Playlist: Work Out Your Shit At The Gym

Crystal has received approximately five thousand requests for workout playlists. I volunteered to fulfill these requests, because I have a ton of workout mixes on my itunes.

I forgot that my workout mixes are embarrassing.

Can I, the editor of this website, stand before you and recommend “Since U Been Gone (Jason Nevins Megamix)” and still maintain your respect and devotion? I wasn’t sure.

So I kept putting it off. I thought about it at the gym, while gamely climbing the never-ending stairwell of the stairmaster, pumping my quads to the sweet sweet beats of “Case of the Ex (extended megamix).”  I thought about it at home, staring at “Time After Time Remix” and wondering if anyone else found it quite as motivating as I did.  Did anyone else want to cool down to Lynard Skynard’s “Tuesday’s Gone”? Maybe not.

Perhaps my workout mix is private. Perhaps it is more private than, say, this.

But I sucked it up and decided just get real with you about what motivates me to glide along like a gazelle on the elliptical trainer at the YMCA. Honestly however, lately I’ve just been listening to  Mozart for Your Morning Workout because it has no words and therefore doesn’t distract me from reading all the magazine articles I’ve downloaded to my kindle because reading is the primary point of going to the gym, obviously. Oh right and also health.

I tried my best to put the most respectable songs from my workout playlist on this playlist, but also really tried to keep it real, as aforementioned. Listen — Britney Spears gets me going. She always has, and she always will.

Here Comes The Sun (remix) – Nina Simone
Stronger (Jack D. Elliot Radio Mix) – Britney Spears
Techno Tetris – Aphex Twin
Good Luck (Tim Deluxe Funked Club Mix) – Basement Jaxx
Paper Planes – M.I.A
Dance In The Dark – Lady GaGa
Because Of You (Jason Nevins Remix) – Kelly Clarkson
Can I Get A – Jay-Z
She’s Like the Wind (remix) – Jan Wayne
SOS (Rescue Me) – Rihanna
I Want You Back (Single) – Jackson 5
Beware of the Boys (Feat. Jay-Z) – Punjabi MC
Girls’ Night Out – The Knife
Comfortably Numb – Scissor Sisters
You Are The One – Shiny Toy Guns
Cabron – Red Hot Chili Peppers
Breathe In (Aphrodite Full Vocal Mix) – Frou Frou
Human (remix) – The Killers


Add your favourite (or most embarrassing) work out tracks in the comments below!

Want to suggest a playlist theme? Hit Crystal up on Formspring and someone of the team will make it for you.

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3178 articles for us.


  1. I have never heard the Here Comes the Sun (remix) by Nina Simone so for that I want to Thank You… for giving me the best daaaaaaay of my life, etc.

    • ditto!! It’s the only song i’ve listened to so far + holy hotness…my pole is getting a workout. THANKYOU!! x

  2. “Paper Planes” is what my tennis team, which was as close as a family, would play when we hit. i always get a warm/nostlagic/let’s hit feeling when i hear it. kudos for having it on your list!

  3. My complaint is that there isn’t enough Britney. She gets me going too. If you know what I mean.

    • i could potentially add:

      Toxic (Lenny Bertoldo Mix Show Edit)
      Lucky (idk, it just gets me going)
      Overprotected (remix)
      (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction
      Gimme More
      Me Against the Music (Justice Remix)
      Outrageous (ipod Remix)
      Piece of Me

      • I would not object to any of those. In fact, nearly all of those are on my own workout playlist. Plus a little bit of Spice Girls. And Xtina.

        • I was about to complain about not enought Britney too, thank God i always read all coments first! ^.^ …. I would add How I Roll! xD but maybe that’s just me!

  4. I think being able to read while on an elliptical or stairmaster is a super power, or at least a skill that I’m unable to obtain

  5. This is amazing.

    And for the record, the name of my workout playlist is “Zzzz” so that anyone using my itunes wouldn’t find it unless they scrolled all the way to the bottom, and even then they’d probably mistake it for music I fall asleep to.

  6. I don’t really listen to music (because I always leave my ipod at home) I find myself daydreaming while working out thinking about cats, bunnies, my assignments, world politics, GOOD LORD LOOK AT THAT WOMAN’S ASS, how the song playing the gym sucks, why did I leave my ipod home, fuuuuuck(!) and five minutes later I am tired ready to go home.

    Jk, I try to work out intensely for at least 30 minutes.

  7. I love this playlist! Thank you!

    Currently, the tracks I’m spinning a lot while working out include…

    Wale ft. Lady Gaga – Chillin’ (Top Billin’ UK Mix)
    Basement Jaxx ft. Santigold – Saga
    Nicki Minaj – Muny
    Emma Lee – Until We Meet Again (No Big Deal Remix)
    Wretch 32 – Traktor
    Presets – Yipiyo Ay
    Sleigh Bells – Tell ‘Em
    Au Revoir Simone – Another Likely Story (Aeroplane Remix)
    Big Freedia – Let it Go Nah
    Janet Jackson ft. Missy Elliot – Son of a Gun
    Destiny’s Child – Bootylicious
    Deluka – Cascade
    Das Racist – Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell (Wallpaper remix)
    Marina and the Diamonds – Mowgli’s Road (Mille Remix)
    Royksopp ft. Robyn – The Girl and the Robot
    The Gossip – Heavy Cross (Yuksek Remix)
    Vampire Weekend – Ottoman (Redlight Remix)
    Plus, anything by Le Tigre, MIA or Junior Senior, and Bruce La Bruiser’s awesome mixes.

    • oh bootylicious falls into the special category also occupied by kanye west’s “breathe in breathe out” and justin timberlake’s “rock your body” where it’s basically meta as it references your body while you are working your body out

  8. My workout playlist is an erratic mix of electronic music and other songs with a beat (anything I like with drums in it, which is basically everything).

    Finally Moving- Pretty Lights
    Cracks (Flux Pavillion Remix)- Freestylers
    Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger- Daft Punk
    Are You Ten Years Ago?- Tegan and Sara
    Louder than Boom- Tiesto
    Daylight- Matt and Kim
    Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites (Gabriell Remix)- Skrillex

  9. I’m too scared to run with earphones in since two people have been murdered in the park where I go running. Luckily I go running approximately once a month.

    • A friend of mine was attacked while running alone in an area that wasn’t particularly unsafe usually and she had no idea the guy was even approaching because of her headphones. Luckily she managed to get away from the guy before the worst could happen, but still traumatizing.

      People should definitely be very aware about that and not run outdoors with headphones, or maybe just one bud on low volume if you must, unless they are in a high-traffic area. Even with volume on low it’s easy to get in a zone and fixate on your music and your workout and not be as aware as you could be.

      Treadmill workouts without music are, however, excruciating.

      • Oh man, that is so scary! That would have been terrible, your poor friend. Yeah I definitely agree about the dangers of running with headphones, it is super easy to forget that other people are in the park too.

        The other thing that worries me is that if I was attacked while running, I would be a super easy target because I would be so puffed (since I am very unfit).

        I like the IDEA of treadmills, I just never go on them. Or the gym.

  10. In the good old days when I had a working MP3 (donations welcome!) I would listen to Metric’s Gimme Sympathy and the Gossip’s Heavy Cross about 6 times per workout. Also Youthful Existence and Staten Island Dream Tour by Hunter Valentine.

    Oh the good old days.

  11. Don’t underestimate “I’ll make a man out of you” from the Mulan soundtrack.
    It’s on the oldest workout playlist known, dating back to the Northern Wei dynasty in ancient china.

  12. This might be the most humiliating thing ever, but I like to listen to cast recording when working out. Avenue Q is a favourite. It sort of takes my mind of the fact that my legs/arms/torso feel like they’re about to fall off/snap in half.

    Otherwise, Gossip is amazing to work out to. Beth Ditto’s voice just does something to me.

  13. I love this post because I need new work out music.
    Here is my running mix:

    Intergalactic- Beastie Boys
    What’s Golden-Jurassic 5
    Feel High-Boy Kid Cloud
    Losing Friends- Death From above 1979
    Bass Down Low- Dev
    Hello- Martin Solveig ft. Dragonette
    Pumped Up Kicks- Foster the People
    Born This Way-Lady GaGa
    Nobody But Me- The Human Beinz (Pilooski Remix)
    Cuddle Fuddle- Passion Pit
    Last Night- The Strokes
    Blister in the Sun- Violent Femmes

  14. I just ran round the lake with the first Arctic Monkeys album as a soundtrack. Furthermore, the Overpowered album by Roisin Murphy is fab.

    And I have this very secret playlist that is also my working playlist (I clean things for a living) that contains nothing but disco. You Make Me Feel by Sylvester is the best hi-nrg disco song ever. (So sad: Sylvester was a fabulous gay drag queen who died of aids.)

  15. Tiësto – In Search of Sunrise 7: Asia

    also perfect for long runs, road trips, deadlines, can’t sleep, etc.

    i listen to this album a lot

  16. Pass Out by Tinie Tempah is a great song if you need some motivation while you are doing cardio.

  17. SO need this mix!! Good choices. I don’t suppose you’d consider zipping it onto and sending the link on, wouldja?

  18. Yay! I always need new mixes. I usually have different ones for running and also for the elliptical My newest has the following:

    evacuate the dancefloor: cascada
    A city in florida: deadmau5
    all babes are wolves: spinerette
    Pretty Piece of flesh: gavin friday
    don’t think: chemical brothers
    downtown (smd remix) peaches
    how we do: mount sims
    Prescription: mindless self indulgence
    red tape: agent provocateur
    omen: the prodigy
    blue monday: orgy (yes, I’ll admit to it)
    atlantis to interzone (crystal castles remix): the klaxons
    confusion: new order (yes, from the vampire rave scene in ‘Blade’)

    or if I’m lazy and forgot my ipod, I’ll put my phone on the Lady Gaga station on Pandora…

  19. all right, currently i’m jamming to (while i huff & puff through my C25K workout):

    britney – “i wanna go”
    beyonce – “run the world”
    robyn – “call your girlfriend”
    kanye & jay z – “who’s gonna stop me”
    tiesto (t&s) – “feel it in my bones”
    childish gambino – “bonfire”
    matt and kim – “lessons learned”
    yeah yeah yeahs – “phenomena”
    bloc party – “flux”
    mates of state – “rearrange us”
    gossip – “standing in the way of control”
    diddy dirty money – “ass on the floor”
    vampire weekend – “contra”

    and for cool-down:
    devotchka – “dearly departed”
    the rosebuds – “go ahead”
    bon iver – “re: stacks”

  20. I am coming out here as someone whose iTunes most played = “Since U Been Gone (Hollaback Girl)” remix. It is a song fit for all occasions, workout or no workout.

  21. I love this post, since it gives me new songs for my iPod. Here’s my list for anyone interested:

    Chris Brown ft Bennie Benassi – Beautiful People
    Inna – Play (Play & Win Radio Edit)
    Major Lazer – Keep It Going Louder (Diplo Remix)
    Lil Wayne ft Claude Kelly – Oh What A Night (Chuckie Remix)
    Selena Gomez and the Scene – Love You Like A Love Song
    Ian Carey ft Snoop Dogg – Last Night
    Akon ft David Guetta – Sexy Bitch (Chuckie Remix)
    Ali & AJ – Like Whoa
    Inna – Sun Is Up (Play & Win Radio Edit)
    Cheryl Cole – Promise This (Digital Dog Remix)
    Yelle – Que Veux- Tu (Madeon Remix)
    Cascada – Evacuate The Dancefloor
    Tiesto ft Hardwell – Zero 76 (Original Mix)
    Marc Johnce – Report On The Floor
    Michael Jackson – Hollywood Tonight (Chuckie Remix)
    Axwell, Chuckie & Hardwell – Move It 2 The Drum (Geoff M Remix)
    Sak Noel – Loca People (Alvaro Remix)
    Nadia Ali – Pressure (Alesso Remix)
    Nayer ft. Pitbull & Mohombi – Suavemente (Kiss Me)

  22. “Can I, the editor of this website, stand before you and recommend “Since U Been Gone (Jason Nevins Megamix)” and still maintain your respect and devotion?”

    I looked up this song on YouTube and the answer is “fuuuuck yeeeeah.”

    This post feels appropriate since today I decided to undo what several months at my crazy job has done to my body and start going to the gym again. (Of course, I got too busy tonight and couldn’t go and have to work late tomorrow so I won’t be going then either. But hey, the vow is the first step, right?)

    Basically, at the gym I want to feel pumped up and ready to bust a groove on the elliptical. I also want to think about hot chicks. Recommendations:

    Katy Perry – Teenage Dream (DJ MegaMan Panic City remix)
    Britney Spears – 3 and Radar and If You Seek Amy
    Ciara – Like A Boy
    Ciara – Ride
    Jessie J – Like A Dude
    Lykke Li – Little Bit (AutoErotique Bootleg remix)
    The Donnas – Take It Off
    Fergie – Glamorous (OMG, google “glamorous remix” and watch the first video that comes up. It makes me laugh so hard and I sing it everytime I listen to this song)
    Flashdance (who’s the artist? Don’t care) – Maniac (Jennifer Beals, yo)
    Friendly Fires – Paris (Aeroplane remix)
    JoJo – Little Too Late (Harris Dance remix)
    Asobi Seksu – Thursday (The Twelves remix)
    Metric – Help I’m Alive (The Twelves remix)


  23. The most embarrassing song on my workout playlist is easily Heart’s “Alone”. Power ballads. Whatever.

    And then there are a lot of totally redeeming songs like:

    Miike Snow “Black & Blue”
    Yeah Yeah Yeahs “Phenomena”
    Santigold “Creator”
    Royksopp ft. Robyn “The Girl And The Robot”
    Janelle Monáe “Cold War”
    George Michael “Freedom’90”
    Amanda Blank “Something Bigger, Something Better”
    Veruca Salt “Seether”
    The Cardigans “My Favourite Game”
    Jay-Z “Thank You”
    Blondie “Atomic”
    The Faint “I Disappear”
    Genesis “Turn It On Again”
    Arcade Fire “Rebellion (Lies)”
    The Smiths “This Charming Man”
    Rage Against the Machine “Sleep Now In The Fire”
    Death Cab for Cutie “I Will Possess Your Heart” is a phenomenal running song

    …that’s probably enough of a list.

  24. I mostly just listen to ABBA. They cause me to do everything faster and more enthusiastically.

    … that’s probably just me, though, right?

  25. I never could workout to dance or club mixes. Instead, I listen to mostly good ol’ indie pop like the Dodos, Two Door Cinema Club, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Matt & Kim, Gossip, Metric, and the like.

    Recently though, my playlist is much more aggressive. Tool, Korn, Sparta, Yellowcard, Nine Inch Nails. Needed a change I guess.

    • Me too!

      I think it has something to do with horrible memories from junior high of running around in circles in the gym to song like bootylicious while everyone else ran circles around me (I was never what you would call athletic) and the fact that those songs make me think of dancing in public which fills me with fear and thus does the opposite of motivate.

      My two favoutrite albums to work out to are Alexisonfire self titled and Converge Axe To Fall. I also have a mix of a bunch of Blood Brothers music that works well too. For me, it’s basically anything that I can imagine myself playing or singing on stage because that gets me excited enough to be willing to exhaust myself by running no-where.

  26. holy shit why am i just listening to this now? this is awesome, riese. you had me at dj punjabi and then won my heart with the jackson 5.

    did you know that this doubles as a “clean the ex out of the apartment” playlist?


    xo besos

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