Musical Cardio Playlist + solo spin sesh

Hi! Happy long weekend! Hope you fun plans ahead for the holiday. We’re grilling with friends and hopefully I’ll get to do a little paddleboarding adventure. 😉 I’m also teaching spin again! When I taught last week, I was super nervous -it had been forever since my last class but decided to go in there with a “fake it til ya make it mentality- but it ended up going well. I’m excited to teach again this week, and in my attempt to practice and put a playlist together in advance, I thought I’d post it if anyone wants a cardio boost or solo spin session this weekend.

The beauty about these types of workouts (musical cardio!) is that you let the music dictate what happens. The slow, intense songs are increased resistance, while fast, upbeat tempos are your sprints. Of course, I like to add jumps, tempo work and rolling hills in there, too.

Here’s what I put together for this week’s class:

Musical cardio


July spin playlist

And a widget to preview the songs to see if you like them 🙂


Cardio guidelines for each song:

1. Summer: warm up. Use this song to include moderate resistance and speed. Take deep breaths and focus on warming up the body. Spin: roll shoulders back, inhale and exhale with arms up, and keep moderate pace on a flat incline.

2. Tightrope: tempo work. Start to work on some speed to get the legs moving! Increase your speed and maintain it with slight speed increases on the chorus. Decrease speed during the verses. 

3. People Like Us: jumps. For spin, we’ll do jumps by standing up for two counts (position 2), out to position 3 for two counts, back up to 2 for two counts and sit down on the bike for 2 counts. (Each set is 8 counts.) If you’re on the treadmill, hop off for this song and do squats for the verses and squat jumps for the chorus. Enjoy 😉

4. Ain’t It Fun: hill part 1. Every time she says “Ain’t in fun,” add in some resistance. When you can’t take it any more, hold that heavy incline for 1 minute before decreasing and repeating. 

5. Alone Together: hill part 2. On the spin bike, come up to position 2 (standing) and increase resistance every 30 seconds. Take it out to position 3 (heaviest resistance) and sit, keeping that high resistance for the last minute). If you’re on the treadmill, this is the second part of your heavy hill. Try to get it up to 12-15% during the song and keep your highest incline until the end.

6. Wizard: sprints. Nice flat incline (2% if you’re on a treadmill; spin bike RPE 5-6 out of a 1-10 scale). Sprint as FAST as you can for 30 seconds, recover for 30 seconds. Repeat for the entire song. You can also use the music as your guide: when it tells you to speed up, go for it!

7. Break Free: free style. Hills, jumps, flat, fast steady state, your choice. This is a great chance to shake the legs out after the two incline songs + spring.

8. Love Runs Out: jumps. Counting jumps on the spin bike: up for 8 counts, down for 8, up for 4, down for 4, up for 2, down for 2. (I’ll do 4-8 sets of each.) If you’re on the treadmill, hop off for this song and walking lunges for the verses, pushups for the chorus.

9. Titanium: sprints. Keep a moderate pace with a flat incline for the verses, and during the chorus, crank up the incline and go as fast as you can. 

10. Rude: last heavy hill. “Why you gotta be so rude?”<— add in some resistance. On the spin bike, when it becomes too heavy to maintain a full rotation of the pedals, bring it up to standing position and continue to crank the resistance before bringing it out to position 3. Treadmill: by minute 3, be at your highest resistance. Hold it here.

11. Animals: speed and incline work. During the driving part of this song (the most intense instrumental portion), you’ll be sprinting, increasing your speed every 10 seconds. During the part that I can only describe by sounding like ping pong balls, you’ll keep an easy pace and shake your legs out. During the slow part, build resistance before decreasing it right as you start to sprint. 

12. All of Me: cool down. Take down the speed and incline, use the entire song to breathe and get your heart rate back down.

13. Chandelier: stretch!

(The last two songs are on the playlist for filler songs or to do something with them later!)

Let me know if you give it a try <3

Check in with your workout here for this week’s White Plum giveaway!



Some 4th of July links:

No-bake blueberry jam bars

The best pasta salad EVER

The best fruit salad ever

Berry crumble in a jar

“The crunch” chopped salad

Grilled pizza

BBQ kale chips

Red, White and BOOTY circuit!

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  1. Erin @ Girl Gone Veggie on July 3, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    I’m SO excited for you to get to try SUP! Josh and I went for a date night and had so much fun. We’re contemplating buying boards so we can go out and do it more often.

  2. Lauren @ Focused To Be Fit on July 3, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    Awesome list and super fancy widget to preview! I’m thinking grilled pizza is on the menu this weekend, FOR SURE!

  3. Domi @ Eat, Pray, Lift on July 3, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    Music cardio is one of my favorite kinds of cardio…Thanks for sharing! I’ll definitely give this a shot once my foot is healed and I’m back in a gym.

    Hope you and the fam have a spectacular Independence Day/weekend of shenanigans! 🙂

  4. GiselleR @ Diary of an ExSloth on July 3, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    I’ve never considered doing a solo spin session but this playlist is inspiring me! Any playlist that begins with a Calvin Harris song is a winner in my eyes ears!
    Thanks for sharing 😀

  5. Ellen on July 3, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    Great playlist! I’ve been looking for a new spin playlist to mix it up, I can’t always get to the spin class at my gym and it’s great to know I can do my own one in my own time. Thanks!

  6. Emily on July 3, 2014 at 7:17 pm

    Yay new music! And I loooove paddle boarding, it’s my new favorite. Have you ever tried bringing Livi on your board? Last time I went they suggested I could have Squish ride with me, but I don’t trust either my skills or his impulsiveness enough to think that would be a good idea 🙂

  7. Megan @ The Skinny-Life on July 3, 2014 at 10:16 pm

    Have fun paddle boarding. I don’t think I would have the courage to try that one. Can’t wait to hear about your experience!

  8. Lori on July 4, 2014 at 4:25 am

    this is amazing! thank you so much!!

  9. Livi @ Eat, Pray, Work It Out on July 4, 2014 at 9:56 am

    Haha love the Red, White and Booty circuit!

  10. Jenny on July 4, 2014 at 11:46 am

    This is a great playlist for cardio! Enjoy your 4th July weekend! xx

  11. Gianna @ Run, Lift, Repeat on July 4, 2014 at 11:51 am

    Ah so many new to me songs! been looking for playlist additions and just hit up itunes thanks for sharing! and happy 4th 🙂

  12. Liz B on July 5, 2014 at 12:30 am

    I love solo spin sessions! I did one on Thursday (only 30 minutes but great).

  13. Kelly @ Green Meets Turquoise on July 5, 2014 at 9:38 am

    Your musical spin class looks intense and fun! Nothing better than cranking the tunes and working out to the beat.

  14. Kate @ SoCal Runner Gal on July 5, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    Where are you teaching spin?? I want to come to one of your classes!

    • Fitnessista on July 5, 2014 at 7:21 pm

      today was at point loma sports club. i’m teaching barre twice next week if you want to come!!

  15. Amy on July 5, 2014 at 8:42 pm

    This is awesome! Thanks for sharing! I love the details you gave for each song. Why do I feel like such a teeny bopper listening to Paramore?? I love them, but feel like I’m too old to! Oh well! 🙂

    • Fitnessista on July 5, 2014 at 11:14 pm

      oh no!! looooove paramore. i feel like a teeny bopper because i totally like one direction 😉

  16. Evelyn @ Young Hip Fit on July 6, 2014 at 12:43 am

    Never done a solo spin session before, but I like a lot of the stuff on this list (and some I haven’t heard) so I’ll have to work some into my usual playlist and give it a shot. 🙂

  17. Suzy on August 5, 2014 at 5:13 pm

    Hi Gina, so glad I found your blog 🙂

    Are you on Spotify and are you OK if I use your playlists when I teach? I’ll give you full credit and tell everyone to check out your blog! – Thx, Suzy

    • Fitnessista on August 5, 2014 at 5:21 pm

      yes, i’m on spotify! totally welcome to use them for class; that’s why i post them 🙂 thanks for the shout out too! xo

  18. Suzy on August 5, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    what’s your spotify username? i tried fitnessista and it didn’t find you…

  19. Kristin - on March 23, 2015 at 5:58 am

    Your playlist makes me excited to get back to my school town where spin is available!!! I really miss it. I have never disliked a spin song, I think the endorphins make me love everything and everyone. Thanks for posting. Would love to take one of your classes someday!

  20. Stacy on September 20, 2015 at 7:36 am

    Great playlist! I’ve been looking for playlist additions. These really fuel me up and moving!

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