If you're anything like me and pretty much everyone in the SELF office, these days you're glued to your TV set or the 'net watching holy-crap Olympic feats (like that amazing Missy Franklin zooming to gold in the 100-meter backstroke). While you may never sprint, flip, spike or punch like Team USA, you can psych up for your workout just like them.
SELF asked 15 of the top medal contenders what they cued to crush it. What you'll notice about their jock jams: All of the tracks are beat-thumping, high-energy songs that make you wanna move. Which is good, because science says the faster the tempo, the speedier and more powerful you'll be. (When the tempo of music was bumped up by 10 percent, cyclists pedaled farther and faster, a study in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports finds.) Pay particularly close attention to the pump up lyrics in picks like "Shake It Out" and "Good Feeling." Hearing the positive, hell-yeah-I-can-do-it phrases can subconsciously propel you to keep going, researchers say.
High five to superstars Lolo Jones, Missy Franklin, Marlen Esparza and more for letting us steal their top songs and inspiring us on and off the couch! So (world) classy.
LOLO JONES / Track & Field
"Bad Girls," M.I.A.
KERRI WALSH / Beach Volleyball
"Sexy and I Know It," LMFAO
MISTY MAY-TREANOR / Beach Volleyball
"Good Feeling," Flo Rida
GWEN JORGENSEN / Triathlon
"Hangin' Tough," New Kids on the Block
MISSY FRANKLIN / Swimming
"Just Dance," Lady Gaga
HOPE SOLO / Soccer
"Ragged Mile," John Butler Trio
MARIEL ZAGUNIS / Fencing
"Cat Daddy," The Rej3ctz
NATALIE COUGHLIN / Swimming
JORDYN WIEBER / Gymnastics
"Wild Ones," Flo Rida
SHALANE FLANAGAN / Marathon
"Empire State of Mind," Jay-Z (featuring Alicia Keys)
MARLEN ESPARZA / Boxing
"Another One Bites the Dust," Queen
CHRISTINA LOUKAS / Diving
"Not Afraid," Eminem
CARYN DAVIES / Rowing
"Milord," Edith Piaf
SUSAN FRANCIA / Rowing
"Shake It Out," Florence + the Machine
ALLYSON FELIX / Track & Field
Marissa Stephenson is SELF's fitness editor. She edits and writes the magazine's fitness and workout features and columns, tests new routines weekly, and is currently training for her second New York City marathon.
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