We’ve all been there: It’s an “off” day at the gym. Your workout feels more challenging than usual and the clock can’t move fast enough. Then the right song comes pumping through your earbuds (cue Kanye West with “Stronger”) and everything falls into place. Your feet start stepping to the beat, you forget about your worries and are finally happy to be exercising.
Matt Basso, president of Iron Lotus Personal Training, is a strong believer that the right playlist can transform a sweat session. So much so that he’s produced all of the music for each of the workouts in his new DBX3 program so that the pace lines up perfectly with the routines for an extra motivation boost. Read on for his dance and pop music picks, and a workout tailor-made for this Music Monday mix.
- “Too Long/Steam Machine” The consistent pulse builds, and since it’s live, “it’s like they’re cheering you to get started,” says Basso.
- “Don’t Wake Me Up” The intro allows you enough time to grab a kettlebell and swing along to the driving beat, Basso suggests.
- “Cry (Just a Little)” Do jumping jacks during this tune with 120 beats per minute (BPMs), the ideal tempo for cardio and dance.
- “The Way You Make Me Feel” “Do I even need to explain how hard Michael Jackson grooves? This song is ideal for some seated rows and push-ups,” Basso says.
- “The Night Out (Madeon Remix)” Get inspired by the 17-year-old DJ who created this remix (“he could make you happy doing the hardest exercises,” Basso says) and knock out burpees for as long as you can for the duration of this 120 BPM song.
- “Electric Feel (Justice Remix)” The tempo slows a bit, so pick the kettlebell back up and swing again.
- “Right Round” and “Da Funk” Freestyle! Try something new or your favorite moves from above through the hip-hop and dance beats.
By Jennipher Walters, Certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Instructor, SparkPeople.com
Are you bored with your cardio workout? Are you already dreading the stair stepper workout that you have scheduled for tomorrow morning? When you’re in a rut, it’s easy to fall off the fitness wagon because motivation and excitement are G-O-N-E.
So how do you get your aerobic mojo back? You shake things up! Here are a few super-simple ways:
1. Change Your Soundtrack.
New tunes: Downloading news song is a fast way to bust out of your cardio rut and get you happily moving. When you have your headphones on, no one else knows what tunes you’re playing, so play whatever you want! Studies have shown that music is motivating, but if you’re bored at the gym, it may be time to shake that playlist up.
OR…Try no tunes: If new music isn’t doing it for you, try doing your workout sans tunes. Listening to your own breathing and the sounds and sights around you can be an incredibly meditative experience that can turn your cardio from boring to darn near spiritual. And if quiet isn’t your thing, try downloading a podcast or an audio book. You can get through your to-read list and get in shape. Now that’s multitasking.
2. Change Your Location.
Avoid the gym: If you’re a gym rat and pretty sick of the first half of that nickname, maybe it’s time for a change of scenery! Move your workout outdoors or create your own home gym. Even a new DVD or two can mix things up!
OR…Go to the gym: If you always hit the great outdoors for your cardio or always walk on the treadmill while catching up on TV, moving your cardio sessions to a facility with other exercisers and a fitness-centered environment may be just what you need to re-spark the love of your workouts. Sure, a health club membership costs money, but if it comes down to not working out or paying a monthly fee, wouldn’t you rather cut a few costs in your budget and stay motivated?
3. Change Your Intensity.
Try a longer, less intense workout: If you can usually only set aside 10 to 20 minutes for exercise, make those minutes intense, switch it up by setting aside extra time to make your workout longer and less intense. By doing a longer, less intense workout, you’ll give yourself time to really enjoy the activity without rushing or trying to burn as many calories you can in a short amount of time. Pick an activity that you love—dancing, walking, hiking—and enjoy it!
OR…Try a shorter, more intense workout: If you’re the type of exerciser who would rather walk for an hour than run for 5 minutes, then maybe it’s time for you to swap your low-intensity sweat sessions for shorter, more intense workouts. This is an especially good trick if you spend most of your mental energy watching the clock wishing your long workout was over.
More from SparkPeople:
Looking for a fun way to burn extra calories? Check out the latest video game craze: Xbox 360 Kinect puts a spin on gaming by eliminating the need to hold a controller to play—you simply stand in front of the device as it scans you, and then YOU become the controller. Since there are no wires or wands to manage, you can just focus on the game—as you move to play, your hand, arm and leg movements are copied on screen.
Microsoft recently invited me to test out Kinect’s new get-fit titles and sweat alongside trainer and fitness DVD star Jennifer Galardi. On offer: The Biggest Loser: Ultimate Workout (Bob and Jillian guide you through the routines!), Your Shape: Fitness Evolved, EA Sports Active 2, and my fave: Kinect Sports.
Jennifer and I chose to battle it out in a boxing match, jabbing our way to a KO—after 3 rounds, I barely inched past and won—the surprise? My biceps and triceps actually felt a burn, and I had started working up a sweat! Though there are other similar titles out there on competitor’s game systems, playing without holding a controller takes the experience to the next level by getting your entire body in on the calorie-burning action. In addition to boxing, Kinect Sports lets you choose from soccer (“kick” the ball and see it fly!), beach volleyball, bowling, table tennis and track and field. If you’re looking for a more tailored workout with personalized training, check out the other fitness titles above—each one delivers results while making it fun.
Check out Xbox.com for more info—if you already have an Xbox 360, you can easily upgrade to Kinect by purchasing the sensor only and hooking it up to your game console.
So, tell us: what’s your favorite active video game? Do you feel the burn when you play?
February’s Top Workout DVD: Aerobarre
Why it’s a star: This knockout of a workout will tone you up from head to toe with a routine that fuses ballet and boxing. Each “round,” 11 in total, will keep your heart pumping with moves like punches with light dumbbells and graceful ballet jumps. Plus, having the DVD split into so many short bits makes time fly! It takes a try or two to keep up with the quick-moving choreography, but once you nail it, the workout only gets more fun.
Where to get it: aerospacenyc.com, $20
More from FITNESS: Our testers chose this as one of the Top 10 Workout DVDs of 2011! Pick up a copy of our March issue—on newsstands today!—to see what else made our list and enter here for a chance to win all 10 of our favorites!
Jenna and I, your fearless fitness crew here at The Fit Stop, will be sampling the latest workout DVDs and highlighting our top picks here each month. Want to sweat along with us? We’ll also give you the lowdown about what equipment you’ll need and where you can pick up the DVD yourself!
January’s Top Workout DVD: Michelle Dozois’ Peak 10 Cardio Interval Burn
Best for: Those with short attention spans, cardio cravers.
Why it’s a star: Dozois keeps you moving constantly during this hour-long workout, progressing through “Basecamp,” “Ascent,” “Climb” and the heart-pumping 30-second “Peak” category. The speedometer-like timer at the bottom of the screen keeps you motivated (“I’m already halfway through the climb!”). During the five, 10-minute circuits, Dozois builds the choreography in a natural way from start to finish. Bonus: No equipment needed…Well, except a towel to mop up your sweat!
Where to get it: Peak 10 Cardio Interval Burn ($19.99, getpeak10.com)