The Definitive Nerd Fitness Workout Playlist

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Does music ever make you feel like this?

It does for me, which is great because music happens to be a huge part of my life.  My day job involves producing floating music festivals on cruise ships (watch a spur-the-moment commercial I made on one of our cruises last week), I go to a few concerts a month, I play both guitar and piano, and I have a playlist in my iTunes for practically every occasion: for work, while studying or reading, when at a party, while falling asleep, and most importantly for working out.

I’m convinced that I can lift five to ten pounds more when listening to the right song. Unfortunately, because my gym loves to play Taylor Swift techno remixes all the time (don’t ask), I’ve resorted to bringing my own iPod and loading up my own workout playlist.  Put in the headphones, keep my head down, and take care of business.  I figured today would be a good day for me to highlight what’s on that playlist and ask you what I should add to it.

Steve’s Nerd Fitness Workout Playlist

This is what I listen to when lifting weights.  Feel free to make fun of anything in here you don’t like, as that’s what’s music is all about: making fun of others who listen to things different than you :).

There you have it – Steve’s proven formula to get pissed off and pumped up: some generic angst-y alt rock and hip hop.  What songs did I leave out?  What am I missing?  Let’s help create a cool list of songs for all readers.  Maybe when I have time I can turn it into an iMix on iTunes or something.  Only time will tell…

Now it’s your turn. What do you listen to when you work out?  Do you need happy music or angry music?

Let’s hear it!



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photo: Notsogoodphotography

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  • Matt

    Disturbed, Flogging Molly, and Dropkick Murphys are always on my playlist. Nice choices!

  • Griffin

    I’d have to agree with anyone who puts Brand New on their playlist. Add in a little Taking back Sunday to round it out though. A definite song to get pumped up on…Headstrong by Trapt.

  • B Bilgen Benli

    I aso make different playlists for my different moods. When I feel like I need to feel happy, I open the Beatles – White Album. Music definietly effects the thing i am doing, at the moment. There’s a speed list on my ipod because when i think i am late for an appointment, i open this list. If i need to give an example for my speed list songs, here:

    – Anthrax – Got the Time
    – Judas Pries – Painkiller
    – Racer X – Technical Difficulties
    – Van Halen – Jump

  • TAKK

    Hardcore techno gets my blood pumping. So, so very hard. 

    Since I’m a huge Touhou Project fan, anything on Youtube under “東方 Touhou Schranz”, or if you want, replacing schranz with any genre of hardcore techno like gabber, speedcore, hardstyle or frenchcore.

    For example, I always listen to this one while bench pressing:

  • TAKK

    PS: On second read, looks like I’m literally the only one here who listens to hardcore techno… being the only one who listens to Touhou music is a given since few people know about it, but hardcore techno, which is actually sort of popular in Europe, that’s interesting…

  • Daniel Barrios

    Champion by Chipmunk  (Ft. Chris Brown)
    Roar by Treat

    These 2 songs never fail to pump me up even when I’m on the verge of failing that last circuit/rep 

  • Liam O’Shaughnessy

    Anyone gave Two Steps From Hell a listen? makes some pretty amazing workout music.

  • Macaca

    Thrash/Death Metal.

  • Jeneral

    As a Hokie, Enter Sandman is a must.

    I was running a 5K this past weekend, and getting a little down on myself because I was still walking more of it than I wanted to be.  Going into the final stretch, Eminem’s “Till I Collapse” came on, and that gave me a great push.  Rounding the corner to the finish line, seeing the clock and realizing I’d beat my PR by more than 2 minutes was even better!

  • Nathan

    How could you forget “no way but the hard way” by Airbourne ?

  • simplythebaz

    Alexisonfire – To A Friend

  • Reepir

    I am so happy to see that I am NOT the only on who listens to Brand New when working out. XD

  • Cori

    Walk – Pantera..
    It makes you feel invinsible!

  • shadowguy14

    I need LOUD music! Doesn’t matter if it’s happy or mad or screaming it’s gotta be loud.

  • JesLacasse

    I think I might be the only indie rock nerd girl reading this site! :)
    For me, it’s less about the music being aggressive as it is for me to absolutely not be able to stop moving when I listen to it. Mine includes (but is not limited to):
    Tool – Schism (about as heavy as I get)
    Katy Perry – California Gurls
    La Roux – Bulletproof
    Girl Talk – All Day
    Vampire Weekend – A Punk
    The Baseballs – Bleeding Love, Hot ‘n’ Cold, Umbrella (what can I say, I really love me a doo-wop style cover of contemporary pop songs)
    Britney Spears – Circus (DON’T JUDGE ME)
    Andrew Bird – Darkmatter
    Art Brut – Formed A Band
    Of Monsters and Men – Little Talks
    Zombie Surf Camp – Monster
    The Heavy – Short Change Hero
    The Weakerthans – The Reasons
    Stars – The First Five Times

  • Matt

    Whoa. It is scary how close this is to my own workout playlist. Hard rock and hip hop, mixed in with some video game tunes. Just….whoa.

  • Melek

    Eye of the Tiger!

  • Jo

    American Idiot by Green Day
    Uprising by Muse (also Resistance)
    Out Alive by Ke$ha
    Female Robbery by The Neighborhood
    I’m Ready, I Am by The Format
    War Sweater by Wakey!Wakey!
    Set You Free by 3OH!3
    I Write Sins Not Tragedies by Panic! At The Disco (also The Ballad of Mona Lisa)
    The Authority Song by Jimmy Eat World
    The Anthem by Good Charlotte
    Overrated by Less Than Jake
    This Is For Real by Motion City Soundtrack
    Phoenix by Fall Out Boy
    My Friends Over You by New Found Glory
    Come Along by Vicci Martinez and Cee Lo Green
    Do Better by Say Anything
    ¡Viva La Gloria! by Green Day

    Remember The Name by Fort Minor
    Youth Of The Nation by POD
    Can’t Catch Tomorrow by lostprophets

  • Daniel

    Good list! I’m new to the blog, but if I had to add one thing that’d be Rage Against – Pistol Grip Pump. Seriously, I put that shit on repeat during the heavy stuff. Some of Audioslave’s first album is also pretty good lifting material.

  • Courtney

    OMG, it’s like I created this playlist!

  • Jon

    No Guts, No Glory-Iron Savior

  • James Harker

    This list needs Andrew WK

  • Rose-Not-Tyler

    Rather impressed by your Rammstein. Not many I know like German music. I stick with songs like Uprising, by Muse, just because I can embrace my inner angry anarchist a bit better.

  • Pickme

    I think there is something missing on your list: the rest of soad songs.

  • Horhey25

    Zelda remix!?! You are my hero

  • Oramac

    Some good choices there! At the risk of appearing actually angry (I’m not!), here’s a few of my favorites.

    In This Moment – Daddy’s Falling Angel; Whore; Comanche; The Gun Show; Next Life
    Killswitch Engage – A New Awakening; A Light in a Darkened World; Rose of Sharyn; When Darkness Falls

    All That Remains – Won’t Go Quietly

    Atreyu – Bleeding Mascara
    Breaking Benjamin – Blow Me Away (HALO2 soundtrack!!)
    Metallica – Fuel

    And plenty more.

  • Russell

    I’ve been thinking about this for a long time. I work out to music
    played in a laser tag arena because that is what exercise sounds like to
    me (worked there for years).

    I wonder what songs nerds have a
    communal understanding of to encurage exercise. For instance, when
    Mario only has 99 seconds left in a level the tempo speeds up, this
    would be great for a treadmill. Street Fighter might be good for
    lifting, Legend of Zelda for circuit training…

  • Tim Donovan

    When training then I listen to Guile’s Theme as it goes with anything! :)

  • Sir Hammerlock

    I like Überladen by Shelmish ;).

  • Guest

    As blood runs black, if you’re into the real heavy stuff. The instrumentals pump up, and the lyrics inspire!

  • murseoftheyear

    Give me a loud bundle of hate and off I go

  • E-MAN

    Its all about Five Finger Death Punch!

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  • Ian Vissers

    I’ve always liked Rage Against the Machine (Bulls on Parade), Judas Priest (You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’ and Breaking the Law), and Rob Zombie (Dragula and More Human, than Human) as well.

  • ducky

    It makes me giggle because that’s pretty much my go to mix. Weird.

  • AmyElectricity

    Anything which expresses any kind of high school angst would have to make it onto my playlist! I’ve just added A Day To Remember – Right Back At It to mine, not something I’d typically like but just goes with that whole vibe. Happy to see Brand New and Coheed on your list! I think the entire Daisy album has such a raw energy – pure grit that is perfect battle music. The guitars man, THE GUITARS!
    Actually, pretty much any Brand New song, just buy their entire discography people – seriously,

  • dbbm

    I’ve always thought Breaking Benjamin’s “I Will Not Bow” was great pump-up song.

  • Katia Monasterio

    Nerdcore! I like MC Chris’ series on the bounty hunters from Star Wars, esp. “IG-88’s ’57 Chevy” and “Dengar’s Dump truck”. Also the Xena opening theme, Styx’ ” Renegade “, AC/DC’s ” Shoot to Thrill”, and Scandal’s “Warrior”.
    Then I stretch out with sexy tunes like Bette Davis Eyes, Killer Queen, Son of a Preacher Man, Ready for Love, and raunchy Rolling Stones stuff off Beggars’ Banquet.

  • Juan G

    I listen to Rage Against The Machine, One Day As A Lion, and Audioslave.

  • Andrew

    It just makes me stoked to know I’m not the only one playing The Gaslight Anthem in the gym :) Try The Chariot. You might accidentally break a wall down.

  • Anderson Torres

    Hello! Include Shocking Lemon, “Inner Light” from Hajime no Ippo’s soundtracks! Also, Last Alliance, “HEKIREKI” from Hajime No Ippo: New Challenger!

    Yes, I really like Hajime no Ippo :) and sorry my bad English…

  • Tessa

    Limp Bizkit – Break Stuff.. Of course. :)

  • Lauris

    Cinematic music today worked better than usual “pump up attitude” music ever did. I’m not sure, was it Lineage 2, or maybe LoTR?

  • Chicken Batman


  • Matt

    Danger Zone (You know, from Top Gun)

  • Matt

    Also, if you are a christian, try For Today

  • briar

    when i need extra motivation, i like to listen to the band starset. they help get any anger in my system up and in my face, it is awesome! :)

  • Madeline

    Hey guys, I’ve been around the YMCA since I was born! So naturally that’s where I work out, don’t get me wrong I LOVE the Y! But the people who “lift” there…
    My favorite wods are:
    Bear complex
    Donkey Kong
    (Apex games WOD)
    And one of my own invention; Burpee 300

    My favorite exercise are:
    Burpees (Pull-ups, Deadlifts, box jumps etc.)
    Box jumps (although I’ve fallen a couple times)
    Double unders

    My favorite songs:
    Thunderstruck- AC/DC
    Bad to the bone- George Thorogood
    Back in black-AC/DC
    One more night-Maroon 5
    Lose yourself- Eminem
    So what- P!nk
    Ain’t nothing wrong with that-Robert Randolph and the family band
    Pump – Black Eyed Peas
    Imma be- Black Eyed Peas
    Monster- Skillet
    Cowboy Casanova

  • Heatwave

    Have you considered creating a nerd fitness station on Songza or something similar? That would be awesome… to just tune into the Nerd Fitness station to get you into Beast Mode!