11 Songs That Will Pump You Up During Your Workout

Bust a move (and a gut) with this playlist.
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"Go!" Plumtree

“1! 2! 3!” Time to wake up early! From a hearty breakfast to morning vitamins, this kick-starting song by Canadian indie rock band Plumtree has enough happy juice to count you off and set you jumping your way into the gym or the outdoors. “4! 5! 6!” Touchdown! Let the workout begin.


"Energy" The Apples in Stereo

When Pepsi rebranded and debuted their new logo in 2009, this song was the soundtrack. These guys are fans of soda in real life, but this fourth track from their album New Magnetic Wonder sounds more like the musical equivalent to the bursting flavor of a sugary energy drink.

"Thinking It" Micachu and the Shapes

“I went for a run this morning. It wasn’t the best. I didn’t feel very strong. Kind of limped my way through it,” keyboardist Raisa Khan enunciates in this embodiment by Micachu and the Shapes of how most of us feel. It’s almost like the anti-anthem for lazy people who at least try to work out. Don’t we all limp our way through it? “At least (you) did it.”

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"Body" Thao with the Get Down Stay Down

Sex is a form of workout too, right? But it can be hard when it becomes the reason why relationships are “not working out.” This song, written by Vietnamese-American Thao Nguyen, is about just being a “body in (someone’s) bed” and the toxicity that comes with it. Fun fact: the music video for “Body” was directed by Dianna Agron of the hit TV series Glee.


"Closer" Tegan and Sara

This is the part where it gets serious. Let’s speed it up a bit and “make things (more) physical,” as twins Tegan and Sara sing in the first track of their most dance-y album to date. It’s a drastic leap from their usual quirky acoustic ballads and angsty odes to reckless relationships. Heartthrob is definitely a thousand heartbeats more optimistic. Can you keep up?


"Bulletproof" La Roux

The peak of any workout session involves a brief surge of agony before the cathartic feeling of being almost invincible. Once past the pain, a sense of self-fulfillment takes over, almost as if the finish line has been reached. This song by pop electronic artist La Roux is a tense evening jog with a selfish nonchalant lover.

"Help I’m Alive" Metric

Don’t be scared if your heart is “beating like a hammer” at this point. It means you’re alive more than ever. It is in this moment that “blood’s still flowing” in your veins, and every second after is either an opportunity missed or an opportunity made. “Don’t take life for granted” is the saying that Metric frontwoman Emily Haines has perfectly captured in the piano ballad-turned-electronic anthem, “Help I’m Alive.”

"I’m Not Dancing" Tirzah

Tirzah’s title track for her debut EP is almost a subversion of popular dance music: beats stripped to a bare minimum, a classical recorder wheezing out of nowhere, and a raw nascent voice rising out of the mix. Tirzah’s collaborator and school friend Mica Levi, responsible for the non-vocal aspect, has always been known for the amateurish charm of her experiments in music. Both girls warp, question, and disestablish their formal training in what could become the future of dance-pop.



"Nabuma Rubberband" Little Dragon

Let’s take the tempo down with this tight slow jam by Little Dragon. With singing as seductive as vocalist Yukimi’s, who would have thought she was singing about dead birds and miserable men in night trains? Nabuma Rubberband is a timeless work of art and an ultimate feat in poetic R&B.

"Heartbeats" The Knife

Hypnotic synths, clever key riffs, and haunting yet catchy vocals glazed in an infectious Swedish accent—this ought to slow you down. “Heartbeats,” along with the album that contains it, has the makings of an indie electronica classic, which allowed sibling duo The Knife the cult status they deserve. The song sounds like one of the last ones you would play before the end of a party, just before people start to make out with one another.

"Building Too" B.P. Valenzuela

Congratulations, you’ve reached the end of your workout. Now here’s another exercise in listening to local music more: B.P. Valenzuela is hard to resist for a number of good reasons—the quality of her work is pristine; she’s one of the rare electronic acts whose music sounds sincerely and exactly like their soul; and she puts up a live one-woman show like no other. Now, go out there and watch a gig or something, you deserve it for actually getting off your butt to jog today.

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Alyana Cabral
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