My workout playlist is… interesting. There are some classic “workout songs” on it, like Kaye West’s “Power” or Kendrick Lamar’s “Backseat Freestyle,” But move a few tracks down and you’ll start to find things that most would consider out of place during a run. There’s Hamilton there, and Pentatonix, and Justin Timberlake’s “Cant Stop This Feeling.” This mix of songs, as eclectic as it feels, actually has a simple and concrete theme running through it: making me happy. This is what I value most in my workouts, and it’s something that isn’t thought about enough.
You see, there’s this perception when it comes to working out, this idea that a proper workout must be defined by intensity. We see this messaging in commercials for Under Armor, Nike, and Adidas all the time. Working out is an intense prospect, full of moments when we stare down the street we’re running down or the field we’re sprinting around with the same stare Usain Bolt gives the track or Peyton Manning gives opposing defenses. There’s so much struggle when working out, and very little, if any, happiness.
But I doubt this idea of working out reflects the way most people feel about working out, and I know it doesn’t reflect how I feel about it. There’s a reason, after all, that I vastly prefer playing pickup sports as my main form of exercise to going on a run or hitting the gym. For me, exercising and working out are meant to be fun. When I want to exercise, when I wake up in the morning excited about the prospect of getting my workout in, my life will go better. My playlist is just one more way to make me more excited about going to work out every day.
So the next time I hear some Jay-Z or Eminem as I’m running I’ll change the song, maybe to Sia’s version of “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without A Smile.” My feet will fall faster, my breathing will come easier, and my day will be just a bit better. And I’ll smile. After all, that’s what working out is all about.