In another edition of research confirming the obvious, a study has come out to report that “scientifically chosen” music will amp up your workout by – are you ready – 15%! I’m not sure exactly how they arrived at that very precise number but I definitely agree with their findings.

Anyone who has taken Turbo Jennie‘s TurboKick class knows exactly what I am talking about. The right music not only increases endurance but also changes one’s perceived rate of exertion. According to my trusty heartrate monitor I am literally sprinting during the finale but because it’s Pitbull telling to me to (nonsensically) “boom, boom, shake, shake and drop“, I could have a heart attack and still go down punching. Strangely the researchers made no mention of Pitbull and his magic powers in their geeky summary: “The synchronous application of music resulted in much higher endurance while the motivational qualities of the music impacted significantly on the interpretation of fatigue symptoms right up to the point of voluntary exhaustion.” Yeah, what he said.

According to the research team, music selection is critical. So how in the name of little green apples did Queen, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Madonna made the Ultimate Science Playlist?! That stuff might get me moving faster — but only to get me to run to the sound system to change the song. I hate Queen. But more than Queen, I hate The Chemical Brothers, Moby, and every other brand of techno they play in spin classes. I have been known to actually plug my ears during the protracted closing shriek of Block Rocking Beat. Yes I know that you are all now singing We Are The Champions and lecturing me in your head about my unsophisticated taste in music. Lecture away but that’s what iPods were invented for.

I must admit I’m dubious of the scientists’ ability to pick a winning track list. Music is so personal. I imagine they are probably picking songs based on their rhythm and beats per minute – a pacing tool of sorts – but there is so much more involved in making music motivational. But perhaps I am more sensitive than most to music? I still have extreme cognitive dissonance during my Hip Hop Class – love the beat, hate the lyrics.

The other thing about motivation is that it changes. When I’m charging up a tough hill in the rain, I need some emo pain – hello My Chemical Romance! When I’m feeling particularly tough I’m all about the AFI or System of a Down. But for a nice after-dinner jog? Joshua Radin. Regina Spektor. The Decemberists. I’m probably the only human being on the planet with a playlist comprised mainly of folk and punk. And I would never inflict that on anyone else.

The thing that most made me giggle about this study was the fact that it was the culmination of twenty years of research. It took them twenty years to decide that music helps you workout better! No wonder they picked Queen and Madonna.

What say you? If someone sold a “scientifically designed workout playlist” (15% more sweat, guaranteed!) would you buy it? What is the number 1 worst song that you think should be banned from every gym in the world??

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One Comment

  1. When I go running, I ALWAYS have to have my player with me. It just doesn’t work when my earphones aren’t plugged and there isn’t any beat blasting on my ear. It sure does help me in my pacing. Usually, I have my playlist for my jogs and most of them are songs from Phoenix, some from Arcade Fire, among many others. Do you take time in forming your playlist? Because I do. LOL. 🙂

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