WHAT’S ONY­OUR WORK (OUT PLAYLIST?

GQ (Australia) - - INSIDE -

Ihave 21,000 songs on my phone. But only a se­lect few (around 50) make it on to my work­out playlists. That’s less than a quar­ter of one per cent. And all of them are songs that I only lis­ten to at the gym. Th­ese songs have no place in the rest of my life, but when it’s time to sweat, they’re on high ro­ta­tion. I’ve since asked friends what’s on their work­out playlists and ev­ery sin­gle one listed songs that they weren’t par­tic­u­larly at­tached to and only lis­tened to as an ex­er­cise aid. Some of it was al­most ob­jec­tively bad mu­sic, but great when you needed to run up a hill. So why is it that the mu­sic we work out to is dif­fer­ent to the other mu­sic we lis­ten to? Per­haps we want our-work­out-selves to be some­thing we’re not. The reg­u­lar hu­man self craves ease, com­fort, shortcuts and plea­sure. If you want ev­i­dence of that, I of­fer the en­dur­ing pop­u­lar­ity of fast food, couches, re­mote con­trols and in­fomer­cials for prod­ucts to make our lives eas­ier. Iron­i­cally, it’s those very things, when com­bined, that see us need­ing to go to the gym in the frst place. The mo­ment hu­mans be­came in­tel­li­gent, they gained the ca­pac­ity for lazi­ness. ‘Why do I spend my life hunt­ing and gath­er­ing?’ asked our newly sen­tient an­ces­tors. ‘I’m go­ing to spend a few mil­len­nia work­ing to­wards drive-through burg­ers.’ It be­gan with some hard work like learn­ing to farm and in­vent­ing the in­ter­nal com­bus­tion en­gine. But even­tu­ally, we had the abil­ity to re­main in our cars while col­lect­ing enough calo­ries to keep our an­ces­tors hunt­ing on the plains for a week. And so for our own sur­vival (and in the hope of look­ing as much like the mod­els on the cover of ft­ness mag­a­zines as pos­si­ble) we fnd our­selves at the gym. Here, ease, com­fort, shortcuts and plea­sure are the ex­act op­po­site of what we need. Here, we need hard work, dis­com­fort, dif­fculty and pain. And to achieve that we have to shed our lazy selves and be­come su­per-mo­ti­vated, hy­per-ca­pa­ble, un­stop­pable achieve­ment ma­chines – for an hour, three times a week. And that’s where the work­out playlist comes in. If we choose the right mu­sic, we can trick our minds into some kind of tran­scen­dent state where as long as we’re lis­ten­ing, we’re the per­son we need to be to get the job done. It may not nec­es­sar­ily be the sound­track of the per­son we wish we were, but is defnitely the sound­track we think will get us there. Th­ese are the songs that cater­pil­lars would lis­ten to in the co­coon as they fre up, ac­ti­vate their cores and trans­form into a freak­ing but­ter­fly. This got me won­der­ing. To which songs do the peo­ple we as­pire to lis­ten when they work out? The beau­ti­ful peo­ple? The strong peo­ple? The peo­ple on the cov­ers of mag­a­zines? What do the su­per-hot, su­per­fa­mous have on their playlists? Ap­par­ently, it’s Bey­oncé. A stag­ger­ing num­ber of beau­ti­ful, fa­mous peo­ple who have shared their playlists lis­ten to the over­achiev­ing Amer­i­can songstress. Over­whelm­ingly, her mu­sic is the sound of as­pi­ra­tion. It is the sound of whom peo­ple wish them­selves to be. Which leads us to the most cru­cial ques­tion of all: what does Bey­oncé lis­ten to when she works out? I went look­ing and fnally found a mag­a­zine promis­ing the ‘EX­CLU­SIVE: Bey­oncé Work­out Playlist’. The very idea of this stag­gered me. Who else could she pos­si­bly want to be? What pos­si­ble trans­for­ma­tion is she hop­ing for? What mag­i­cal mu­sic is it that mo­ti­vates Bey­oncé to as­pire to be some­one bet­ter than Bey­oncé? An ac­tual record­ing of a Pe­ga­sus play­ing a harp? I was shocked, and not shocked, to fnd that ev­ery song on the list was by Bey­oncé. I then looked a lit­tle closer and re­alised I’d been had by a typo and an er­ro­neous colon. It was in fact just an ‘EX­CLU­SIVELY Bey­oncé Work­out Playlist’. I made a men­tal note never to be fooled again by an er­ro­neous colon and ac­cepted I would prob­a­bly never know what the most worked-out-to per­son works out to. Still, in a re­lated ar­ti­cle I read that in Bey­oncé and Jay-z’s home, she has a cli­mate-con­trolled dig­i­tal li­brary of ev­ery im­age and video ever made of her­self any­where in the world. If that is true, then one could well as­sume that Bey­oncé as­pires only to be Bey­oncé. And pre­sum­ably the playlist would be her mu­sic. n

“WHAT SONGS DO THE PEO­PLE WE AS­PIRE TO BE LIS­TEN TO WHEN THEY WORK OUT? THE BEAU­TI­FUL PEO­PLE? THE STRONG PEO­PLE?”

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