Over the last few years I’ve honed my iPod playlist for the gym down to a tee. There are the songs that have the right beat for running, there are the songs that push me to do just one more push up, and there are the songs that are just damn good tunes.

Everybody loves a good list, so I thought I’d write up my Top 10 workout songs – the songs that are, right now, motivating me to get my bum off the couch and out into the rain and cold to go to the gym. So here they are, in no particular order…

1. Missing (Todd Terry Remix) – Everything But The Girl

Missing - Everything But The Girl

This song has been with me a loooong time. I was 13 years old in 1994, when this song was released, and it spoke to me in the way that a song about missing a lover can only speak to a child on the verge of puberty. I could imagine missing someone ‘like the deserts miss the rain’. With that hunger and desire. The original version is melancholy and much slower than the remix, but the Todd Terry remix is the best and only one to run to. Run while you’re imagining who you would miss like the deserts miss the rain. Run imagining that you are IN the desert and god you’d love for it to rain down right now as you’re 10 minutes into a 30 minute run. Just run.


2. Supermassive Black Hole – Muse

Supermassive Black Hole - Muse

Supermassive Black Hole was the song that introduced me to Muse. Back in 2006 I was living in London, living it UP in London actually, and the drumbeat and riffs of this tune caught me. Then I listened to the lyrics – “I thought I was a fool for no one. Oh baby, I’m a fool for you. You’re the queen of the superficial. And how long before you tell the truth?” Oh I could relate to that. With a brilliant beat for running, I challenge you not to keep pounding the pavement as long as this is pumping at high volume through your headphones.



3. Sweat (Snoop Dogg vs David Guetta Remix)

Sweat - Snoop Dogg vs David Guetta Remix

The song title says it all really. It’s about sweat. Well, it’s not really, as the cover art for the single would suggest, but I choose to think about myself, sweating to get fit, when this comes on my iPod. I use this song when I’m running intervals – jogging in the slower parts, sprinting through the chorus. It’s a brilliant interval training song, and a good one to listen to when you’re lifting weights that feel just a little too heavy and you need an extra push.


4. Push It – Garbage

Garbage - Push It

Who doesn’t love a bit of Shirley Manson? Garbage were HUGE when I was growing up, and formed part of the musical backdrop to my teenage years. Considering how much I used to love them, none of their songs have stayed with me apart from Push It. It’s always the song I request from the DJ at weddings. According to Manson, the song is about “the schizoprenia that exists when you try to reconcile your desires and demons with the need to fit in. It’s a song of reassurance”. I find it another great song to do interval training to, whether running, on the stationary bike or doing weight sets. As soon as the chorus kicks in, I’m off!



5. Encore Une Fois – Sash!

Sash - Encore Une Fois

I was just beginning to dip my toe into the hormonal waters of the Blue Light Disco (this is something only Aussies will understand) when this song was released in the 90s, and it was probably the first French I ever heard in a song. It sounded so…romantic. Imagine pashing a guy in the school hall while this was playing. Never mind what the actual words meant, who cared, it sounded awesome! It’s made it to my gym playlist partly through nostalgia, but mostly because it’s fast and when you’re doing things it makes you do them faster. Like running, or cycling, or anything really.



6. Numb Encore (featuring Jay-Z) – Linkin Park

Numb Encore (featuring Jay-Z) – Linkin Park

Anyone who teams up with Jay-Z is guaranteed a hit, and Linkin Park did it earlier than most in 2003. This song was added to my playlist when I went through my brief phase of road running (a distant thing of the past now – I prefer a treadmill if I HAVE to run). And I tell you, it always got me up a particular hill on my running circuit, and I even got that infamous ‘runner’s high’ that everyone talks about. Fact.




7. Bloodstream – Ed Sheeran & Rudimental

Bloodstream – Ed Sheeran & Rudimental

I’m a big fan of Ed Sheeran, and it was love at first listen for Bloodstream and I. And then it was obsession when I heard the Rudimental remix. This really gets my heart rate flying. The song is apparently about Ed’s experience of taking MDMA while at a wedding in Ibiza. This song definitely kicks in for me.




8. My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up) – Fall Out Boy

8. My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up) – Fall Out Boy

This is another song that got me up that hill during my road running days. I was never a big fan of Fall Out Boy, but this song is a standout for me. It makes me want to sprint like I’m running away from an axe-wielding murderer and a screaming toddler who are both trying to attack me AT THE SAME TIME. If I could fly, this song would be the song I would lift off to.




9. Flashing Lights (featuring Sub Focus & Takura Tendayi) – Chase & Status

Flashing Lights (featuring Sub Focus & Takura Tendayi) – Chase & Status

Flashing Lights is my nod to drum and bass in this eclectic gym playlist. It starts out slow and quiet, but builds to a steady slow running rhythm. I find the lyrical repetition soothing and almost hypnotic. Like a good run can be, actually.






10. Slam – Pendulum

Slam – Pendulum

My husband and I walked into our wedding reception to a (very badly played by the DJ) version of Slam, so it will always hold a special place in my heart. I saw Pendulum for the first time in about 2007 or 2008. Their music opened me up to the world of Aussie drum and bass music, and is brilliant when you just want to rave. It’s a great rev-up tune and features regularly in my warm-up run at the gym.





And we haven’t even started on The Prodigy yet…I’ll save them for another list 😉

What songs rev you up and get you motivated? I’d love to hear your gym playlist faves.

Stay Fit & Well,
Lisa x

  1. Emma Salkild says:

    Awesome list. I love Everything But The Girl & Muse. Can’t wait for the new Muse album 🙂

    I listen to a lot of Bag Raiders and Ladyhawke when I run. I also like Reptillia by The Strokes, No One Knows by Queens of the Stone Age, Paris by Friendly Fires, Dog Days by Florence, Science of Fear by Temper Trap, On’n’On by Justice … I should stop now 😉

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