Motivation is the key to keeping your clients primed to keep pushing themselves in your gym or fitness center. And what better motivator is there than workout music? From the gym floor to the fitness facility, music has become an essential element of exercise. It can influence intensity, elevate a client’s mood and boost motivation. A growing number of gym owners are becoming aware that music selections can either enhance workouts or send their clients to another facility. Restaurants, shops and supermarkets routinely use music to influence their customers’ moods and behaviors – why not do the same in your gym?

Tailor the Music to the Exercise

Two of the most important qualities of workout music are tempo and rhythm. Most people instinctually synchronize their movements to music by tapping their toes, nodding their heads or even by breaking out into dance.

While the type of music that inspires these reactions varies from person to person, fast songs with strong beats are typically stimulating in a fitness-based environment. The three most popular types of workout music are, unsurprisingly, rock, pop and hip-hop. However, playing music with a slower tempo is useful when warming up or cooling down.

A 2005 study concluded that most people prefer rhythms at a frequency of two hertz (120 beats per minute). In an analysis of more than 74,000 popular songs produced between 1960 and 1990, results indicated that 120 bpm was the most dominant rhythm.

When running on a treadmill, many clients favor music with a slightly higher tempo of about 160 bpm. However, research suggests that a beat per minute higher than 145 doesn’t seem to provide much, if any, additional motivation.

The Benefits of Playing Music

Everything you do with your fitness business reflects the brand you’re cultivating. The same principles of branding that govern your decor choices and equipment layout should also apply to the music you play in your facility. Here are several beneficial reasons for your customers to rock out during a gym session.

  • Working Out to Music is a Great Distraction: Working out to music not only makes your gym members less aware of their exertions, playing upbeat, fast-tempo tunes helps focus attention more on the music than the pain or fatigue caused by strenuous exercise.
  • The Right Music Puts Athletes in the Zone: Everyone has a go-to song guaranteed to get them “in the zone” – especially athletes and fitness clients. People naturally associate certain songs with often vivid memories of people, places or events in their lives. Channeling those memories boosts the motivational power of songs, which leads to more enthusiastic, improved physical performances.
  • The Beat Sets the Pace: The rhythm of your in-house workout music helps stimulate the brain’s motor area. This influences self-paced exercises such as weight lifting or running, because syncing into such audio signals helps clients use their energy in a steadier, more efficient way.
  • Music Elevates Moods: It’s no secret that music influences the moods of those listening to it. In many fitness or wellness settings, people listen to music to motivate themselves or find self-awareness. Playing the right music can inspire athletes to focus, which can diminish negativity. Any type of physical effort is more productive when the client is motivated to power through the workout.
  • Music Encourages Movement and Effort: High-tempo, upbeat music excites the brain and encourages physical movement. A specially-chosen playlist can make your clients move — no matter how tired they are or how much they may dread the workout. But remember, music that is too fast can be as unproductive as music with a slower rhythm.

Despite their popularity, algorithmic playlists accessed on personal devices offer little to no options for real customization and variation for fitness clients. And very few offer fitness businesses access to a commercial license that will protect it from potential music copyright infringement.

However, implementing a professional music service makes it easy. It not only allows you to choose multiple playlists that are right for your gym and the various types of workouts you offer. At Retail Radio, our system employs a simple plug-and-play way to deliver the right music to your clients.  When listening to music, your clients will tend to put more enthusiasm into weight training. They also walk or run farther, swim faster and bike longer than usual – often without realizing it.


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