How to Create the Perfect Playlist for Your Workout

Have you ever wondered why we start drumming our fingers or tapping our feet when listening to music? Music literally makes us move. When we listen to our favourite songs, the reward system in our brain gets activated, which is, in turn, connected to our movement control centre. That’s why workout music can feel like a sort of doping: the right song can push you to your peak performance. In fact, many studies show that music significantly increases the performance of athletes. Among other things, because physical exhaustion sets in later: By concentrating on the electrifying sounds, your focus is no longer on the exertion. You feel more active, motivated and you have more stamina. But how to choose the right tracks to motivate you while working out? We’ve put together 5 essential hacks for the perfect playlist!

Couple working out in front of the VAHA fitness mirror.

Preparation is half the battle

Let’s take a closer look at your workout playlist to find out which type of music can help you maintain stamina and positivity. Of course, results may vary depending on personality and tastes, but there are a few fundamental things you can keep in mind when creating your playlist.

1. Adapt the music to the type of training 

When choosing your workout music, the first thing to consider is how it makes you feel. It goes without saying that a HIIT or cardio workout demands a different mood than a calm yoga session. In other words: a slow, melancholy pop song is suitable for your cool down but turns into rather a drawback during V/Sweat. Adapt your playlist to your type of training, and make sure to create different playlists for each kind of workout. 

2. Pay attention to beats and lyrics

The bpm (beats per minute) of a song can be a great guide when you pick the songs for your workout. For example, a fast tempo with over 120 bpm is most effective if you really want to get your blood pumping. For the warm-up or cool down, slower music with less than 80 bpm is better. In the end, however, all that counts is how the song makes you feel: is it aggressive, or does it make you feel at ease? Make sure the lyrics fit the mood you want to set for your workout.

3. Create a well-rounded playlist

Ideally, your workout will put you in a state of flow through the perfect balance of challenge and ability. Music, if well-chosen, can support and enhance this state. For example, imagine you are doing a yoga session. Norah Jones is playing in the background, and you are fully emersed in your movement. Then, all of a sudden, a song by Calvin Harris starts playing. Although you like that song, it completely throws you out of balance. Pay attention to the overall harmony of your playlists: the song you choose should always be somewhat in tune with the mood of the previous one.

4. Split the playlist into different sections

The effectiveness of your playlist also depends on whether or not you consider the different phases of your workout. For the warm up, you’ll probably want to start with an upbeat song that motivates you and sets the right mood. During the workout you might prefer a more aggressive sound that pushes you to your limits and beyond. And you could end the workout with a soft ballad for the cool down. Alternatively, you can use the same playlist for the warm up and cool down or simply turn down the volume a little.

5. Listen to your gut

Your body doesn’t function like clockwork. Don’t expect a peak performance day in, day out,  all year round. While a playlist may have pushed you the last time you exercised, it can put you under unnecessary pressure the next day. Pause for a moment and listen to your gut feeling.

Man doing a live class in front of the VAHA fitness mirror.

VAHA Music and Spotify

Ultimately, the perfect workout playlist comes down to whether or not the music supports and motivates you during your workout. Choosing the songs that will have this effect is up to you. Play around with it and try something new every now and then. Maybe you’ll find your next favourite track in one of our Spotify playlists? In the VAHA music section, you can always listen to your instructors’ Spotify playlist during your workouts or link your own Spotify account. Don’t have a Spotify account? No problem, you can also listen to VAHA Music instead! And if you’re looking for something special, try one of our music-based workouts like V/Box (Asian Beats) or V/Sweat (African Beats). You can find them in the on-demand library in the specials category. We hope you’ll enjoy the next workout with your new power playlist in your ear!

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