Unconventional Music to Shake Up Your Workout

  • Copy by: Brittany Tennant

Alright, friends. This month’s #TEG30DayChallenge is all about finding the fitness routine that works for you. But what about your workout music?

Working up a sweat can be a great way to decompress at the end of a long day, and every trip to the gym needs a great playlist.

If you’re like me, the treadmill stops the moment the music gets boring. My musical taste isn’t exactly run-of-the mill, and I spend an embarrassingly long time searching for new upbeat music I won’t get sick of. The “typical” workout songs on most pre-made playlists are fun, but they can get old fast.

So I took matters into my own hands.

I’ve created a playlist to keep you intrigued and motivated all the way to the very end of your next workout. You may have heard some of these songs, but probably never considered using them to turn up the MPH on the treadmill.

You’ll hear some newer indie-electronic sounds, remixes of old favorites, well-beloved throwbacks, and even some intense, classical movie score selections. Here are just a few you’ll find: 


Canadian singer, songwriter, and producer Claire Boucher (known in the industry as Grimes) was making music during college in Montréal when she discovered the underground music scene, arriving at a sound which she herself calls “ADD music.” While some of her songs at first listen seem like unusual combinations of vocals and experimental sound, Grimes brings a strong, independent, and unique female voice to her genre—the upbeat and unusal sound will definitely keep you motivated.


Belgian-Rwandan rapper Paul Van Haver (Stromae) brings a refreshing French-language sound to the electronic/hip-hop music scene. Spending the beginning of his career as a film student and a member of other hip-hop bands, Stromae’s major breakthrough came in 2009 when he earned the attention of influential European music producers while working at a radio station in Brussels. Stromae soon found widespread recognition across Europe and more recently in the United States. He has since collaborated with A-list hip-hop artist Kanye West and continues to grow his career worldwide. Sampling his music, it’s not difficult to imagine accompanying your workout with this musical treat from across the Atlantic.


Originally an Australian pub rock band, INXS has performed both new wave pop and funk/dance rock throughout their career. The group gained notoriety across the late 1970s and early 1980s through their unique contribution to the rock music scene and their charismatic, interactive style. While maybe not the first rock band that comes to mind when reflecting on your own personal list of favorite throwbacks, INXS’s groovy sound will definitely add some classic fun to your exercise.


Singer/songwriter Santi White has been a prominent collaborator with other pop and hip-hop stars across her career. Her resume of projects with other artists include names like Pharrell Williams, Kanye West, Christina Aguilera, and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’. Inspired by 1980s pop and notable African American singers like James Brown and Aretha Franklin, Santigold’s solo hits will be a worthwhile addition to any workout playlist.

Royal Teeth

A relatively newer band, Royal Teeth was formed in 2010 with members from various cities in Louisiana.  Since their formation, they’ve performed in music festivals across the United States, toured with other indie bands like the Kooks and Fitz and the Tantrums, and have had their hit single “Wild” recently featured in commercials for Samsung, American Eagle, and the FIFA13 video game. Royal Teeth avoids the harder beats of other typical workout music and could almost be considered easy listening, but it’s upbeat and motivating all the same.

With some new names and an entire playlist below to consider adding to your own gym soundtrack, you’ll start your next workout with some fresh sounds to keep you going through that next mile, that next rep, or that next lunge.

Listen, share, and add the playlist to your own account here: 

Sweat on, my friends.