Let’s paint a picture: you’re at the gym, resting between sets of your favourite exercise (burpees, obviously). You’re absolutely crushing your workout goals and feeling great. That’s when it happens: shuffle hits you with a slow, unmotivating song that brings your workout careening to a halt. All of a sudden you find yourself trapped in a constant state of song-skipping, searching for that perfect song to pick your motivation back up.

Ariana Grande might be okay with saying thank you, next but that’s not what you want the theme of your workout to be.

We’ve all been there. Sometimes it lasts for 30 seconds, sometimes a few minutes, and sometimes you find yourself zoned out on the bench press for 10 minutes while you change your Spotify playlist 16 times.

Like your workouts, your music preferences are personal to you. Is it Adele’s pipes that push you to work harder? Maybe it’s hard hitting rap that fuels your workouts? Who knows. No matter what gets you pumped up to achieve your workout goals, an ideal playlist helps motivate you to get there. Check out these four tips to help you create a killer playlist for any type of workout.

1.Make your playlists ahead of time – Pre-make those playlists! Be prepared when you start your workout so you don’t spend extra time in the changeroom sifting through your tunes, potentially shortening your workout. As for your tunes, whether it’s Apple Music, iTunes, Spotify or any of the other countless music apps out there, choose the app that works best for you. Your perfect app will provide you with extensive music choices, allowing you to seamlessly create playlists that you enjoy. It also needs to work with your workout environment. For example: if your gym has spotty Wi-Fi near the squat racks or you prefer to run outdoors, an app with easily downloadable playlists would be ideal for you.

2.Go with the flow of your workout – You wouldn’t just jump into a heavy set of deadlifts with zero warm-up, so why would you do any differently with your workout playlist? Regardless of your chosen exercises, you can set up your playlist to help you construct your workout, including your warm-up, workout, and cool down. Ease into your playlist with your warm-up songs, add your most motivating songs to your main workout portion, and then slowly cascade your playlist into your cool down songs. This technique can also support your fitness goals, as it helps you focus on maintaining effective warm-ups and cool-downs, essential components of a solid workout program.

3.Choose your songs with intention – What do you want to get out of your workout? Is it an endurance run? High intensity interval training? Heavy compound lifts? Whatever your workout, match your playlist’s rhythms to your workout type and intensity. For example: if your workout consists of sprint intervals, you want your song choice to have a higher number of beats per minute, because you want the song’s tempo to match the demands of the exercise.

4.Find your sweet spot with cross fade – Many apps such as Spotify give you the option of adding a personalized cross fade. This allows your playlist to ease from song to song, eliminating any abrupt stops or dead space between songs.

Motivation is key for reaching your fitness goals, and music can play a dramatic role in sustaining motivation throughout a workout. Learning to use your music effectively can support your fitness goals in a positive way, helping you optimize your workouts and become your own badass workout DJ!