Music for working out--some favorites

Choice of music for working out is perhaps a type of personality test. If the piped music at the gym is any guide, most people seem to go for your standard up-tempo pop music--at least that's what they play in the gym. This never appealed to me. It's bland and uninspiring. I prefer music with the promise of something heroic and extraordinary. This to me is the point of working out in the first place, not to mention most other things I do.

So herewith a selection of some of what I listen to when exercising. May some of them inspire you.

1. "What Are You Going to Do When You Aren't Saving the World?" from Man of Steel (2013). Like many of my choices, this is movie music. In general I find movie music is often more willing to commit to a concept. This piece starts good but builds up to a couple of great climaxes. Great for pushing through he last couple of sets of an exercise.

2. "The Great Race March" from The Great Race (1965). In the movie, this song serves as the theme song for the always white-clad Great Leslie, the story's hero---polymath, daredevil, and unflagging good sport. This song is lighter in mood, but I like how apparently every patriotic song in the world was stolen from the great Leslie. 

3. "Bim Bam Smash" from the Bourne Supremacy. Bourne soundtracks are admittedly all rather similar but Supremacy has more "flavor" to my ears and is my favorite. This track is from the big chase scene at the end of the movie. It has a high-speed energy to it--better for running than heavy weights.

4. "The Ecstasy of Gold" from The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, by the great Ennio Morricone. This is another good song for running (there's actually a lot of running in this scene).

5. "No Rest for the Weary" from In Like Flint. More likely than not, you have never heard of this movie. It's my favorite among the James Bond imitators. For my lucky readers I found both the music track and the scene from the movie. Flint is very 60's--and yet his athleticism is more like Daniel Craig than Sean Connery.

6. "Chevaliers de Sangreal" from The Da Vinci Code. Another great tune that gradually builds in energy, great for doing several sets of an exercise or pushing through the last half-mile of a run.

7. "Setting up the Lair" from the TV show Arrow. Once again, I provide both the scene and the music track, because I think visual context is essential for appreciating this track. Stephen Amell is one of the buffest guys ever to appear on TV. This track accompanies him setting up his lair (a strenuous activity in its own right), culminating in the most badass workout ever.

8. "His Name is Napoleon Solo" from The Man from U.N.C.L.E. One of my disappointments in life is that this film seems not to have spawned the franchise that was clearly intended. If it had done so, this track could have become a theme song. It's more about attitude than energy.

9. "The Pines of the Appian Way" by Ottorino Respighi. Okay, not a soundtrack; in fact this one is classical. Another great piece that steadily builds to a climax.

10. Finally: "Big Right" from Cinderella Man, by Thomas Newman. Newman also did, for example, the soundtrack for The Shawshank Redemption. He makes an interesting choice in moments of triumph: contrary to what almost anyone else would do, he takes the mood rather dark. The message that I take from this is that it's a bit scary what human beings are capable of achieving in their peak moments.

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