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So, what’s your workout playlist?

By MYLENE MENDOZA-DAYRIT, The Philippine STAR Published Dec 14, 2021 5:00 am

Many people feast their way through the holidays, postponing any workouts until the festivities are over. Others fall prey to the season’s hustle and bustle, declaring themselves bone tired for any physical activity that requires energy.

Do you lack energy or motivation? Do you need to be inspired? Do you need a distraction? Are you looking for ways to enjoy your workout?

Music, the right one, might be the answer!

Even during ancient times, music and rhythm were used to induce and synchronize movement. We naturally follow a beat. Moving slow or fast, depending on the tempo.

Lifting and working out gets easier and more enjoyable when listening to music that pumps you up.

Experts say that when choosing the appropriate music, you should find one with the rhythm, tempo or beats-per-minute (bpm) that matches the heart rate you would like to reach during your workout. As mentioned a few weeks ago, you measure your maximum heart rate by deducting your age from 220. 

Music can distract you from the ‘work’ you are putting in and lessen the perception of fatigue. It can help make the exercise seem easier and more enjoyable.

According to the American Heart Association, target heart rate during moderate physical activity is 50 to 70 percent of maximum heart rate. This number increases to 70 to 85 percent during vigorous physical activity. 

The target heart rate is age-specific. For 20 years old, it’ll be 100 to 170 bpm. For 30 years old, 95 to 162 bpm. For 40 years old, 90 to 153 bpm. For 50 years old, 85 to 145 bpm. For 60 years old, 80 to 136 bpm and for 70 years old, 75 to 128 bpm.

The more intense the workout, the higher the beats per minute.

Music can distract you from the “work” you are putting in as well as lessen the perception of fatigue. It can help make the exercise seem easier and more enjoyable. It can help you focus, lift more, run faster and exercise longer.

Every physical activity has a prescribed bpm. Power walking needs music at 137 to 139 bpm. Running, 147 to 169 bpm. Cycling, 135 to 170 bpm. Yoga, Pilates and low-intensity workout, 60 to 90 bpm. Power yoga, 100 to 140 bpm. Indoor cycling and HIIT (high intensity interval training), 140 to 180 bpm. Dance, 130 to 170 bpm. Jogging, 120 to 140 bpm. Weightlifting and powerlifting, 130 to 150 bpm. Warm up, 100 to 140 bpm. Cool down, 60 to 90 bpm.

You get the drift. The more intense the workout, the higher the beats per minute. The lower the intensity, the lower the bpm.

So line up your favorite workout tunes and check if they are bpm-appropriate for your exercise choice. Just go to and type in your song and it will give you the different versions and their bpm. It even has a link already to Spotify, Apple and Amazon. Best of all, it’s free.

You can also look at for recommendations if you can’t be bothered making your own. Spotify and YouTube Music, as well as other music-streaming services, have several workout playlists, too.

Top 10

Music choice is personal. It’s not really one-size-fits-all and that’s the reason why most gym goers are wired (or bluetoothed) to their own music. Take for example the varying top workout songs of leading fitness magazines. 

Men’s Health listed these as their top 10: Power by Kanye West, Lose Yourself  by Eminem, Level Up by Ciara, Pressure by Martin Garrix and Tove Lo, Savage Mix by MeganThee Stallion and Beyonce, What’s My Age Again? by Blink-182, Juicy by Doja Cat, Pynk by Janelle Monae, Motivation by Normani, and Desperado by Rihanna.

Women’s Health chose ‘Til I Collapse by Eminem, Saint JHN (Imanbek Remix) by Roses, The Business by Tiesto, Head & Heart by Joel Corry featuring MNEK, Turn Me On by Riton and Oliver Heldens, Stronger by Kanye West, Remember the Name by Fort Minor featuring Styles of Beyond, Goosebumps  by HMVE, Power by Kanye West, Lose Yourself by Eminem.

Shape voted for Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger by Daft Punk, Go Girl by Ciara and T-Pain, Feelin’ Myself by, Miley Cyrus, French Montana, Wiz Khalifa and Mustard, Higher Ground by TNGHT, Hudson Mohawke and Lunice, Burn by Ellie Goulding, Demons by Imagine Dragons, TKO by Justin Timberlake, The Monster by Eminem and Rihanna, R.I.P. by Rita Ora and Tinie Tempah.

My top 10 might not even be close to any of the above, nor yours. But that’s perfectly okay, as long as it powers you through your workout.