Yes. The Classical Music Workout is the next Zumba.
Sure, Britney, Rihanna, and Lady G. have their place in the gym (don’t look at me like that! Just day-ance!), but lately, chained to the elliptical trainer and other forms of stationary aerobic exertion, I’ve realized that rock and pop songs are too short for me to forget the dreaded red numbers on the elapsed time display and get into a rhythm. The mental monologue is more like “oh, is this song almost over? So three minutes must be just about up, which means there are what, 21 minutes to go…oh man, 21 minutes…I might die…I may be dead already…auf wiedersehen, world…woe, my early death by elliptical is tragic…alas…”
The solution? Obviously no music is not an option, and German TV? Uh, no. The solution is symphonies. Beethoven 7. Tchaik 5. SIBELIUS, you guys. At first it sounds like a snorefest, but if you try it, it suddenly makes so much sense! It’s not just three or four random pieces of music under the same title; there’s a relentless progression from movement to movement until you reach the finale (but depending on the symphony, it might be best to skip the slow movement, unless you need a nap or an extended walk/crawl break). I did a progression run to Sibelius 2 on the treadmill the other day. From the opening bars, this symphony is gorgeous and will suck you in (again, 2nd movement not recommended.) You’ll be gliding along at Olympic pace in no time – and be sad when it’s over. Hyperbole? I dunno. Watch this, and wait til 1:15+ for the auditory money shot:
Aaah, Jean. You did have a way with climaxes, you sly old Finnish fox you.
Today I was on the elliptical and for some reason – I mean I seriously cannot explain this at all – my brain was like SHOSTAKOVICH 10th SYMPHONY OR WE BOYCOTT THIS WORKOUT. Ok…I have played this piece, so mainly I just listened for the viola part, but it has some other things to recommended it. Like the murky coolness of the first movement, the general dementedness of it all, and the fact that the symphony is a musical portrait of Stalin, so all of your problems will suddenly seem like little luxuries in comparison, which you are positively delighted to have in your life. At the very latest when you get to the part where the snare drum imitates a firing squad.
(Ok, I couldn’t find the firing squad part on youtube, but Sir Simon gives you the gist here…)
Will it make you faster? Hey, at this point, any workout goes some way to making me faster. Why argue with what works? And really, try the Sibelius. You won’t regret it.