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Pump Up Your Playlist: 10 Tips & Tricks to Creating Legendary Playlists!

As a fellow fitness pro, I know you know better than anyone that creating an engaging and motivating playlist is more than just a list of songs. It's about building an experience that resonates with your participants and keeps them coming back for more. It's about putting in the time and effort to craft a playlist that's inclusive, diverse, and perfectly tailored to your class. And sometimes we can spend hours putting together the perfect I right?! I feel you! Which is why I put together the following 10 tips to provide some inspiration to elevate your playlist game and save you time in the long run, with action items that you can apply instantly to create a legendary soundtrack for your next class!

Tip #1: Consider the demographics of your class

In addition to age, gender, and musical taste, consider other factors like cultural background, fitness level, and personal preferences. These details can help you create a playlist that feels tailored to each individual in your class, making them feel welcomed and engaged.

Action Item: Design a survey or questionnaire (ie. Survey Monkey or Social Media) that asks specific questions related to cultural background, fitness level, and music preferences. Encourage participants to fill it out before class or via social media. Think of all the ways you can create a playlist that's customized to the unique interests of your participants with this information!

Added Bonus: Encouraging your participants to fill out a survey not only helps you create a more tailored playlist, but it also helps you build a network of engaged individuals who are invested in your brand and business. Their feedback and input are invaluable in helping you improve and grow as a fitness professional.

Tip #2: Take requests

Engage your participants by allowing them to make requests for the music in your class, creating a collaborative and welcoming environment where everyone feels seen and heard.

Action Item 1: Pick 2 participants in your next class that you don't [yet] know that well OR that are celebrating something special coming up (birthday, graduation, etc.), and ask them for their top 1-3 all-time favorite jams, artist, or genre.

Action Item 2: Establish a monthly "Total Request Line" post on your social media, inviting participants to submit their song requests by a specific deadline.

Added Bonus: Incorporating some of the requested songs with shout outs to the specific persons request during class shows your appreciation and creates a sense of connection between participants. It also fosters a community among your class members, helping them build relationships and engage with each other.

Tip #3: Mix up the genres

Shake up the vibe by experimenting with various music genres! Incorporating a range of styles such as pop, hip-hop, rock, and EDM can keep things exciting and fresh.

Action Item: When exploring different genres, consider the overall objective and desired energy level of your specific class, and explore different cultures and time periods to find the perfect fit. For example, you could search for top chart Hip Hop/Funk songs from the 70s that have a tempo of 130 bpm to add some variety and keep your participants raving, loyal fans.

Added Bonus: Mixing up genres can be a fantastic way to create themed playlists!

Tip #4: Use music with a strong beat

Look for songs with a clear and consistent beat to help your participants stay in rhythm and maintain their pace throughout the workout. Match the tempo of the music to the intensity of the exercise for maximum impact.

Action Item: Utilize a music software or BPM App to compile playlists of songs categorized by specific tempos. Start by selecting songs with a tempo that matches the exercises you have planned, and gradually increase the tempo as the workout intensifies.

Added Bonus: Unlock instant access to HOURS of playlists organized by specific tempos (BPM/RPM) that are already created for you in the GFG Playlist Playground!

Tip #5: Add some old-school classics

Incorporating classic songs that everyone knows and loves creates a sense of nostalgia and familiarity, which is why it's a good idea to incorporate them into your playlist.

Pro Tip: Be intentional about when and how you play these songs in your class. Using them strategically will create a fun and inclusive atmosphere where everyone feels like they belong!

Action Item: Research popular songs from different eras and genres [Top Hits, Top Sing Along Songs or One Hit Wonders] and create a playlist that incorporates a variety of familiar tunes from a specific era or genre, such as 80s pop or Motown hits. Be sure to mix in these classic songs at key moments during your workout.

Bonus Action Item: Consider incorporating trivia or fun facts about the songs or artists to enhance the experience and create an even deeper connection with your class! This could be a great time to give your class a way to interact rather than zoning out during rest periods.

Tip #6: Get creative with remixes

Remixes can give a new and exciting flavor to popular songs, but it's crucial to choose versions that match the tempo and energy of your workout being sure that the remix doesn't have a really slow or fast drop somewhere in the mix that throws off the vibe.

Action Item: In order to find remixes that maintain the energy and tempo of the original song while adding a unique and fresh twist, look for remixes that are specifically designed for workouts or have been popular in fitness classes. Follow top fitness instructors playlists or type "Fitness Remixes" into your next search.

Pro Tip: Incorporating remixes during high-intensity portions of your class will keep participants energized and motivated. Be creative in your remix placement to maximize its impact.

Tip #7: Keep the energy level consistent...or not!

Play with sudden shifts in energy levels that could disrupt the entire all the good ways! Use a gradual build-up of energy throughout your playlist to create a sense of progression and momentum.

Action Item: Strategically place songs with varying tempos and intensities throughout your playlist to create a dynamic and energetic experience for your participants. For example, you could start with slower, more mellow songs for warm-up, and choose specific emotions to go along with each block or set in your class and match the song energy to that specific emotion, and then bringing the tempo back down for the cool-down period.

Pro Tip: Be careful not to be too creative and lose the overall flow and feel of your me, I've done it.

Added Bonus: Yes indeed there are already made, organized by emotion/energy themed playlists, created to save you time, in the GFG Playlist Playground!

Tip #8: Use motivational lyrics

Choose songs with lyrics that inspire your participants to push themselves harder. Use them deliberately during difficult portions of the workout to foster a sense of empowerment and motivation.

Action Item1: Create a list of motivational lyrics that resonate with your class plan and search for songs that feature them. Or,

Action Item 2: Select one keyword and Google search for songs that have the word "________" in them.

Pro Tip: Be extra intentional about when you play these songs during your class, such as during a particularly challenging exercise or towards the end of the class to provide a final push of motivation.

Added Bonus: We talk about how to theme, find really creative cues, and create an entire playlist around motivational lyrics in our video series "Please Don't Stop the Music: Using Music as the BEST Co-Teacher" found in the GFG Knowledge Channel.

Tip #9: Change up your warm-up and cool-down songs...but nothing else

Sometimes we overthink and over-complicate the systems. Have you ever created THE perfect playlist, and then are too soon reminded that you have to come up with another one? What if you just changed the beginning and the end to shift the entire experience? To keep your playlists interesting while maintaining consistency, experiment with changing your warm-up and cool-down songs. These songs frame your workout and can make a big impact on the overall vibe.

Action Item: Create separate playlists specifically for warm up and cool down jams, so you can easily access them and make a whole new playlist in a matter of seconds!

Added Bonus: I don't mean to be repetitive... but it's too good not to share...there are organized Warm Up + Cool Down playlists fresh with multiple options to start and end your next class in the GFG Playlist Playground!

Tip #10: Use music as your time manager

If you've known me for a while, you've likely heard me preach about this before: music is a powerful tool for managing time during workouts, helping you and your participants stay on track.

Action Item 1: Develop a plan for the structure of your class and align the duration of each segment with specific songs or sections of songs. This will help you ensure that each part of the workout is appropriately timed and keeps the energy high.

Action Item 2: Create playlists that are specifically designed for different lengths of time, so you can quickly choose a song that fits the time frame you need. For instance, create playlists for 3-4 minute jams, 4-5 minute jams, and so on, with songs that align with each of these time frames that saves you so much time in the long run when searching for that perfect 3-minute jam!

Added Bonus: And yes, there are also hours of playlists that are organized by duration, which you can use to save time and create your own playlists, in the GFG Playlist Playground!

Regularly updating your soundtracks with new songs, remixes, and genres of music will keep your classes engaged and excited to come back week after week! Using social media and direct interaction with your members to gather feedback and suggestions on new songs and genres to incorporate, along with using the power of AI in most of our music apps today will always leave your auditory signature in every class!

But the learning doesn't ever stop in our world, does it?! Check out our video library music series "Please Don't Stop The Music" found in your Knowledge Channel, where we break down all of the latest Spotify tips & tricks and dive deeper into the strategies mentioned in this article.

And if you're not yet a member, click to start your journey towards elevating your knowledge and skills by signing up for our 30-day trial. As a member of The GFG, you'll gain access to a wealth of resources that helps save you time and energy in your class planning and become part of an incredible network of passionate instructors that share one thing, our love to teach. Click to get 30-days FREE to try it out and see for yourself.

Since we're always looking for new ways to engage our participants with music, leave a comment below with your favorite technique or strategy, and let's continue to learn and grow together!

Much Love,


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