When Devon Dohony works out, she always needs a soundtrack.
For Dohony, group fitness director and teacher at Merritt Athletic Clubs, music is a crucial motivator. A constant stream of songs warms her up before her workouts, keeps her focused and helps her come down from a serious treadmill or cycling session.
"Music makes your class," Dohony said. "If you have a song on and the chorus comes on and it really picks up pace and it has a good beat and good movement to it, on the bike it gets you moving faster - it pushes you."
When compiling a playlist for her classes, Dohony aims for variety. Usually, she browses the top 100 downloads list on iTunes to see what's popular and keep the mix fresh. Genre doesn't matter so much as beats and bass lines. She'll use tracks by all kinds of artists - the All American Rejects, Beastie Boys and Chemical Brothers, to name a few - as long as their music keeps her moving.
Candi McDowell, a student in Dohony's body combat class, said the music pumps her up and keeps her going.
"I listen to dance music to get me motivated," McDowell said. "I think it helps you make it through the exercises as well."
Over time, McDowell has learned to associate the music with the different workouts in the class. One song, "Hymn" by Tina Cousins, is paired with a particularly tough routine - which McDowell doesn't look forward to.
"I find that track hard, and I kind of dread it," she said.
Sometimes, Dohony sweats to the oldies. Journey tunes such as "Open Arms" make regular appearances in her playlists, as do the occasional song or two from the Rocky movie soundtracks. Feel-good songs people belt out in a bar with a bunch of their friends are always solid choices, she said.
"We rock everything out," she said. "It gets everybody cheering. ... You're not just here to be quiet. You're here to sing along and have fun and hoot and holler."
Dohony plans her workouts in advance and makes her playlist with her workout in mind. The playlists she creates for class double as her personal workout music. She typically adds an extra two or three songs - in case she wants to skip one of the tracks on her playlist.
Pacing is also crucial in the gym. Dohony pairs the slower songs with the tougher stretches of her runs, and the faster tunes with the sprints.
"When the music picks up, I try to run a little faster to keep going," she said. "When it's a slower song, I up the resistance and I make it a little harder on the treadmill - slowing me down but I'm still working at a harder pace. I really let the music guide my workouts in every way."
Devon Dohony's running/cycling playlist
"Here (In Your Arms)" by Hellogoodbye
"Face Down" by the Red Jumpsuit Apparatus
"This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race" by Fall Out Boy
"The River" by Good Charlotte
"Before He Cheats" by Carrie Underwood
"Cupid's Chokehold" by Gym Class Heroes
"Girlfriend" by Avril Lavigne
"Home" by Daughtry
"I'm Shipping Up to Boston" by Dropkick Murphys
"Love, Reign O'er Me" by Pearl Jam
"Come on Eileen" by No Doubt
"Look After You" by the Fray
"Don't Matter" by Akon