How to Build Your Workout Playlist


A study at Brunel University's School of Sport and Education found that listening to music while working out increased performance by up to 15%. Music can help you keep pace, elevate your mood, and just get you pumped. Research supports the theory that music can help you perform better. The question is not if you should be listening to music during your workouts, it’s what songs should be on your playlist?

Preference will play a part in your song choice. However, as someone who is an amature conasuir of music, I would like to make a few suggestions. As much as I love Miles Davis or Mavis Staples, their music just won’t do when I am trying to sweat out a bottle of wine. Here’s what works.

  1. Keep an open mind. You might not love Taylor Swift, but if she has a hoppin’ new jam that will get you going, listen to it!
  2. Reward yourself and mix it up. When I can’t get over a mind hurdle and am struggling to get started, I log onto iTunes and buy a new song. It keeps my playlist fresh and it motivates me to get going.
  3. Keep it upbeat. Several years ago I heard Drake’s song "The Motto". I was in my car and I loved it. I thought it was my new jam and immediately went home, bought it, and put it on my workout playlist. The next morning, when I got up to run, the song came on and I just wasn’t feeling it. Some songs are great for a rap along, but not motivating when it comes to your workout. Get them off the playlist if they don’t pump you up.
  4. Make your playlist ahead of time. Don’t stand on the treadmill and try to put together a playlist. It’s a time suck. I love making my playlists in the evening while having a glass of wine. I sample the music, play with the placement of songs, and envision the strength my tunes will give me for my morning run. Regardless of when you choose to put your playlists together, I have one rule: DON’T do it right before your workout. That is called procrastination.

I have two main running and fitness focused playlists. They are already made. One is labeled “90s.” I was born in 1981 and really coming into my own on the music scene in the 90’s. I love 90’s music. The other is current day pop music simply labeled “workout.” My 90’s playlist is pretty much set in stone, while my workout playlist changes from week-to-week or month-to-month.

Here’s a sampling of songs from my playlists:


  1. TLC- No Scrubs
  2. Third Eye Blind- Semi-Charmed Life
  3. Notorious B.I.G.- Going Back to Cali
  4. Toadies- Tyler
  5. 2Pac- Changes


  1. Gwen Stefani- Make Me Like You
  2. Britney Spears- Work Bitch
  3. Beyonce- Freedom
  4. Macklemore- Downtown
  5. Taylor Swift- New Romantics

Music is a great way to get motivated and have more fun while you workout. So get your playlist pumping and get ripped by rocking out. After all, with Kippo shorts there’s never been a better place to put your phone or music player.

1 comment

  • Love the playlist advice. Thanks for putting it together and some music suggestions. One thing I’d like to see in the next line of Kippo shorts. Put the pocket on the left hip. I use Beats Wireless 2 headphones and when the phone is on the right hip it cuts out more often than not. I have to stick it in my left hip waistband, then I’m back where I started. I’m guessing the left earbud is where the bluetooth receiver is located. Hope this helps to make a better product.

    chris willis

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