Have you ever been driving down the freeway, listening to a fast-paced song and suddenly realize that you’re driving at warp speed? Are there certain songs you listen to that you know when they come on you’ll immediately perk up and start grooving?

Your entire energy and mood can change when a particular song comes on. Movie producers have been using music to influence the emotional reactions of audiences for decades. If you really want to see what kind of impact music has on human emotions, just watch a scene from a movie with the original musical score, and then rewind and watch it again on mute and sync it up to play with a random song from Spotify or Pandora. You’ll get a totally different vibe to that scene. Or if that seems like too much work – just watch this video clip of a scene from the move Pirates of the Caribbean with the original score and then with three other alternative scores:

Research has shown music to improve athletic performance in many ways; from diverting your attention away from fatigue, increasing your physiological arousal, helping you set your pace, decreasing cortisol levels … music can have a BIG impact on performance. In fact, the impact is so significant that in 2007, USA Track & Field actually banned the use of headphones and audio devices to prevent runners from using music to gain a competitive edge. The rule has since been amended, but the ban is still in place for Championship races where awards or money are on the line.

If you haven’t done this already, it’s time to create a playlist. And if you have done it, it may be time to check out some new tools to help revise and refine your playlist(s):


If you have a long day of training ahead of you, listening to music can help distract you from pain and fatigue. Listening to music keeps your brain focused on the song instead of the physical sensations in your body. Research has shown that the tempo of the music you are listening to can increase (or decrease!) the effort of your output by 10%-15%. Music can also influence your rate of perceived effort, or in other words how hard it feels like you are working. Choose songs with a tempo to match the pace you want. The research shows that the best exercise music should be 120 – 140bpm.

Check out these cool music apps to help you choose songs with a specific BPM:




Your choice of music before a performance is key. Music can help influence and guide your mood towards optimal pre-performance emotions and can aid in filtering out distractions that may increase feelings of anxiety. Music can be used to either get you energized and psyched up, help you relax to get calm and composed, or help you feel grounded, strong, and confident. You can even listen to music before you go out to train to get motivated for your workout.

Check out these cool apps to help you choose songs that evoke a specific mood:



Let’s start making music! Share your favorite motivational and workout songs here!