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6 Tips for Making the Perfect Workout Playlist

The following is a post sponsored by LES MILLS. For our sponsored post policy, click here.


The right tunes power BODYPUMP.

When you’re the program director of LES MILLS’ programs BODYPUMP and RPM — creating both the choreography and planning which tunes to use for some of the most popular workouts in the world — you’re job isn’t just fitness; it’s music. And workout music isn’t a science. It’s more of an art, says BODYPUMP program director Glen Ostergaard.

“It’s quite a creative process to find the right songs and put them all together,” he says. “It’s more of a feel.”

Drawing inspiration from, well, everywhere, Ostergaard scours the internet, the Billboard charts and iTunes for new songs — looking to pick hit songs before they go mainstream and for hidden gems that people may not know yet. A lot of the time, when he’s driving to the gym to teach BODYPUMP or RPM, he’ll even hear a song and have to pull over to Shazam it.

“Music is everything,” Ostergaard says. “If the music is not good enough then the workout won’t work. You can only choreograph to good music. Getting it right is everything.”

Amen to that! And whether you’re choreographing moves for group exercise classes or are simply trying to put together a fantastic workout playlist, Ostergaard has tips!

6 Tips for Picking Perfect Workout Songs

1. Have some favorites you can go back to again and again. For BODYPUMP and RPM, Ostergaard has a few artists he knows are always good. People and bands like Pink, Christina Aguilera, Fall Out Boy, Britney Spears and Black Eyed Peas are his go-to’s. When you’re in need of new workout songs, check out those big artists you love — maybe even pulling some lesser known songs or older tracks!

2. Don’t just pick songs or bands you “like.” Ostergaard says there’s a big difference between songs you like to sit down and listen to and songs that are good for working out. ”Workout songs have to motivate you to action and make you want to do something,” he says. “If it doesn’t do that, then it’s not right to exercise to.”

3. Go retro, with a twist. There’s nothing wrong with bringing back a hit of the past — Ostergaard does it all the time in BODYPUMP and RPM. The key, he says, is to find a new mix or version of it so that it has a new and fun high-energy twist.

4. Try something more worldly. Ostergaard picks the music for BODYPUMP and RMP both in the states and abroad. And while most of the music he picks for the U.S. is more mainstream with broader appeal, (pop, rock, alt rock), in Europe, he likes to do more dance and techno. So if you’re looking for some new workout songs, get inspired by checking out songs that are popular in other countries!

5. Pick songs that match your movement. Always keep the type of exercise you’re doing top of mind, Ostergaard says. For something like running, you want a good flow to move to. For dance or spin, strong beats are best. When picking out your music, think about tempo and how it’ll make you feel when you do that particular exercise.

6. Don’t freak if your battery goes out. Here’s a fun fact: Ostergaard listens to so much music for his job that when he does a workout that’s not BODYPUMP or RPM, he tends to do it sans music — and likes the silence to tune into his body and quiet his mind and focus. So if you’re working out and your iPod goes out, just take a cue from Ostergaard and enjoy nature’s music — the sound of your own breath!

A big thanks to Ostergaard for the perfect workout playlist tips! Check out Glen’s Facebook page here!Jenn 

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