Music can be great motivator during workout

Craig Cunningham
Cullen Naumoff's Spin class at the YWCA Charleston rides hard to the music. Naumoff tries to plan a range of tempos to alter the pace of her exercisers.
Cullen Naumoff's Spin class at the YWCA Charleston rides hard to the music. Naumoff tries to plan a range of tempos to alter the pace of her exercisers.
CHARLESTON, WV -- The day after the Super Bowl, social media was abuzz with comments about the high-energy halftime performance by Bruno Mars.Folks who exercise were likely thinking how "Runaway Baby" would make a great addition to a workout playlist.That up-tempo tune could inspire some dance moves, but it also would add some spunk to a morning run or some jump to a cycling class.When it comes to the music we work out to, inspiring is the key. If you don't like it, you won't like it any better as you slog through your ab workout or your hill repeats.
Local fitness instructors say they need to be motivated by music when they teach, too, and that usually means picking music appropriate for the activity at hand — and stuff they really like as well.Cullen Naumoff says she creates playlists for the Spin classes she teaches at the YWCA in Charleston based upon her personal preferences — you're likely to hear Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros and the Avett Brothers show up a time or two.But tempo rules."I pick songs that most importantly have a mix of tempos both amongst one another and within each song — this is important for the 'syncronization' I try to do with the type of Spin movement and the music beat," Naumoff said.She added that she also chooses music that speaks to her — "often, it's both Top 100 and/or indie," she said."I used to try hard to play a variety including my favorite tunes (Top 100, indie/folk rock) country, hard rock, etc. However, since I don't spend a lot of time listening to the latter genres mentioned, my Spin timing and passion was not as profound. I find I offer a better spin class if I'm really into the music."Naumoff, who is in her late 20s, gravitates to her generation's music. The same is true with longtime instructor Matthew Brown, who has been teaching Spin since before his curly hair turned gray. Typically, Brown said, he turns to music he loves, but is always happy to add songs that class members request. He often develops Spin rides around themes, such as his Fast Legs Friday class."For Fast Leg Fridays, we use mostly an '80s and '90s disco track," he said. "I just try to match the music to the theme."Because a Spin class contains a variety of tempos to match sets that include simulated climbs, sprints and time out of the saddle, it's important that the beat of the song be correct.When he's creating a new songlist, Brown often tests it out on the treadmill first.
Interestingly, when he's working out on his own, say, lifting weights, Brown rarely uses music.
"I usually lift in silence . . .  really," he said. "I put the headphones on but do not turn the music on — that way people leave me alone. Back in the old days, it was a real distraction to work out and folks would want to come and talk. So I wore a head set with no music. . . Just nice to have solitude sometimes!"Avid runner Jenny Mayo uses music sometimes and avoids it other times."I have to say I love, love, love and have to have my music on the routine runs around town," she said. "It helps to minimize the monotony. I am always adding to or deleting songs from my list for the same reason, with a huge chunk of '80s music that remains constant and will never get old."Mayo, who is in her 40s, said her husband, Tim, likes to plug in during daily runs, but instead of music often downloads lectures from various universities.The Mayos are of like minds when it comes to races, however. Their current goal is to run a marathon or half-marathon in every state.
"Tim and I are like-minded when it comes to music during a race — and we don't do it," she said.There are two reasons for that."We learned as we've traveled the states that you miss out on so much if your ears are plugged up — locals sharing info, encouragement from each other and the crowd, and it helps to keep us focused on whatever goals we've set for ourselves," she said.The other reason is that relying on music to keep you going during a race can backfire."As for relying on an iPod during a race, I learned the hard way early on that you can't when during a torrential downpour at mile 3 of a half-marathon — mine died and it never recovered," she said.Husband and wife Tony and Terri Centofanti have been avid fitness buffs since they both made lifestyle changes several years ago and lost a bunch of weight. They now both teach classes at the Charleston YMCA.Terri, who teaches kick boxing and other floor classes, says the number of beats per minute are critical in choreographing her classes, so she typically turns to formulated playlists created by MoveYa, PowerMusic or Dynamix."I teach my core classes and any step training at 128-130 beats per minute to give participants time to complete the movements," she said. "If I am warming up or teaching a kick-box or other floor format the beats per minute are anywhere from 138 to 150. I like a variety of music and I try to keep my audience in mind when selecting a playlist; however, I typically choose music that drives me. Because if I am having a good time teaching, then I feel that they can feel my enthusiasm and also have fun."Terri eschews her class playlists when working out on her own."I do not listen to the formatted music, because if I have my headphones on and it is just me and the music, the '1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 . . . 1, 2, 3, 4 and so on drives me nuts!" she said. Instead, she turns to music that has not been engineered especially for its beat.Husband Tony said he's always looking for fresh material for his classes, with a good beat being the main criteria — "something that would make you want to move," he explained."That would be the same for Spin or any of my personal workouts," he added. "Personally, I try to use music for all workout activities as it keeps you moving and probably mitigates the boredom to a degree."
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