Confession: I love Pitbull. Yes, he’s a short, bald, misogynist who says stuff like, “I don’t play football, but I’ve touched down everywhere,” and that’s him being tame. But, he’s also the only musician that can get me through my twice-weekly, high-intensity interval workout sessions. Nothing gets me through sprints like a sick Latin hip-hop beat. And now, I have research to back up my weird obsession.
High-intensity workouts are the fitness “magic bullet,” if there ever was one. Not only are they great for time-crunched people, but they also have immense metabolic benefits regular workouts don’t provide. A 15-minute HIIT sweat fest can increase your fitness level as much as an hour-long workout at moderate intensity. The only downside? They are brutally hard. If you’re not cursing, you’re probably not doing them right. But, a new study shows that listening to certain types of music can help ameliorate the awful pain of HIIT.
Researchers from McMasters University in Ohio put people through a grueling HIIT workout on a bike, first without music and then while listening to their favorite tunes. The results were impressive: “They were pedaling much more ferociously than without music, but they did not find that effort to be more unpleasant,” the researchers wrote.
The key was to find what music motivated each person. Personally, I need something really fast paced and loud enough that I can’t hear myself gasping like a dying fish and Pitbull nails me every time. (See, it’s impossible to even write about him without it turning into a double entendre! This is what he does to people. It’s a good thing I wear headphones at the gym is all I’m saying.)
When it comes to creating your own master list, it all starts with song choice. There are apps that will take any song and speed up the beat appropriately, but no one really wants to run to the Alvin and the Chipmunks version of Beyoncé, right? So start with your favorite genre and pick something fast paced. It may help to practice a quick run to it to make sure it has the right tempo. Then, go with mood. Some people are angry runners (no judgment — it’s a great way to work through stuff), while other people like super-happy pop and still others get motivated to move by Marilyn Manson. It’s all individual, but to get you started here are some songs, both old and new, to get your heart pumping:
“Come With Me Now” by the Kongos (120 BPM)
“Break Free” by Ariana Grande ft. Zedd (130 BPM)
“Love Runs Out” (Grabbitz Remix) by OneRepublic (130 BPM)
“Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift (160 BPM)
“Take Me Home” by Cash Cash ft. Bebe Rexha (130 BPM)
“Wake Me Up!” (Speed Remix) by Avicii (125 BPM)
“Tonight Is the Night” by Outasight (120 BPM)
“Applause” (DJ White Shadow Trap Remix) by Lady Gaga (140 BPM)
“Come Out and Play” by The Offspring (160 BPM)
“We Got the Beat” by The Go-Go’s (150 BPM)
To make your own custom workout playlist, see what others are listening to at the gym, or to vote on good workout songs check out RunHundred.com