These Are the Most Motivating Workout Songs of All Time


By: , – With Melinda Hershey & Megan Patrick, Staff Writers
  :  98 comments   :  1,512,214 Views

When it comes to motivational workout music, everyone likes something different. I know people who love to run to instrumental music, otherwise seemingly innocent friends who exercise to hardcore rap and people whose musical tastes in "real" life don't match up with the songs that inspire them to work out.

Personally, I like a huge mix. For me, almost anything that's catchy and has a good beat will work. But sometimes, you need something better than that. Sometimes you need the motivation to get off the couch, or go the extra mile, or push through that heavier lift, or muscle through your first marathon. When you really need a boost, what you need is an inspirational work out song.

Our editors and fitness experts compiled a list—130 songs to be exact—of songs that have fast beats worthy of exercising to, but also have motivational messages and lyrics.

These are great to listen to when you find yourself at a crossroads or needing that extra push. This list features everything from modern day pop songs to oldies to country to rap, so you're sure to find something that speaks to you. All of them have a positive message that will lift you up and inspire you to reach your fullest potential!
Links will take you to where you can preview or purchase the mp3. I also threw in just a few YouTube videos for some of my personal favorites, so you can listen to it right now.

Motivational Songs That Will Inspire You to Work Out

12 Stones  -  We Are One
Ace of Base  -  Beautiful Life
Alicia Keys - Girl On Fire
"Looks like a girl, but she's a flame so bright
She can burn your eyes, better look the other way
You can try but you'll never forget her name
She's on top of the world..."

Angels & Airwaves - The Adventure
"Even if your hope has burned with time,
Anything that's dead shall be re-grown,
And your vicious pain, your warning sign,
You will be fine."

Aretha Franklin - Respect
Avicci  -  Wake Me Up
Basement Jaxx  -  Good Luck
Bastille  -  Pompeii
Bee Gees  -  Stayin' Alive
Beyoncé - Run the World
Bill Conti  -  Gonna Fly Now (theme from "Rocky")
Black Eyed Peas  -  I Gotta Feeling
Bon Jovi  -  It's My Life
Bon Jovi – Livin' On A Prayer
Britney Spears - Stronger
Bruce Springsteen - Born to Run
BT  -  Never Gonna Come Back Down
Calvin Harris  -  Let's Go

Capital Cities - Safe and Sound
"I could lift you up
I could show you what you wanna see
And take you where you wanna be
You could be my luck
Even if the sky is falling down
I know that we'll be safe and sound"
Christina Aguilera - Fighter
Classified ft. David Myles  -  Inner Ninja
Daft Punk  -  Harder Better Faster Stronger
Daft Punk  -  One More Time

David Guetta ft. Sia - Titanium
"I'm bulletproof, nothing to lose
Fire away, fire away
Ricochet, you take your aim
Fire away, fire away
You shoot me down but I won't fall
I am titanium"

Des Ree  -  You Gotta Be
Destiny's Child  -  Survivor
Destiny's Child - Independent Women
DJ Khaled - All I Do Is Win
Electric Light Orchestra - Mr. Blue Sky

Elton John - I'm Still Standing
"Don't you know I'm still standing better than I ever did
Looking like a true survivor, feeling like a little kid
I'm still standing after all this time"

Eminem  -  Lose Yourself
Eminem  -  Til I Collapse

Eminem - Not Afraid
"I'm not afraid to take a stand
Everybody, come take my hand
We'll walk this road together, through the storm
Whatever weather, cold or warm
Just letting you know that you're not alone"

Europe  -  The Final Countdown
Fatboy Slim  -  Wonderful Night
Fleetwood Mac  -  Go Your Own Way
Flo Rida  -  Good Feeling
Florence + the Machine  -  Dog Days are Over
Foo Fighters  -  Monkey Wrench
Fort Minor  -  Remember the Name

Fun. - Carry On
"If you're lost and alone
Or you're sinking like a stone,
Carry on.
May your path be the sound
Of your feet upon the ground,
Carry on."

Fun. - We Are Young
George Michael  -  Faith
George Michael  -  Freedom
Gloria Gaynor  -  I Will Survive
Gym Class Heroes ft. Ryan Tedder  -  The Fighter
Heather Small  -  Proud
Imagine Dragons  -  On Top of the World
Imagine Dragons - It's Time
James Brown  -  I Got You (I Feel Good)
Janelle Monáe  -  Tightrope
Jason Derulo - Undefeated

Jimmy Eat World - The Middle
"You know you're doing better on your own, so don't buy in
Live right now, yeah, just be yourself
It doesn't matter if it's good enough for someone else
It just takes some time
Little girl you're in the middle of the ride
Everything, everything will be just fine
Everything, everything will be alright, alright"

Jordin Sparks  -  You Gotta Want It
Journey - Don't Stop Believin'
Junior Senior  -  Move Your Feet
Kanye West  -  Stronger
Kanye West - All Of The Lights
Kanye West - Touch The Sky
Katrina & The Waves - Walking on Sunshine

Katy Perry - Roar
"I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter
Dancing through the fire
'Cause I am a champion, and you're gonna hear me roar"

Katy Perry - Firework

Kelly Clarkson - Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)
"What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, stronger
Just me, myself and I
What doesn't kill you makes you stronger
Stand a little taller
Doesn't mean I'm lonely when I'm alone"

Kelly Clarkson - Since U Been Gone
Kris Allen  -  Live Like We're Dying
Kristin Chenoweth  -  Defying Gravity (Wicked Soundtrack)
Labyrinth  -  Express Yourself
Lady Gaga  -  The Edge of Glory
Lady Gaga - Born This Way
LMFAO - Sexy and I Know It
Lupe Fiasco - The Show Goes On

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis ft. Ray Dalton -  Can't Hold Us
"Raise those hands, this is our party
We came here to live life like nobody was watching
I got my city right behind me
If I fall, they got me.
Learn from that failure gain humility and then we keep marching ourselves
Can we go back, this is the moment
Tonight is the night, we’ll fight 'til it’s over
So we put our hands up like the ceiling can’t hold us
Like the ceiling can’t hold us"

Mandisa  -  Good Morning
Mandisa  -  Overcomer
Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell - Ain't No Mountain High Enough

Matchbox Twenty - How Far We've Come
"I believe the world is burning to the ground
Oh well I guess we're gonna find out
Let's see how far we've come
Let's see how far we've come"

Matthew Wilder - Break My Stride
Mausi  -  Move
MC Yogi  -  Give Love
MercyMe  -  Move
Michael Jackson  -  Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough
Natasha Bedingfield  -  Pocketful of Sunshine
Natasha Bedingfield  -  Unwritten
Nelly - Heart of a Champion
Nelly - Warrior
New Radicals - You Get What You Give
"But when the night is falling and you cannot find the light
If you feel your dream is dying, hold tight
You've got the music in you
Don't let go
You've got the music in you
One dance left
This world is gonna pull through
Don't give up
You've got a reason to live
Can't forget you only get what you give"

No Doubt  -  It's My Life
NoNoNo  -  Pumpin Blood
One Direction - Live While We're Young
OneRepublic  -  Counting Stars

OneRepublic - Life in Color
"Well this is life in color
Today feels like no other
And the darkest grays
The sun bursts, clouds break
Well this is life in motion (motion)
And just when I could run this race no more
The sun bursts, clouds break
This is life in color"

OneRepublic - Good Life
Owl City - Good Time
P!nk  -  Raise Your Glass
Paolo Nutini - New Shoes
Passion Pit - Take a Walk
Paul Engemann  -  Push It to the Limit
Paul Van Dyk  -  Time Of Our Lives
Pharrell Williams  -  Happy
Queen  -  Don't Stop Me Now
Queen - We Are the Champions
Queen - We Will Rock You
R. Kelly -  The World's Greatest
Rachel Platten - Fight Song
Rihanna - Diamonds
Sia - The Greatest
Skillet  -  Hero
Snap - The Power
Stevie Wonder - Uptight (Everything's Alright)
Survivor  -  Eye of the Tiger
Swedish House Mafia  -  Save the World

Swedish House Mafia - Don't You Worry Child
"Don't you worry, don't you worry, child.
See heaven's got a plan for you.
Don't you worry, don't you worry now."

T.I.  -  Live Your Life
Taio Cruz ft. Travie McCoy  -  Higher
The Chemical Brothers - Galvanize
The Killers  -  Human
The Matches  -  Wake The Sun
The Script - Hall of Fame
The White Stripes  -  Seven Nation Army
Timeflies  -  Worth It
Tinie Tempah ft. Eric Turner  -  Written in the Stars
Toby Mac  -  Get Back Up
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers  -  I Won't Back Down
Twisted Sister  -  We're Not Gonna Take It
Two Door Cinema Club  -  Something Good Can Work

U2  -  Beautiful Day
"It's a beautiful day
Don't let it get away
It's a beautiful day"
Van Halen  -  Jump
Walk the Moon - Work This Body

You may also like our best running songs of all-time.

Which lyrics or songs motivate you the most during a workout?

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    Best Day Of My Life by American Authors - 4/22/2014   5:23:45 PM
  • 47
    Could you develop a list of workout songs from the 50's and 60's for us older folks??? - 4/7/2014   2:32:21 PM
  • 46
    Great list of tunes! Thank you for compiling, I'll be adding several of these to my work-out playlist! - 2/28/2014   3:09:00 PM
    I love this list I would also include Sara's "Brave" for me. Wildpink3 - 2/18/2014   2:45:16 PM
  • 44
    I thought this was a very interesting article.I like the music above also, - 2/17/2014   9:57:01 AM
  • KAYCA73
    Did Mickey Mouse put this list together? I would fall asleep if I listened to most of this while I was working out. Best of all time? Um. No. - 2/16/2014   5:43:59 PM
    I like this set will save this email great styles - 2/16/2014   5:42:24 PM
  • 41
    not for me. Nothing from any of the bands I like (that probably had more #1 albums than any of these). There was hardly any classic rock on this list. I know I am not the only person who feels this way. And I make NO apologies for this.
    - 2/16/2014   4:10:07 PM
    None of my fav's are on here either. I enjoy several styles of music, 60's, 70's, 80's, Tejano, Pop, Rock, Country, like Brooks & Dunn, Dwight Yoakum, James Brown, disco & oldies songs like Wolly Bully, 96 Tears. Artists like Elvis, Rick Nelson, Creedence Clearwater, The Bee Gee's, The Stones, and one of my favorite songs to run to is 3 Doors Down's, "Kryptonite". - 2/16/2014   1:19:58 PM
    There were certainly some songs on here I missed and will add to my workout collection, but there are many that I have that are are essentially an injection of adrenaline. For example, Gonna Fly Now (Maynard Furgeson), Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting (Elton John), Gotta Be Somebody (Nickelback), Dancing in the Dark (Bruce Springsteen), Take it Easy (The Eagles), All Heaven Broke Loose and Roll with the Changes (REO Speedwagon), The Fire Inside (Bob Segar) and Livin on a Prayer (Bonjovi). - 2/16/2014   1:16:49 PM
    This list is great and can't wait to add some of the songs to my ipod. I love to workout to music - nothing motivates me more. I love sixties music and have a lot on my ipod, but some other suggestions are Getting Stronger Every Day/Chicago, Just Dance/Lady Gaga, Mustang Sally/Commitments, All I Want for Christmas/Mariah Carey (seasonal I know, but it gets me going).
    - 2/16/2014   9:51:47 AM
  • 37
    All of these are good songs but not exactly work out songs for me . Were is I love the way you move. Or pink or avril lyvine or kc and the sunshine band. I need a kicking beat to feel good when I work out. What is great is everyone's idea of a good song is different . You have a wide variety for all - 2/16/2014   8:35:40 AM
  • 36
    Please keep the music playlist ideas coming! - 2/12/2014   5:11:18 PM
  • 35
    This was AWESOME!!!!!!!!! I love it!!!!!!! I am bookmarking this page. I played the videos while on the stride machine, and I got off the machine feeling better physically AND mentally. You rock, Sparkpeople! Great choices. (But, we already knew you rocked, right?) - 2/8/2014   3:10:14 PM
  • 34
    I love listening to upbeat k-pop music when I work out, like 2NE1's "I Am The Best" or Big Bang's "Fantastic Baby". A lot of the songs on this list are great, too! I'll have to add them to my workout playlist! Thanks! ^^ - 2/4/2014   8:31:30 PM
    Good list. Needs some ZZ Top. I also love several of the upbeat songs from NEEDTOBREATHE (Girl from Tennessee, etc.) Always gets me pumped up. In the gospel arena, can't hardly beat The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power,. Several artists have put this record out, so search it out on Amazon or iTunes, listen to a few, and choose your favorite!
    - 2/1/2014   4:53:33 PM
  • 32
    That's an amazing list. Thanks!
    - 1/30/2014   12:35:37 PM
  • 31
    Pink's greatest hits is the best thing for spin class and any gym equipment workout. - 1/29/2014   11:52:24 PM
  • MARYP1962
    Love your list a lot of good workout songs. When I'm doing a boxing routine I love doing it to AC/DC TNT - 1/29/2014   8:58:23 PM
  • 29
    Love this list - lots of great songs on there including one of my favs, Kris Allen's Live Like We're Dying and some others I already work out to. But I see some new ones to try as well. - 1/29/2014   4:58:55 PM
  • 28
    On of my favorite songs to run to is Fort Minor - Remember the Name. I'm glad to see it on this list. Firework - Katy Perry is another of my favorites. - 1/29/2014   3:37:00 PM
  • 27
    This is definitely a matter of opinion. I don't see one soca or dancehall song on this list, and those are the best types of music to work out to! - 1/29/2014   1:39:45 PM
  • THENEWME2015
    My music tastes vary greatly depending on my mood. When I am working out, lyrics sometimes do it for me...other times I am just looking for a good beat. My playlist includes music from the 70's (It's Raining Men, I Will Survive, and Staying Alive), 80's (mostly early to mid 80s British pop), 90's (Welcome to the Jungle by Guns N' Roses), today's favorites (Bad Romance, Wake Me Up, etc), soundtracks (NCIS Theme Song) to my favorite international artists (Tarkan, Hande Yener, Eros Ramazzotti, Giorgia, Ricky Martin). I used to have it play from start to finish, in a particular order, but I recently decided to put it on shuffle and I am liking that. - 1/29/2014   8:37:41 AM
    I think any workout that starts off with You Shook Me All Night Long by AC/DC is going to be a good one. - 1/29/2014   7:13:38 AM
  • 24
    I keep seeing a lot of the same songs listed as great workout songs, such as Roar and about half this list, while they be inspirational lyrically, they don't tap my toes. I really enjoy the mixes of most songs by Runtastic, Biggest Loser and so on. Crazy Frog has some fun stuff to move to as well. - 1/28/2014   9:06:46 PM
  • MISSTEE397
    My favorite treadmill song is "Robot" by Trip Lee. I like to jog to the beat. - 1/28/2014   7:14:25 PM
  • 22
    Woman on a Mission, by Gabriella Cilmi! :) - 1/28/2014   5:51:23 PM
  • 21
    I love upbeat Gospel music! - 1/28/2014   5:05:38 PM
  • 20
    I have quite a few of these on my run mix already. :) - 1/28/2014   3:29:40 PM
  • 19
    How about Mandisa's "Stronger" and "Good Morning"? - 1/28/2014   3:12:43 PM
    To add several good songs to the list above: "American Woman" by Guess Who, "Panama" by Van Halen, "Bad Girls" by Donna Summer, "Get the Party Started" by Pink and by my fave South Korean pop group TVXQ, "Keep Your Head Down." - 1/28/2014   2:12:18 PM
  • 17
    The list is great, I just have one minor pick. Defying Gravity is sung by Idina Menzel not Kristin Chenoweth (it will make a difference when you search for it on Itunes, ect.) Also if you really like the song but want to mix up the beat there is a fantastic remix of it that crosses pop with mild techno beat. I forget eaxctly who is credited with the remix (sorry don't have my ipod in front of me) but if you search for Defying Gravity funky remix it's in the top three or four results on itunes - 1/28/2014   1:58:11 PM
  • 16
    Thank you, very much! I added 20-30 of these songs to my aerobic workout playlist on Spotify. - 1/28/2014   12:49:48 PM
  • 15
    Several of these songs had me bouncing in my seat, clapping like a demented seal because they are my JAMS. *lol* Throw in "Move Your Body" by MDD and "Kick Ass" by Egypt Central and I'm good to go. :D - 1/28/2014   12:41:36 PM
  • 14
    Not my choice of music necessarily BUT tis on my homepage so as to get me off my couch for short stints on these wintry days. - 1/28/2014   12:00:02 PM
  • 13
    Most of these songs are unfamiliar. I prefer 60s, 70s, Southern Gospel and some Contemporary Christian. It has to have a good beat and up tempo. - 1/28/2014   11:09:14 AM
  • 12
    I love your list! I wish it was a playlist :) - 1/28/2014   10:39:27 AM
  • 11
    I'm not to the point where I love to exercise yet. I turn on my favorite classic TV show, (usually Dick Van Dyke or Get Smart are on when I exercise) put a coach Nicole workout on my Surface and work out while watching TV. My favorites are the 10 minute workouts. Just long enough that I can feel it and not so long that I think I'm going to die! - 1/28/2014   10:14:42 AM
  • 10
    Fitz and the Tantrums - The Walker. - 1/28/2014   9:45:51 AM
  • 9
    most of these songs just don't get me going. Give me a cross between country and classic rock-n-roll that has a fast beat, and I'm ready to get going! The kind of songs that me up this list mostly make me turn off the music. but hey to each their own. - 1/28/2014   9:36:31 AM
  • 8
    This is a great list! I am going to go through them today, enjoy some favorites and pick up some new ones. Thanks! - 1/28/2014   9:16:16 AM
  • 7
    James Brown-I feel good will always be a favorite of mine! - 1/28/2014   9:12:32 AM
    Love the playlist for the most part, but I personally prefer songs designed to dance or party to for inspiration to jog. More modern stuff for me, even though I'm a baby boomer! Love Skrillex, Kate Perry, Pink, just to name a few. - 1/28/2014   9:06:34 AM
  • 5
    One of my favorites is macgarther park, starts out slow and wow, you/ve got an excellent beat for cardio! - 1/28/2014   9:02:29 AM
    MercyMe has a new one called "Shake". Steven Curtis Chapman - "Dive". There are a lot of Contemporary Christian music that has a powerful message and "get up and move" beat. - 1/28/2014   7:58:21 AM
  • 3
    Hmm, not sure on this list. There is motivational music, then there's music that you can actually work out to. Lyrics don't work for me with the sense of 'getting me in the mood to exercise', but when I hear something with a pretty good dancey beat, something happy, or 'pick me up' music that'll be good to use for walking a good pace or using a machine etc.. Your tend to move to the beat. 'Girl on Fire', 'Roar', etc... are not the best tunes for a workout. - 1/28/2014   6:26:14 AM
  • 2
    I like my music and none of it is on your list. - 1/28/2014   5:44:04 AM
    I like Rush, and when I am jogging, "Marathon" from Power Windows album gets me motivated!
    It's not how fast you can go
    The force goes into the flow
    If you pick up the beat
    You can forget about the heat
    More than just survival
    More than just a flash
    More than just a dotted line
    More than just a dash

    More at:
    - 1/28/2014   4:34:53 AM

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