July 14, 2024

Sweat to the beat: make your workout playlist

Whether it be a podcast or a playlist, most people enjoy listening to something as they work out. Workout music can elevate exercise to give the listener the energy needed for the last few reps. Regardless of what genres or tempos you prefer, there will be something to dive into with these exercise music suggestions.


Firstly, the oddball – podcasts. There are many different genres of podcasts, such as educational or comedy. Not many people listen to educational podcasts to workout, but there are many engaging ones such as “Radiolab” or “Hardcore History.” 

“Radiolab” asks very unique and thought provoking questions and investigates them such as questioning the animal mind and if animals can be truly kind or generous. Episodes run an hour to two hours. 

“Hardcore History” is a long-form podcast where host Dan Carlin tells the story of our history. It truly is as simple as that, and each episode takes a topic and runs for as long as is needed to get the story across.

Comedy and conversational podcasts are usually what people opt for, where the casters talk about their lives or funny stories. These podcasts are carried by the people that run them, so it makes recommending specific ones a bit difficult.

Comedian’s podcasts are a great starting point, such as “Always Sunny Podcast” or “Smartless.” Investigating to see if your favorite personalities have their own podcast is the best way to find interesting shows.


Now for music. Varying levels of tempo and genre are effective for different people, depending on the workout or the intensity of the workout. This variance means it can be difficult finding what works for you when trying to perform at the gym. 

The first step should be energetic, high tempo, high intensity music. Music that is rhythmic, not just loud and aggressive. Genres like EDM (electronic dance music), Hip Hop or Rock are solid choices. 

Some more niche choices around that same energy level are Metal, Bebop or Hard Jazz, soundtracks from games or movies, and Dubstep and other variations of electronic music. 

Along with these genre suggestions, most streaming platforms have exercise mixes and playlists that listeners can scan through and add their own playlist. This is a solid way to find new music, as well as hitting shuffle and having the program discover new music for you as you work out. 

For more specific suggestions, the Hotline Miami soundtrack has fueled my workouts for many years. This soundtrack is driving, electronic, catchy, and rhythmic. Songs like “Hydrogen” or “Divide,” while repetitive, are dissonant and capture the feeling of “I could run through a wall listening to this song” which is needed for a good workout.

TOOL is a progressive rock and metal group that has been in the workout rotation recently. They are a band where their most popular tunes are really good, and what I would recommend first. Tunes like “The Pot” and “Schism” are grungy, hard and angry. Filled with tight guitar and bass riffs that are catchy and easy to work out to. Since they are prog-rock and metal, their songs go several different directions to keep the listener engaged.

Finally, I’ll conclude my personal recommendations with Electronic Dance vocal music and Future Funk. Artists like Daft Punk or Yung Bae are predictable (in a good way), happy and energetic. Influenced by funk, disco, jazz and other culture’s popular genres (such as Japan’s City Pop or Brazil’s Bossa Nova), this electronic remixing era of music is ever-expanding and there is a lot to discover.