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

High Energy African Music From Angelique Kidjo

If you have never experienced the dynamic music of Angelique Kidjo, a woman dubbed “Africa’s premier diva” by Time magazine, then you are in for an uplifting treat.

She blends tribal rhythms with pop, Latin, jazz, and zouk influences. The result is often pure, unbridled joy.

Check out her album, “Spirit Rising” on Spotify. (Don’t have a Spotify account? Sign up for a free account here.)

Check out her cover version of the Rolling Stones classic, “Gimme Shelter” for an injection of high energy followed by nice cool down tunes, “Malaika” and a haunting cover of Gershwin’s “Summertime.”

Another reason to become a Kidjo fan is she is UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and campaigns for improvements for women’s health and girls’ education in Africa.

The beauty in her spirit and soul definitely shines through in her music.

Posted on Jan 29, 2014

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

Remixes Breathe New Life Into Old Songs

“Remixes Breathe New Life Into Old Songs…”

Whether you teach indoor cycling, bootcamp, circuit training, Crossfit, kickboxing, yoga, Zumba or any other kind of fitness class, it can be challenging to keep your music fresh and engaging so your class members (and you) don’t get bored by the same old, same old.

One easy way to inject a little bit of spice into your workout is to incorporate remixes of popular tunes.

Remixes are alternative versions of an original song by the original artist that a DJ has “edited” by either adding new beats or changing the tempo so that the end result is a new “composition.”

This is not to be confused with a mashup which mixes two or more songs together to create a new blend. (Read more about mashups here.)

In a remix, it’s just one song that’s been “enhanced.”

Remixes can quickly change a slow ballad into a heart-pumping power song.

Check out the various remixes of Beyonce’s “Check On It” and you’ll see all the different takes different DJs can have on one song:

In cases like this, these remixes are done with the consent of the original artist. In others, DJs do some “unauthorized” freestyle remixing as in this remix of “Give Me One Reason” by Tracy Chapman:

How do you find remixes?

Simply do a search in whatever music app you use such as Spotify, Pandora, or Soundcloud for the name of an artist or a song and the word “remix.”

Do you have a favorite remix tune you’d like to share? Add it in the comments below.

Posted on Oct 4, 2013

Totally Radical 80s Rock Playlist

“Totally Radical 80s Rock Playlist…”

cherry-pieIt’s true that studies have shown that music has the power to stir emotions and that your emotions can help you power through a workout or any other challenge in life.

If you want to read more about how music impacts your emotions, check out “How Music Can Fuel Your Emotions.”

I’ve had more than one class member tell me that they love it when I play songs that he/she recognizes and that those songs really inspire them to work harder. It’s common to hear someone say, “Wow, time really flew by” when I play the oldies or what I like to call “classics.”

The challenge, however, can lie in making everyone happy when you have a wide range of participants who come from very different generations. That’s why I tend to mix up my music so that each person is sure to recognize at least a song or two during the course of the class.

The decade that probably puts me in my “happy place” the most in definitely the 80s. That’s the decade I went to high school and college and so many of those songs trigger a ton of memories. Some good, some bad.

If you’re also a fan of the 80s, check out this 80s Rock Workout playlist on Spotify:

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

Posted on Oct 3, 2013

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