Move to the beat

By Christopher Muther
Globe Staff / April 16, 2009
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If a steady workout schedule has failed to eliminate the love handles, the culprit may be more than midday snacks. Working out to the wrong music has been proven to cut down on the effectiveness of gym time. Costas Karageorghis, associate professor of sport psychology at Brunel University in England and the inventor of the Brunel Music Rating Inventory, found in numerous studies that athletes exercise harder when their workout music is faster and more upbeat. They also enjoy it more. Which means running on the treadmill to the dulcet tones of Dave Matthews and other mellow fellows can be a waste of precious gym hours. Time to start working out with Lady GaGa. To help you make the most of your workout, we polled a handful of local athletes and trainers for music that gets results at the gym and on the trail.

Personal trainer Pat Padgett's motivational songs are the sort of sweat-soaked gems that can be found on the iPods of most teenage boys and professional wrestlers. But he insists songs such as "Boom" and "Victory" will leave you pretending that "you are living in an Under Armour commercial as you throw heavy weights around the gym."

P.Diddy featuring Notorious B.I.G., and Busta Rhymes "Victory"

Rise Against "Ready to Fall"

Eminem "Lose Yourself"

Trick Daddy featuring Lil Jon and Twista

"Let's Go"

P.O.D. "Boom"

Alexa Malzone and Lily Burns, trainers at Sports Club/LA, look for inspiring songs with high tempos and celebratory lyrics for their clients. Burns is especially keen on Wyclef Jean's "I'm Ready." "It makes me want to keep going and pushing myself no matter what I am doing," she says. "It is also totally inspiring for my classes that I teach. I sometimes play it more than once in class to get them fired up."

Daft Punk "One More Time" "It's a New Day"

Wyclef Jean (right)

"I'm Ready"

Lady GaGa "Just Dance"

Snow Patrol "Open Your Eyes"

Kristy DiScipio, area group fitness director at Equinox Fitness Club, favors stadium rock for her workouts. You can never underestimate the positive effects of fist-pumping hair rock for cardio workouts, especially when the message is unflaggingly upbeat. "The reason I love these songs is that they allow me to dig into my workouts no matter how I'm feeling," she says. "They give me a boost and take me to a higher performance level."

AC/DC "You Shook Me All Night Long"

Ian Van Dahl "Inspiration"

Ida Corr vs. Fedde Le Grand "Let Me Think About It"

Bon Jovi (right) "It's My Life"

U2 "Beautiful Day"

Boston Cannons defenseman Mitch Belisle looks for music that keeps him motivated and inspires him to keep his lacrosse stick moving against opponents, hence a healthy dose of rock and hip-hop tunes that feature a heavy dose of posturing. "I went to Bourne High School, and when we came out onto the ice for hockey, this was our song," he says of Guns N' Roses' "Welcome to the Jungle." "So it always gets me fired up to work out or play."

Lil Wayne featuring Kevin Rudolph "Let It Rock"

Roy Jones Jr. "Can't Be Touched"

Eminem featuring 50 Cent, Lloyd Banks, and Cashis "You Don't Know"

Guns N' Roses "Welcome to the Jungle"

T.I. "Bring 'em Out"

John Wayman, founder of Beantown Bootcamp, leads clients through workouts with pseudo-military precision, and workout music is a big part of his drill sergeant motivation. Wayman, who will be running the marathon on Monday, looks for upbeat music for his own training as well. "My songs have lyrics or titles that seem like they were written for runners," Wayman says. "It also helps that the songs have a fast rhythm and a good beat."

Paul Oakenfold "Ready Steady Go"

Ice Cube "You Can Do It"

Fabulous "Breathe"

Guns N' Roses (inset) "Out Ta Get Me"

Gnarls Barkley "Run"