Podrunner.com's intervals. I like the tones for slowing down and speeding up, plus I love techno and house music. Otherwise, I'll run to Beats from the East from DJ AshishB. He mixes South Asia and Top 40 hits.

  2. Jakob Thusgaard says:

    I drop new tracks into this Youtube playlist which mainly consists of electronic music. The BPM (Beats Per Minute) in electronic, techno or trance is usually on the low side, so syncing is out of the question, except if you like a high-gear session on the bike home trainer…

    Anyway, the list is here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDF88B1724C…

  3. Mark says:

    I would say that, without fail, anything LIVE by U2 gets me going. To be precise, Joshua Tree or

  4. Sweat bands says:

    Just wondering was it really necessary to have a post written on it? :D

    I've too many by the way ""Out My Way"" by House of Heroes, Positive Motion – Take You Higher etc"

  5. lewis says:

    netskys essential mix ,about 30 different tunes in it oer 2 hrs ,its got differebt tempos ,hi's N lows

  6. kem says:

    White noise, actually. My hearing aids generate it to mitigate tinnitus. It's a winner. And ever since Siemens I can hear the traffic approaching behind me.

  7. Misty says:

    Lately, Pink.
    I have a unrelated question about carbs. I am recovering from an injury and im normally swimming about 12 miles per week. equates to about 50 mins or so in the pool each day, maybe longer. an hour and fifteen max.
    I have been out of the pool 4 weeks and do not want any weight gain.
    I am doing light walking/cycling about an hour a day, but i m not able to do alot of intensity. we are talkin real easy, gentle stuff.
    my question is, what would be a good amt of carbs to take in per day, due to my decrease in activity? I ballparked my carbs today and it was around 100. tomorrow i will try to ddecrease a bit more. do yo uhave any suggestions while rehabing? thanks Ben!!

    1. No more than 100, and honestly, if you want to really stay in fatty acid utilization, closer to HALF of that. I'd also focus on controlling inflammation during your rehab. Two supplements I like for that are Phenocane and Capraflex. Check https://greenfieldfitnesssystems.com and click on "Recovery" in the supplements category…

      1. Misty says:

        Great Ben. Thanks alot!

      2. Misty says:

        In order to be so low in carb, i obviously need to increase my fat. Two questions 1. I read how you yourself are a "protein" type…and I intuively feel i might be more of a carb type. how does this play into a high fat high protein diet for the carb typers out there.
        2. Are there ever any person coming back and saying, wow, im having a hecka hard time eating this much fat?


        1. If you feel you're a carb type, the only thing is that you may need to take digestive enzymes. I've never had any have trouble eating fat unless they try to do is from all meat sources. it's gotta be lots of vegetables, seeds, nuts.

  8. Dave says:

    For cardio I like the bpm of Motiontraxx or else goa trance. For pushing me, something hard and heavy. The best (worst) is Metallica “So What”, possibly the most offensive tune ever written.

  9. Celine Nourry says:

    It would have to be this!! Feuer Frei – Rammstein: http://vimeo.com/21240009

  10. Chris Hughes says:

    Don't mock me…
    But my go to running music is the soundtrack to The Dark Night.

  11. Dan Lombardi says:

    The Island, Part II – Pendulum

    I like Techno songs that slow down and speed up, especially for intervals and biking.

  12. Martin Anderberg says:

    Right now its the new records by Tift Merritt and Iris Dement. Same as when I´m not working out that is.
    As long as it feels good.

  13. Craig Huggart says:

    I LOVE the Audio Fuel series, especially the ones from Chrissie Wellington.

  14. Diamond says:

    I like to listen to the sounds of my farts. Is that weird?

  15. mande says:

    Ten-twenty-ten by the Generationals, Power by Kanye West and Gettin Jiggy With It by Will Smith:)

  16. Tony says:

    I have a very diverse selection of music on my iPod. Classic Rock, 60's and 70's folk, bluegrass, hard rock, new wave, old (and I do mean old-Bob Wills to Johnny Cash) country music, Hip Hop, Raggae, Pop, Rap, Soul and R&B. And a little bit of other stuff. I am a runner mostly and find I get great workouts when I'm listening to a variety of music. The music dictates my pace. A fartlek workout run by the music.

  17. Rich says:

    for running and Cycling I enjoy Motion Traxx podcasts. They offer bpm which helps me with my cadence on the bike and with the run.

  18. stampsu says:

    I'm an 80's kinda guy so….

    Metallica – Enter Sandman…


    AC/DC – Thunderstruck

    Motley Crue – Kick start my heart

  19. kiki says:

    Fat Bottomed Girls: Queen, oh yeah

  20. musclegeek says:

    Lamb Of God – Wrath
    Meshuggah – Bleed
    Periphery – Light

    Violent.Heavy.Metal FTW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  21. Danni says:

    Too Close by Alex Clare. Also: 'Sweat' by David Guetta, and 'Sexy and I know it' -LMFAO. Loads! They're so useful!

  22. Jeff Meador says:

    I'm abit old school: Eye of the Tiger.

  23. Joe Brancaleone says:

    For heavy lifting or even bodyweight sessions, I also prefer to drop some electronica. It's either BT, or the Global Underground DJ mixes. Nothing too hyper, since I'm not going for speed, but trying to lay a good bedrock of full energy, color, groove.

    Most of the time I end up putting this GU Miami comp on iTunes for heavy squats/deadlift sessions, Danny Howells went a little old skool at the first track (start at :20 sec or so) and slowly builds in a way that syncs nicely with my warm up -> max set (yeah I try to plan this ahead)


  24. B. Richards says:

    Older 90's groups such as Social D or The Cult had a lot of "Power Music" with hard, fast driving beats that are great to workout to especially on a bike trainer… Newer Alternative bands have some of that going on…

  25. @stuttle_canjope says:

    "Carpe Diem" by August Burns Red always gets my blood pumping! Anything that is Metal or Hardcore usually does the trick as well.

  26. Brandon Taylor says:

    "Out My Way" by House of Heroes

  27. Joel says:

    "Ready to Start" by Arcade Fire. Best song when running a race

  28. Alyssa says:

    Girl Talk gets me pretty pumped up generally. Also recently I've been into Nappy Roots. I don't listen to music when I workout though. Just right before a race or a hard training session.

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