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The ultimate pump-up workout playlist, courtesy of pro athletes


Alexi Pappas workout songs
Photo: Twitter/AlexiPappas
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While a Top 40 playlist or the Hamilton soundtrack might be good enough for an hourlong SoulCycle class, professional athletes require a much more thorough song-choosing process.

You may think that for most athletes it’s all about getting hyped: a little Justin Bieber or Drake to pump them up while they crush Olympic records. But some athletes need music to calm down, to allow their minds to focus in on the task at hand. For every Michael Phelps (who listens to a mix of Eminem, Young Jeezy, and Eric Church), there’s a Diana Nyad, the record-setting long-distance swimmer (we’re talking Cuba to Florida) whose eye-of-the-tiger mix is heavy on John Lennon, Bob Dylan, and Joe Cocker.

Hey, whatever gets you to the finish line, right?

To help you go pro with your next workout—or, at the very least, inspire you to roll out of bed an hour early to go for a run—we polled past and present athletes (many of them Olympic contenders) to create the ultimate mix of heart-pumping and mind-focusing songs.

Starting with Nyad, we got a full scope of what the world’s best athletes like to listen to before kicking butt and collecting medals. From rock climbing world champion Sasha DiGiulian to long-distance Olympic runner (and Mindy Kaling fave) Alexi Pappas—as well as three-time Olympian and American record holder in the marathon Deena Kastor, Ironman champion Heather Jackson, and two-time American Olympic rower Meghan Musnicki—these ladies know a thing or two about pumping up before a workout (to record-crushing heights, no less).

Scroll down to hear the handpicked athlete playlist and make sure to follow it on Spotify.

Get Started
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Need an at-home workout to do to these tunes? Try this core-engaging, dance cardio workout from Katia Pryce of DanceBody. Or let this app do all the work for you, with built-in trainer guidance and playlists set to your activity.