There’s nothing that helps get through a grueling sweat-fest in the gym like guitar and drum energy being pumped into your ears. The right choice of music can crank out an extra five crunches, propel you through another quarter mile on the treadmill, or even help you endure the sight of Chubbs McGee strolling through the locker room in his birthday suit. However, what’s coming from your earphones is the key. We’ve all been heading off to the gym and realized our iPod was dead so we’ve borrowed our girlfriend/wife’s set of tunes — only to find ourselves enduring the likes of Faith Hill and Nora Jones. Trust us: nothing makes the penis fall to the gym floor quicker than lyrics like, “Juuuuuuuust Breathe.”
So to better help you get through your visit to the gym, here are the best variety of workout tunes to have on your iPod.
There is no doubt that you could choose any AC/DC tune and be set for any workout. We went with Thunderstruck because it is built for heaving dumbbells or ripping on the ab machine. After Angus kicks it off, it builds with a slow energy and by the time “Thunda’!” fully explodes, you’ll be pumped and not feel like the spare-tire sporting, video game-playing slouch that you are.
Other Options: Any AC/DC tune.
Cum on Feel the Noise (Quiet Riot)
Yeah, that’s right. It may be cheesy, it may take you back a ways, but there’s no denying it’s non-stop, adrenaline-raising magic. As soon as the drums break through the silence, it’s hard for us to not turn the iPod up another notch or two for that first line to be belted out. Then as soon as the guitars kick in, it’s no looking back — because then we lose our balance on the treadmill.
Other Options: Bang Your Head
So Hot (Kid Rock)
Nothing like a song about sex set to metal to get the workout juices pumping. If nothing else, the vision of strippers and Vegas should be enough to help you dominate the cables in the gym. Kid and his traveling freak show has given us a few good workout tunes over the years, but this one combines his usual hardcore antics with just the right blend of metal to make our list.
Other Options: Cowboy
Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems (Notorious B.I.G.)
This is because you are so down. There’s something about Mase, Diddy (or whatever the hell he calls himself now), and Biggie borrowing from “I’m Coming Out” that just works. It’s perfect for burning through another half mile on the treadmill, if for nothing else, but to try and guess what Mase is saying.
Other Options: Hypnotize
Running Down a Dream (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers)
Fitting, as you are running down your dream of fitting back into your college jeans again. Petty goes with almost any occasion and workouts are no exception. Allow this tune to help you on your road to becoming a heartbreaker again. Now what to do about that face of yours…
Other Options: American Girl, Refugee
Welcome to the Jungle (Guns N’ Roses)
How could this not make the list? From arguable one of the top albums of all-time, Axel has the voice of God and Slash is in perfect form. From the beginning, this tune never stops and is guaranteed to assist in any workout you dive into. Just make sure to not subconsciously vocalize the “hoo-a!” with Axel at the end. The chick on the thigh machine you’re trying to impress won’t be impressed.
Other Options: Sweet Child O’ Mine, Yesterday
Could You Be Loved (Bob Marley)
We don’t really care that most of his lyrics were about the opposite of ass-kicking or being an animal in the gym, but he did crank out a beat or two that fits in nicely while having sweat roll down your ass. This one is a nice downshift from some of the more high octane tunes you’ll be working out to, but delivers the goods to get you through a quick set without even thinking about how much you’d rather be at Jack in the Box ordering up curly fries.
Other Options: No Woman No Cry
Sympathy for the Devil (The Rolling Stones)
Dude, the devil has never been cooler. This one was made in the sixties and holds up now as if it were made last week. This is a must for any type of workout — weights, cardio, even aerobics for you pansies out there. An added bonus is the length of the song will move your ass through a l long set of weights or even a quick mile run if your heart can take it.
Other Options: Satisfaction, Like a Rolling Stone, Start Me Up
What’s the Frequency, Kenneth? (R.E.M.)
We know Michael Stipe (aka, The Living Skeleton) doesn’t workout to this song — or any song, for that matter — but his vocals on this tune go perfect with whatever circuit you are doing during your workout. Just don’t ask us to decipher all the lyrics for you. We lost our R.E.M. decoder ring.
Other Options: Orange Crush, Man on the Moon
Suspicious Minds (Elvis, Various)
This song has been covered by many — No Doubt, Fine Young Cannibals, Dwight Yoakam, Gavin Rossdale, etc. — but no one did it like the King. Some find it odd to be included in a workout mix, and we did, too. Until we tried it. Add it to your list and see how it increases your bench press. Okay, it won’t increase your bench press, but it might help you not drop the bar on your chest after two reps.
Other Options: After Elvis, we like Dwight Yoakam’s version
Dragula (Rob Zombie)
Just full on ass-kicking metal. While his videos may scare Satan himself, we can’t resist some the new Halloween director’s first career: ear-splitting metal that gets you jacked up for blazing a trail through the gym. The only downside is after your workout you will drive away in your Honda Civic. Not a Dragula.
Other Options: Demon Speeding
We did say this would be a list with variety and we thought we had to include at least one chick. Janis Joplin has some great tunes, but she might have been a man anyway and Lita Ford’s stuff was mostly about guys, so we went with current bad girl, Pink. This song has a catchy beat and while the lyrics can cause some to cringe, the music is enough to keep your heart racing.
Other Options: Find another artist
Crazy Train (Ozzy Osbourne)
You’ll feel like the pro athlete you aren’t since this can be heard cranked in every stadium across the nation at half time or during time outs. We like to crank this one and then run through the yoga class while singing it at the top of our lungs. Now that’s a good workout.
Other Options: Demon Alcohol, Bark at the Moon
Fight for Your Right (to Party) (Beastie Boys)
Sure, partying will get you in shape, just not the shape you want. But having one of the greatest party songs ever cranking into your ears while you’re pumping iron can give you the best of both worlds: getting in shape and having a party in your head at the same time.
Other Options: Intergalactic, Girls