Do you ever look around the gym and notice just how many people have in ear buds? At my gym, the amount of people who DON’T is far less. Do you ever wonder what people are listening to? I do.
Who’s got that hard-core heavy metal? Who is listening to some upbeat country? Hip-hoppers are usually throwing up some hand signs. See anyone singing along to oldies? Is anyone listening to a book on tap? And you know there’s a girl or two on the treadmill with an independent woman, breakup mix blasting (speaking from experience…).
But do they always listen to that music while working out? Maybe they mix it up. Heavy metal on heavy days, a little One Republic on cardio days? Who knows! But I bet you are thinking about your workout music habits now, huh?
Music Habits in the Weight Room
I grew up listening to country music and keep up that habit, with a mix of Top 40, most of my life. It’s only natural that would carry over into my workouts. However, I soon learned that Kenny Chesney didn’t motivate me as consistently as I needed. I just couldn’t push myself for that extra rep listening to say goodbye to his little girl…. Talk about a buzz kill!
I found Jason Derulo to be quiet helpful to me on my cardio days. Upbeat and catchy — just enough to sidetrack me from what I was doing. Top 40 was definitely what I needed to get me going on those long runs. As more and more rap/hip-hop started coming on to the radio, that would get weaved into my repertoire as well.
Stay on Your Toes
Bad thing about Top 40 is that it’s Top 40. So it’s over-played. And then I’d listen to it while at the gym too. A playlist that kept me motivated in the fall of 2010 no longer worked in the spring of 2011. I’m no different from a lot of people; I enjoy learning lyrics, but when I know a playlist front to back, the inspiration is just not there anymore. I know I’m not the only one who can attest to a bad playlist ruining a workout. It’s also a little embarrassing when you zone out and realize you’ve been singing along for the last 10 minutes and there is someone on the treadmill next to you… I hate being that girl! To avoid all of the above, part of my workout routine is not only writing workouts, but also creating new playlists to keep me on my toes in the mornings.
So, I have my “long runs” playlist, my “heavy days” playlist, something for plyo days, something for HIIT workouts. I’ve tried pre-made playlists on Spotify, but they don’t always do it for me. I need to somewhat know a song to enjoy it enough for working out. Many times I’d end up skipping half the songs on those playlists! When I make my own, it’s usually at work, adding songs as I’m listening to Spotify. And of course, I’ll have those mornings where I’m listening to a brand new playlist and wonder what the heck I was thinking when I made it! 🙂
All of that is just background for a couple of reasons. 1. I need to explain how important music is to my workout and 2. I think about things A LOT. #2 is no surprise to anyone who either knows me or has read a couple of my blog posts. Anyway, music. Yes, country, hip-hop, a little rock and Top 40 have been my jam for most of my life, especially when it comes to workouts. Up until about 4 years ago.
I am not able to pinpoint exactly what happened for me, but my heart just wasn’t in music anymore. After the history above, you can see why I was surprised by this. I found myself going through multiple days in the office when I didn’t even turn my radio on! Very odd thing for me! I still listened to my Top 40/hip-hop lists during my workouts, but other than that, the radio or streaming services were off.
Something had changed, clearly. It wasn’t until I was at church on a Saturday night listening to the worship music. At our church, the music is non traditional songs written by performing artists like Matt Redman, Chris Tomlin, Matt Maher, and many more (with the occasional hymn of course). My heart-felt full listening to this music! I was enjoying it so much I decided to check out a local christian radio station.
At first, it was a strange. New voices to learn. New morning shows and schedules to get used to. No commercials. Deep conversations about how we are living life, bible verses throughout the day. Even hearing about Jesus all day long was different for me. And, I’ll be honest, at first, it was a bit much! But as I write this, I’m laughing out loud at myself for thinking it was weird. My mind SHOULD be centered around Jesus all day. But it’s not. I’ve definitely got more room to grow. And switching the radio dial was a good step.
I started learning all the songs that were being played. When I went to church, I heard the same music. Uplifting lyrics would run through my head all day. Bible verses tugged at my heart. The right words would be spoken from the radio as I was about to send a passive aggressive email. Pause and breathe. I started to see that God was truly watching over me all day long! It was becoming clear that a change in music could change my heart!
For the next couple of years, I listened to Christian music all day, everyday. Seth sometimes teased me, but not long after I switched I noticed the station in his car would on 95.1 (MyBridge Radio). Other times, I’d catch him singing (this is not the surprise, the kid sings all the time!) Christian songs out of the blue. Anytime it happens my heart skips a beat and I get goosebumps. How wonderful that my husband also has christian lyrics running through his mind!
All this good stuff happening because of a small change. But, what was I listening to during my workouts? When I said “all day, everyday”, well, except for the gym. There I’d have the same as always: Top 40/hip-hop mix. It was fine for the first couple of years while listening to Christian radio. And then, all of a sudden out of no where, I just wasn’t feeling it anymore. Now what?!
In the past, Seth had told me about a couple of Christian rappers… so one morning, I fell down the rabbit hole of Christian hip-hop and suggestions for workout music. And I fell in love! Something about listening to other broken people speaking about how they came to Jesus. And about praising God. All with such passion and force! And I could hear the message while doing something that takes care of the body He gave me. It has made working out even more spiritual for me than it was.
Giving Praise in ALL Things
If you aren’t sold on what you’ve got coming through your ear buds, I challenge you to check out my favorite workout playlist on Spotify. Put it on shuffle and give it a shot for a week. Bet you’ll be able to get a great workout all while praising our God. What an awesome thing — we can truly praise Him in all our activities, even at the gym!
Don’t have Spotify? Why not?! Just kidding… that’s ok. Here are some of my favorite from my workout playlist. See what you think! If you like one, check out more by those artists. I hope you are pleasantly surprised by this great music with a message!
2 thoughts on “More Than Music; More Than a Workout”
Wow! I gotta say, Jessi, your writing is SO interesting and engaging! And SO useful and relatable too! Please keep up the good work.
– A friend of PriscaTee
My turn to “wow”! Thank you so much for that. I really appreciate it. Glad you took some time to check out my posts and enjoyed 🙂 <3