Anybody who has bounced a little in a boxing stance in front of a mirror with the theme song from Rocky playing in the background, understands the hidden power of music. Songs can be triggers, activating emotional, psychological and then physical reserves inside us that help transform us into something greater than ourselves. Music can do this because it has a neurological effect on our minds that is then transformed into a physiological effect in our bodies. This is exactly why the playlist you choose to exercise to is now an important aspect of your training.
Your playlist then can potentially make or break the quality of your training session. The wrong song with the wrong kind of beat and lyrics can discourage and bring you down but the right song at the right time can give you the extra boost and see your through a tough set and then another one, and another one and another one after that. Every time you work out you don’t just fight your body’s current limitations, you fight an inner battle with yourself so what you listen to at that particular moment in time is critical.
When you go through physical barriers enough times you become physically better and mentally tougher. That means you will be able to pick yourself up with sheer willpower, your own inner strength will be enough to get you through anything. There will still be some days however when you will need that extra pick me up which is where your choice of music comes in.
First thing you need to do is to put together a basic playlist. You will need several, in fact.
You will need a playlist for easy, recovery sessions and also a playlist for hard sessions with upbeat music that makes you want to move mountains… or just crash them. Anything with strong lyrics that speak to you will work here. It can be a whole variety of songs that don’t have much to do with one another or a compilation from your favourite artist. The variety in a playlist will help you to stay alert and keep your mind active. During a training session, you may start giving in to fatigue and begin to move slower, this makes it more likely that you would be tempted to cheat and cut corners but there is a simple fix: keep your music random, have different songs from different singers and bands in the same playlists and it’ll keep your mind engaged. An engaged mind is a motivated one. It has not time to feel weak and that is reflected in the way it processes the messages it receives from your body.
The final song
If the first song in your playlist is important because it helps zap your mind into that special place where you are ready to perform, then the last song has a special role. It’s the final countdown, it signals that your training is about to come to an end, but you are going the distance so you better not slow down now. To help you get there, faster and stronger, you need to have a special song you can quickly access that will supercharge you. It can be a song you currently really like listening to or a song that you always loved, it doesn’t really matter as long as it breathes new energy into your every move.
You should keep this song (or songs) in a different album but somewhere you can access it quickly on the go, and you’ll see the difference it makes in how you perform in your last set or during a home run e.g., Going the Distance.
The reason your Playlist holds such power lies in the fact that music always helps us get in the right frame of mind which then helps our body perform. Depending on the tempo and the lyrics it can help us relax or it can prepare us for battle. It is a very powerful tool especially when the mind is feeling weak – and even people who are used to difficult training sessions, athletes and other people who make it all look easy, have these moments. We all need a pick-me-up every now and then. There are days when we don’t want to get out of bed never mind go all out during a workout and when that happens, it simply works to turn off the thinking processes all together and lose ourselves in the rich, evocative imagery thrown up by a powerful song that means a lot to us.
Although we all want to be healthy and strong, physically and mentally and we all want to be warriors and heroes there is a reason why only a few of us ever are. It’s not our willpower, we usually have plenty of that. It is our rational mind that will tell us that we’ve had enough, that perhaps it’s just not worth fighting for another few kilometers or training for another twenty minutes, tomorrow is a good day to start again and so on. You need to learn to ignore that.
In fitness, there are no days off, you’ve got to show up whether you want to or not, that’s how exceptional people are made: it doesn’t mean they are all chirpy and willing all the time but they do show up no matter what. On days of weakness, sometimes it’s better not to think but just go ahead and do it.
That’s where a good playlist can help, especially if you can busy your mind with reciting the lyrics. It’s really difficult to listen to a rousing tune, see yourself as a warrior and sing along with other warriors and slow down or not go flat out. We all have the spirit to achieve incredible things. It just takes some serious kicking on our six to wake it up.
Neila Rey Playlist
List is sorted in alphabetical order. All links go to YouTube songs.
“Adrenaline” Gavin Rossdale
“All We Are” Gotthard
“The Anthem” Good Charlotte
“The Arrival” Metrik
“Awake and Alive” Skillet
“Blow Me (One Last Kiss)” P!nk
“Born Again” Newsboys
“Breaking the Habit” Linkin Park
“Brighter Than The Sun” Colbie Caillat
“Boulevard Of Broken Dreams” Green Day
“Chariots of Fire Theme” Vangelis
“The Ghost of You And I” Story of the Year
“Cry Thunder” Dragonforce
“Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” Kelly Clarkson
“Get Back Up” Toby Mac
“Gold Guns Girls” Metric
“Going The Distance” Bill Conti
“Hot N Cold” Katy Perry
“How Far We’ve Come” Matchbox Twenty
“Into The Nothing” Breaking Benjamin
“I Just Wanna Run” The Downtown Fiction
“Last Man Standing” Bon Jovi
“Let Down” Bif Naked
“Let’s Get Loud” Jennifer Lopez
“Live To Rise” Soundgarden
“Marry The Night” Lady Gaga
“Modern Girl” Meatloaf
“No pain no gain” Scorpions
“Only Human” At vance
“Over and Under” Egypt Central
“Push It To The Limit (Scarface)” Paul Engemann
“Quitter” Carrie Underwood
“Raise Your Glass” P!nk
“Songs Like This” Carrie Underwood
“Soldiers Of The Wasteland” DragonForce
“I Want It All” Queen
“War Of Change” Thousand Foot Krutch
“Carry On Wayward Son” Kansas
“We All Fall Down” Cavo
“We Found Love” Rihanna