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10 Songs to Pump Up Your Workout Playlist

These tracks are guaranteed to start you up and keep you going.

Music is energy. We look to it to calm us down, to help us soak up the sun, or to get us through a rough patch. And sometimes we count on it as a means of motivation — to help us break out of lethargy and … move!

I’m talking about fodder for the workout. The gym. The 5-mile run. That said, it’s not always easy to lace up our running shoes. It’s hard to keep from thinking about your to-do list and the emails you need to return — any mundane task that will aid and abet procrastination.

What helps me get started is knowing that when I arrive on the scene, I’ve already curated my playlist so there’ll be no decisions to make or fumbling with my device when I step onto the treadmill. I can just press play and go.

Here are 10 songs to consider adding to your playlist. All will help start you up, keep you going and cool yourself down.

1. When You’re Around

This tune from the group Water From Your Eyes tops my list because getting started is the hardest part, and if I begin with a song that delights me as opposed to a full-on jam, I’m more likely to stay on the machine! Besides, going from 0 – 60 too quickly will tire anyone out. This whimsical, delightful track will help ease you into your routine and put a smile on your face simply because your ears are happy. Listen to it here.

2. Slow Song

This sexy, playful, Madonna-esque track from The Knocks (with Dragonette) is actually anything but slow: it’s rhythmic, boppy and uplifting. Let’s go! Listen to it here.

3. Fade

The mantra-like lyric “I feel it” and the trance-inducing rhythm of this Kanye West track is sure to get your pulse pumping. Even better, it will put you in the zone where you’re no longer making excuses or thinking about what else you have to do today. Time to start sweating! Listen to it here.

4. No Mutuals

What are Fake Fruit saying in this ultra-catchy song? I can’t tell. What does “No Mutuals” even mean? I don’t care. Hey, when it comes to workouts, it’s all about the vibe, and this track’s got plenty of it. Listen to it here.

5. Alpha Zulu

Phoenix frontman Thomas Mars was inspired to write this song when he heard a pilot repeating the phrase over the radio during a turbulent flight in stormy conditions … which is probably how many of us feel about life at times. All the more reason to keep running until you get to the other side! The rhythmic driving production will keep you focused on the prize: not quitting till you get there. Listen to it here.

6. As It Was

There’s a real emotional essence to this Harry Styles song, which, along with its infectious hook and brisk tempo, will keep you moving from start to finish. Turn this one way up! Listen to it here.

7. Cold Heart

I’ve always loved Elton John’s “Sacrifice” and “Rocket Man,” and in this PNAU remix (featuring Dua Lipa), the two are mashed-up together in an irresistible hypnotic tonic. This track will put you about as deep into the head zone as it gets. Listen to it here.

8. About Damn Time

Leave it to Lizzo to deliver this body-positive self-empowering affirmation that will encourage you to keep going even when you feel you’re ready to throw in the towel and climb off the elliptical. Listen to it here.

9. Colors

The relaxed tempo of this Black Pumas track will serve to slow your pace and heartbeat when you’re at the end of your workout. You may be sweaty but you’ll be ready to go out into the world (after a shower, of course!) and notice its beautiful dynamic colors … just like the song says. Listen to it here.

10. Stay High

This uplifting Brittany Howard song is all about feeling good and staying that way — a message you’ll want keep revisiting long after your pulse rate drops back down and those endorphins wear off. Listen to it here.


Enhance your workout with a quality pair of earbuds like the Yamaha TW-E3B, which are water/sweat resistant and offer a secure fitting, along with great sound.

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