For the most part, discussion around Beyonce’s Lemonade album has been focused on some pretty deep discussions about race, women empowerment, and Beyonce/Jay-Z marital drama. But aside from all that, there’s some great material for getting turnt during gym time. So I thought I would give perspective on how to work out to Beyonce’s Lemonade.
By the way, only a Bey album gets the type of excitement that leads to a post like this. But hey, I can’t fight the urge.
Pray You Catch Me
Verdict: Skip it at the gym, but use it to wind down
This is actually one of my favorite tracks on the entire album. It has very pretty vocals and a really chill vibe (although super sinister as she’s “praying” to find out dude is actually cheating). That being said, it’s not quite a top contender for a high energy workout. I like to turn on music like this while I’m stretching, or as I leave out the gym to calm myself down.
Verdict: Turn it on for cardio, especially a bike or elliptical
Love this song for a workout! If you’ve seen the video, you know that Bey spends the entire four minutes of this song smashing car windows and anything else in sight. That’s the type of energy I like to have during a workout: give me a bat and I’ll smash something. Also the tempo of this music is around 160 BPM, so if you’re doing something like cycling or an elliptical, it’s a great pace to pedal to the music.
Don’t Hurt Yourself
Verdict: Perfect for lifting, especially mid-rep twerking
Just like Hold Up, Don’t Hurt Yourself has an “angry-sick-of-yo-shit” vibe to it, and it works perfectly for my workouts. It has a relatively slow, harder tempo so I like to lift to it. I tend to do some motivational twerking/mill-wapping between sets and this song sets me up just right. (Yes, people give you weird glances. Screw them.) My super powers really kick in from some of the lyrics, like this slightly vulgar line right here: You can watch my fat ass twist boy / As I bounce to the next d*** boy! Oh yea.
Verdict: Perfect for cardio
This is basically the power song of the album, which for Beyonce’s standards, is pretty tame in comparison to something like Single Ladies or Diva. But that’s okay, we’re channeling a different type of “chill-but-angry” energy with this album. This is another one where the music video helps build the visual to motivate you. Serena Williams gives us life with her twerking…and that basically suggests we should it too (in our heads while working out anyway). This one is about 130BPM so is on the slow side for cardio, but this is where you crank up the resistance on the bike or elliptical and get it in with the glutes.
Verdict: Another elliptical/cycling cardio joint
She’s stacking money, money everywhere she goes <— That’s the type of energy I’m tapping into with this song. It’s another slower cardio song, so I like it for heavy resistance on the elliptical or cycling. It only gets me moderately amped up though so it’s not a first choice for my workout playlist, but it does the job.
Verdict: Skip it…whether working out or not, just skip it
Sorry, I’m not a fan of Beyonce’s little experiment with country music, and that’s not because I don’t like country (I mess with Shania and Dixie Chicks). I’m just not feeling this cut, and avoid it whenever I hear it. The end of it is nice though, both because you hear Blue Ivy’s cute voice and because it’s over. I don’t know – if I’m missing something with this, let me know how one works out to it.
Verdict: Use it for the cool down
This is another slow joint, and honestly not my favorite musically either. Ironically, it’s one of the more positive songs on the album as it’s actually about trying to fix a relationship vs. tearing it apart. Maybe I would draw more energy from it if I related to the lyrics a little more (which really are good lyrics), but it doesn’t give me much. That said, it could still work for a cool down or stretch since it’s a little more chill.
Verdict: Do a real cool down and meditation to this one
This song is the opposite of energetic, so it doesn’t work the best for anything high-energy. However, Bey’s vocals are simply amazing, and the lyrics are so longing and emotional, that it does beautiful things to your brain. It reminds me of something like Bonnie Rait’s I Can’t Make You Love Me or Jeff Buckley’s Hallelujah – super sad songs that just get you all in your feelings. My yoga instructor would always play songs like this during Savasana (corpse pose, where you lay still on your back) and it did so much for me to lay there and collect my thoughts. Do yourself a favor, slow down completely, and pop on this track.
By the way, this one is a waltz…I need to figure out some cool workout thing to do to waltzes.
Verdict: Let this be part 2 of your meditation
This track is more like an interlude. It’s only a minute or so long, and it only has a few lyrics, sung primarily by James Blake. It’s another beautiful, slightly melancholy track and could also be a good song for mediation. But I’ll admit – I usually skip it.
Verdict: Finally a running song! Also good for lifting or interval training
There’s lots of energy in this song, and it has a similar militant feel to Formation. There’s lot’s of motivational energy in this song to push you through a challenging workout, so it’s a good one to use when you’re doing a really hard workout. It’s also about 170BPM so it’s the only song on the album that has a good running pace for me. Best of all, she goes: Hey! I’ma keep running cause a winner don’t quit on themselves! How can you not go in hard with lyrics like that???
Verdict: Start with this one to warm up
This is one of those “slow-but-fast-but-slow” kind of songs. It’s very chill, but also has a little energy to it with the drums, and it has a pretty positive message (ending in “How I missed you, my love”) so it makes you feel all good inside. I like this for when I’m just starting my workout – a slow jog, pre-workout stretch, light weights…stuff like that.
Verdict: Lift, run, cycle…do it all to this song
I can’t figure out if I like this song, or if Beyonce made me like it with a sick video and perfectly-executed choreography. Either way, it makes me want to do everything. It’s not quite running pace, but the energy is good enough where I don’t have to run with the beat. It also has the whole anger thing that I like with lifting music. The danger of this song for me is that I get caught up in the beat and forget to focus on my workout. Yes, excessive inter-rep twerking. Cause I slay, I slay, I slay, I slay / All day, I slay, I slay, I slay.