Fitness Music: Top 10 Exercise Music and Ultimate Workout Playlist

By Marina Aagaard, MFE

At home, at the gym or on the move: Music moves you. Music increases motivation. Music increases performance.
On that note: Spotify, a digital music service, has investigated the top workout sounds globally and for Denmark, Scandinavia, and presents the Spotify Top 10 DK list, check it out for inspiration, and their Ultimate Workout Playlist with tips for better workout music to ensure maximal training

iPhone løbMusic and workouts go hand in hand. “Jogging with our iPhones” by Ed Yourdon.

In this article Spotify, a global music service with over 20 million songs, about music, tempo and workout music, provides a Top 10 and a Ultimate Workout playlist.
I have added time, duration, my comment and links, so you can see the video, hear the music and make your own selection.

According to my own b r o a d taste in music: Almost all of these Top 10 list songs are fairly easy listening, popular music, for a wide audience (apart from some of the lyrics!) and several kinds of workouts … aka mainstream music (rock is missing).
The Ultimate Workout list is more special and diverse with both hot and not songs.

Top 10 Workout Tracks DK

1. Pitbull: “Timber”   3:35   130 BPM   Dance pop music, nice drive   ♥♥♥♥♥

2. Eminem: “The Monster”   5:19   110 BPM   Pop melodic hiphop   ♥♥♥♥♥

3. Contiez, Djuro Remix: “Trumpsta”   4:20   128 BPM   Monotonous electro  ♥♥♥♥♥

4. Jason Derulo (ft 2 Chainz): “Talk Dirty”  3:08  100 BPM  Ethnic poprap  ♥♥♥♥♥

5. Avicii: “Wake me up”   4:33   124 BPM   Dynamic dance pop country   ♥♥♥♥♥

6. Avicii: “Hey Brother”   4:19   125 BPM   Popular music pop country   ♥♥♥♥♥

7. Eminem: “Till I Collapse”   5:09   86 BPM    Insistent mm hiphop     ♥♥♥♥♥

8. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis ft RD: “Can’t hold us”  6:14  146 BPM  Pop/rap ♥♥♥♥

9. Martin Garrix: “Animals” (original)   3:12   128 BPM   Heavy/light electronica   ♥♥♥♥

10. Fort Minor: “Remember the Name”   3:49  85 BPM  Melodic hiphoppop   ♥♥♥♥♥

Training and music tempo

To optimize your workouts, it is preferable to choose music, that matches the kind of training you do. Check out (listen to) the number of beats per minute, BPM.
Check this by Googling the song followed by bpm (look for dj sites) or by clapping the base rhythm and counting every clap for a full minute.

BPM recommendations according to Spotify [my comments]:

Yoga : 60-80 BPM [or below, new age music without a beat]
Running, warm-up : 100 BPM [for a walk, above that for jogging warm-ups] Running : 120 og 180, mange løber bedst ca. 125 BPM [faster tempos are better] Spinning, warm-up : 120-130 BPM
Spinning, sprint : 180-190 BPM [music tempo (maybe), not cadence!]
Aerobics and other fast cardio workouts : 130-150 BPM [above 140 is better]

Find your own rhythm

You can find your own rhythm, movement speed, and the appropriote music (tempo) by counting how many movements or steps you do for a full minute. For running check this link: Run 2 Rhythm.

Globally Macklemore and Ryan Lewis top the list

Spotify has analyzed 6.7 million play lists and identified our favourite workout songs at the gym. Globally Macklemore and Ryan Lewis is number 1 with “Can’t Hold Us” followed by “Wake Me Up” by Avicii, “Till I Collapse” by Eminem and “Don’t You Worry Child” by Swedish House Mafia feat. John Martin.

Music and motivation

To get you going, get started working out, Spotify has worked together with Music in Exercise and Sport Group at Brunel University, London, to present the ultimate workout playlist. The list is based on songs with global popularity and songs, which are proven [yes, music with a certain speed and style improves performance] to make you berform better, due to their number of BPM, style and lyrics [mmmhhh, some of them…].

Professor Costas Karageorghis of the School of Sport & Education at Brunel University, tells: ”When you synkronize your movements to the music BPM, you also increase the intensity of your workout by increasing the effort by one or two BPM above normal capacity. This means, that you increase your work and as a result your fitness level over time, but the difference is so small, you will hardly notice.” 

The Spotify playlist is developed to match a workout with popular songs, first warm-up, then high intensity- [cardio] and strength training and finally cooldown music. It is meant to boost your motivation to last past the first weeks of january!

The playlist includes both motivating and less motivating songs, according to personal preference, so to get your own ultimate playlist, you may need to adjust it (I will).
The chosen songs are primarily for general fitness exercise and not for high-intensity interval training og heavy resistance training.
The cool-cown song must be missing, if it were meant to be last, because cool-down music should be slower than the rest … and < 100 BPM (or no beat) is best.

Spotify: Ultimate Workout Playlist

1. Katy Perry: “Roar”   4:30   90 BPM   [… not for my warm-up/list]

2. Jason Derulo (feat 2 Chainz): “Talk Dirty”   3:08   100 BPM   [o.k., nice ‘trumpets’]

3. Rizzle Kicks: “Skip To The Good Bit”   4:05   105 BPM   [Fun, interesting]

4. Daft Punk ft. Pharrel Williams: “Get Lucky”  4:08 116 BPM  [… for workouts?]

5. Little Mix: “Move”   3:44   112 BPM   [o.k. interesting, but for workouts?]

6. Duke Dumont ft. AME: “Need U 100%”   3:11   124 BPM   [Still great!]

7. Avicii: “You Make Me”   4:00   124 BPM   [yes! earlier hits better for workouts]

8. Viralites: “Feel My Rhythm”    3:35   125 BPM   [nope; (and hardsell video)]

9. Pitbull: “Timber”   3:35   130 BPM   [slow start, but nice partypop/rhythm]

9. Martin Garrix: “Animals” (original)   3:12   128 BPM   [super start, o.k./good]

10. Lady Gaga: “Applause”   140 BPM   [(nice style/look), music o.k.]

Do you have input or tips for workout music or even a top 10? Your comments are always welcome.

Goodbye New Year’s Resolutions! Hello New Year and New Habits.

Marina Aagaard, MFE

It is that time of year again, New Year’s Resolution Time or rather:
A brand new year with ample opportunity for new beginnings, new smart moves … in your mind, body, habitat and on the move.

Don’t say goodbye to old habits, instead say hello to new and better ones – that is m u c h easier and increases chances of success.

Double Rainbow by the beach snapshot Marina AagaardSomewhere over the rainbow … (at the local beach).

As always it is true, that putting words to your dreams and goals make them more tangible and easier to reach, so do that now, right now:

  1. Write down: What are your five 3-5 major personal goals for 2014.
  2. Next to them: Write down your intended course of action.
  3. Next to that: What resources (help) do you need to succeed.

Don’t worry, if those thoughts and words seem overly optimistic. By putting precise words to those goals you are closer to success, than ever before.
Tip: Be precise. I did this and I got the things I wished for … however, I forgot to specify (i left out important details) and hence the results were not quite as expected! 

Remember the SMART strategy, when goal setting and planning:

Specific – make specific plans and take action specific to your goal(s).

Measurable – set exact goals (kg, cm, sec.), not just “stronger”, “slimmer”, “faster”.

Attainable, accepted and action-oriented; ‘publicize’ and ‘practice’ (easy goals first).

Realistic – have a dream goal and a plan of smaller goals for each week or month.

Timed – set a date, timeframe, for your goal and smaller goals.

Go for your goals … Go!

Have A Happy and Prosperous New Year 2014

Dear fitness, wellness and World interested blog follower and reader,

To You and your loved ones from Me and the blog: A big warm Greeting with all my best wishes for a wonderful New Year.

Have a festive evening and morning – and new year – filled with happiness and excitement about 2014.

New Year’s resolutions? Ease up on them. Instead give your willpower a basic exercise program! And have a ‘new year cleaning’; trash what is bugging you and make room for invigorating changes; put exact words to your wishes, then they often come true (goal setting really does work). 

Zadar fyrværkere 1 7 Croatia EU xx

To you and your loved ones – I wish you

A Happy and Prosperous New Year 2014

Marina Aagaard

Habit Change: Fitness And Wellness: Start Now With These 3 Steps.

By Marina Aagaard, MFE

Habit change is not all that easy, because your habits of the last 10-20 years do not just disappear in 1-2 weeks. With the right strategy, however, it is possible to:

  • Build healthy habits that last
  • Maximize wellness and life quality
  • Perform and feel better
  • Get fit (in and out of the gym)
  • Lose or maintain weight with a smile 

Healthy habit tips for fitness and wellness

The key to success is keeping it simple. For starters do just 3 things :

  • Start now, don’t wait. Make a deal with yourself: Today is the day: Start by making one (small) change, just one habit change at a time, and stay on track.
  • Prepare (keep all temptations out of the way, make healthy choices easier).
  • Take one step at a time, make small increment changes – these will last.

Go ahead. Do it now.
More tips will follow.

Happy New Year: The Best Year Ever!

Motivation and habit change

By Marina Aagaard, MFE

On the last days of the year it is time to take stock and set new goals. Time and time again it has been proven, that by reflecting, taking the time to think things over, evaluating, learning from experience, and setting specific goals and writing them down, the chances of reaching one’s goals, a.o. new habits, are vastly improved.
So do it now. Take 5 minutes off for reflection and goal setting.

Taking stock
Take a look back upon the past year. Do it in an ‘appreciative’ way; be thankful for all of the good things, miss out any ‘failures’ and ponder upon the successes; what went well (and how)!

  • What was the number one experience this year (job, school, leisure time, sports)?
  • What was I best at (what did I do particularly well)?
  • Where, how, did I improve this year (physically, mentally, emotionally, socially)?


  • What can I do better in the new year?
  • Where, in which areas, would I like to improve in the new year?
  • What would I like to have more of in the new year?

Same questions, e.g. “what is your most exciting experience this year” can be used for more interesting (New Year’s) dinner conversations.

Goal setting (realistic dream goals)
Now write down 10 goals for the new year, for family, lifestyle, job, school, leisure time, sport, whatever comes to mind.
When your main goals are listed, then break them down into manageable smaller goals.
Integrate those on your daily to-do list onwards. Do something, small (or big) things, every day, until you reach your goal(s).

Recommendation: Start today!

Best wishes from me to you and your loved ones,

Lost Your Fitness Motivation? It Is Right Here!

Fitness workout motivation

By Marina Aagaard, MFE

Today I was reminded by a new blog friend, that some (many?) think of the fitness center as ‘a modern centre for physical torture’!

It is true, that occasionally (for some most of the time) it can be hard to find fitness motivation, when you would rather do something/anything else.

Then it is time to remind yourself, that you do fitness, because
1) your body loves to move in all sorts of ways, 2) it is an easy uncomplicated method of getting into shape, 3) your mind, body and spirit benefit from it, 4) you are together with other exercisers and meet new people/friends/boy- or girlfriends and 5) when fitness becomes a habit and you know the ropes, fitness center workouts are exciting and diverse; the fitness centre becomes a motivating ‘playground for adults’.

Here is a list of some of the advantages for days, when you consider ‘should-I-workout-or-not-at-the-fitness-center-today-as-really-I-feel-I-am-too-busy (reads: not all that motivated)’:

F a n t a s t i c   F e e l – g o o d   F i t n e s s   

Fitter and Firmer

  • You tone your muscles.
  • You strengthen your muscles and improve your posture.
  • You improve your metabolism; it is easier to maintain your weight.
  • You reduce your fat mass and your waistline.
  • You increase energy consumption during and after workouts.
  • You improve mobility.
  • You improve agility and function for the everyday and sports.
  • You become and look more energetic.

Healthier and happier

  • You improve general fitness and wellness.
  • You slow down age-related muscle fiber loss and maintain strength.
  • You prevent or reduce neck- and backproblems.
  • You prevent or reduce osteoarthritis and other joint problems.
  • You strengthen your bones and prevent osteoporosis.
  • You slow down aging of the brain and prevent dementia.
  • You may lower your blood pressure.
  • You reduce the risk of diabetes.

Inspiration for your fitness training workouts:
10 Super Tips: Get Much More Out Of Your Fitness Training

Running for You? 10 Tips: Run This Way!

Does running have to be very hard to be any good? No!
Do you really have to be completely out of breath? No!
Do your legs and back have to take a pounding? No!

Løb og Jogging Metoder og Motivation

By Marina Aagaard, MFE

Whether you are about to embark on your first run, or are a recreational runner, or you are an experienced runner, here are 10 top tips for optimizing your run … 

1. Run healthy. Are you healthy and well, then ‘run along’ … Are you physically inactive or in poor health, then you need not stay away from running. On the contrary; exercise in many cases are better than medicine, so get going – with an easy walking or jogging program … after you have seen your doctor for a health screening.
You should not run, if you feel pain! If you have injuries, they may become aggravated by running, so have a check-up and get a proper individual running program. Ask a physiotherapist.

2. Run with internal motivation
: Joy. Make running a natural healthy habit. Habit changes take time, so make things easy: Put your running in your diary and have your running shoes ready.

Increase your running motivation
 – run with:

– Mindfulness: Be present in the now, do not think about the past or the future. Meditate.
– Senses: Watch and listen intensely, smell nature, feel the wind against your cheek.
– Focus on your breathing; breathe deeply and slowly through the nose.
– Focus on your technique, run at a moderate pace and brush up your technique.
– A partner, without talking, chatting, playing og competing for fun.
– A heart rate monitor, so you can keep an eye on your heart rate, distance, calories, etc.
– An mp3-player with music with a fairly fast motivating beat.

3. Run in clothes fit for running
. You can run in whatever clothes you like! However, your running experience is improved by:

Comfortable running clothes, close-fitting and sweat-transporting (avoid cotton).
In cold and windy weather keep warm (running underwear and windbreaker jacket); if your stomach gets cold, you may experience abdominal pain and cramps.

Good running shoes
, must fit your feet. Get professional advice. Poor shoes are the cause of many injuries in the feet, lower legs and knees.
Note: Shoes can prevent some injuries, however, some shoes can also indirectly cause injuries, because of too high (lifted) heels and large drops from heel to the ball of the foot.
Alternatively run in level shoes, do barefoot running or run in FiveFingers, which protect the feet. Barefoot running requires a very gradual progression of distance and intensity.

4. Run at your own pace. If you are a beginner or overweight – or an experienced runner, who has been away from running – then a slow cautious start is crucial to avoid injuries.
If you are a fit and experienced runner, then race away (longer strides and faster)!

5. Make running doable. A good start makes all the difference: Start at your own level, and run with energy and enjoyment. Start slowly the first time (and over time): First walk, then jog, then run, then interval runs at moderate, high and intensities.
Initially start running on softer surfaces, earth or grass (not too soft, sand and gravel, and irregular, which is ‘tough’), as this is easier on the joints than concrete and asphalt.

6. Have a realistic running plan. It may take years to build a healthy distance running shape in the right way, so running is still 1) fun and 2) safe (without injuries).
Be patient and consistent. 

– Start by running short distances, max. three days a week (with a day of rest in between).
– Gradually increase the running distance (and then the intensity).
– If needed, increase the number of days (alternate between shorter and longer runs).

7. Warm up before running.
This is not difficult, it only means that your should:

Start gradually; 5-10 min. of walking or jogging with gradually increasing tempo, hold back a little. An adequate warm-up is essential to running success:
One of the main reasons why many runners find running so hard, is that they start running too fast too soon – the body isn’t prepared (not enough oxygen) – and so they are out of breath (lack energy) for the duration of the run.

After running do the opposite: Cool down. Reduce the tempo and walk for 5-10 min. to lower the heart rate to resting level. Avoid stopping too abruptly and standing still (right after top speed), as you may feel dizzy.
Stretch the large muscle groups, hip flexors, hamstrings and calves as needed.

8. Run naturally:

  • Run in a natural way: Start by walking, then ’fall’ slightly forward, so you ‘automatically’ start running. In this way you will land with your body weight distributed evenly across the foot (midfoot strike) instead of landing hard on the heel.
  • Run with a good posture, upright, neutral spine, relaxed neck and shoulders.
  • Run with a full body lean, straight line from heel to neck, do not bend forward.
  • Land with a midfoot strikeOr experiment with running on the balls of your feet. Do not land with a (heavy) heel strike, as this may cause poorer form and injuries.
  • Run with a natural stride length for you; do experiment with longer strides and (and shorter ones, when running on your toes).
  • Breathe deeply, inhale through your nose, exhale through the mouth (or nose).
  • Run light-footed; run with a light, springy step, almost as if you fly across the ground, or as if you ‘burn’ your feet, when you take a step.
  • Run with tempo; do not run too slowly, so you land too heavily (more impact).
  • Run with a natural arm swing forward-backward, not diagonally in front of the body.
  • Run straight ahead, avoid bouncing up and down, this is a waste of energy.

9. Eat and drink right. Eat and drink the right things at the right time – this gives you more energy and reduces the risk of abdominal cramps.

Water (at room-temperature – too cold water may upset the stomach):

Before running: Drink an adequate amount of water each day:
Divide you body weight (in pounds) by two; the number of ounces of water you need to drink each day (corresponds to approx. eight 8-ounce glasses of water (8-by-8-rule).
Metric: Drink approx. 1/3 of your body weight (kg) in deciliters (0,033 x BW (kg) in liters).

During running
: During shorter runs up to 6,2 miles (10 km), water intake is not necessary.
During longer runs water (with sugar/salt) may be needed, but test it before competitions.
Dehydration may result in an impaired performance, however, some runners perform better, when they do not drink water during the run.

After running
: You may lose up to 67,6 fluid ounces (2 liters) of water during running, so drink plenty of water after running.

Food (do not run on a full stomach – it may cause stomach cramps or diarrhea):

Before running
: Eat healthy in general, so you have enough energy. For competitive running your need to plan your diet and pre-race meal carefully.
Eat a full meal no later than three (2-4) hours before running. It is better with a low-fat, carbohydrate rich (limited amount of dietary fibres) meal without too many proteins.
If you need more energy, eat a banana or have an energy drink (water with sugar/salt) no later than one hour before running.

During running:
 It is not necessary/smart to eat during shorter runs (< 6,2 miles/10 km). For longer runs a sports gel (energy-jelly) may be a good choice, but not always; it depends on the distance and person.

After running:
 Eat a meal (carbohydrates/protein) within ½-1 hours after running. Within ½ hour of exercising/running nutrient uptake is optimal (window of opportunity) leading to a faster recovery.

10. Listen to your body. Running should feel good. You must not experience pain, not before, during or after your run. Exertion, sweating and panting is okay, but pain in your muscles and joints is a danger sign, which you must respond to. Walk instead. Afterwards find out what caused the problem. Get help from your doctor or a physiotherapist.