Harley Pasternak Blogs: The Best Music for Your Workout

"The higher the beats per minute, the faster you're going to want to move," writes PEOPLE's blogger

Photo: Courtesy Harley Pasternak

It ceases to amaze me what different types of workout music my clients request when they come to my gym. From classic rock to trance, hip-hop to Broadway, I’ve (patiently) heard it all!

I find that tailoring your playlist to your activity can completely change the mood, energy and pace of your workout. In fact, studies show that listening to music while you work out can increase endurance, reduce fatigue, improve performance under pressure – and even boost brainpower!

With that in mind, consider the following when deciding what makes it (and what doesn’t) on to your workout playlist.

Think positive: Sad country ballads and slow operas may not energize as much as something a little faster and with a more pronounced bass line. Try to stick to upbeat, positive music. Rihanna, Ke$ha, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry are consistently upbeat and usually sing about happy, fun stuff (and all happen to be clients).

Let the rhythm move you: For the most part, faster music best suits cardio: the higher the beats per minute (BPM), the faster you’re going to want to move. If you’re jogging, find something that matches your pace. If you’re doing wind sprints, maybe trance or hard rock. Like Bizarre Inc.’s “I’m Gonna Get You.”

For more chill exercise like yoga and pilates, choose soothing jazz, soul or classical music. If you can, try to find a track with a defined beat to it which will help you keep rhythm with your breathing. Think Bon Iver’s “Holocene.” Jog.fm is a great resource for finding the best music for your cadence.

Faster is not better when it comes to resistance training: Hip-hop was made for resistance training (well, you know what I mean). The cadence of hip-hop is generally slightly slower than dance music, and is perfect for maintaining proper cadence when using free weights or doing body weight resistance. Try Kanye West‘s “Love Lockdown.”

Consider the flow: I avoid music that interrupts the flow of my workout, such as songs with long instrumental solos, free-form jazzy rhythms and abrupt changes in intensity or speed. I love classic rock, but a five-minute guitar solo may not be the best for my workout. Similarly, spoken word poetry or long show tune monologues have no place in the gym!

Here is a list of 8 hot workout songs many of you Tweeted to me last week. See a great workout song missing? Tweet me @harleypasternak!

Check back every Wednesday for more insider tips on Hollywood’s hottest bodies, and how to get one yourself. Plus: follow Harley on Twitter at @harleypasternak

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