Have you ever noticed the way your body just loosens up when your favorite song comes on? It doesn't matter if you're in the car or cleaning the house, you just feel compelled to move it! It works the same way for your clients. Music can help create effective workouts by helping clients amp up their energy, maintain their drive and keep their focus whether theyre squeezing in 30 minutes of abs or pounding through 60 minutes of step.

But what types of music are most effective? Do you need different sounds for different classes and areas in your facility? And what can you expect when your music program is in place? Consider a handful of factors before you get started, and you and your clients will see results quickly.


The Heart of the Matter

Heart rate: If theres such a thing as a buzz phrase, this is it. Especially with the increasing availability of heart rate monitors that are both more effective and less expensive, plenty of cardio enthusiasts are tracking their workouts by zeroing in on their heart rate. Unfortunately, weve all experienced an exercise session that just doesnt help us raise our heart rate quickly and maintain it for a period of time.

Fortunately, heart rate has a workout buddy: beats per minute, or BPM. Every song, from a languid ballad to a pounding dance track, can be described in terms of beats per minute. And a songs BPM serves as a simple yardstick to help evaluate when and where it may be effective as part of a music program.

The focal point of many fitness facility music programs is cardio studios. While clients probably tune into their personal playlists on the treadmill, they need to be able to hear the instructors commands during group exercise. And if those commands are timed to a song with a higher BPM, the participants will be stepping, reaching and jumping faster and, you guessed it, their heart rates will be rising faster.

So whats the magic number? A minimum BPM of 132 is the accepted industry standard. Some facilities advocate a higher number, but as long as your songs range from 132 to 170 BPM, your clients will be able to reach their target heart rate and maintain it without difficulty.

If you're having trouble translating BPM to music youre familiar with, keep this in mind: The typical dance track is between 122 and 128 beats per minute. This also means that its likely youll have to seek out music specially designed for fitness environments to find the higher BPM you need.


Moving Beyond Cardio

While your cardio studios may be the heart of your facility, chances are there may be other areas where music can provide a boost before and after cardio sessions. Consider all of your facilitys functional areas: your lobby, locker rooms, juice bar or caf


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