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Let's Get Physical: BPM and Bio Rhythm

Friday, March 14, 2014


The desire to get into shape (and the drafting of New Years resolutions) will send Lycra and headband-wearing crowds to the gym in the early days of 2012. A clue to the success or failure of the huffing and puffing masses just might be in the music they use to power through. Today, the sport psychologist Costas Karageorghis explains how the right soundtrack can really pump up a workout. And, he shares tips for creating a performance enhancing playlist.

This segment originally aired on Jan. 3, 2012.


Costas Karageorghis

Comments [34]

Tim Haft from New York City

You can never underestimate the importance of music for group fitness. That's why we change our playlists every week. The soundtrack for Punk Rope tends to be fast and loud, with subtle changes according to drill, jump, or game. Sometimes I feel as much like a DJ as I do a fitness instructor. You can check us out at

Jan. 03 2012 02:51 PM
Dean Nielsen from Maplewood

Who wants to be "pumped up" during a workout? I am 66 yrs old and in my gym the average is around 60, but they still play teeny-bopper rock and heavy metal music, which none of us would tune into on our own. It actually puts me in a sour mood. Why can't they play the music that the average gym user loves and that is cheerful and buoyant -- like Vivaldi or Chariots of Fire?

Jan. 03 2012 02:41 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Maybe I'm better off doing solo than group workouts--the groups seem to go for the stereotype the guest mentioned. It's been a long time since I tried an exercise group, partly *because* of the music the leader played. When "Celebration Time" came on, I almost left! And my reaction was only compounded by my low tolerance for "perky." I hope it's different now, but the ads I see for gym memberships don't look like it!

Jan. 03 2012 02:37 PM
JennZ from NYC

I have to listen to fast, hard music to workout properly.
Rob Zombie, Metallica, Nine Inch Nails, Daft Punk, and yes, Lose Yourself (I'm a woman) - anyone have any suggestions
I don't understand how people can run to NPR as much as I love it.
Its good for work though.

Jan. 03 2012 02:36 PM
Roman from Brooklyn, NY

My all time favorite running music would have to be the Red Hot Chilly Peppers. I had Stadium Arcadium on my MP3 player for months, especially Danni California. But I also liked listening to WNYC programming for the beginning of the run, and then, when I needed a bit of a kick, that's when I'd get the music going.

Jan. 03 2012 02:36 PM
Chris from Greenpoint

You would be remiss not to mention LCD Soundsystem's "45:33", a workout record made for Nike. It's perfect.

Jan. 03 2012 02:36 PM
Caryn Lombardo

Thank you, @Diana! My favorite music for sweating and grunting is Torche, the whole Meanderthal album. Or Slayer, of course. Metal and rock goes across the genders...

Jan. 03 2012 02:36 PM

I love listening to Metallica when working out! Metal is definitely not just for the fellas. My favorite album? S&M!

Jan. 03 2012 02:35 PM

I listen to Rodrigo and Gabriella - Check it out!!!

Jan. 03 2012 02:34 PM

for me it's Satie's ... you guessed it ... Gymnopédie's. Slowly rock to the gentle burn of the bio-equivalent of slow-cooking.

Jan. 03 2012 02:34 PM
john from orangeburg, ny

I'm a long distance bicyclist (coast to coast) and I think the most important thing about safe riding is concentration. Anytime I see a guy with earbuds I cringe because he's got no idea who or what's going on around him. I would certainly discourage anyone riding a bike to do so.


Jan. 03 2012 02:34 PM
Jessica from Washington, DC

I, too, listen to public radio. Streaming WNYC during my early morning not only allows me to keep me up-to-speed on news events, but I find it not as distracting as rock music. Listening to public radio instead of music, with one ear bud in, allows me to be more aware of my surroundings. Safety first!

Jan. 03 2012 02:33 PM
Liam from Brooklyn

I'm a long distance runner who relys very much on music. On a long run I'll listen to podcasts from npr to get me through the first 3/4, then something with a strong beat like girltalk to push me at the end.

Jan. 03 2012 02:32 PM

Great segment - totally agree that a stale workout playlist can increase the monotony.

I've loved the following:

Miike Snow - Cult Logic, In Search Of
Arcade Fire - Power Out - GREAT song for peak effort - I use this one a lot when making hard climbs on long bike rides (like in the Palisades)
Rusted Root - the old stuff, definitely dated, good for running
Rage Against the Machine / Korn - for lifting weights

On a complete aside - I watched something a bit perplexing yesterday at the gym. Someone changed one of the TVs at the Equinox to the Food Network. Completely disjointed experience - watching sizzling bacon and muffalettas while running like nuts.

Jan. 03 2012 02:31 PM
keith from hell's kitchen


Jan. 03 2012 02:29 PM
Marina from Manhattan

I love La Roux to run to. Also great are Coldplay's Viva la vida album and A hundred million suns by Snow Patrol. I absolutely am addicted to the rhythm that helps me keep up the regular pace. I get really unfocused by long silences in between songs... but I also recognize that it might be nice to for a change run in silence. As I am hearing now... I really get lost in it, the music, so I am a bit reluctant to let it go...

Jan. 03 2012 02:29 PM
Daniel from Brooklyn

What about hearing loss? When you're working out hard -- or riding a bike at speed in the wind -- you tend to crank up the volume, no? Is it damaging their hearing?

Jan. 03 2012 02:28 PM
Patrick from Jersey City

I like to listed to Ole by John Coltrane. Highly recommended for an intense workout!

Jan. 03 2012 02:27 PM
Jim from Brooklyn

I don't listen to music while running or biking, since I prefer to hear whats going on around me (for safety's sake), but when I'm in the weight room, I like something angry and heavy. Lamb of God is a favorite.

Jan. 03 2012 02:27 PM
Peter from Jersey

I use a lot of different music but like to drill one particular song into my head before a race. I had two outstanding triathlon performances this past year with Boston's "Peace of Mind" and Dierks Bentley's "What Was I Thinking?" going through my mind.

Jan. 03 2012 02:26 PM
Bob Grave from St.Clair, Michigan

Far From Over - Frank Stallone

You're The Best - Joe Esposito

Burning Heart - Survivor

Rocky IV Training Montage - Vince DiCola

Jan. 03 2012 02:25 PM
David A. from West Hempstead

Daft Punk, Rage Against the Machine, and occasionally music from video games. I don't usually listen to music while I run, though; my high school coach wouldn't allow it.

Jan. 03 2012 02:25 PM
Janine from NYC

definitely upbeat music, especially for cardio on a treadmill or other machine. it helps me get "more" out of the workout - work at a higher intensity and takes the boredom out of it - and makes it more enjoyable.

Jan. 03 2012 02:24 PM

distance running in silence,with the rushes of the wind, or other natural sounds,certainly has it's own meditative benfits. and, it can give one a more relaxing runners high.

Jan. 03 2012 02:21 PM
Caitlin from Brooklyn

Where can you download playlists for workouts?

Jan. 03 2012 02:21 PM
Vivian from Brooklyn

I love working out to Rocky's soundtrack.

Jan. 03 2012 02:21 PM
James from Brooklyn, NY

I have to agree with the comments made about Beat It - the beat is the most important factor in my running music. I just started running last year and I have to listen to music in the 140-150 range in order to get into a zone. My latest favorite is "Little Lion Man" by Mumford & Sons. I also found a great pod cast that allows me to select a bpm range and provides hours of non vocal music in the desired range.

Jan. 03 2012 02:19 PM
Siouxan from Bronx

I don't think anyone w/ a brain works out to "Beat it."

How about the Ramones for relentless rhythm?

Jan. 03 2012 02:17 PM
Chriss from Montclair, NJ

I listen to podcasts of npr programs (Lehrer, Lopate, & Glass) when I run and lift weights. But when I'm faced with a hill, or fatigue, I need some Matt & Kim, or Girl Talk.

Though Eminem's "Lose Yourself" got me through my "training" for the Bar Exam!

Vangelis would make me laugh.

Jan. 03 2012 02:15 PM

to each their own,but "highway star", to me, would be great for a 400 meter sprint. for jogging,i'd suggest,that great phil collins [or genesis?] driving song,that i don't remember the title of....

Jan. 03 2012 02:12 PM

what about running music in one's imagination,any thoughts on that ? i do that at times,though it's prudent to be judicious with it,as it can instill a bit of "spaceyness". this system, makes it very easy to change the 'tapes' in my head[talk about an anachronistic term,rt?. and, so far at least, the thought police,can't patent it,or charge me for it.

Jan. 03 2012 02:05 PM
Brett from Williamsburg

Awesome running/jogging song: Deep Purple's Highway Star.

Jan. 03 2012 02:03 PM
Ron Mwangaguhunga from Williamberg

I love working out to Overkill. Lifting weights and metal go well; metal motivates. For running, I prefer something more melodic and thoughtful, maybe Thomas de Hartmann's collaboration with Gurdjieff, possibly Bobby Brown's My Prerogative.

Jan. 03 2012 12:45 PM
sasha from New York

I love working out to Soca (related to calypso) especially Machel Mantano when I am on the threadmill. The music is fast paced so it keeps me pumped up throughout my work out. I listen to Gnarls Barkely when I am running longer distances outdoors and want to pace my self.

Jan. 03 2012 12:31 PM

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