Fabian Mazur is a DJ and Producer who started his career in 2006. Since that time Fabian has toured across Europe and has been nominated 3 years in a row at the Danish Deejay Awards. To this day, Fabian's tracks and remixes have been streamed over 8 million times. Fabian kindly gave us his time to share his views on the relationship between music and fitness training.
1. How much do you feel music can affect a person's work-out? Can someone still perform as well without their favorite songs?
You can still perform well without music but research out there suggests that music definitely does enhance your training. I've read many scientific statements about this but I still feel like it's a personal thing. For me, I usually workout without music around 50% of the time and I still get a workout just as good. However, I do know a lot of people who claim that they can't work-out without music. So I'd say that music can affect a person's workout a lot but it can also be a psychological barrier to some.
2. How important is BPM to enhancing a work-out?
So BPM stands for "beats per minute". The term can be used to describe the tempo of music and we also use it to measure our heart rate. As a DJ I think my mind subconsciously thinks in BPM when I listen to music because I'm used to thinking in BPM when I play shows.
If you're doing cardio workout, I'd say BPM is an essential key for keeping up the pace - I'd definitely go for something around 120-140 bpm if I'm going for a cardio workout. If you're bodybuilding or doing other workouts it is not as important. The thing about BPM is that a track can be very energetic without having a high bpm - For example those tracks that runs in half-tempo around 70 BPM but still sounds like an energy-bomb like a lot of the new electronic music.
3. When you compile a set-list to work-out to, what kind of songs do you go for? And what advice would you give runners or gym rats for compiling the perfect playlist?
I usually go for new tracks that can surprise me. I find that I get the best workouts and runs when I listen to something that my ears are not adjusted or used to. I can highly recommend trying to create a playlist within your favorite genres but with new songs that you're not used to hearing. Try this the next time you work out and see how the element of surprise affects your motivation: open your music streaming service of choice, pick a genre you like, and then choose a random playlist or mix within that genre!
4. Are any genres of music better for training than others?
This is a personal thing. However, I think that a lot of electronic dance music subgenres are probably the most fitting genre. Whether you go for Trap, House, Drum N bass, Future Bass, Jungle Terror, Jersey Club, etc. you have music that bursts with energy and that has a motivating effect on a lot of people.
5. What kind of music is best for high-repetition exercises such as running?
Something that really keeps the pace musically so that you stay motivated to keep-up. The best music for running is something that has an energy that inspires you to transfer that energy to your body.
6. What kind of music is best for more static training such as weight training?
For me personally that really depends what kind of mood I'm in. Usually I like to go through my Soundcloud stream and find something punchy and electronic to really get a pump going; However, sometimes I put on a soul mixtape while I work out, which is pretty opposite.
7. What kind of music do you find gets people moving most?
As a long-time DJ & music producer, I find that most people want to get moving when they hear high-energy music such as electronic dance music (EDM). Whether in a club or training, it just gets them going! Almost every time I hit the gym, which is almost every day, somebody with loud pumping music passes me by. And from what my ears perceive, it's usually dance-music - or some heavy metal stuff.
8. Have you ever had a work-out ruined by having to listen to music you don't like?
Yes I have. I'm a music guy, I make a living off producing music and DJing, so I'm very specific about what I like to hear when I work out and what I don't. I used to work out at this gym a few years back and they were always playing this radio station playlist, which had the same annoying 50 pop songs. At one point I simply had enough and I couldn't really workout properly if I hadn't brought my own headphones. It was that terrible…
My suggestion is to always be in control of the music you listen to while working out!
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Our Top Tips to boost your workout
To avoid going too hard too early in your work-out, try putting together a set-list of slower to mid-tempo songs. This will allow you to get into your zone as you increase your heart rate.
Ideally choose two or three songs for a good 5-10 minute warm-up. By the end you should have the inspiration surging through the veins and be ready to get stuck into your planned work-out.
Consider your favourite genres of music and their effect on your performance. A metronomic beat such as that found in electronica can be ideal for highly rhythmic exercises such as cycling or running. When your mind is concentrating on a regular beat, you can also distract your thoughts from the temporary discomfort of exertion.
If you're training indoors, those 4 walls can quickly sap your inspiration. Tune-in to something you love in your songs, whether it's the lyrics which mean something to you or the beat which keeps your legs pumping. When you immerse yourself in your favourite music you can enter a zone which takes you somewhere else entirely.
Treat your work-out like a dance-floor. Just because your training requires set movements, doesn't mean you can't express yourself inside and tap out a beat with your fingers or feet. Don't worry about what others think, they're probably in their own zones too!
Make the song work for you. If you're working on intervals in your training, why not increase your effort during the chorus and ease back during the verse? It's a fun way of mixing things up and keeps your mind on your music rather than your burning lungs!
As with the warm-up, pick out a few tracks which can help bring you back to normal heart rate and breathing. Slower, mellow songs are a good way to sooth the mind and body after a strenuous work-out.