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5 Steps to a Great Workout Playlist

My workout is typically the only part of the day that I give completely to myself (except my evening shower), and I always go the extra mile to make the experience completely positive from start to finish.

Each workout is different – but one consistent element is MUSIC.  I never leave home without my iPhone and Bose in-ear headphones.

Since so many clients ask me for my musical picks, I want to share some easy guidelines to help you choose your own favorites.

  1. Warms You From the Inside: Warm-up time is critical, yet many people choose songs that have them BURSTING out of the gate. Test-drive selections that remind you to start slow, allowing time to get your groove on (before bursting).
  2. De-Noised: It’s the bass in music that moves us.  (Remember: we were surrounded by thumpy vibration in our mom’s womb for 9 months). Choose music that’s as thumpy as mom’s heartbeat: with heavy bass. Avoid screamers, loud horns, sirens and other stressful distractions – this will give you space and time to think about what’s happening Now.
  3. Goes with Flow: I’ll admit it, toward the end of my workout, I like a little uumph to drive me to the finish line, so  I structure my playlist to steadily increase with intensity.   I start plugging in the uuumph songs at the point where 75% of the workout is complete and the rest is going to be a strong push.
  4. It’s All Good: Let’s face it, life can be tense. Why get buried in a soundtrack drowning in a lost love, a bad romance or a bad-ass gangsta sh*t? Use reminders that you’re in control and limitless. Experience singing along with a rockstar about strength, focus and power. When building a playlist, seek positive, motivational songs.  (Affirming lyrics always help me when I’m about to ride down a mountain with both feet strapped to a board.)
  5. “Repetition Produces Results”: At least Joseph Pilates believed so (and I agree). With long playlists for endurance workouts (like 1/2 marathon runs), it helps to use a great playlist a few times in a row.  This helps me to gauge “where I was yesterday… compared with how fast/strong/flexible I am today”.  If the music begins to sound stale, you’ll know it’s time to move on.


I begin my workout playlists with a track from one of my willPower Season albums,  which I helped produce with the leader in fitness music, Power Music.  Each block (track) is 13-15 minutes long and  flows with heavy bass, and positive lyrics. These smart auditory tracks move me from the inside, and help provide the motivational workout experience that I crave.

Stacey Lei Krauss

Stacey Lei Krauss

Stacey Lei Krauss is the creator and developer of the globally recognized barefoot cardio fusion program, The willPower Method®. Specializing in foot-fitness since 2000, she helps people understand why and how to develop healthy, fit bodies, from the ground up. Reiki practitioner and student of transformational arts, she's a mover, writer, traveler, and general truth-seeker. Recipient of the 2014 ECA Best Female Presenter Award, she's the Mindful Music Advisor for Power Music® and has programmed educational courses and workouts for Nike , Vibram FiveFingers®, BOSU®, Schwinn® Cycling, and Peak Pilates® .