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  • Writer's pictureMissy Fogarty, LCAT

Music Motivation! (Work Out Edition)

Updated: May 3, 2023

Music while working out


Music and working out is a no-brainer. Probably everyone who works out listens to music at least some of the time to make it more enjoyable and also easier (or is that the other way around? It works both ways). Still, I make that suggestion to you, especially if you're just starting a work out routine. Getting started is the hardest part. Why not make it easier? Many savvy athletes wouldn't conceive of working out without music because studies have shown that music enhances athletic performance (and so much more... keep reading). While I don't really care too much about peak performance, I'd be sunk if my workout routine didn't include music. Years ago when I took up jogging* I HAD to listen to music while doing it because I enjoyed the music more than the jogging! Sometimes in order to keep going I would tell myself: you’ve got three songs to go. Forget how many minutes or miles there were to go. My temporal template was the song length. Since I always chose music I enjoyed, it made finishing up that jog a lot easier.


The following article from Scientific American does a wonderful job of explaining a lot of things about music that make working out not only more motivating and fun, but effective, more efficient and ... here's my favorite one. Since music brings up so many associations, it can actually have the effect of transporting you somewhere else in your mind. I would be careful about that, especially if you're out on the street. You want to stay aware of your surroundings and be safe, first and foremost. But if being transported somewhere else helps you to get your reps, laps or miles done and you meet your exercise goals while you're at it, why not? (I actually choose not to listen to music when I bike, because here in New York City, I don't feel safe making that choice. I enjoy biking so much, however, that I don't need that extra motivation that music provides). My strength training routing is a different story.

The music of choice right now for that challenging strength workout is Lizzo. Talk about motivating! For me, what isn't motivating about Lizzo? She’s Big, Black and Beautiful and she will be the first to tell you that if you don't agree, she don’t give a f*ck what your opinion is of her (which took some doing to get such thick skin). And she’ll also be the first to tell you that haters gonna hate. She puts herself out there and is proud. Not without risk! You have to be living under a rock to not see how underbelly of racism has been turned over on its back and fully exposed. So, the haters are out there in the open, hating Black people (and worse). And then there is the woman thing. I mean, when has it NOT been okay to hate on women? And lastly there are the fat-phobic! Unfortunately, our culture is extremely fat-phobic. Naturally, there is a lot of vitriol invected upon her. She sings about all of this and more.

So what is it about Lizzo I find so awesome again? First and foremost is I like her music and it makes my workout feel like it goes faster and helps me put in those extra reps that I really would rather not do. But let’s put that aside for now. How many times must she have gotten the message"you’re too fat to be in the music business, you’ll never make it." And I gotta tell ya, growing up in a world of hearing “Am I too fat?” from skinny women just proves that if they need to ask, there's something really, deeply and truly wrong in our society about what women should look like. But there is no denying it. Lizzo is a very large woman. By her willingness to take the spotlight regardless of what anyone else thinks about it, in a brutal business for those who fit the “Look”, she managed to embrace her size and use it. A more empowered, successful woman I cannot think of!


The other great thing about Lizzo is that she also makes it clear that although whatever nasty shit she has to put up with in this world of social media where people are emboldened to say whatever they want, she makes it clear that it’s not okay. How do I even know this? Just like everything else I’ve written thus far. From her songs! She takes the garbage and spins it into pop gold! And I hope she is laughing all the way to bank, because I am certain that despite all of her success, all the racist, sexist, fat-phobic crap she’s had to deal with does hurt. Words have an impact. She hits back with her songs and her advocacy.


As a therapist who's job is to help people live better lives, I think about the importance of what people can do outside of therapy to improve their mental health, and moving your body is seriously important. Low self-esteem and lack of confidence come up a lot in therapy sessions, and if you are able to move, you're on your way to addressing these important aspects of your overall well-being. Lizzo is the perfect role model. She's walked the walk.


When I started working out with Lizzo (so to speak), I had no idea there was a song called Fitness. So apropos! Here's what she has to say about this song. Are you motivated to get your body moving? Let's work it! Thanks, Lizzo!


I like to post lyrics of songs I blog about. Lyrics are a useful tool in my therapeutic work (future blog post!) Without further ado, here are the lyrics:


Fitness


Independent Athletic I been sweating Doing calisthenics Booty vicious Mind yo business I been working Working on my fitness


I been lifting heavy metal See this ass? Ain't no rental Take it down low like, just stretching Pick it back up like, I'm flexing Woo, tryna get it, working on my fitness


Think about how I'm gonna feel When I step up on the catwalk Think about how I'm gonna feel When I got that ass that don't stop That ass that don't stop, that ass don't stop And think about how I'm gonna feel When I take it all off


Independent Athletic I been sweating Doing calisthenics Booty vicious Mind yo business I been working Working on my fitness

Toot toot, beep beep Toot toot, beep beep I been working Working on my fitness


Ooh, work my body like Ooh, I know you want it like Ooh, but I don't do this for you


Think about how I'm gonna feel When I step up on the catwalk (Yeah, think about it) Think about how I'm gonna feel When I got that ass that don't stop That ass that don't stop, that ass don't stop And think about how I'm gonna feel When I take it all off (Rrrr) But I don't do this for you


Independent (Beep beep) Athletic (Toot toot) I been sweating (Beep beep) Doing calisthenics (Toot toot) Booty vicious (Beep beep) Mind yo business (Better mind yo business) (Toot toot) I been working (Beep beep) I'm working on my fitness


Independent (Independent) (Beep beep) Athletic (Athletic) (Toot toot) I been sweating (Beep beep) Doing calisthenics (Toot toot) Booty vicious (Booty vicious) (Beep beep) Mind yo business (Mind yo business) (Toot toot) I been working(Beep beep) Working on my fitness

*Everyone knows regular exercise is good for your health. It’s also a major component of good mental health for life! Therefore, I wholeheartedly recommend exercise to my clients. Find something that you enjoy so you’ll stick with it. (Jogging didn’t make the cut for me). Remember, if appropriate, music can make exercise more enjoyable!

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