When it comes to a great workout, music makes all the difference. A great playlist is now a necessity in any fitness class, whether it’s yoga, circuit, indoor cycling, or barre.

A recent study by LG revealed that 91% of people find music to be essential to their workout. Respondents even said they needed it more during their workout then during their commute, shower, or even sex! So... yeah, it’s pretty important!

Curating a great playlist and keeping it updated should be as much of a priority as building the class workout itself. If clients aren’t into the music, chances are they won’t like the class. There are certain instructors and classes that I avoid like the plague because I just can’t get into a groove with their music. Even if the instructor is fantastic and the workout is killer, I just get taken out of the workout when the music is not fitting.

Here are some tips to help you keep your playlists fresh and relevant, and to prevent you from being ‘that’ instructor:

Change it up (often)

This may be the most important tip I can give you - change your playlists often. Depending on how many classes you teach and how many repeat clients you have, your playlist should be updated weekly at a minimum. I try to have a new playlist for every day that I teach. I may repeat some of the same songs, especially if the songs are popular and clients respond well to them, but I change up the majority of the songs.

I don’t care how much you love the Justin Bieber remix, no one wants to hear Despacito for three weeks straight. No one.


Utilize music apps

Streaming music services and music apps are truly your best friend for updating your class playlists. Spotify, Apple Music, and SoundCloud all feature new music prominently. Take some time each week to listen to the new releases to see if they’ll work in your classes.

The Shazam app is one of my favorite ways to find music for playlists. If you hear a song that you’re really loving while you’re out and about, just open the Shazam app on your phone and, boom, it identifies the song for you and saves it. Or, if you’re an iPhone user, you can simply ask Siri, “what song is this?”, and she’ll respond.

I also recommend searching through other users’ playlists on Spotify. You may discover new music or come across great songs you’ve forgotten about. #ThrowbackThursday anyone?


Theme classes

Theme classes seem to be everywhere lately and for good reason. They’re a great way to mix it up and get clients excited for class. From hip hop yoga to spin classes where two artists are pitted against each other, there’s something for everyone. If there’s an old-school rap or Justin Timberlake themed class anywhere nearby, you better believe I’ll be there!

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Don’t be afraid to ask

This one’s simple. Ask your clients what they want to hear. I often ask for song requests at the studio and on social media. Recently I built two different themed playlists and asked clients to vote for their pick on Facebook and Instagram. It was a hit! Added bonus is once they give their input, they’re more likely to actually show up to class. They want to hear the tunes they picked!

Not only does asking clients ensure they’ll be happy with the music, it’s also a great way to build communication and relationships with them. I’ve also discovered some great new music this way.


If you’re not feelin it, neither will they

Bottom line, if you aren’t into the music you’re playing in class, it will show. If you love your playlist, it will translate into your teaching. Your energy will be higher, your attitude will be better, and your clients will feel that.

That being said, you still have to adapt your playlists to your clients. You may need Kendrick Lamar or 2 Chainz to get you through that final sprint, but is your morning class that’s filled with moms and retirees really into it? Hey, you may be surprised. I have a client in her 60s whose favorite playlist was my ‘history of rap’!

Instructors: what are your tips for maintaining a fresh playlist?

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