This month, drive your New Year’s fitness goals with this high-energy playlist.
Celebrating the New Year together offers us a collective opportunity to partake in the ritual of renewal. Of course, what matters most is discipline. Changing your habits for a month is only a temporary balm if you’re seeking long-term solutions. The challenge is keeping the momentum going when all you want to do is slow down or revert to subpar patterns.
Eating better (often expressed as “losing weight”) and working out more are at the top of the list for many people every January. Yet, without clear goals and routines, these ambiguous sentiments have little chance of manifesting.
Set a new type of fitness goal
Often I hear people say they wish to become “more flexible,” “stronger” and “leaner.” But how to ramp up at home, or on the trail, or in the studio? The biggest piece of advice I offer to students: Practice something to counter the workouts you’re already doing.
If you’re a runner, add yoga into the mix—after your runs, never before. If you run and do yoga, how about your pull-up routine? If you spend most of your time lifting weights, what about body-weight movements like Animal Flow, which is going to make you strong in ways that isolating muscle groups through repetitive straining will not? Do you regularly practice the four major movement patterns: jumping, squatting, pushing, pulling?
Those four movement patterns are much broader than they appear at first glance. Jumping could mean box jumps, but biomechanically speaking, running is jumping as well. Squatting could be loaded or body-weight, kettlebell press squats or yoga squats. From my perspective, any of these are the right moves to do, so long as your posterior kinetic chain being strengthened is an added bonus—an important reminder in an anterior-focused culture (a result of our sitting for long periods of time).
Instead of working out more in 2018, work out better. Work out smarter. Work out everything. Adding 10 minutes to your treadmill routine might be a goal, though incorporating HIIT into the mix is probably more beneficial. Getting into spin classes is a great low-impact way to get breathless, though, if you only spin, then you need some impact for bone health. If there’s something you struggle with, do more of it. Not only will you gain in that department, but the workouts you already enjoy will also become better.
A playlist to help you crush it
This month’s playlist is a high-energy kick-off to the New Year. It’s all music I play in my kettlebell, ViPR, body conditioning and cycle classes. The first half of the playlist includes house songs that I’ve found in recent weeks that translate well in the studio. Jose Marquez’s songs and remixes are so good I begin with two from him. The Afro Warriors track is especially driving in a dimly lit studio cycling room, while Claptone’s remix of a classic New Order track is a certain adrenaline booster. David Herrero is adept at melodic-based house with thriving African rhythms. The Pig&Dan song is eight minutes of pulsing bliss that will push you beyond your limits in any workout.
The second half is dedicated to upbeat hip-hop and rock. MHD is a young Parisian rapper whose music has been crushing it in my ab classes. Classic tracks by Beastie Boys, A Tribe Called Quest, Craig Mack, the Roots, Run the Jewels and Nas are on all on my personal workout playlist. I close out with a Rage Against the Machine classic, followed by Prophets of Rage, which is Rage without Zack but including Public Enemy’s Chuck D and DJ Lord and Cypress HIll’s B-Real.
Whatever your goals for 2018, I hope this soundtrack helps you crush them. Now, let’s see you stronger by next December, so that next January the goal game reaches new plateaus.
Photo credit: Alexander Redl, Unsplash