Music is a really powerful source of motivation for me when I am working out. In fact, it is really hard for me to workout without good music.
Three items I never leave the house without are my iPhone, headphones and sports arm band. Even if I am not sure when I will make it to the gym, it is always a good idea to be prepared in case I find time.
Whether I am running outside or at a gym, music helps me push harder and focus more. This week, I have a few ways you incorporate music into your workout and push harder.
Whether you like rap, country, rock 'n' roll or house music when you workout, most songs have a chorus. When creating a playlist, choose songs that have a really powerful chorus, where the tempo picks up or the volume increases.
If you are on a run or walk this week, use the chorus of a song as a time to do some walking lunges or pushups. Walking lunges and pushups engage the core and increase your heart rate, working those muscles even more. Try to go all out for the entire chorus and then resume your walk or run during the verses.
Another way I love to use music is for my "cash out" or "burn out" at the end of my workout. I don't always finish off my workout in this style, but it is definitely fun to push myself and get over that mental barrier.
Choose your favorite song and do squats for the entire duration after really working your legs in a leg workout. You don't need weights, you just need to focus and push yourself.
One way to change up the intensity of squats is by switching up the tempo of the movement. Go with the music and speed up, or slow down, your exercise depending on the tempo and beat of the song. Always remember to pay attention to proper form.
A great way I push myself with the help of music is in spin class. If you have never taken a spin class, I highly recommend it. Even if you don't enjoy it as much as I do, I think spin is a great class in which to feel the music and blast through a mental barrier.
Spin instructors realize how powerful music is in their classes. You can get a lot of good song ideas from different spin instructors whose classes you take.
Another great thing about music is that you can share. Find a fit friend and swap playlists. Sometimes you may not have time to download new music or you may have forgotten about a song you like that your friend has saved. This is a great way to share music, share workouts and get fit together.
This week, use music to focus and regain control of your workout. Get into the music, remove your mind from all the worldly pressures and start seeing results.
Lunden Souza, a Merced native, is a personal trainer, health and wellness coach, and writer in Southern California. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.