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Cycling instructor tips: playlist making

Attn fitness instructors, specifically my new fitness instructors out there:⁠⁠


Here is my approach to playlisting!⁠⁠


I want to preface this by saying there are many different ways to approach playlisting for a fitness class. This is the process that I've found works best for me after 7+ years in the biz.⁠⁠


I'm a hyper-organized person, and I teach a beat-based class, so I categorize all my music into playlists based on their BPM. @Spotify makes it really easy to search within a playlist, or filer by length of the song, so I can easy look for what I need.⁠⁠


  1. I first put one or two "anchor" songs into the playlist. These are high-energy songs that I'm super pumped to play. Placing these in first will help me decide what other kinds of songs I need in the class to balance out the vibes. I like to give my client's ears & brains one or two "breaks" from loud crazy songs in each class. The contrast helps to emphasize the BIG moments.

  2. I find what opener I want to start with. Is it a morning class and I want a quieter song to wake the class up with? Is it a midday LIT vibes? Am I feeling angsty? I find the song that matches what I'm going for.

  3. I like for song 2 to be really high energy with lit drops, so I find one that fits the bill and put that fits the bill and put that in. Usually, this is what takes me the longest to find.

  4. I fill in the rest of the playlist to build peaks and valleys of both intensity of the workout and the music itself. Just because a song is intense doesn't mean it's the peak of your workout & just because it's the peak of your workout doesn't necessarily mean the song is really intense. There are levels to this shit.

  5. Once the "meat" of my class is figured out, I determine my arms song and finale based on how much time I have remaining to playlist for.

  6. Pick your cooldown and "walkout" music.

  7. Have a separate playlist for your "walk-in" music! I have a few based on different vibes I usually go for. For example early morning wakeup, moody hip hop, & sunny tropical beats.

To see more of my playlists check out my Instagram @mer_doty where I post lots of my playlist posts and more cycling instructor tips!



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