Michelle Obama inspires me on so many levels, bellas.

She inspires me in terms of her poise, her grace, her accomplishments, her style, and in the way that she makes health and fitness a priority. I’m trying to do the same in my life, and the First Lady’s workout regimen inspires me.

Check out this Oprah interview for details – Michelle Obama is into the treadmill, weights, jump rope and kickboxing! Myself, I’m trying to get there. She wakes up at 4:30 a.m. to work out! I’m nowhere hear as fit as the FLOTUS is, but I agree completely with her statement to Oprah, “I realized that my happiness is tied to how I feel about myself.”


That’s how I feel as well, but exercise is a daily struggle right now that I’m hoping to make into a habit. One thing Mrs. O and I do have in common right now – a killer workout playlist of our favorite tunes to work up a sweat to! Via Women’s Health and Soulbounce, this is the First Lady’s workout playlist!

1. Stevie Wonder – “Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours)”
2. Beyoncé – “Move Your Body (Let’s Move Theme)”
3. Janelle Monáe – “Tightrope”
4. Sara Bareilles – “Love Song”
5. Michael Jackson – “Unbreakable”
6. Willow Smith – “Whip My Hair”
7. Beyoncé – “I Was Here”
8. Chubb Rock – “Treat ‘Em Right”
9. Ledisi – “Thank You”
10. Jennifer Lopez – “Get Right”

I have a workout playlist too – click here for all of it but be forewarned, some of it gets a little profane! But I’ll share my favorite PG-13 tracks right here with you. Maybe you like to work up a sweat to a few of these as well!

Afrobella’s Workout Motivation Playlist

1. Audio Two – Top Billin’


When you first get on the treadmill or elliptical, you need a tune that will get you moving and grooving and happy to be there. The beat on this is perfect for beginning my workout. And the braggadocio in the lyrics makes me feel like obviously I’m about to ACE this workout.

2. M.I.A – Bad Girls


I kinda drifted from my love for M.I.A for a minute there but this song and this VIDEO brought me right back. Bad Girls is everything I loved about M.I.A back in the day – undeniable beats, nonchalant “rapping” and sneering attitude for days. This puts swagger in my workout step. And HOW AMAZING is this video? Imagine being on THAT set!


3. Alison Hinds – Faluma


Soca is PHENOMENAL workout music. Specifically recorded and intended to move a crowd to dancing for days at a time, it is high energy music that won’t let you quit until you’re sweaty. It is ideal for exercising – in NYC, there are even Socamotion workout classes to teach you how to get in shape in time for Carnivals around the world! And Barbados’ own Alison Hinds has been my workout inspiration from the moment I first heard this song! You may remember this 2008 post about Allison that details the history of the song. Alison’s version of Faluma was first recorded in 1997 and it goes just as hard today as it did then. Put that in your headphones when on the treadmill and let me know what you think!


4. Beyonce – Countdown


Can a workout playlist be complete without Queen Bey? I say NAY. I absolutely loved the video for Countdown when it dropped and there’s something about the pace of the song that sends me head over heels in love. It makes me want to dance, and there’s nothing wrong with dancing through your workout!


5. Michael Jackson – Workin’ Day and Night


I’d also venture to say that a workout playlist without a little Michael Jackson is INCOMPLETE. The FLOTUS loves latter period MJ. For me, the frenetic rhythm of Working Day and Night powers me through even the most challenging of interval training peaks.


6. Justin Timberlake – My Love


When will Justin Timberlake take a break from Hollywood film sets and get back in the studio with Timberland? They’re an unstoppable combination! Until quite recently I’d forgotten HOW HARD this song goes in my headphones – can you believe this dropped in 2006? Can’t wait for new music from these two, for now it’s Justified and Future Sex/Love Sounds on repeat.

7. Lil Jon – Snap Yo Fingers


I hope y’all aren’t judging me. What can I say, Lil Jon is a great motivator! (Yeah!) The beat of this song is what it’s all about to me (because of course it can’t be the lyrical content). Most of Lil Jon’s songs make my workout go by a little bit faster. I know I can’t be the only one still getting down to crunk music on the downlow.

8. Gnarls Barkley – Go Go Gadget Gospel


This is a GREAT outdoor workout song because Cee-Lo’s voice truly SOUNDS like freedom when he lets loose. His voice is so unique and soaring. I love Cee-Lo! I think he’s a genius for many reasons. But this song right here? Makes me feel like running (and I’m so not there yet in my workout attempts).

9. Sheila E – The Glamorous Life


LOVE Prince, and this song is such an elliptical banger for a few reasons! ALL of those reasons are Sheila E. The DRUMS in this song are on another level! Something about this song makes me feel cute even when I’m dripping with sweat.

10. Jack White – I’m Shakin’


I’m a BIG Jack White fan, and I am flipping over his latest album, Blunderbuss. I don’t normally turn to Mr. White for workout music material, but this song right here fits the bill! It’s a cover of Little Willie John’s 1960’s hit, and that’s ANOTHER reason I love Jack White, he always pays homage to musicians of yore and introduces them to his audience. I discovered Little Willie John because of this song, and his life story is fascinating. Cannot WAIT for Jack White at Lollapalooza this year!


And that’s what’s getting me up and moving these days! My complete Spotify Workout Motivation playlist is right here. What’s on your workout playlist? Share and I’ll add my faves to my Spotify list!



SanTara says:
May 21, 2012, 3:47 pm
I am TOTALLY adding The Glamorous Life to my playlist. My current list is a mix of L. Boogie, MJ, and Motown oldies.
Bianca says:
May 21, 2012, 3:53 pm
I just started running again and I was so happy to see that the Couch potato to 5k program had a free app. I used to use the podrunner.com but its set to techno music (which I didn't mind but I wanted a change), the C25K one lets you play your own music and just provides voice prompts to let you know when to run/walk. I've been using a Trini Soca 2012 melody and my favorite moving soca song "Fly" by Destra.
Tiffany says:
May 21, 2012, 4:04 pm
Love this list. Most of my playlist is Justin Timberlake, Usher, Chris Brown and Beyonce for cardio. When I'm weight lifting, it's mostly hard core rap...lots of Eminem and Drake and Kanye. Keep up the good work, ladies!
Marsha S. Haneiph says:
May 21, 2012, 4:23 pm
This was cool, Mama Bella. I love that you have Faluma on your playlist. If that tune doesn't get a booty shaking, there's something wrong with that booty! My workout playlist is huge with over 100 songs. Of course there's a lot of soca and what we call beep-beep music (Tiësto, Swedish House Mafia, Groove Armada, etc.) Cheers!
Marsha S. Haneiph says:
May 21, 2012, 4:24 pm
Hey Bianca, I'm doing the Robert Ullrey C25K podcast program and onto Week 4. I was never a runner but love it now. Is your experience similar?
Lisa says:
May 21, 2012, 5:09 pm
If you like Glamorous Life you'll probably like 'Love Bizarre'. LMFAO and Swedish House Mafia also have good choices for a workout playlist. I am with you about JT/Timbaland putting out another album. 'Give it to me' with Nelly Furtado can get me going!
kristine says:
May 21, 2012, 6:16 pm
Any fast song by Prince gets me moving. Especially the extended version of "Let's Work".
Tanya Patrice says:
May 21, 2012, 7:55 pm
Total self promo here, but my blog has tons of workout playlists. My tastes depend on the type of workout - usually some dance/ electronic tracks for elliptical - and current songs for running. On repeat right now is, Robot by Trip Lee.
Pets says:
May 21, 2012, 8:13 pm
Besides the music I am so happy to read that you are schedulling exercise into your day - now if I can just get to it myself :)
Portia says:
May 21, 2012, 11:15 pm
I have extreme music ADHD, I could be listening to one genre and then get into another. I have been listening to "Supergirl" by Saving Jane right now and I have just been repeating constantly even when I am not exercising. It gives me a little extra confidence when I am feeling insecure.
Shalanda says:
May 26, 2012, 8:16 am
I always have my iPod when I go jogging. Music is so motivational. I love your playlist's diversity. Definitely adding some of these to mine!
Bianca says:
May 27, 2012, 10:01 am
Yes it is. I was never a runner, but this is my 4th time doing the C25K. The first time I was amazed at how I got from wheezing and thinking I was dying after 1 min of running to running for 30 without a problem in 8 weeks.
Greg Rumpff says:
July 24, 2012, 6:10 pm
I stumbled here because I was doing a search for Caribbean Christmas music and I was looking through the "Jams" category and found this. I'm gonna suggest "I Want Candy" by Bow Wow Wow for another great rhythmic tune to consider for the playlist. And I agree that Sheila Escovedo is an AMAZING percussionist. Wonder what she's up to these days?


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