‘Tis the season to hit the gym and atone for the past year’s various and sundry transgressions. The challenge, as always, comes in maintaining that physical fitness regime well past the repentance period that your mind feels your body deserves. This workout playlist has been audio-engineered to get you on that (insert your cardio vascular machine of choice) and keep you keeping on while simultaneously inspiring you to return again at another date. As beats- and bass-driven music lends itself to a heart rate-increasing activity, the mission of this mix is take you through the journey of your exercise with fitness-related tunes. The intention is to get you going right out the gate, build up the tempo with the intensity of the thump, sustain that thumping stride to help you push through “the wall,” and then slowly let you down gently on the other side by fading ever so peacefully into your post-workout stretch.
Following some motivational deep thoughts by Dr. Gene Griessman, M.A.N.D.Y., and Booka Shade’s classic 2005 track, “Body Language,” Shannon Saunders and Sonny Fedora’s “Over This” gets the blood pumping. This track has a good bouncy groove to help ease you into the shock of aggressively moving your body. Bonus: It also has our first beat dropout (or what I like to call the “think about it” part) around the 3:15 mark. These rhythm-challenged sections, along with breaks between songs, make for good spots to take a breather or a swig of water before gearing back up.
Our next highlight comes at the productive hands of the Stanton Warriors. Their hip-hop stomper “Get Up” ramps up the funk with Hollywood Holt and Ruby Gee blazing the way via their track crushing vocals. This tune, which harshly chastises dance floor wallflowers, does an excellent job of inspiring you to keep going and, indeed, get up.
A double dose of Ed Solo brings us a pair of dubbed out bangers in the form of “I Feel Like Jumpin (Krafty Kuts & Ed Solo Breaks Remix)” and “When I Was A Yout” (yes, there is no “h” in there). Ed Solo is best known for his work with fellow breakbeat slinger, Deekline, but on these tracks, he bumps up the rump-shaking good times with some thick layers of Jamaican soundsystem bass, while Marcia Griffiths and Skool of Thought do some top-notch toasting on top.
Immediately following is a sweet, undulating remix of Sarah Vaughan’s jazz standard “Fever.” U.K. producer and DJ, Adam Freeland, got the keys to the Verve Records vault, allowing him to turn this ode to the soaring temperatures produced from heated intimacy into a superb, movement-inspiring grinder. The track has a near perfect pace for plugging along at the gym, allowing your mind to free up while your body harmonizes with the beat.
“Running To The Sea (Pachanga Boys Remix)” by Röyksopp, featuring Susanne Sundfør, begins the wind-down section of the mix. Clocking in at 12:14, this sprawling voyage of a song is intended to help you hit that last stride of your workout (and maybe even get a little lost in it) before slowing down and letting your body ease itself back into more normalized, limited motion. The Pachanga Boys love to create enormous open spaces within their tracks and remixes, which allow the listener (or in this case, the fitness seeker) to drift off into a meditative, trance-like zone. With Sundfør’s soaring vocals and a chorus hovering over this cinematic song, you should feel a gentle decompression overtake your body.
On the heels of some quality down-tempo songs (including a unique electro-glitchy cover of Olivia Newton John’s “Physical” by Goldfrapp), we end with the life affirming tracks “Stretch (You Are All Right)” by Tortoise and “Diet Of Water And Love (Manu Remix)” by Flunk. You’ve put your body through the ringer — gradually slowing down the pace and stretching everything out (as you drink water and feel love) will go a long way in helping you to avoid future injury.
If you need some workout inspiration, check out these fitness tips from celebrity trainer Corey Calliet, pro sports expert Mike Barwis, RUMBLE Boxing co-founder Noah Neiman, gladiator Lee Jimenez, and model Michael Markiewicz.
May this playlist help you to hit the gym and, more importantly, inspire you to come back again (and again) for more. Go get ’em, Tiger!
Feature image by Barry Lewis/Getty Images.