Have you ever had a moment in the middle of a grueling workout where you're just about ready to give up and sit it out, and then the perfect song comes on that helps you push through the pain and any tiredness? It can almost feel like a religious experience sometimes—the song basically gives you the motivation to keep sweating and going, and you end the workout feeling so much more accomplished and refreshed.
I've also had the opposite of that moment happen to me. I've been in fitness classes where I truly wasn't feeling the playlist at all and was counting down the minutes until it was all over.
Long story short, your workout playlist can sometimes make or break a sweat session. So we asked celebrity trainer Dan Saladino, who's worked with Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds, and on Captain America and The Avengers, for his workout playlist tips. Saladino recently collaborated with Spotify to create a wellness podcast playlist that's perfect for anyone interested in fitness (check it out here).
Courtesy of Spotify
While song choices and a playlist can vary because of personal preferences (for example, John Krasinski works out to Pearl Jam and Billy Crudup prefers Led Zeppelin—both of whom are clients of Saladino), he likes to stream Metallica albums because he says a good playlist is all about how you feel. "It's a compilation of music that can trigger one's emotions," explains Saladino. "The idea is to get lost in what you are doing to complete focus."
When curating the playlist, think about the different phases of the sweat session—from the warm-up to the actual workout to the cool down. "A good warm-up playlist for me is music that builds," Saladino says. "Something that brings you to the point of readiness. The idea of the warm-up is to prepare the body physically and mentally. At the point of giving up, you need to immediately trigger a song that pumps your adrenaline. I will usually go to something like Metallica or Pantera as this brings my adrenaline up. During the cool-down, I will immediately change gears to something like Moby. This will help me begin the recovery process."
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While just about everyone listens to podcasts these days, I never thought about listening to them while working out because the thought of trying to intently listen to something while also focusing on a rep or a sprint seemed impossible for me to multitask. But Saladino says it's possible—you just have to choose wisely.
"I would suggest you start by choosing a topic or even a host that you are already interested in, and that you know will keep you motivated," he suggests. "Most people gravitate towards music while working out, but if you're looking to get tips on a new type of workout you've started, a podcast can be great for that. Podcasts on Spotify can also be a good choice if your workout consists of a long walk or hike or high-endurance cardio, as those are activities where you may be less focused on your form and more open to absorbing new tips and content in a more relaxed, active environment. If a podcast can keep up one's motivation, then I'm all for it. The key is to not lose focus. I prefer to listen to educational or self-help—any topic that will assist me in bettering myself."
You can also switch up your playlist to include both music and podcasts. "It really comes down to the type of activity, how intense it is, and when the best time is to alternate between a podcast or music," Saladino says. "If you're on a weight-lifting and toning day, tuning into your favorite news podcasts or latest binge-worthy obsession on Spotify might be just what you need. But if you're in for a high-cardio workout and listening to music is the way to go to get yourself to perform at your best, you might opt for music during your workout and then flip to a podcast for your cool-down."
Well, I guess it's time to update my own workout playlist…
This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be used in the place of advice of your physician or other medical professionals. You should always consult with your doctor or healthcare provider first with any health-related questions. See our full health disclaimer here.