Motivational Monday–Music

Today’s topic is easily debatable.  In fact, I often get into the music-while-exercising debate with my closest friends and family members.

Some people find music to be motivating – when feeling fatigued, it gives a bit of am oomph to keep pushing.  Others believe it takes away from the joy of the activity. I think everyone’s right. 


Personally, up until about a year ago, you would never catch me at the gym without my iPod.  In college I used music to focus all my energy inward, rather than paying attention to what anyone else was saying or doing around me.  The testosterone-filled weight room somehow seemed less intimidating when I could surround myself with music.  I also used music to block out conversation – I wasn’t there to mingle or find a boyfriend, I was there to work on my fitness! 

Once I started running in my Vibram FiveFingers, though, I started to pay more attention to my breathing patterns.  To connect better with my breath, I often started my runs without music to get into my own rhythm first… then I’d put the headphones on about half-way through to help keep me moving at a good pace.  Eventually I stopped using music altogether for my runs – relying solely on my innate pace. 


I recently found out that they make mp3 players for swimmers… but I don’t mind swimming laps without music.  To be honest, I really appreciate the silence beneath the water.  [Plus I just know I’d find a way to somehow electrocute myself.

Nonetheless, there are definitely times when I do appreciate music while working out.  For example:

  • during weight sessions – either at home or at the gym.  I use the beat to keep a decent pace, plus it definitely helps not get bored with all the monotonous moves. 
  • while working out the core or stretching – by listening to music, I stay in my stretches longer and find more strength for core-work. 
  • during group exercise/classes – let’s be honest… the music makes classes like TurboKick and Zumba!
  • while doing HIIT or hills – high-intensity interval training and hill-work call for boosts of energy and a fast pace… I find that music helps me in getting my pace up, then also slowing it down. 

Of course, this post wouldn’t be complete without a list of my favorite workout jamz. Smile

Two get-in-gear feel-good songs [these always get me excited for a good workout!]:


Tzu–She Gets Up

Other fast-paced-faves you may not know [but should!]:

-Jurrasic Five [especially the Quality Control album]


-The Cat Empire

-The Herd


-Blue Scholars [especially the OOF! album]


-DJ Z-Trip

-Cut Chemist

-DJ Shadow


-The Black Keys [+Blakroc!]

And finally, a few options for stretching:

Nizlopi / Nas + Damian Marley / North Highlands / Breakestra / Xavier Rudd

What’s your stance on music while working out?  What are you currently jammin out to? 

Whether you work out with or without tunes, I hope you make time for a little movement today!

Motivational Mondays are meant to offer you tips and tools to help you live a healthy and balanced lifestyle.  What would you like to see for Motivational Mondays? Would you like to be a contributor? Comment or email me at!

Check out the new Motivational Monday tab!  I finally got around to putting all the MM posts in one place, so finding motivation when you need it is now quick + simple! 

Aloha Pumehana.
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One thought on “Motivational Monday–Music

  1. Angela @ The Chicken Scoop says:

    I completely agree! I find that the music is distracting during running when I want to concentrate on my pace/rhythm/etc but its awesome when you want to push hard like during weight lifting or Zumba! And thanks for reminding me. I used to do yoga all the time to some slower techno I have. I have a couple awesome songs for that. Maybe this weekend!

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