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The Motivating Power of Music

The Motivating Power of Music
by Stephanie Hoerner
May 13, 2021
3 min read

Playing music during a workout is not just about entertainment. Music can impact the quality of your workout and drive your performance. We caught up with Connect Instructor Reed to find out how music impacts his classes. Here is what he had to say about workout music choice.

Find the Perfect Songs

The best way to get reliable information is through research, but lucky for Reed, music research comes naturally because he is already listening to music constantly. “I am one of those people who have Spotify on all the time,” he says, “so whenever I find a song I vibe to, I save it to my notes.” 

Later, Reed will sort the songs he finds by bpm (beats per minute) so when he goes to create his class playlist, he will be able to pair the bpm to the different parts of the class. Reed reveals, “my background is in rhythm-based cycling so I’m all about bpm. Moving my feet to the beat of the music also makes me go harder because of the need to stay on beat.”

It isn’t just Reed that feels this way. Research has demonstrated that there is a connection between what you hear and how your body performs. According to the National Center for Health Research, the exact tempo can impact your athletic performance and faster-paced music has been shown to increase your output through “distance traveled, pace, or repetitions completed.”

The Class Type Matters

Instructor Reed pedaling to the beat on a Connect Bike during a Cadence class

When our instructors build the playlist for a class, the type of class makes a huge difference. Reed teaches Cadence and Fusion for Connect Bikes and his approach to selecting song order is different for each. For Cadence, he explains, “we move our feet to the beat of the music so each song has a specific place in the playlist to optimize calorie burn.” The goal is different for a Fusion class which is based on drills of strength, power, and speed. This format gives the instructor more freedom in their playlist because it doesn’t have to follow the beat of the music like in Cadence. 

Making the Playlist

After reviewing the songs he vibes with and sorting them by bpm, Reed examines his workout plan and begins building the playlist on two main factors: how the bpm relates to the part of the workout and the energy level of the song. He might begin with a milder energy song but tries to maintain super high energy for at least three songs in a row to maximize impact. 

The reasoning for this strategy, according to Reed, is “once we are warmed up, I’m ready to get you hype enough with the music to burn the maximum amount of calories for at least three songs. Then we can chill with a lower energy song and Kumbaya.”

“Music is Everything”

When we asked Reed how he felt music impacts performance, his response was “music is everything.” He went on to give an analogy that demonstrates the impact for those that haven’t experienced it during a workout:

“It’s like being on the dance floor and your favorite chorus coming on. Do you stay chill? Or do you jump up in the air and dance? When your favorite chorus comes on in my class we’re almost always surging or doing athletic movements on the bike. I bet you will push more if you're surging when the beat drops than if you were surging when it isn’t.”

The effect music has on you is more than just a perception—it’s chemical. The National Center for Health Research references a 2012 study that suggests that the “pleasurable experience of listening to a song can result in an increase in serotonin levels, which can put you in a better mood for your workout.” The elevated serotonin levels paired with a well-crafted playlist can help you to push through challenging aspects of a workout.

Instructor Reed on a Connect Bike with word overlay that says #KeepItCute

Experience the Impact

If you're ready to experience the impact great music can have on your workout, join Reed for a Connect class that is sure to have a perfectly curated playlist to help you push through each surge. 

New to Echelon? With an Echelon United Membership, you have access to live and on-demand classes with music you know and love. From EDM to 90's Rock and everything in-between, you can pick classes with the music style that will help get you where you want to go.