Playlists for Life: Fitness
Playlists for Life: Fitness
TBC Selects

Playlists for Life: Fitness

After looking for a gym with better music, Third Bridge Creative’s Senior Editor Kristin Corry finally found the fitness routine that worked for her.

Playlists for Life is a new narrative playlist venture from Third Bridge Creative. Each month, a member of our team curates a soundtrack to a pivotal moment in their life, and writes about the circumstances and discovery methods that led them to these particular sounds. You can listen to last month’s playlist here. For January’s installment, TBC’s Senior Editor, Kristin Corry, compiled a mix of high-tempo jams that soundtracked her fitness journey to cycling.

For years, I steered clear of the gym for what, at the time, felt like valid reasons. I hated being there, and more specifically, I hated being there alone. I didn’t know what I was doing, and I didn’t have enough money to pay someone to tell me what I should be doing. When I first committed (I use this word very loosely) to a gym, I was working long hours, with an extremely long commute. I’d get to my gym with maybe 45 minutes to spare before it closed with whatever steam I had left from my already very long day. When the pandemic hit, and gyms closed, I quit my membership and didn’t think twice.   

My life changed drastically during the pandemic. I moved to a new city, and remote work gave freedom to live a life outside of work—but it came at the expense of a few extra pounds. Without hiding behind my 15-hour days, I couldn’t find a single excuse. I landed on Pilates which didn’t feel as Big and Scary as the gym. Pilates taught me discipline and how to have an awareness of my body. It taught me that HIIT didn’t always mean better. One hundred classes later, I left Pilates, reluctantly, for one overwhelming reason: That studio couldn’t curate a playlist if its membership depended on it. After reaching a few of my fitness goals, I was ready to level up and bring new energy to my routine, and I didn’t see that happening when the music was seconds away from putting me to sleep.  

Indoor cycling was a whole different world. Rather than an environment where the music was the afterthought, music informed everything about these classes and instructors. For 45 minutes, (or 60 if you’re feeling ambitious), these classes are structured for an interval training session, with routines choreographed to the BPM of each song. You could take any class like Wake and Drake, Rap Queens, Emo Nite, a Renaissance Ride—and I was burning twice as many calories as I was in Pilates. 

Cycling came at a point in my life where I was unlearning a lot about who I thought I was. I had recently left a high-stress job that had become my identity. I laugh a little now because the studio, with its club lights and drama, is exactly the type of environment I would’ve run from before. But this very atmosphere has taught me that my performance should be consistent whether I’m in the back row or whether the room goes dark. That is how you build integrity.

At the end of every class, each instructor includes a reflection song, and their bike becomes their pulpit. As I was wrapping up my 75th ride recently, my instructor’s message about our inner child really resonated with me. For me, cycling is taking me back to an element of play—something that I didn’t even take joy in as a child. I was always writing, always reading, always doing something that would eventually become my life’s work. It's no wonder that my favorite rides are the ones dedicated to nostalgia. Rediscovering the rap, pop, and pop-punk of my youth feels like I’m introducing former versions of myself to the one that currently exists. Listening to the EDM versions of artists I love also reminds me that we are allowed to exist outside of what we’ve already done.

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