Workout Essential – Good Music

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Have you ever stuck around at the house a little longer to ensure your phone or iPod was charged just a little more because you had to have enough juice to play you favorite beats during your workout at the gym? Or maybe you like to listen to a podcast while you hit the weights or maybe just some ambient sounds to get you through a strenuous workout?

Just about everyone believes in some form of sound in your ears while trying to get fit, and without it a workout can feel impossible. Many believe it’s essential to peak performance and a satisfying workout. But, what’s the science behind this phenomenon?

Music seems to have the ability to distract people from pain and fatigue, elevate moods, increase endurance, reduce perceived effort, and it may even promote metabolic efficiency! In a 2012 review of the research, Costas Karageorghis of Brunel University in London, one of the world’s leading experts on the psychology of exercise music, wrote that one could think of music as “a type of legal performance-enhancing drug.”

Let’s got back to 1911 where the first studies of music and exercise were first being reviewed. An American investigator, Leonard Ayres, found that cyclists pedaled faster while a band was playing music than when they were silent. Since that year there have been many studies looking at the benefits of music or no music in athletic performances and a few clear conclusions have come to light.

Tempo and speed of the music seem to be the most important. Most people have an instinct to synchronize their movements and expressions with music—to nod their heads, tap their toes or break out in dance—even if they repress that instinct in many situations. What type of music is best to illicit this movement varies from culture to culture and from person to person. In a recent survey of 184 college students, for example, the most popular types of exercise music were hip-hop (27.7 percent), rock (24 percent) and pop (20.3 percent).

Without getting too much more deep into the science of all of this, what kinds of music are your favorite? In most cases, each person reading this has a particular kind of music or even a particular song they know is their favorite to listen to while working out. And, music in CrossFit has been ever present. At local, regional, and national levels of competition music is always played with the elite athletes compete and therefore we mimic that ritual at Beyond The Box as well.

When building Beyond The Box the owners knew how important good loud beats would be to stimulate their athletes to move. And, one of the hardest parts of being a good coach is knowing how and when to raise the music up and when to keep it low depending on the phase in the class. Dynamic warm up – music loud, static stretching or explaining the workout – the music goes low or even is paused. When the workout starts the coaches jack the music to max which also forces the coaches to raise their voices. Both in turn, the coaches know, gets most athletes to work just a bit harder. We pride ourselves on knowing how to blend the best worlds of quiet and loud to stimulate the athletes to move their best.

What are your favorite work out songs? Post your favorites in the comments below, and maybe you’ll hear it next time you’re at Beyond The Box!

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