14 Motivational Workout Songs
We’ve all been there before: You’ve set your workout goals for the day and you feel pretty confident that you can hit them. Maybe your expectations are too high but you’re still determined to power right through it. You can see the end in sight, yet it feels like it’s too far off as well. Maybe you’re a mile short of your jog, or maybe you need to do 10 more push-ups or sit-ups. You don’t want to give up but you don’t think you have it in you to continue. So what are your options? Do you quit?
“Absolutely not!” a fitness trainer might yell in your ear. But let’s face it, we’re not going to have a trainer or even a friend shouting words of encouragement every time we don our workout clothes. No, we suggest something much more affordable and convenient, and most of us carry this around with us at the gym or the park anyway: music.
These aren’t your regular high octane, bass pumping rhythmic songs. PopCrush has selected these lyrical songs for when you need that extra motivation with your workout. And because we really want you to succeed in your fitness goals, we’ve made it easy for you and already assembled these songs in a playlist which you can listen to and download using Beats Music right here.
So let’s take a look at which motivational workout songs we chose and why we think they're perfect for you.
This first single off of Eminem’s hotly anticipated 2013 album, 'The Marshall Mathers LP 2,’ pays tribute to old school hip-hop and rock as it samples Billy Squier’s ‘The Stroke’ as well as a bit of the Beastie Boys. The track served as the theme song for ESPN’s Saturday Night Football for the 2013 season and appropriately so, as the roaring and catchy hook from ‘The Stroke’ coupled with Eminem’s boisterous lyrics paints a picture of putting everything on the line and having nothing to lose for one night. “So crank the bass up like crazy and let yourself go / I say f--- it, before we kick the bucket / Life’s too short to not go for broke / So everybody, everybody go berserk,” Eminem repeats. And when it comes to your workout, we couldn’t agree more.
Rappers 2 Chainz and Wiz Khalifa collaborated for this single that was released as a promotional track for ‘Fast & Furious 6,’ the sixth installment in the franchise that made Vin Diesel and Paul Walker household names, and now finds a place on our list of motivational workout songs. Originally used as the opening credits song that interspersed scenes from the first five movies, the song is now used as a stadium anthem song played at many sports arenas. “I never feared death or dying / I only fear never trying” says Wiz Khalifa before going into the chorus, proclaiming “I’mma go for it / This moment, we own it.” It’s a great reminder that we, and we alone, are responsible for our own successes and failures.
‘Stronger’ is a classic, but one that still continues to get the blood rushing when used for a workout routine. The 2007 hit off Kanye West’s ‘Graduation’ album borrows a vocal sample from Daft Punk’s ‘Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.’ The robotic vocals from the Daft Punk combined with Kanye’s own take on Neitzsche's mantra “What does not kill me, makes me stronger” makes for an energetic motivational song that you just can’t ignore. The song remains one of Kanye’s most famous tracks, earning him a Grammy for Best Rap Solo Performance as well being named one of Rolling Stone’s 100 Best Songs of 2007 before making our workout songs playlist.
One can pick any number of songs from Beyonce’s discography to use for a workout, but we’ve opted for ‘Run the World (Girls)’ for that extra push you’ll need. Off of the album ‘4,’ ‘Run the World (Girls)’ is hard to categorize into any one genre. A fusion of pop, R&B, hip-hop and dancehall, the track is known for Queen Bee’s theme of “girl power” and repeats the phrase, “Who run the world? Girls!” over and over. “Boy don't even try to touch this / Boy this beat is crazy / This is how they made me,” sings Beyonce. We can’t think of a better song for women to get energized to while working out.
Flo Rida sure knows how to put together a track that can get an entire room of people to begin shuffling their feet. With several international hit singles, Flo Rida has firmly planted himself as the guy that can mix pop, dance and hip-hop songs into a smashing success. For ‘Good Feeling,’ the first single off Flo Rida’s ‘Wild Ones’ album, the song utilizes a sample of Etta James’ vocals off the gospel song ‘Something’s Got a Hold on Me,’ where she sings, “Oh, oh, sometimes, I get a good feeling / I get a feeling that I never never never never had before, no, no.” The song oozes with positivity and celebration which is why it’s been used at many sporting events, such as the New York Rangers’ favorite celebration song and the 2012 NBA All-Star Game.
Taio Cruz became an international superstar in 2009 after the success of his album ‘Rokstarr,’ which featured dance floor favorites ‘Break Your Heart’ and ‘Dynamite.’ While both tracks are perfect rhythmic tunes to move your body to, we’ve opted to choose his third single off the album, titled ‘Higher,’ for the end of your workout. The lyrics provide an uplifting lyrical high for listeners, as Cruz proclaims, “‘Cause I can’t get enough, I can’t get enough / I can’t stay on the ground / It’s taking me higher, higher / Higher off the ground.” Our workout recommendation? Play this song next time you’re ready to free your hands from the pull-up bar.
‘Remember the Name’ became the unofficial theme of the NBA for many years after its release in 2005. Fort Minor, the hip-hop side project from Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda, released the track as a single from their first and (so far) only album, ‘The Rising Tied.’ The song is used extensively during NBA Playoff time and the video game NBA Live ’06. Shinoda raps about making one’s mark through pain and determination which is why it’s been used repeatedly by athletes and competition fighters as their anthems. He breaks it down for listeners poetically by saying, “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!” We’re not sure how he arrived at those percentages, but we’ll take his word for it.
‘Radioactive’ is perhaps the “slowest” of the songs on this list, but make no mistake, its careful blend of alternative rock and electronic dubstep will keep you wide awake as continue to exert yourself physically and mentally while working out. Performed by Imagine Dragons, the song paints an apocalyptic picture in the opening lyrics and later tells of new beginning and transformation, declaring, “I’m waking up, I feel it in my bones / Enough to make my systems blow / Welcome to the new age.” A new age, and with determination, a new, healthier you.
The title says it all, as the Black Eyed Peas provide a booming club anthem to help you “rock that body.” Co-produced by superstar DJ and producer David Guetta, the song borrows a sample from Rob Base and EJ E-Z Rock’s famous one-hit wonder, ‘It Takes Two.’ “Rock ya body, come on come on rock that body” is repeated several times over a heavily synthesized, pulsating melody, which is all you’ll need to keep up the pace.
Krewella was one of the most successful EDM acts of 2013, having joined fellow DJs Avicii and Calvin Harris in earning mainstream recognition. The Chicago-based trio, comprised of sisters Jahan and Yasmine Yousaf, along with Kris Trindl, became EDM sensations after the release of their dubstep track ‘Killin’ It.’ Their second single, ‘Alive,’ contained a much more trance-like, electro house sound but also fit well within dance pop playlists which helped the single become a Top 40 hit. The girls describe those moments in the night when your troubles seem to be gone, and all you want is make those memories last for eternity. The same can be said for that first hint of gratification when you know you’ve pushed yourself to your goal during your workout. “In the zone where the beat is uncontrolled / I know what it feels like / Come on make me feel alive.”
Calvin Harris earned the title of highest paid DJ in 2013, and it was arguably his most successful year to date. While Harris had DJ’d at major EDM festivals around the world, it wasn’t until the success of his album ’18 Months’ that he became a familiar name among the likes of David Guetta in the pop world. For the track ‘Let’s Go,’ Harris partnered with Ne-Yo to combine the R&B star’s vocals with his own familiar style of fist-pumping club beats. Much like the other songs on this list, ‘Let’s Go’ is all about living in the moment. Ne-Yo sings about seizing the opportunity with style, as he tells you, “Let’s go! There ain’t no better time. I’m talking here and now / Let’s go! Right now is where you shine.”
‘Can’t Hold Us’ was one of the biggest hits of 2013, as Macklemore and Ryan Lewis continued to take the music industry by storm after their first single ‘Thrift Shop’ became an unexpected overnight success. The rousing hip-hop song was Spotify’s most streamed song of 2013 and helped the Seattle-based duo earn the Grammy for Best New Artist. The song’s theme about overcoming the impossible and rising through hardships will squash any self-doubts. “We’ll fight ’til it’s over / So we put our hands up like the ceiling can’t hold us.”
Anyone who is familiar with Pitbull’s lyrics knows that his hits are often about the all-too-familiar rags to riches hip-hop tale. But ‘Feel this Moment,’ an upbeat pop tune featuring Christina Aguilera, has the Cuban star putting his past behind and looking toward the future. The chorus borrows a sample from a-Ha’s famous ‘80s single ‘Take on Me’ and has Aguilera singing, “One day while my light is glowing / I’ll be in my castle golden / But until the gates are open / I just wanna feel this moment.” So use this workout song to take a moment to reflect on how far you’ve gone, and look only to the future!
As the electric pop dance sounds became more familiar within the past few years, Britney Spears herself stepped into the genre with ‘Work B*tch,’ a more edgy and ambitious sound compared to her previous hits. “Bring it on, ring the alarm / Don’t stop now, just be the champion,” Britney sings on the club-friendly track. “Now get to work bitch!” We don’t think you need anymore motivation than that. After all, when Britney says get to work, you better get to work.