It’s exciting to be getting into shape and on my own terms. People who see me regularly have been noticing the subtle changes to my physique. Sure it’s my responsibility to maintain healthy nutritional standards and to hit the gym with dedication. But thanks to some iPod inspiration, 5 tunes keep me in motion for my 30-minute daily cardio workouts. Without them, the exercise might just be a lot of heavy peddling, but because of the repetition of inspirational lyrics, sounds, beats, and musicians, the whole experience becomes meditative and healing in ways beyond the physical. If you should incorporate cardio exercise into a healthy lifestyle, try finding some music that gets the blood pumping for you. It’s like letting your iPod become your motivational assistant.
Here are my five selections in playing order:
1. Silicone Soul’s “The Answer”
I have a thing for deep House music. And this piece of music really is ‘the answer.’ Actually, it’s refrain, “love is the answer” is one of the things I love to hear first thing in the morning when I drag myself down to the gym. You can’t make changes to what you don’t love. So through love comes the abandonment of fear, and the ability to improve. This is really what exercising is all about for me. So I’ll take all the help I can get from the beat and the message.
2. Massive Attack’s “What Your Soul Sings”
Sinead O’Connor is a controversial artist for many. But I am not one to let the messenger cloud a good message. By the time this tune is playing I’m sweaty and ready for its electonica vibe and for O’Connor’s clear voice to give me some more inspiration with these words:
Don’t be afraid
Open your mouth and say
Say what your soul sings to you
Your mind can never change
Unless you ask it to
The thoughts that make you blue
The things that bring you down
Only do harm to you
So make your choice joy
The joy belongs to you
And when you do
You’ll find the one you love is you
You’ll find you love you
Don’t be ashamed
To open your heart and pray
Say what your soul sings
So no longer pretend
That you can’t feel it near
That tickle on your head
That tingle in your ear
Oh ask it anything
Because it loves you dear
It’s your most precious king
If only you could hear
And when you do
You’ll find the one you need is you
You’ll find you love you
Now how can you argue with such words like that? And the music is fantastic and makes me want to burn calories!
3. Swing Out Sister’s “Better Make it Better”
I’m a huge Swing Out Sister fan. They’re really a lot more popular in Japan than they are here in the United States. This is probably a risky thing to say because Naomi Campbell and Alyssa Milano have more successful recording careers in Japan, too. Except Swing Out Sister is a truly talented act, but that’s beside the point…
“Better Make it Better” inspires me to keep peddling because the music is totally upbeat, the sentiment inspiring me to live life fully and with no regrets:
Make the most of what you’ve got
For it’s better than to not have anything at all
Take each day as it’s your last
Or you’ll find the future’s passed as you’re left
With nothing at all
4. Angie Stone’s “No More Rain (In this Cloud)”
I admit it. Life hasn’t always been so peachy keen. It’s gotten a whole lot better. And Angie Stone’s neo-soul approach to life’s difficulties is nicely summed up in this song. But of all the lines, I just love it when she sings at the song’s beginning, “My sunshine has come/And I’m all cried out/And there’s no more rain in this cloud.” No matter how challenging life can be we have this choice to move out from under the clouds and to get some sun! A very good message for a Leo like me.
5. Cher’s “Love So High”
This is the song that means the most to me in my workout. It was two years ago when my mom passed away. I made a promise to her on her last birthday that I’d take care of myself. And while it has taken me all this time to make the effort to do it on my own terms, it’s finally happening. She’s the real inspiration behind this drive to get into shape. I’m sure Cher had Sonny in mind when she sang it, but when I hear it, in my own way, I think about Mom and how she loved me.
A love so high
I could reach out a touch the sky
I want my workouts to honor my mom and dad’s lives so that I can carry on their legacy and continue to do what I am on the planet to do. And in 30 minutes, I burn 360 calories, bringing this loving, meditative cardio workout to a cathartic full circle.
In just over a month, I’ve lost 8 pounds and am feeling great. As the rest of the weight loss happens, I’ll update my progress.
As an image consultant, it is very important to take this personal approach to share these anecdotal experiences, including the struggles of self-worth. The journey of self-improvement is a shared experience and should be celebrated. If you are going through such a transformative period, I honor your pathway.
Designing your image is the secret science to your success.
Joseph Rosenfeld helps professional men and corporate workgroups create effective visual brands. Visit JosephRosenfeld.com for details.