One song workouts

“One song


one song,

to make it less


(holler for Rent… or really bad rewrites of “One Song Glory”

Something as small as a playlist has the power to make my workout full of sweat, triumph and victory, or just ruin it all together. For some people, the tunes don’t seem to matter as much, but for me, they tend to drive my energy.

Supine weights

When I taught DJ dance last week, the DJ somehow knew what songs would pump me up (he knows that I like Pitbull). It Whenever the current song would give way to a new one, I would think “YES!!!” and then go crazy. He also ended the class with “Don’t Stop the Party.” Well done, mister DJ.

While I love to use music for energy, I also like to use it to determine what type of cardio to do if I’m looking for a little inspiration. Since I taught spin for a couple of years, I got used to listening to music for sprint options, heavy, killer hills, jumping and steady state. I use the same technique on the treadmill or elliptical, and have since become a huge fan of what I like to call “musical cardio.” It’s a great way to keep things exciting and the workout will FLY BY.

one song2

Here are some musical cardio options for a few songs I currently love:


(can be done on the spin bike, elliptical or treadmill)

“Don’t stop the party” Pitbull – gradually increase speed. Start with an easy pace you can maintain (a personal level 5-6 on a scale of 1-10). Every time you hear the chorus, increase your speed by at least .2mph (so if you were at 4.0, you’ll go up to 4.2 and so on). Do this for the entire song.

“Limbo” Daddy Yankee- resistance climb. Start with a quick pace (walking briskly or jogging) and try to maintain your pace for the entire song. Start at a 5.0% incline. Every time he says “Limbo,” increase the incline by 1-2% until you can’t take it any more. Then, hold it there for the remainder of the song.

“Diamonds in the Sky” Rihanna– rolling hills. During each verse of the song, focus on keeping a quick pace (fast walk or jog) and add in resistance the entire verse. When you get to the chorus, decrease your incline down to 2-3% and go as fast as you can. Slow it back down for the next verse and build resistance.

“Bom Bom”Sam and the Womp– sprints. Easy pace for 30 seconds, HARD for 30 seconds, for the entire song. Watch your clock, and make sure that you’re pushing yourself to the max for the hard intervals. This can be done through speed, resistance or a combination of the two.

“Blow Me (One Last Kiss)” P!nk- Incline down, speed up. Start with a heavy, intense incline (we’re talking at least 12-15%) and a moderate/slow pace (walk). Every 20 seconds, decrease the incline 2% and increase the speed at least .2. By the end, you should be at your personal level 9 on a scale of 1-10.


“Scream & Shout” ft. Britney Spears- Circuit alternating between:

10 squats

10 pushups

10 tricep dips

10 double crunches or V-ups on a bench.

Go through as many rounds as you can- almost 5 minutes of work.

“Locked Out of Heaven” Bruno Mars- plankstravaganza (<– all plank variations are there; rest as needed along the way).

Start in a regular plank- hold for 30 seconds,

side plank (30 seconds),

regular plank (lift one leg to make it more exciting- 30 seconds),

other side plank (30 seconds),

plank with hip drops (30 second)

the saw (30 seconds)

your favorite type of crunch for the remainder of the song.

“Hasta Que Salga el Sol” Don Omar- Circuit alternating between:

10 deadlifts (heavy)

10 overhead presses

10 jumping lunges (each side)

10 bent-over rows

Go through as many rounds as you can- 4 solid minutes of work.


For an entire workout, I’d warm up, complete the strength potion and follow with cardio for maximum results.

(As always, talk with a doc before changing up your workout routine, honor your body and your injuries.)

Let me know how it goes!

What’s your POWER workout song right now? Leave it in the comments and if it’s something I’m familiar with, I’ll reply with something to do for the song if you’re looking for some ideas!

Happy training 🙂




Past musical cardio workouts:

RAD workout 1

Solo Spin

Solo Spin 2


Post Navigation:


  1. Ali @ Peaches and Football on January 7, 2013 at 10:38 am

    I’m with you – good music is SO important!

    It’s a little old but I really love Kelly Clarkson’s My Life Would Suck Without You. It’s upbeat and fast and I use it to give a little extra speed/power when it comes on. 🙂

  2. Erica { } on January 7, 2013 at 10:45 am

    Love this idea!

  3. melissa on January 7, 2013 at 10:45 am

    I think you mean “boredom” instead of “bordedom” in the picture. 🙂

    • Fitnessista on January 7, 2013 at 10:51 am

      well that’s a great typo. gah.

  4. Emily on January 7, 2013 at 10:46 am

    I listen to a weird mix of pop and rap when I run, but those fast beats totally help! My power song for the last year (I keep thinking it will change, but every time it comes on, I still pick it up a little) has been Usher’s “OMG.”

    • Fitnessista on January 7, 2013 at 10:58 am

      i still love that song! but wow, i looooove usher 🙂

  5. Elizabeth M. on January 7, 2013 at 10:48 am

    I am not a huge workout music person, which suprises me since I’ve danced my whole life! Since I started running with my dog or with friends I go music free, I even ran my first half without music! I DO love using it for cadence, especially in spin classes, so I might have to read the comments and download some of the ones you posted for my interval workout tonight!

  6. Lynn on January 7, 2013 at 10:54 am

    Great post! I have an iTunes gift card from Christmas burning a hole in my pocket, so these are some great ideas! 🙂

  7. Erin (Running Tall0 on January 7, 2013 at 11:01 am

    OH. EM. GEE. I love this post so much. I am TOTALLY fueled by music during my workouts. If I forget my headphones/music, I basically just die. Now that I’m a Zumba instructor, I’m always choreographing routines in my head while I run haha. I’m so trying all of these! Thanks Gina!

    • Fitnessista on January 7, 2013 at 11:02 am

      there are some good zumba beats in there too! 🙂 xoxo

      • Erin (Running Tall0 on January 7, 2013 at 5:13 pm

        Yes, keep the Zumba beats coming! Ever since you mentioned Limbo, I’ve been obsessed. Definitely on my class playlist!

  8. Gianna on January 7, 2013 at 11:18 am

    Daddy Yankee – Ven Conmigo. Can’t get enough.

    Makes me want to shake my booty mid run.

  9. melissa on January 7, 2013 at 11:21 am

    music is my savoir during a workout! it totally gives me energy & amps me up to do my best!

    i’m a HUGE fan of AWOLNATION, Girl Talk & A Day to Remember. All high energy & great songs to choose from!

    Particularly, I love AWOLNATION – Burn it Down. Such a great motivator!

    thanks for sharing your workout! I’ll have to give it a go this week 🙂

  10. Hayley @ Running on Pumpkin on January 7, 2013 at 11:27 am

    Love this! Music definitely fuels my energy as well and I can’t do cardio without it. Weirdly, when I go on longer runs, I like to listen to more soothing music rather than “pump up” music…I just have to make sure it doesn’t make me go too slow!

  11. Kimberly on January 7, 2013 at 11:32 am

    LOVE this!

  12. Shaina Anderson on January 7, 2013 at 11:36 am

    Music TOTALLY fuels my workouts! I just found an awesome ab workout to do to 5 songs:

    I used this playlist the other day:

    Don’t Stop the Party – Pitbull
    Diamonds – Rihanna
    Gangham Style – Psy
    Call Me Maybe – Carly Rae Jepson
    I Knew You Were Trouble – Taylor Swift

    For abs, I like having songs with different tempos so you can get an energy burst from one song and then slow it down and really burn with the next.

  13. jessica on January 7, 2013 at 11:40 am

    I love nickleback’ s burn it to the ground (I know I know, most people can’t stand them) and ET by Katy Perry.

  14. Brooke @ Being Vivacious on January 7, 2013 at 11:47 am

    I like calming music for when I workout a lot of the times. Unless I need to psych myself up for something really intense. But less crazy music keeps me calm and focused at the gym.

  15. Jessica @ Prayers and Apples on January 7, 2013 at 11:53 am

    thx so much for this! sometimes i play my playlists to death, so the past couple days i tried just putting on a pandora station and let me tell u – going from being all pumped up to a random slow song that pandora thinks i’d like (how do they not know i’m working out?! lol) is a major buzz kill! i’ll def have to try some of these 🙂

    • Fitnessista on January 7, 2013 at 12:03 pm

      that’s my only complaint about pandora- it’s not the best for workout music

      • Jenn on January 7, 2013 at 1:16 pm

        Have you checked out It’s a site where people upload playlists and you can search playlist tags ie. workout/pop/happy. I love it.

        • Fitnessista on January 7, 2013 at 4:21 pm

          no, but i’ll definitely check it out!

      • Shannon on January 7, 2013 at 2:53 pm

        Try Songza! (it’s an app for iPhone and maybe Android?) ‘

        Instead of making a station based on an artist it gives you music for different activities (working out, relaxing, getting ready to go out) and it had provided me with some great workout playlists in the last few weeks. And it’s free!

        • Fitnessista on January 7, 2013 at 4:20 pm

          whoa, i love that! thank you

      • Jamie on January 7, 2013 at 3:20 pm

        Pandora has workout channels – I just joined because my friend just taught me how to get it here in South America. Anyway, at the top center of the screen Pandora is advertising their workout channels – I used the alternative cardio, and it was great for a mid-tempo run They also had dance cardio, weight lifting, etc.

  16. Katie @ running4cupcakes on January 7, 2013 at 11:54 am

    A good playlist can really make or break a workout. That’s one of the reasons I love bodypump so much – the songs are always really motivating!

    • Fitnessista on January 7, 2013 at 12:02 pm

      i love (and miss!) taking body pump- such a fun workout

  17. Athena @ Fitness & Feta on January 7, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    I’m also loving Pitbull’s “Don’t Stop the Party” right now but the other song I can’t get enough of for cardio is “Stars Come Out” – the Lazy Rich Remix by Zedd!

    • Fitnessista on January 7, 2013 at 12:24 pm

      ahhhh i love that one!

  18. Emma @ BITE | Boredom Is The Enemy on January 7, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    “Feel the Love” by Rudimental ft. John Newman KILLS IT for sprints. Ditto “I Love It” by Icona Pop ft. Charli XCX. I’m also loving “Thrift Shop” for upbeat strength moves (burpees, mountain climbers, etc.) and “Mercy” for slower ones…but that’s more of a guilty pleasure. Just. So. Obscene.

  19. Sheena on January 7, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    I like to listen to the morning show from my hometown radio station. They even have an on demand channel on I Heart Radio so I can listen to them anywhere, any time of the day. The gang is hilarious and their antics keep me entertained and make my workouts fly by!

  20. Hillary on January 7, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    Die Young is my current favorite running song, but Valerie by Amy Winehouse has been my go-to for a long time!

  21. Stellina @My Yogurt Addiction on January 7, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    Music is essential fo my workouts!!! Sad but true, if I forget my music I don’t get even half of the workout I would have if I had remembered it! Thanks for the song suggestions, I love listening to anyhing upbeat while working out, especially Pitbull! So good 🙂

  22. Natasha on January 7, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    Hi Gina,

    I have a few questions about juicing. What do you think are the benefits of juicing and how do you incorporate it into your daily diet? I would like to start juicing but I am not sure if I need to supplement a meal/snack for juice.


    • Fitnessista on January 7, 2013 at 4:23 pm

      hey girl,
      the main benefits is the ability to get in a lot of nutrients without having to work so hard to digest it. juice is highly bioavailable, so the nutrients quickly enter your bloodstream. i like juice either as a snack, or as part of a meal (i’d have an omelet or large salad with it)

  23. Katie @ A Full Plate on January 7, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    I love that you started off with a Rent quote 🙂 Fellow theater nerd right here!

    • Fitnessista on January 7, 2013 at 4:22 pm

      it’s been in my head all day now haha

  24. Anne on January 7, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    Great suggestions, former dancers often make great fitness instructors:)
    Musicality is so important!

  25. Becca on January 7, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    I love this idea! Whenever I do track workouts I have to distract myself (or otherwise I HATE it) and repeating some upbeat song chorus in my head works well. I hadn’t thought to do one-song workouts though– awesome!

  26. Zoey on January 7, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    Take My Hand by Shawn McDonald. A most excellent upbeat one workout song!

  27. Madison on January 7, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    I love this idea! I definitely pump it up and work harder when I love the song!

  28. Theresa on January 7, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    Awesome, can’t wait to try!

  29. Sarah @ Yogi in Action on January 7, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    I definitely need good music when working out. Though when I go for a swim, the quiet is almost meditative, so that’s nice too.

  30. Caitlin on January 7, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    So if we wanted to make a whole workout out of this, do you suggest doing ALL of each of the songs, or should we just pick a few? At least for the cardio portion I am a little confused

    • Fitnessista on January 7, 2013 at 4:21 pm

      yep, you can do all of the songs for a full workout!

  31. Quinn on January 7, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    When trying to get through a particularly though workout, I’ll put on Eminem’s “Lose Yourself”. SERIOUSLLLLY gets me going. I like really intense ( and sometimes inappropriate) hip-hop to workout to. Makes me feel like I’m in a music video 😀

  32. Lauren on January 7, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    Right now mine is “Feel this Moment” by Pitbull and Christina Aguilera… kind of embarrassing but it really pumps me up!

  33. lucie on January 7, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    Music was my first love…. 🙂 I NEED music in my workouts, I hate it when I forget my earplugs. I love Gossip ‘Move in the right direction’, ‘On the Floor’ by JLo and Pit Bull, ‘YEAH!’ by Usher (omg, I love that one so much)’Pump it’ by Black Eyed Peas. For a more ‘meditating’ workout I totally love Gotan Project ‘La Revancha del Tango’ – FANTASTIC. Thank you for that musical workout, I love it!!!

  34. Susan on January 7, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    Let me tell you! You are a girl after my own heart with your song choices! Love them all! Yay Pitbull! :))

  35. Valerie @ FreshMutz on January 7, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    I’m loving Ludacris ft. Usher and David Guetta “For the rest of my Life.” A few years back when I was marathon training, I’d run to all of GnR’s “Appetite for Destruction.” The opening riff to “Welcome to the Jungle” still pumps me up big time.

  36. Nick Goodall on January 7, 2013 at 5:38 pm

    Haha I love the idea of listening to songs that help what you’re doing, normally I just listen to some motivational CD or something, didn’t think of doing this though! I might have to try it out next time!

    Thank you 🙂

  37. Jennifer N on January 7, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    Ok, now don’t laugh…I like Justin Biebers song One Love. And I am in my 30’s!!

    • Fitnessista on January 7, 2013 at 8:05 pm

      i used to LOVE that song for spin 🙂 no shame in liking the biebs!

  38. Emily on January 7, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    Can you believe I have yet to see “Rent”? :0 I know, no excuses!

    Can’t wait to try the “Scream and Shout” tomorrow!

    This morning I pretty much put Imagine Dragons “It’s Time” on repeat. For me it’s the perfect balance of energizing cardio, crush-everything lifting, and soothing cool down/stretch.

  39. Herbivore Triathlete on January 7, 2013 at 7:40 pm

    I have most of these songs on my playlist already, lol.

    Love the idea of one song workouts.

  40. Siobhan on January 7, 2013 at 7:59 pm

    This is awesome! Thank you for posting these, music absolutely makes a difference for my workouts too. I’m going to add a few new songs to my list.

  41. Jenna on January 7, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    In order to get myself through an entire 30 minutes on the treadmill, I have to put on my Doctor Who playlist. It is SUCH a motivation. Who wouldn’t want to run with The Doctor?

  42. sara on January 7, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    Current Favorite Running Songs:

    Trouble- Taylor Swift
    Some Nights- FUN
    I Will Wait- Mumford and Sons
    It’s Time- Imagine Dragons
    No One- Alicia Keys
    Fire in Your New Shoes- Kaskade
    Pumpkin Soup- Kate Nash
    I’m Not Dead- Pink
    Ignorance- Paramore
    Take Me on The Floor- The Veronicas
    Game Over- VV Brown

    (To name a few…) 🙂

  43. sti @ little windmill yoga on January 7, 2013 at 10:10 pm

    Yay!! I am a huge workout music person- It’s a maker or breaker it is ALL about the tunes especially during cardio. I love Breathe Carolina Blackout and Club Can’t Even Handle Me and Hey Mama by the black eyed peas. And We Danced by Macklemore is also amazing. My yoga playlist post is here though:

  44. Natalie @ FreshLifeFindings on January 7, 2013 at 10:15 pm

    This is awesome! And music MAKES my workout. Thankfully my husband bought me an ipod shuffle for Christmas so I can do my strength workouts easier. I love the music combos + workouts you shared, thank you!

  45. Whitney @ Whit Likes Fit on January 7, 2013 at 10:24 pm

    You talk about Pitbull so much that I finally put him on my Pandora…let me tell you – the BEST running songs. Thank you so much to turning me on to him (in real life I’m a total country girl – just not at the gym hahah).

    • Fitnessista on January 8, 2013 at 12:07 pm

      <3 <3 pitbull :)

  46. aditi on January 7, 2013 at 11:07 pm

    Boom Boom Pow by the Black Eyed Peas, and old school, Jackson 5, I want you back. 🙂

  47. Kelly @ Laughter, Strength, and Food on January 7, 2013 at 11:15 pm

    “Don’t Stop the Party” is one of our Jazzercise routines and I was SO excited when I got our new list and saw it on there! I’m a total sucker for anything Pitbull!

  48. Sarah on January 8, 2013 at 12:08 am

    My power song changes A LOT. Currently it’s “Supernova” by Beckah Shae.

  49. Aurora@Fitness is Sweet on January 8, 2013 at 1:33 am

    I absolutely love Spin, but if the music isn’t good and pumping, the calss defintiely drags by!

  50. Chelsea on January 8, 2013 at 8:44 am

    “slight work” by big sean, doesn’t let me quit!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.