The Ultimate Workout Remix Playlist

napster_logoWhen putting together a new playlist, I generally like to mix it up regarding the length of tracks as well as original singles interspersed with remixes or mash-ups to keep things interesting.

When I first began downloading music from the internet back when Napster was the only game in town, that’s when I first discovered Thunderpuss remixes. I loved them because they took current hits (mostly ballads)  from artists such as Mary J. Blige, Whitney Houston, Britney Spears, and Deborah Cox and injected a major dose of energy with uplifting beats and rhythms.

Plus, remixes often took a 3-minute single and stretched it out as long as 8 or 10 minutes, giving you a chance to really settle into a nice workout zone.

Ten to twelve years later, some of these mixes might feel a bit dated, but I still love ’em.

Check out some Thunderpuss remixes for free along with some other high energy remixes from Offer Nissim, Hex Hector, and Chris Cox on Spotify. (Don’t have a Spotify account? Sign up for a free account here.)

Posted on Feb 3, 2014

And The Winners Are…

If you are looking for some new inspiration for your workouts, a great source is the 2014 Grammy Award nominees.

Check out this playlist that Spotify put together that includes every single nominated song…from pop to hip-hop, country to jazz:

The awards were handed out last night. Whether you agree with the final decisions or not, here are some favorite moments from this year’s show…

“Same Love” performed by Macklemore, Mary Lambert, and Ryan Lewis with Queen Latifah officiating over the marriage of 33 diverse couples on stage.

Ultimate “power couple” Beyonce and Jay-Z opening the show with their performance of “Drunk In Love.” Um…H-O-T!

17-year old Lorde picking up the win in her first year as Grammy nominee for her single, “Royals.”

Posted on Jan 27, 2014

When Yoga Is Your Workout

“When Yoga Is Your Workout…”

I am someone whose definition of a “great workout” is one that challenges me and makes me sweat.

challenge-changeIn the past, I have dismissed yoga as “not really a workout.” Yes, there are times that yoga definitely challenges me. (I’m still working on my handstand and peacock pose.) And yes, there have times that yoga has made me work up a sweat (and I haven’t even taken Hot Yoga yet!)

But because I get my cardio workout in other ways, I usually like my yoga classes to be a little more relaxing. Yin style yoga, where you hold poses for 2-5 minutes each, is one of my favorites.

I know other people who swear that Bikram Yoga has changed their lives. And my husband lost over 20 pounds mostly due to a consistent program of Vinyasa Yoga.

With all that in mind, here are a couple of my favorite Spotify playlists for yoga enthusiasts. Some of these songs could also be great for cool downs.

Playlist #1, “Yoga Spot – Indian Mistic”: Listen to this one if you appreciate the Mind/Body aspect of yoga and enjoy more instrumental tunes, many inspired by the music of India.

Playlist #2, “Yoga Vinyasa Flow”: Listen to this one if you enjoy yoga flow classes and generally like the music to have words that you can mentally sing along to…

Namaste.

(Don’t have a Spotify account? Sign up for a free account here.)

Posted on Oct 21, 2013

Check Out These Spotify Exclusives…

xl_spotify_logo-1I don’t hide the fact that I highly recommend Spotify as a music service that allows you to discover and play nearly an unlimited amount of new music.

I don’t get a commission for recommending it or anything…it just happens to be what I use.

I used their free membership for probably about a year and loved it. The occasional commercial was mildly annoying but I couldn’t be resentful since I wasn’t paying a dime.

Finally, I upgraded to Premium at just $9.99/month and I’ve never looked back.

First of all, I love not having to listen to those commercials!

Secondly, the ability to download unlimited playlists to my iPad and play them offline during my classes is saving me so much money. Instead of having to buy single tracks of music for $.99 or even $1.29 I can download and play all the music I like for my monthly fee.

Not every single song by every single artist is available on Spotify, however.

You won’t find songs by AC/DC for instance (there’s one song, actually) or the complete library of tunes from The Beatles, but the sheer volume of other tunes more than makes up for the omissions in my opinion.

I could go on and on, but for now, I’ll share just one other feature I love about Spotify…

They sometimes have what they call “Spotify Exclusives” which include songs and interviews that aren’t available anywhere else. Sometimes the artists eventually release the content to other venues such as Amazon or iTunes but often songs are available as an “Album Only” purchase and not via a single track.

Here is one example of Spotify Exclusive content, Tiesto’s album, Club Life, Volume 3 – Stockholm which was released initially on Spotify. It’s now available on Amazon as an album purchase only and on iTunes with select songs available as single tracks.

I use “Paradise” to kick off one of my indoor cycling class playlists. It sets a dramatic tone that builds anticipation and has quieter moments where you can use verbal cues to really get your students focused and motivated for a great ride.

Try using these songs for your workout. Again, to sign up for a free Spotify account, click here.

Posted on Oct 18, 2013

“How to Save Time & Money On Your Playlists”

“How to Save Time & Money On Your Playlists”

OK, this article is for you if you teach any of the following:

  • Indoor Cycling
  • Bootcamp
  • Treadmill classes
  • Circuit Training…

spinning-editIn short, if you have the freedom to select your own single-tracks to play in class, then I have a most AWESOME resource for you…

As an instructor, it’s up to you to put together your playlists for class. However it can be challenging to constantly come up with new, fresh soundtracks to motivate your class. Why?

  1. It can be EXTREMELY time consuming to comb through millions of songs in order to find just the right ones that fit together to create the mood you’re looking for and fit the profile of the workout you have designed.
  2. It can get costly if you are paying per track. At $.99-$1.29 each, a single class playlist can cost you $15-20 each time.
  3. Music that motivates you might not motivate others. Sad but true. Sometimes you put a song out there that you love but it completely flops in class. You can literally see people tuning out during the workout and that’s not good.

The solution? Check out the playlist of other instructors.

Sneaking a peek at what other instructors are playing can save you tons of time.

And if you use a service like Spotify to download and play your music, you’ll pay only a monthly flat rate for virtually unlimited music vs. paying per song. Click here to sign up for a free account, but if you want to download commercial free music to your mobile device to play during class, you’ll want a Premium account.

And to save you even more time, here’s that awesome resource I mentioned earlier…

Spinning.com offers their “Weekly Playlist.” These playlists are designed specifically for instructors to use in indoor cycling classes.

You can use these playlists as is or edit them as you see fit, replacing a tune you don’t like with something that works better for you. These archives go back all the way to 2009, so this can keep you busy for at least a couple of weeks!

Are you going to take any of these playlists for a spin in your classes or even your own personal workout? If you do, come back here and give me your feedback. Was that playlist Hot or Not?

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Posted on Oct 18, 2013

“What’s On Your Classic Playlist?”

“What’s On Your Classic Playlist?”

rolling-stonesI definitely love discovering new music from either new artists or some of my favorite singers who come out with a new chart topping tune.

But then again, there are times when the tried and true feel so comfortable, like an old pair of 501 jeans that you’ve washed so many times, they feel softer than cashmere.

Oldies or what I like to call “classics” can instantly transport you back to an emotional place and time from your past.

Here’s a walk down my personal Memory Lane…

“Barracuda” by Heart splashes me down into the swimming pool of our new house in the summer of ’77, the same summer that Star Wars came out. My brothers and I lived in the pool that summer and it was the final days before the worst school year of my life.

“Heartache Tonight” by The Eagles plunks me down in my junior high school multi-purpose room during our eighth grade dance where the boys stood on one side and the girls on the other. All I wanted was for a boy named Ernie to ask me to dance. He never did.

“Leave It” by Yes takes me back to college where that band came to play at the Greek Theater in Berkeley and you could hear the cheers from the crowd (and smell the marijuana in the air) for miles.

Although Classic songs might not always be motivational or upbeat, they still have the power to tap into your emotions. And at the end of the day, you are the only one who decides what motivates you to move.

Check out this playlist from Rolling Stone Magazine of their 500 Greatest Songs of All Time if you want to trigger some memories of your own:

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Posted on Oct 18, 2013

What’s Your Definition of “Good Music”?

martialartsIf there is one thing that I’ve learned in all my years of teaching fitness classes, it’s that you can’t please everybody when it comes to music.

I was in the hallway before a class one time and a member walked up to me and asked, “Are you going to play some good music today?”

My response? “Define Good.”

Gather a group of 20 people together and you will have 20 different notions of what “good music” is.

Some people love rap and hip-hop. Others can’t stand it.

I love this comment from a reader:

vibe-killer

Like I said, you can’t please everybody all the time!

If you are selecting music for a group of people, the best you can hope for is to please most people some of the time.

As an instructor, in addition to picking music I think my students will like, I have to play music that inspires me so I can pass along that inspiration and motivation to my students.

If you are choosing music for your own personal workout, then it’s exactly that…a matter of discovering what inspires you personally.

Here are some tips on picking inspiring music for yourself or others:

  1. Consider the type of workout: If you are teaching a kickboxing class or doing some hard core weight training, you’re probably going to want music that’s different from the music you want to hear if you are doing yoga or Pilates. When I’m working out, I might listen to techno, pop, and rap, but when I’m taking yoga, I like it when the instructor plays more instrumental music.
  2. Consider the mood: I remember when I was going through a tough transition (just left a long-term relationship, moved, got a new job), I really enjoyed listening to music that had some pretty defiant lyrics. Years later, when I was more settled, I found those some songs no longer inspired me. So what mood are you in today? Do you need a boost or do you need to feel more grounded? What time of day is it? Evening workouts might be be inspired by different tunes like club-inspired dance music than 9am workouts where classic songs you can sing along to rule.
  3. Mix it up: You don’t always have to go for what’s “expected.” Fill your playlist with a variety of music with different tempos, tones, and genres. Sometimes just the shock of something unexpected can motivate.

If you want a hard-hitting mix complete with explicit lyrics,  check out this Playlist on Spotify (click here to sign up for a free account):

Or click here to check out this Playlist on Soundcloud. I particularly love these songs (if I’m in the right mood):

  • Remember the Name by Fort Minor
  • Not Afraid by Eminem
  • Ready for War by 50 Cent

If you’re in the mood for some really upbeat music, browse through the tunes in this Spotify Playlist (click here to sign up for a free account):

Posted on Oct 10, 2013

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