Fitness Technology

How the Music Selection on Apple Fitness+ Is Sneakily the Best Part of the Workout

Kells McPhillips

Photo: Apple; Graphics: Well+Good Creative
We hold this workout truth to be self-evident: Good music makes the workout. Apple has carried the tune of this fitness fact into the design Apple Fitness+: the brand's newly-launched movement platform that comes jam-packed with disc-jockeyed playlists designed to inspire your movement from start to finish (ensuring you close those rings in no time flat).

"Music is a huge motivator in fitness, and we knew it would be so important in Apple Fitness+," says Jay Blahnik Apple’s Senior Director of Fitness for Health Technologies. "We're working really hard to make sure that the music is not just outstanding, but also feels like it's been selectively crafted for the workout experience." For Apple, that means hiring professional music mixers who can work with in-house trainers to make magic out of any genre from pop to hip hop to country. "Trainers also take great care to map their workouts around music builds and beat drops, which can help motivate you to work harder during a tough interval or intensity push," adds Blahnik. And when the workout's a wrap, Apple Music users can even save the playlists to relive their workout euphoria during that work sprint later on.

"Music is a huge motivator in fitness, and we knew it would be so important in Apple Fitness+." — Jay Blahnik, Apple’s Senior Director of Fitness for Health Technologies

Science backs the need for top-notch auditory ambiance while working out. One study published in the journal Nature Neuroscience found that the simple act of anticipating listening to a stellar playlist lights up the reward system in the brain and even boosts your self-esteem—so just imagine if you could guarantee your brain that experience every time you broke a sweat. That's the intention of every single trainer working Apple Fitness+, including Jessica Skye, a DJ-turned-yoga teacher who's carried her love of mashing music into her new role with the tech company. "My favorite part of the job was crate-digging and looking for music that no one else had," Skye tells Well+Good. "I love being able to bring that to Fitness+ and enabling the experience to be not just a resource for better health, but also for music discovery."

Tyrell Désean, a cycling coach with the platform, sees the special focus on music as a key strategy for dialing up the energy in a virtual fitness world. "When we're climbing a steep, heavy hill on the bike, and you hear the beat drop, you know something is coming and you can feel the energy just come off the screen... I love pop, and hip-hop, and upbeat anthems, and that comes to life in my workouts. But you will also find workouts with country or Latin grooves, and even find yourself enjoying workouts to music you have never discovered before."

In a year when concerts have been postponed and heart-thrumming studio workout classes placed on pause, an at-home platform that emphasizes both musical beats and your heartbeats per minute feels much-needed. So I pop in my headphones and start a strength training workout led by the boppy tunes of Cardi B and Ludacris. Before I know it, my dumbbell curls have turned into a full-on dance party—and I'm not mad about it.

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