Hallelujah! 2012 has come to a close, and the world didn’t end. However, some beleaguered souls may have packed on a few extra pounds from anticipatory stress eating, and some ambitious ones might have made New Year’s resolutions to finally get fit. With the right soundtrack, those distant goals just might come to fruition.
It can be difficult to see through an overly regimented resolution; in fact, some journalists have even written that resolving to do more than one usually does — as opposed to seeking a real change in behavior or outlook — can, ironically, stifle one’s work ethic. In any case, exercise is best in moderation. Some might even say that minimal exercise is preferred. Minimal exercise that does not interfere with eating or watching TV, perhaps.
But if you are that fantastic person who loves to work out and loves to follow through on resolutions, then congratulations, you’re in the right place! And if you are that sympathetic person who always dreamed of loving exercise, but the relationship just didn’t work out (so to speak), then you too have arrived at your destiny.
Because great art can get us through the hardest of times, an exceptional gym playlist is vital to any exercise operation. The following ten songs could motivate the most sedentary Trojan to get off the couch and to keep on moving all year round:
1. “Power” – Kanye West (2010)
You are a superhero. You have all that power no one (wo)man should have. After all, New Year’s resolutions are about egotism as much as they are about self-improvement. So start with a big boost, even if this level of fantasizing at the gym seems downright ridiculous.
2. “19-2000 (Soulchild Remix)” – Gorillaz (2001)
You’re finding your stride. You’re dancing. You love exercise. According to Gorrillaz frontman Damon Albarn, those Nikes you’re wearing are tethering you to the ever-spinning earth! The familiar drum track, apparently lifted from Sly & the Family Stone’s “Sing A Simple Song,” is whimsical and bouncy and could get any elliptical session off to a smooth start.
3. “Get Back” – Ludacris (2005)
This song should not need too much explanation. Besides being a completely absorbing tune, the music video features Ludacris wearing huge fake arm muscles. You might never look quite like that — nor should you want to — but you might get so motivated you’ll never relinquish those weights.
4. “Valerie” – Mark Ronson ft. Amy Winehouse (2007)
Amy Winehouse might have been a melancholic figure, but this is one of the most fun songs out there. If “dance party” counts as an exercise routine, then the soundtrack should always have “Valerie” on a loop.
5. “Lonely Boy” – The Black Keys (2011)
The reason for this is simple: Everyone should dance like the guy in the music video, directed by Jesse Dylan.
6. “Take A Walk” – Passion Pit (2012)
Sometimes people just like to walk. This is a song that will let you go outside and enjoy the scenery. A nice stroll definitely still counts as exercise.
7. “Police On My Back” – The Clash (1980)
Say you’re getting a bit out of breath, slowing down into a rut or getting languid instead of serious — everyone has a mid-workout slump. Totally understandable. Do you know what might help? A really stressful punk song. The scenario: You’re a criminal on the loose and the fuzz is catching up. So run like your life depends on it. (If this works for you, the Sex Pistols are also loud motivators.)
8. “Countdown” – Beyoncé (2011)
If the prospect of incarceration didn’t put a fire under your behind, then maybe the prospect of grinding it up on your (wo)man will get you moving. Show everyone at the gym that you’re the fly-est. But looking great doesn’t just happen. It takes serious work to look like Beyoncé. You have a few good decades to go, so you’d better start in 3…2…1…!
9.“Settle Down” – No Doubt (2012)
Looking like Beyoncé may be a few light-years away, so focus your workout on a specific area. Maybe Gwen Stefani’s intimidating mother-of-two abs will motivate you to do some sit-ups. They will. You can be “hella positive for real” about that.
10. “Dancing On My Own” – Robyn (2010)
This song might be so last year, but it’s a timeless gym staple. It can be a pump-up song or a time for reflection; it has a great beat for crunches, good tension for stretching and emotional depth to carry you on your gym-rat journey. Keep dancing, readers. But don’t dance like Robyn in the Lyon Center.
Honorable mentions include: “Come on Eileen” by Dexy’s Midnight Runners, for the break down at two minutes, 55 seconds; “Battle Scars” by Guy Sebastian and Lupe Fiasco, for its intense twists and turn; and “Close To Me” by The Cure, because Robert Smith is also out of breath and you probably have less weight to lose than he does.
With a fun, motivating playlist, pretty much anything is possible. Anyone serious about getting to the gym should make sure to have all the tools for success at the ready: good arch supports, plenty of fluids and of course, a solid soundtrack.