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Best Music to Motivate and Inspire Your Workout

Updated on May 12, 2016
My Bell profile image

Marcelle has a degree in Journalism. She is also a certified Spin Instructor, where she shares her passion for fitness and music.

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I compile and update a list of inspiring songs each year for my Resolution Indoor Cycling Class. As a certified Spin instructor, I choreograph challenging indoor cycling rides matched with inspiring and fun music playlists. Below is a list of what I consider the best motivating songs to help you start and meet your fitness goals as well as inspire some of your life goals and dreams.

Learn Spin Class Tips

Are you thinking about taking your first Spin class? As a certified Spin instructor, I have published an article on this topic: Tips on Taking Your First Spin Class. You'll learn what to bring to class, how to set up a Spin bike, and overall what to expect during and after class.

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Eye of the Tiger (Survivor)

Aside from the lyrics, the images of Rocky training for that big fight are motivation alone. This song from the Rocky soundtrack evokes the struggle and endurance needed to stick with it, to survive.

Risin' up, straight to the top,

Had the guts, got the glory,

Went the distance now I'm not gonna stop,

Just a man and his will to survive.

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Lose Yourself (Eminem)

This powerful and motivating song opens with a question. The lyrics then continue on to illustrate a struggle through fear and perseverance to work toward a dream or goal. Always move forward toward that dream or goal and do not let obstacles stand in your way. The song ends with a lyric that is simple but truly powerful:

If you had one shot,

Or one opportunity,

To seize everything you ever wanted,

One moment,

Would you capture it or just let it slip . . .

You can do anything you set your mind to.

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Dig In (Lenny Kravitz)

It is not enough to just have a goal; you must dig in with perseverance to arrive there. The lyrics inspire this perseverance that we all have within ourselves.

It’s time to face and come-on in and join the party,

Life has been waiting for you to care,

When the mountain is high,

Just look up to the sky,

Ask God to teach you,

Then persevere with a smile.

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Hall of Fame (The Script ft. Will.I.Am)

You can be anything or do anything you set your mind too. These lyrics challenge you to be a champion in your own hall of fame.

The lyrics then go on to pay tribute to individuals who have been champions in their professions or life roles, including students, teachers, preachers, astronauts, politicians and leaders.

You can throw your hands up,

You can beat the clock (yeah),

You can move a mountain,

You can break rocks,

You can be a master,

Don't wait for luck,

Dedicate yourself and you gon' find yourself.

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I Won't Back Down (Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers)

Standing up for what you believe, for your dreams, is the theme from this tune. “Hey baby, there’s no easy way out,” Tom Petty and his band sing as they stand up to what life throws their way.

You could stand me up at the gates of hell,

But I won’t back down . . .

Well I know what’s right, I got just one life,

In a world that keeps pushin’ me around,

But I’ll stand my ground and I won’t back down.

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Second Chance (Shinedown)

Everyone deserves a second chance. This song is about moving on, saying goodbye to an old life or old bad habits and moving forward. It begins softly and builds nicely for a powerful finish.

Sometimes goodbye is a second chance,

Here’s my chance,

This is my chance . . .

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Dream On (Aerosmith)

Even when life has passed you by, even if you’ve struggled, even if you’ve stalled in your life goals or dreams, keep on pursuing that dream. This classic tune delivers plenty of inspiration.

You’ve got to lose to know how to win . . .

Dream until your dream comes true.

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Now We Are Free (Hans Zimmer & Lisa Gerrard)

Australian born singer, Lisa Gerrard, collaborated with Hans Zimmer on the Gladiator film soundtrack for this song. This complex track gradually builds and is especially inspiring as Gerrard sings in her own “invented” language. Quoted from her IMDB website profile, Gerrard said:1

I sing in the language of the Heart. It’s an invented language that I've had for a very long time. I believe I started singing in it when I was about 12. Roughly that time. And I believed that I was speaking to God when I sang in that language.

— Lisa Gerard

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Dreams (Van Halen)

Let adversity, whether it is in your workouts or your life, inspire you to move forward. The lyrics speak to this.

The music video features the Blue Angels, the United States Navy's flight demonstration squadron whose mission is to showcase the pride and professionalism of the United States Navy and Marine Corps.

World turns black and white,

Pictures in an empty room,

Your love starts fallin' down,

Better change your tune,

Reach for the golden ring,

Reach for the sky,

Baby just spread your wings.

We'll get higher and higher straight up we'll climb,

We'll get higher and higher leave it all behind.

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Roll With The Changes (REO Speedwagon)

Rather than live with the same story that has kept you from moving forward, embrace change. You can always do something to better yourself. Change can be a catalyst for that.

So if you’re tired of the,

Same old story,

Turn some pages.

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Don't Stop Believin' (Journey)

Some of the most well known song lyrics in the rock world tell the unassuming story of a couple of kids working towards their dreams. Their path is not easy and the competition is fierce but the song provides the ongoing message to keep on believing in dreams:

Some will win,

Some will lose,

Some are gonna sing the blues . . .

Don’t stop believin’,

Hold on to that feelin’.

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My Sacrifice (Creed)

This song builds and provides a wonderful track to get that heart pumping. The inspirational lyrics advise that you cannot do it all alone. By letting a friend or Him in, you will be free to live your life and believe.

When you are with me, I’m free,

I’m careless, I believe,

Above all the others we’ll fly.

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Changes (David Bowie)

Take an introspective look to see what changes to make. Life moves forward but there is always time for changes.

I still don't know what I was waiting for,

And my time was running wild,

A million dead-end streets,

And every time I thought I'd got it made,

It seemed the taste was not so sweet,

So I turned myself to face me.

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It's My Life (Bon Jovi)

There is no better time than today to mold your life into the way you want to live it. You are in charge of your life and you must stand your ground, stick to your convictions, and move forward to a better you. These forceful lyrics “shout it out load.”

This is for the ones who stood their ground,

For Tommy and Gina, never backed down,

Tomorrow's getting hard make no mistake,

Luck ain't even lucky,

Got to make your owns breaks.

It's my life,

It's now or never,

I ain't gonna live forever,

I just want to live while I'm alive.

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Whip It (Devo)

Motivating but with a jolt of good humor, this song inspires us to just get with it. Its basic message is to just do it. Get going with that workout, that goal, or whatever you need to change in your life or just in your day.

When a problem comes along,

You must whip it.

Before the cream sits out too long,

You must whip it.

When something's going wrong,

You must whip it.

Now whip it,

Into shape,

Shape it up,

Get straight,

Go forward,

Move ahead,

Try to detect it,

It's not too late,

To whip it,

Whip it good.

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Remember The Name (Fort Minor ft. Styles of Beyond)

These lyrics break down what it takes to achieve success. A formula for success spells out what percentage of this and that is required to get to your goal. Its fighting beat will keep you moving.

This is ten percent luck, twenty percent skill,

Fifteen percent concentrated power of will,

Five percent pleasure, fifty percent pain,

And a hundred percent reason to remember the name.

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Dare You To Move (Switchfoot)

An inspirational intervention challenges or dares you to pick up the pieces and move forward. Sometimes life lets you down but rather than just giving up, use that let down to challenge and inspire you to move forward.

Welcome to the planet,

Welcome to existence,

Everyone’s here . . .

What happens next,

I dare you to move,

I dare you to lift yourself up off the floor.

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Right Now (Van Halen)

Van Halen makes an appearance again on this list as it croons powerful lyrics paired with an award winning music video featuring social messages of the day that are still relevant now. This song is filled with inspirational and motivating lyrics. Don't put off what you can do today, right now.

Don't wanna wait 'til tomorrow,

Why put it off another day,

One by one, little problems,

Build up and stand in our way (oh),

One step ahead, one step behind it,

Now ya gotta run to get even,

Make future plans, I'll dream about yesterday (hey),

Come on turn, turn this thing around,

Hey! It's your tomorrow (Right now),

Come on, it's everything (Right now),

Catch your magic moment,

Do it right here and now,

It means everything.

Source

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Sources

1 "Lisa Gerrard Biography." IMDb. IMDb.com, n.d. Web. 20 Jan. 2015. <http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0314713/bio?ref_=nm_ov_bio_sm>.

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    • Gia Moroe profile image

      Gia Moroe 2 years ago from Texas, USA

      Some good song choices here. I'll keep these in mind. This might help me get started. Thanks.

    • word55 profile image

      Word 2 years ago from Chicago

      Great hit selections here My Bell. I love greatly arranged music of all kinds. You presented them and videos here. I arrange music and I can appreciate your taste. Every kind of music affects people differently and majorly according to their experiences and exposures to it. Keep up the good working out. Love it!

    • My Bell profile image
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      Marcelle Bell 2 years ago

      Thank you Gia! You should definitely add some of these tunes to your workout time. They are great to listen too even taking a walk.

    • My Bell profile image
      Author

      Marcelle Bell 2 years ago

      Thanks for your great comment, Word55! Glad you like my music taste - it's a little all over. I agree that every kind of music affects people uniquely. I can almost always place a memory or a time with a song.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I know nothing about spin class, but I know something about music, and this is a great list of motivational music. Thanks...now I'll be singing "Eye of the Tiger" all morning long. :)

    • My Bell profile image
      Author

      Marcelle Bell 2 years ago

      You should give a spin class a try, Bill. If you love music, you might just find that you like those spin classes with the right instructor. Thanks for the kind comment and glad that I could get that song stuck in your head :).

    • melissae1963 profile image

      Melissa Reese Etheridge 2 years ago from Tennessee, United States

      Great selections. Thank you for such a thorough list. I really don't like lyrics when I work out, but I love a good steady beat. Any suggestions on music without lyrics?

    • My Bell profile image
      Author

      Marcelle Bell 2 years ago

      Thanks, Melissa! Try "Now We Are Free" by Hans Zimmer & Lisa Gerrard that's listed above. It's sort of instrumental in that the words seem more like a chant and are not understandable at all, like they are part of the music. It is from the Gladiator soundtrack. It builds nicely and I find it very motivating just from the beat and build up.

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