Brit Beat

Let’s get physical

I am not the type of girl to be found breezily racing around Cherokee Park’s Scenic Loop in fluorescent Lycra. Or spending her weekends on all fours in a dangerously hot yoga studio in the Highlands. Or dangling from a medieval torture device while someone with a whistle and a Napoleon complex barks instructions in J-Town. No, no. I am more at home in my home, preferably with a cheese sandwich, a glass of pinot noir and the collected works of Jane Austen. So the news that my gym, Fitness on Frankfort — where I would reluctantly and sporadically drag my weary arse each week — was going 24/7 filled me with abject horror. There could be no more excuses. I would no longer be able to blame its non-liberal opening hours for the fact that my thighs were starting to get as wobbly as Michele Bachmann’s views on, well, anything.

So with a reluctant spring in my step, I have decided to take working out a bit more seriously. This cannot be done without some strong incentives.
1) Regular ‘earned’ buckets of Häagen-Dazs Dulce de Leche.
2) Frequent praise from my naturally sporty, trim husband (he is the Jack Sprat to my ‘wife who could eat no lean’).
3) A stellar playlist for my iPod to get my heart racing, my feet cantering and my mind willing.

As I’ve warned you in previous columns, my natural instinct is to plump for country ballads, random folk songs and ’80s one-hit wonders. So, to get the perfect soundtrack to accompany my renewed interest in physical activity, I had to sift through the deepest, darkest, dustiest corners of my iPod and ask my friends for their top motivational tracks. The songs that made them sweat, in a good way. The beats that inspired them to plod through the initial feelings of immense boredom and stiffness one gets when first trundling along on a treadmill after a prolonged period of languishing joyously with libations and literature.

They came up trumps. After the laughter that I was to become a fitness freak had died down, they took my challenge seriously and sent me YouTube videos and Facebook fan pages offering up all sorts of great music. Of course, a few suggested just flipping on the High School Musical 2 soundtrack from start to finish and letting Zac Efron take the strain, but you’ll be glad to know I refused. Even my eclectic taste hasn’t got that dodgy.

So, as my downloads formed an orderly queue, I strapped down anything on my body that would want to travel in opposite directions to my purposeful stride, poured myself into a black and shiny ensemble — and got physical. Olivia Newton-John would have been proud. So, if this hot and steamy summer is making you feel inspired, energized and ready to rumble, help is at hand. Here is my perfect playlist for once-reluctant gym bunnies. (I’m working with the notion that each section lasts about 20 minutes.):

To get you going:
‘Oh My Gosh’ — Basement Jaxx
‘Big Time Sensuality’ — Björk
‘English Summer Rain’ — Placebo
‘Dance wiv Me’ — Dizzee Rascal
‘Canned Heat’ — Jamiroquai

To build up speed:
‘Henrietta’ — The Fratellis
‘Second Minute or Hour’ — Jack Peñate
‘You’re All I Have’ — Snow Patrol
‘Block Rockin’ Beats’ — Chemical Brothers
‘Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)’ — Katy Perry

To cool down:
‘Let Me Know’ — Róisín Murphy
‘New York, New York’ — Ryan Adams
‘World in My Eyes’ — Depeche Mode
‘It Means Nothing’ — Stereophonics
‘More Than This’ — Bryan Ferry

My list may seem rather random, a little Anglo-centric and perhaps lacking in the boom-boom-boom of the stereotypically thunderous muscleman playlist, but it does provide a rhythmic trot through sound — and the interesting lyrics distract your brain from the searing pain in your calf muscles. Good luck.

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