Sunday, June 12, 2011

Music and Motivation: Michael Jackson Vs Prince Duel at Flywheel Sports!

When my favorite spin studio, Flywheel Sports, announced that they will be having a Michael Jackson Versus Prince themed spin class, I kid you not, my heart started doing somersaults!

I am a child of the 80s. If you scroll through my Ipod playlists you will see a musical timeline from the decade of big hair and shoulder pads. So I think my response/over-reaction was entirely within reason. How can anyone who calls themselves a child of the 80s not love Michael Jackson and Prince? And both of them? Back to back? In one class? They had me at "Michael". The hubby saw the crazed look in my eye and quickly offered his babysitting services for the night before it got ugly!

The class was awesome, completely exceeding my expectations! It was my first time taking instructors Jesse and Danielle and they were amazing, really complementing each other's teaching styles.

Jesse and Danielle setting us up for a fun class!
We sprinted to "Let's Go Crazy", climbed to "Dirty Diana", maintained a steady rhythm to "Kiss", leading up to the final song of the night, the 'piece de resistance' and in Jesse's words, "the greatest song ever," "Billie Jean." My night was complete.

I left feeling so pumped, on such a high. This doesn't happen after every spin class, especially not those where techno is the name of the game. Ugh! I hate those classes. Happens often when I try out a new instructor. I always leave those classes feeling so mad, more at myself for not having stuck to the tried-and-tested instructor whose playlist works for me.

This got me thinking about music and how it can be such a motivator for exercise.

Costas Karageorghis, a sports psychologist from Brunel University in London, has studied this phenomenon extensively and has shown that music not only affects motivation but it can also improve athletic performance upto 20%. Specifically, synchronization of music to repetitive exercise like running or cycling regulates movement, thereby prolonging athletic performance.

The Ethiopian distance runner Haile Gebrselassie, who holds the world record of 2:03:59 at the 2008 Berlin Marathon, has credited listening to "Scatman" with setting several world records. "Scatman," a song with a tempo of 135 beats per minute (bpm) perfectly matched Haile's target stride rate, and helped him establish and sustain a steady cadence.

For best results, the tempo must concur with the preferred work rate. I found the following rather interesting table. It's from a study and gives examples of motivational music suitable for the different components of an exercise's training session.

Personally, I love running or cycling to remixes, especially 80s remixes. I find that the key here is that the song style (80s) appeals to my musical aesthetic and a remixed version switches the song up so the tempo aligns with my rhythm.

A sampling of my favorite running/spinning songs:
 Kid Cudi Vs Michael Jackson (Working) Day and Night Mashup

Wanna Be Starting Something- Akon ft Michael Jackson

Hollaback Girl Vs Give It To Me (DJ Hero mix)

Come on Eileen-Dexy's Midnight Runners

Man in Motion (St. Elmo's Fire)-John Parr

Notice a theme?

Question: Does music motivate you? What style of music? Any favorite songs you'd like to share?

Note: The information from this blog post was gleaned from the following articles/references:


Amber said...

I love the idea of a Prince/Michael Jackson playlist. I might have to borrow this theme!

I have so many favorite running songs. Some are totally random. Alkaline Trio did a remake of "Metro" by Berlin and I am loving that song right now. I also can't get enough of the new Lady Gaga CD. Journey's Greatest Hits album is another one of my favorites. And of course there is Tom Petty - what a great song "Running Down a Dream" is to run to!

Sam @ Mom at the Barre said...

Amber: It's a pretty genius theme! Journey and Tom Petty are excellent to run to also. I sense another 80s fan here!

Lauren said...

Love this topic. I actually don't use music for the first half of races as it gets me to hold back/not go out too fast. Rockafellar Shank is on so many running playlists, my husband loves it too. I cracked up when I saw it on the chart above. Your spin class sounds great. I love prince (but don't always love running to prince). I'd love to be 20% faster :)

sofia said...

this class sounds AWESOME. i am a serious MJ (and jackson 5) workout fan. i also love the beatles and a ton of 90s alternative rock. works every time! in general i also find myself more in touch with pop music through workout classes. very sad, but so true. sigh.

Jess @ Fit Chick in the City said...

This sounds like it was a great class! Music does motivate me during spin classes and some other indoor workouts,but I rarely if ever use music when exercising outdoors.

Heather @ Get Healthy with Heather said...

That sounds like an awesome spin class! I've never taken one from 2 instructors. I love how music gets me pumped and ready to workout. It's a huge motivator.

Dori said...

That sounds AWESOME. Music is KEY to my class experience no matter where I am. I have complained when I did not feel that the music worked or was motivating enough.

Sam @ Mom at the Barre said...

Lauren: I have actually never run a race while listening to music for a similar reason-I just want to focus on the run. But I am planning to bring my Ipod along to the next race. I think it will break the monotony a little.

Sofia:I love the Beatles also but don't hear them much in spin classes. Flywheel, if you are reading this: Beatles ride please!

Sam @ Mom at the Barre said...

Jess: I choose my spin instructors based upon what music they play. So for spin classes it's super important for me.

Heather: It was my first time taking class with two instructors and going in I was a little skeptical but they really played well off each other and it made it more fun!

Sam @ Mom at the Barre said...

Dori: I just end up switching to another instructor. Next time I probably should complain also and give the instructor some feedback.

Amy B @ Second City Randomness said...

That's kind of hilarious! I went through a massive 80's phase in college. You can't help but love the beat... I swear every song just sounds "happy"!

Sam @ Mom at the Barre said...

Amy: Interestingly college was one period of my life when I actually preferred listening to more current music. I hit 25 and suddenly regressed back to the 80s! Nostalgia perhaps?

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