INTRODUCING.... THE PERFORMANCE ENHANCING PLAYLIST

5 MIN TO SKIM

10 MIN TO READ

I've been accused by many of being a "perfectionist" and a  "over-analyser" in the past. This post will not help my case.

Anybody that knows me well is familiar with my love for music. One of the first birthday gifts I remember receiving was a music player from my sister (thanks sis), ever since then - it's been a lifelong fascination. In the gym - over the years I've gone from putting on whatever happened to be on my device and hitting shuffle, to downloading albums specifically for lifting, to using a highly curated performance enhancing playlist.

What follows are steps that will allow you to skip the years I spent playing around with sub-par playlists. Here are my instructions for how to put together your own performance enhancing playlist.

WHAT IS A PERFORMANCE ENHANCING PLAYLIST?

A Performance Enhancing Playlist (or PEP) is a playlist that is so finely tuned to an individual that it just meshes beautifully with their workouts. Like magic - it motivates them through the session, energizes them through sticking points, and keeps them in a focused state. Everybody has different tastes, and enjoys listening to different tunes when exercising. For example when I lift I enjoy listening to heavy metal and hip-hop. However when I run I prefer pop and rap.

STEP 1: PICK GENRE/STYLE

This step is easy. Because everybody is different - all you need to do is think about what kind of music you want to listen to when exercising. Like I mentioned earlier, this could be - heavy metal, or pop. It's totally up to you!

STEP 2: NUMBER OF TRACKS = NUMBER OF SETS

For me I'll usually end up doing (in total) about 18 sets of exercises in about an hour. My playlist has 18 tracks on it for this reason. This makes each set feel different, it keeps the workout itself engaging, and holds my interest throughout the session. It is also a really good idea to have a smaller tracklist like this because it will help you have a better curated playlist. The goal is to have NO "skippable" tracks.

Over time you can, and should add to this playlist, but do so very selectively. Avoid cluttering it up with tracks that might end up getting skipped. 


At this point your PEP is ready. Now... if you happen to be an over-analyzer... this next section is for you.

You have a playlist now, but you also need to know how to use it. This is the part where I may be accused of "over-analyzing" things by the... less-inquisitive.

Since we want this playlist to be performance enhancing - it would be best if the track's chorus or hook would line up with the start of each working set. So I looked into that... The average song length is approximately 3 minutes and 36 seconds long (based on iTunes top 100). Aaand.... the  average time for when a song hits it's first chorus or hook is at 0:36 (based on 20 random songs from my library).

STEP 3: USING THE PEP

OKAY so with that information here is the best way to USE your PEP: hit play and perform your first set when ready. Then, while you are resting for your next set continue to listen to the same track. Lastly (and this is the secret sauce folks) when there are about 40 seconds left in your rest - hit skip, and begin your set when the chorus/hook comes in.

Applying this masterminded technique will do a few things for you:

  • Have the chorus or hook come in at that sweet spot, right when you are about to start
  • Make each set feel different with a unique "background track" to it.
  • Get bigger muscles (not really)

LIFTING PLAYLIST

RUNNING PLAYLIST