Have you ever noticed how hyper-aware you are when someone is chewing gum loudly or tapping a pencil, while you are trying to focus on reading, writing, or problem solving? That’s your unconscious brain jumping on distractions during a period of needed focus (distractions are more noticeable during mundane or uncomfortable states). Specific music tempos in a workout can distract from unconscious emotions or negative environmental stimuli (i.e. the snapping gum), because music stimulates both the conscious and unconscious parts of the brain. We all enjoy a vast array of genres; however, there are particular determinants in music which can improve our ability to focus on certain tasks. Specifically when working out, a steady and upbeat tempo of music will help you tap into what’s known as the theta brainwave state for optimal physical performance.
Remember when you spent hours burning CDs, minutes syncing music from your iTunes, and eventually seconds to search your jams on Spotify? As technology and playlist aggregating tools improve, so does our understanding of why the human brain can focus better and dilute outside distractions while listening to the right tunes.The brain is where focus is born, and we have energetic wave states associated to different levels of brain activity. Our beta state is what’s most active throughout the day, and it’s a good thing, because these waves keep us energized while problem solving. On the other side of the spectrum, what’s known as the theta state is active when we’re daydreaming or relaxed. So, why would tapping into your theta state be effective for working out? The relaxed state can override signals of fatigue, which means you are more likely to enjoy the workout and achieve your optimal performance.
When it comes to beats per minute, or the tempo, of a song, studies have shown upbeat/funky songs, but not too funky, are the sweet spot for focus. At CORE40, we curate a playlist in the range of 110-170 beats per minute (BPM) to keep you focused and upbeat in your workout, while the unconscious portion of your brain gets lost in theta wave vibes. Once you get into the flow of class, don’t be surprised if you find yourself zoning out to the beat.
Here are 5 of our recent favorites to get you into the right state of mind for a successful workout: