Dad at 40

Fitness, Nutrition, Parenting, and Life

Your Song – The Correlation between Fitness and Music

my song

Cor·re·la·tion – a mutual relationship or connection between two or more things.

As I think about things to write, I come up with idea after idea and I find myself prioritizing the things that I want to share. I have things lined about protein, workouts, diet, blenders, and so many other topics. But, this one stuck out for me a bit – Music.

Music is an interesting animal – it can calm us, inspire us, mend a broken heart, motivate us, and elicit so many other emotional responses. It has a unique power to do things in ways that we cannot comprehend, but we can relate to. Here is a very academic article explaining it all:

In a nutshell, music allows us to look at deeply emotional things and process them in a way that makes sense to us and is even therapeutic. So, when we find ourselves feeling particularly emotional, we search out that song that gives that emotion meaning. Or that song that transports us back to a happy place.

Music and Fitness

But Rod, you write about health and fitness mostly, so what does music have to do with that?

Most health clubs and gyms have music on in the background. Perhaps it is just for the background noise or it is because people enjoy music, but I always find that the music being played is not suited to my pacing or tempo. It just slows me down. As I try to focus on the weight movement and pace of my repetitions, certain types of music just screw me up. It is incredibly frustrating. Sometimes I tune it out, but sometimes it is a catchy song I like, but that is not right for the gym. Sometimes, and I do hate when this happens, a kiddie jingle or song pops into my head and I cannot get it out of there no matter how hard I try. Seriously, try working out with the wheels on the bus go ‘round and ‘round going through your head,

So, if music can throw me off, is it then possibly for it to amp me up?  Well, according to this article:

music has a significant effect on athletics. I tend to think back to my days in high school when I played basketball. We would always open our pre-game warmup to something like Marky Mark’s Good Vibrations or Gun’s & Roses Welcome to the Jungle. It was always something upbeat and harder hitting. So, it is naturally something we all strive for. I know a lot of people like loud beats. Rap. Metal. Heavy paced music to push them. I cannot walk through the gym without seeing someone using a pair of Beats headphones and listening to something. And, I always wonder just what is on their music player. So, there is a definite correlation between the intensity of the music and working out. Pacing. Beat. Rhythm. Tempo. These things matter.

Taking it up a Notch

However, I want to take it up a notch. I am not just looking for the song that is fast paced or heavy hitting. I started to look for the song that not only motivated me, but that fit the narrative of my life. I have a ton of workout songs. They meet all the criteria that I seek when working out. But, I keep coming back to one song that is a metaphor for my life. And yes, it is pretty cliché, so nothing I can do about that. But, for me, the song is Eminem’s Lose Yourself. Yes, I get it. I have a professional job, make a solid salary, and do not have the challenges his character faced in the movie 8 Mile.

But, let me break it down why it pushes me so hard:

If you had
One shot
Or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted
In one moment
Would you capture it
Or just let it slip?

For me, this resonates. As I look back on my life, I can tell you I had moments to seize. Moments to capture. And I let it slip. We all have those moments. This does not mean we will not get them back, but they get fewer and farther between. And sadly, for some of us, it is only one moment….usually based on our socio-economic status. So, this is a powerful motivator for me.

His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy
There’s vomit on his sweater already, mom’s spaghetti
He’s nervous, but on the surface he looks calm and ready
To drop b
ombs, but he keeps on forgettin’
What he wrote down, the whole crowd goes so loud
He opens his mouth, but the words won’t come out
He’s chokin’, how, everybody’s jokin’ now
The clocks run out, times up, over, blaow!
Snap back to reality, oh there goes gravity

I have had these moments in my life. Moments where I choked. Where I could not find the courage to speak my mind or say what needed to be said. These were valuable and teachable moments for me. They helped shape how I see the world now. I swore never again to hold back and to speak when I needed to speak.

You better lose yourself in the music, the moment
You own it, you better never let it go
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime you better

You better lose yourself in the music, the moment
You own it, you better never let it go
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime

The refrain. You have to lose yourself truly in a moment. You have to put yourself out there. Take a change. Be passionate. With great risk comes great reward. Of course, with great risk comes the potential for great loss. Playing it safe might be the wise choice. But, playing it safe may also be the wrong choice. I call this living by the sword and dying by the sword. Although I do think you can fight for more than one opportunity.

 No more games, I’m a change what you call rage
Tear this motherfuckin’ roof off like two dogs caged
I was playin’ in the beginnin’, the mood all changed
I been chewed up and spit out and booed off stage
But I kept rhymin’ and stepwritin’ the next cipher
Best believe somebody’s payin’ the pied piper
All the pain inside amplified by the
Fact that I can’t get by
with my nine to
Five and I can’t provide the right type of
Life for my family ’cause man, these God damn food stamps don’t buy diapers

At a certain point, I just had to get serious. I had to buckle down. I had to make a choice to move forward. To push forward despite the struggle. I need to do more with my life. I needed to claw my way out of the hole I was in.

And on and on. This song, while not a direct reflection of my life, resonated with me on a metaphorical level. Couple that with an intense beat and powerful emotions it elicited from me and it became an anthem of sorts, despite its clichéd nature. See, it is not about what other people perceive it to be, but what it means to me. How it moves me. How it drives me to push myself. There is not just a connection because it is a good workout song. It is a song that reminded me of aspects of my life. Of my failures. Of my mistakes. And yes, I conquered them. I am lucky. But I am not exempt from making those mistakes again. We can become complacent in our lives. We settle. We stop fighting. We stop pushing ourselves. That is a weight I carry every day. So, this one songs drives me to remember that and it fuels me in the gym. It makes me push harder. It makes me push the weight. It makes me want to succeed because I know I have failed.

So, this article is about your finding your song. Finding that one song that is not only your workout song, but the anthem that drives your life. Whatever that song is, you must find it for yourself. I am not judging what it is. If it is Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus, Metallica, Nirvana, Jay Z, Kanye, or whoever else, you need to find it. You need to use it to drive you.

And if it drives you in your life and inspires you, then use it in the gym. Apply it to your health and fitness. Use it while you run. Use it while you lift. Use it to motivate you to walk around the block. Push yourself. Drive yourself. Challenge yourself. Demand more from yourself (safely and within limits). But you must make that choice. So, find your song. Find your anthem. Find your musical fuel. As Eminem says:

Success is my only motherfuckin’ option, failures not.

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