When I started to lift weights back in high school, the stereo in the corner of the weight room was always on. I didn’t know what it was like to lift without music. It wasn’t until much later when I went to my local gym that I learned what it was to lift in silence. The difference is night in day not only in how you feel, but how you perform.
High School Stereo Battles
When I was in high school, every now and then there was a battle over the stereo. This battle was over whether rock music would be played which usually won out, or whether rap music would be played. After lifting with rap music being played for a couple times I started to pick up on the importance of having the right kind of music to work out to. I hate working out to rap and was glad that it was rarely played.
I remember a few instances where I confirmed that I love working out to rock music. One was when an Iron Maiden song came on that I never heard before and I got super hyped. You can feel the power of the music surging through your body and it gave me a boost that day. Another instance was that one of the kids who lifted every day was perhaps the biggest Metallica fan of all time. He always had some good tunes to throw in to get the place pumped.
To give you an idea of the time period, I distinctly remember the song ‘Rollin’ by Limp Bizkit being played every day. In my opinion it wasn’t the best song to listen to, but everyone seemed to like it.
People in public gyms are weird as hell
If you are reading this and have never gone to a public gym before, let me tell you something that the salespeople won’t. At every public gym you go to, there will be a certain group of people that are weird as shit. This was the case with the local gym near my house. In this specific case there were a bunch of weird old dudes who would do the strangest looking exercises you have ever seen.
The thing about weird old dudes at a gym is that they all hate everything around them. Such was the case with the stereo at this specific gym. Seemingly mature adults in their 40’s and 50’s would be arguing about not only the type of music played, but the volume level as well. It was like high school all over again.
These idiots actually went to the length of getting in each other’s faces and yelling at each other. Instead of compromising or straight up fighting, one of the people took a weight and launched it at the stereo. This ended the music being played in the weight room.
It was at this point that I realized how critical music was to having a great workout. When you are in a weight room with a bunch of dudes, and all you can hear is everyone else making grunting noises, it’s eerie.
It was a real shame too because one of the guys that went to that gym would always bring in great mix tapes to play. I always found this to be a little strange because the guy was in his 50’s, but we liked the same music. He’d put on Ozzie, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, and Metallica all the time.
Easy solution to no Stereo in the gym
When I moved to Philly, one of the first things I did was look for a good gym. I found one that was really good, except it had no stereo there to play music. At this point I was tired of all the fights over music so this turned out to be a good thing.
I just downloaded a bunch of songs to my phone. I know this is an obvious solution, but you’d be surprised how many people will just be sitting there lifting without any kind of music in their ears. Once I started bringing my own music to listen to, I never went back. The trick is that you have to have a setup so that your music device isn’t in your way. I use my phone for this, so I got a case for the phone that allows you to attach an arm band and wear the device on your arm.
Here’s the thing about gym music, I listen to music that gets me hyped up. For me, rock music is what does the trick. Music has a big effect on your mood, and when I’m in the gym I want to be as amped as possible to lift heavy weights.
The music I listen to in every day life isn’t neccessarily the same music I’ll listen to in the gym. For instance, I really like the band Soundgarden, but I don’t think it’s the best music for the gym. For the gym I always want maximum hype.
Some guys will argue that they like to listen to rap. I don’t like rap. It doesn’t amp me up at all. Sometimes it’s alright to listen to, but it does nothing for me in the gym.
Some of the songs I listen to at the gym
Metal Gear Rising Soundtrack – This is from the video game Metal Gear Rising. If you are skeptical right now, go ahead and give it a listen. The game synced hype parts of songs with insane parts of the game to maximize awesomeness.
Listen to all of these songs. They will all get your blood pumping making you want to punch through a brick wall. This translates into being able to lift heavier objects. Again, I’m not a scientist, but using music to elevate your mood will allow you to go beyond your normal.
Make a soundtrack for your workout
I didn’t pick up on this until after a year of working out, but it’s a really clutch move. With my phone, you can organize your songs into playlists. This allows you to go to the gym, and immediately put on a playlist and not worry about your music selection.
I used to fumble around with the phone on my arm during my workout for the perfect song that I wanted to hear. This wastes time and is annoying.
Making a playlist also allows you to place specific songs at specific spots during your workout. Get creative with this to allow your workout to flow in a specific manner. The idea is that you want to seamlessly go from exercise to exercise without even thinking of the music. This way you are concentrating 100% on your routine, but still getting the effects of the music through your subconscious.
What songs get you pumped?
I’m always looking for new songs to work out to. Let me know what gets you hyped in the comments below.
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