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Ugh, Gym Music

Allie Tollaksen | Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Maybe it’s because I’m not terribly athletic, maybe it’s because I come off as a bit of a klutz or maybe it’s just my obsession with pizza. No matter what it is, I can assure you that no one would ever look at me and think, “That girl definitely likes to work out!”
But guess what, everyone? I enjoy exercise most of the time. Maybe I don’t do it enough (okay, I definitely don’t do it enough), but I have nothing against going for a run or hitting the gym, even upon learning in P.E. freshman year that free weights aren’t exactly my thing.
So, now that it’s clear that I do not hate exercise, I will confess to you there is something about “getting swoll” that I do absolutely despise (besides the phrase “getting swoll”). No, it’s not the fact that everyone stares at themselves in the mirror all the time. It’s not even that extremely traumatic moment when you’re running and your ear bud gets ripped out of your ear. It’s the music. I hate gym music.
Maybe this is just my experience, but music played at gyms always seems to be a blend of top 40 hits, bad house music and old Katy Perry songs. Also, I think it might be against the law in the state of Indiana to teach a fitness class and not include at least one Ke$ha and two Pitbull songs.
I don’t know who is responsible for picking tracks at fitness centers or passing those speculated laws – my theory is that it’s all Richard Simmons – but I have given up hope in thinking that I’ll ever hear something quality while exercising.
Sometimes I tell myself that these awful, awful song choices are actually a good thing – bad music can fuel a hate-fire within and motivate you to do more. A bad song can inspire you to hate-run another mile, hate-lift another rep or hate-dance your heart out to that one really bad Zumba song you’ve never liked. Another upside is that if a workout is particularly excruciating, at least it won’t forever be associated with a great song. It’s never fun to force a tune into early retirement because you experience phantom muscle aches and painful flashbacks every time it comes up on shuffle.
Still, occasionally, I just want to hear some songs I like while working out. Because of this, like almost everyone, I’ve taken the exercise playlist into my own hands.
But as an avid fan of slow, weird alternative music, it’s not always easy to track down the right songs that will get you pumped for a workout. I learned, for example, that no matter how you try to get a good pace running to Fleet Foxes, it’s never going to happen.
If you’re like me and need a little help finding something upbeat, the internet has come to our rescue.
Running music websites like jog.fm exemplify the wonders of modern technology by giving its users the tools to customize any run, ride or workout playlist to fit any and all music needs. The site lists exclusively upbeat songs you can work out to and organizes tracks by beats per minute.
This way, you make a playlist with a consistent tempo or even preset an overly ambitious mile time for your run that you’ll later regret!
Best of all, you can filter by genre or look through premade playlists to discover the best workout music you’ve never heard.
Contact Allie Tollaksen at atollaks@nd.edu
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.