A great pump-up song can be the difference between feeling like a gym god or a hungover slug making a sad attempt at a pull-up. But much like working out, creating a playlist that will get you in full-on Rocky mode doesn’t come easily. It takes time, dedication, and focus.
The right music can make you feel like you’re starring in your own down-to-the-wire sports movie montage, but that doesn’t mean you can forget about proper nutrition. Sports nutrition products — like the premium bars, shakes and powders from EAS — are designed to help your body prepare for and recover from grueling workouts. Scientists have been studying nutrition for a while, but they’ve only recently begun analyzing music’s influence on physical performance. Fortunately, they’ve already gained some valuable insights.
One 2010 study conducted by the Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences showed a direct correlation between improved athletic performance and fast-paced music. The study had twenty male college students ride stationary bikes while listening to pop music. At first, the songs were played at their original tempo. Then, without informing the riders of any change, one group was given the same music slowed by ten percent and another group listened to the same music sped up by ten percent. The riders listening to the faster music covered more miles, experienced higher heart rates, produced more power per stroke, and even sped up their pedaling speed compared to those listening to the slower music. But while the group that listened to the fast-paced music performed better, they didn’t find the workout to be easier. In fact, they estimated that they were working a little over two percent harder. Researchers concluded that while music may not be able to magically mask how hard you’re working, it can give you a boost of motivation.
If you want to maximize the positive effects music can have on your speed, power, and endurance, you could just snipe an EAS Spotify playlist, like the one below created by five-time Iron Man, Ramsey Bergeron. But if you’re determined to start from scratch, Dr. Costas Karageorghis, an associate professor of sport psychology, recommends looking for songs with a B.P.M (beats per minute) between 120 and 140. To find songs in your Spotify library that fall in that sweet spot, you can either go the old-fashioned route and count, or check out BPM calculators (there’s one for Windows and Mac).
Once you’ve compiled a list of songs within the ideal BPM range, it’s time to start fitting things together. Think of it like a puzzle. First, consider what you’ll be doing — different workouts have different surges, rhythms, and recovery periods. If you’re running on a treadmill or a track, you may want a playlist that steadily increases BPM, starting with a song close to 120 BPMs and ending with something closer to 140. If you’re running a route with hills or taking on an HIIT workout, try to time things so that periods of extreme exertion (like hills or cardio bursts) coincide with higher BPM songs. No matter what you’re doing, you’ll probably want a fast-paced jam to propel you through the final push of your workout. These are just suggestions, so don’t be afraid to use trial and error, tweaking your playlist according to how you feel at different points during your bike ride or yoga practice.
A heart-thumping song makes it much easier — and more enjoyable — to challenge yourself athletically. EAS powders, drinks, and bars give your body a boost of nutrition that helps you get the most out of your workouts and recover right. Head here to learn more about how EAS products can help you reach your own fitness goals, and be sure to follow EAS on Spotify by clicking the button below.