Swellin’ to the Jammiez: It Has to Move You


There is no ego in a good gym playlist.

Kevin Garnett may listen to Aloe Blacc while shilling overpriced headphones, but when he really needs an edge I guarantee he’s jamming something that is actually inspiring.

Fitness, much like music, is all about what drives you. Our goals and jams may vary but we are all here to better ourselves. And jam.

There are folks out there that claim they don’t need music to work out. Somehow, they can get their adrenaline pumping without a jam. Those people are serial killers. Do not trust them. For the rest of us, music is essential to getting in a good workout.

There is no pretension in a good gym playlist.

No one cares what you’re listening to when you push yourself, whether it be Necrophagist or Load-era Metallica. Unless, of course, you don’t use headphones and instead blast music from your phone speaker; in which case, nice jeans asshole.

There are only two things that matter when you get to the gym:
1) Your game plan


2) Your playlist

If you don’t have a game plan, you need to get one. If you don’t have a playlist, let me offer mine. The tunes below hit some kind of primal nerve in my skull, but it’s cool if you don’t jam on these jams. Ultimately, you must jam your own jam. It has to move you.

ROUND ONE: Light Cardio
I hate showing up to the gym and I really hate cardio. At this point in the day, I hate just about everything. I need something that can make me feel energized immediately. Bleed American has been pumping me up for the better part of 13 years now. If it ain’t broke…

ROUND TWO: Warmup Lifts
Like showing up to your job every Monday, this part is annoying but necessary. Use this time to build up a little (but not too much!) aggression. I like to start with the party with tunes heavy on the weedly-weedlies.

ROUND THREE: The Heavy Lifts
Things are starting to suck now. They suck a lot, actually. You need to focus and you need something mean to motivate you. I recommend these tunes:

ROUND FOUR: The Heaviest Lift
This is the hardest part of the day. Get absurdly angry at something and channel it all into making this one lift. Pull out something particularly nasty from your library and get at it. I prefer to wait until 1:26 of this track before going bananas.

ROUND FIVE: Assistance Work
Congratulations! You’ve worked your ass off! Now you have to do even more shit. Take deep breaths and work through the rest of the sets.

ROUND SIX: Stretch and Cool Down.
Your vision is blurry. You want to puke. Your left ear is screaming a high-pitched beeeeeeeeep. Now is the time to treat yourself. Put on a song that hits your maximum happy levels while you stretch out your aching muscles. For this selection, I choose “Ain’t it Fun” by Paramore. I’m not sure when they went full-on SherylCrowCore but I dig it.

Remember to drink water. We’ll see you next Sunday. Or tomorrow for regularly scheduled programming. Whatever. I’m done.


Swellin’ to the Jammiez is a weekly feature in which we share the music that matters when it really matters: your workout.  

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  • Full disclosure: I have no intention of going to the gym today. I hope that you all have stronger resolve than I.


      hahhahhah, i loved the if you don’t need music to work out comment you are a serial killer ! I actually don’t need music. It’s all internal for me, it’s just a different process for each person i guess. I find earphones of any kind too much of a distraction. My gym plays classic rock , if i latch onto a good song i tune it in, otherwise i can tune out anything except for the young girls working out !

      • My gym plays nothing but current butt rock. I can’t deal with it!

  • Matt Pike’s Sweaty Left Nipple

    Pantera’s ‘Far Beyond Driven’ album for lifts. For cardio/runs, lately it’s been Dream Evil’s ‘Book of Heavy Metal’ or Destrage’s ‘Are You Kidding Me? No.’ I switch things up a lot, but Pantera is a staple. Sometimes I like to listen to the song “Monolith” from Cannibal Corpse’s ‘Vile’ album, or Anaal Nathrakh’s “When Humanity is Cancer” if I happen to be really pissed off about something when working out. Sometimes rage workouts are the best workouts.

    • I fully agree. Pantera and Anaal Nathrakh are some of my favorites for working out. I need to check out Destrage.

      And as always, diet is an essential part of any fitness plan.

      • Matt Pike’s Sweaty Left Nipple

        Yikes. A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine called me up to go running at a local park, which wasn’t unusual as it’s something we typically do twice a week. But this day, I wasn’t expecting his call, so I was just hanging out at home enjoying some music and drinking a few beers, chillaxin’ in the A/C. I was 4 beers deep when he called. Needless to say, running in the Texas sun did not sound appealing at all at that point. What do I do? I go running, because I’m not a bitch. At least, that was what I was thinking in my head when he picked me up to go. I ran about 1/2 mile before the alcohol, heat, and physical exertion all hit at once, and for a brief moment I wondered if I might pass out. I stood still in the shade for a minute, downed a water bottle, and then the finished the 2 miles by doing what could best be described as a pathetic half jog/walk. Took me almost 40 minutes to do something that usually takes me 15-20. I felt horrible. I knew better, but I did it anyway. I will not be doing it again.
        The moral of this story is that alcohol is not conducive to a healthy workout. At all. Ever.

        • That sounds just awful. Would have vomited/10.

        • W.

          I go running with my wife quite a bit, but all the dust in the West Texas air jacks up my sinuses a few times a year. Well, I made the mistake once of drinking a beer after taking an allergy pill then running a couple miles. I was definitely curled up on the bathroom floor.

        • i don’t mind having a beverage before going to the gym (rarely) it gives me a little boost in confidence in how much i try to lift!

        • Renan Ribeiro

          It directly fucks up the way your body metabolizes gluvose, so your energy level goes way down. But 1 (2 max) beer after a workout may even be good for muscle building.

    • Further Down the Metal Hole

      Monolith slays!


      If i’m not in a rage i can’t work out. It doesn’t take much to set me off, just watch 5 minutes of news is enough to make me want to kill something.

      • TrickleDownTacoRiff

        News is brutal…no question. And I’m not talking about the endless parade of negativity…its the cheap attempt to manipulate and maintain viewership.

    • actiondonkey

      Amon Amarth is great for runs, especially hill running. Just throw on a tune about storming a city or fighting in a bloody battle and it’s just enough motivation to get over the top!

  • W.

    I went water-skiing yesterday and feel appropriately thrashed. I still went running this morning. No excuses, nerds.

    • You’re a better man than me, Dubya. My back feels like it was hit with a sack of wrenches.

      • W.

        Moving is so rough. You have an excuse. The rest of the nerds don’t.


        hahahhhah, i thought there would be tons of pics of people in jeans working out, but there were only a few. It worse when people wear their socks.

    • I did an extra long workout yesterday and I’m doing full court basketball in the heat and humidity in an hour. So you know, if I die sorry.

    • actiondonkey

      Just got my Level 1 crossfit cert; can’t wait to randomly throw in some Fetus and Shining/Madness and the Damage Done during 25min AMRAPs.

  • Krakoukass

    Pretty cool, but I’d rather listen to Fun Lovin’ Criminals or maybe Supreme Beings of Leisure for the last part.

  • So this is my first time hearing Despise You. Am I a clueless poser or are they just that underground?

    This IS all great workout music (Too bad I don’t work out. I could lose a little gut.)

    • Despise You came out in the 90s West Coast powerviolence scene and although they put out a ton of 7″s and splits I don’t think they ever played a live show back then (so pretty underground). They got back together a couple of years ago, put out that Agoraphobic Nosebleed split and have been touring regularly since. They put on a great show.

  • Paris Hilton

    That Paramore song is such a fucking earworm! I’m not even crazy about it but I find myself singing along whenever it’s on the radio.


      I love TOH for many, many reasons, but i think that the fact we can tell people what non metal music we like is the best. My non metal roots go as far back as 38 special, billy idol, the fixx, and the lowest of the low my double disc very best of bee gees. Of course my love for taylor momsen is well known ( but she is actually more metal than a lot of other female singers) pretty reckless going to hell is heavier than anything lacuna coil has put for 10 years.

      • W.

        Dude, I dig some Bee Gees. I have a soft spot for disco.

  • Don’t forget leg day!

    • Paris Hilton

      Friends don’t let friends skip leg day!


        ahhaha, i haven’t done legs ever ! I tore a ligament 25 yrs ago and never wanted to deal with the pain , i just do upper body stuff and my legs look ok so i can get away with it, lucky i guess.


        do you run a gym ?, if so what do you think of people who don’t change their outdoor shoes. To me that is the same as disrespecting a dojo, same with leaving weights laying around or put in the wrong spots. I hold the gym in high reverance, not a place where people disrespect the owners and the overall spirit of the gym.

    • Mother Shabubu III

      I’m a goalie. Every day is leg day.

      • Soccer or hockey? Or lacrosse. Or water polo?

        • Mother Shabubu III


          • Steve Smithwick

            That’s the best sport to play goalie in. Second question: Ice or roller? (I assume ice, but you never know.)

          • Mother Shabubu III

            Started roller, never again. Ice 4 life.

  • RuIN?

    Early In Flames is great workout music. I found that the new As the Palaces Burn remaster including the bonus tracks is a good length for the elliptical machine. I also find that early Gojira is good for gettin my swell on. The Link is heavy enough to convince myself to get that extra rep in. Kudos on the Jimmy Eat World and Municipal Waste, I shall add those to the list. Thanks Joe.

  • Ann Coulter’s Flaccid Penis

    I helped my friend move his girlfriend’s stuff from her 3rd story apartment to their new apartment that also happens to be on the 3rd floor. That shit sucked.


      i love this shirt. I buy a lot of shirts from http://www.ironville.com , i don’t work for them just passing on the word, lots of cool workout shit.

  • Mon*Star

    I listen to a mix playlist ranging from Saxon to Skeletonwitch, but if I had to pick the perfect workout album off the top of my head I’d say you can’t go wrong with Painkiller.

  • When I liftz at the gym, I liftz to black metal.

  • Kazz

    I mostly rock heavy/power metal when I work out. The epic, driving melodies get me pumped. Lots of Falconer and Powerwolf.

  • The Satan ov Hell

    lifts of mine this week= Slaughter of the Soul [various across the album- inb4 butthurt], Chapel of ghouls. Cardio: Der Holle

  • Guppusmaximus

    Shining “My Dying Drive” (and pretty much all of “One One One”) will help you push yourself over the edge. I still love Death – “Symbolic” (full album) when doing Bi’s & Tri’s, The Accused “Pounding Nails” is great motivational locker-room-walk-out music.

    That’s right brothers of the flush, we’re not here to work our jaw line… Go Big or Go Home!!



    When i was born on the battlefield of a biker bar in late 71, it was a rough entrance into this world. The first things i smelled was alcohol and gasoline, the first song i heard was iron man bashing my skull in waves from a giant juke box lit up like it had just acsended from the pits of hell itself , “let’s call him CONAN” my mother whispered, yet the whisper was as loud as a scream, you could hear a pin drop, even over the sound of the mighty sabbath , then all roared their approval. That was the day CROM said these words to me. CONAN , i give you life, now it is up to you, just do these 2 things and you will rule this world one day: LISTEN TO METAL AND LIFT IT


    saw the leak of expendables 3 last night. I won’t say anything about it except the amount of CGI used was unreal. It’s like the film is a victim of a computer generated bukkake gang bang.
    I declare a moratorium on the use of CGI in film until the filmakers learn how to control them selves. It’s like giving a loaded gun to a 2 year old.

    • Ann Coulter’s Flaccid Penis

      Have you watched the new trailer for Mad Max Fury Road?


        not yet, i am reticent because of my great love for the originals.

      • RuIN?

        That trailer is off the fucking chain!! Charlize looks like a serial killer and I can’t wait to hear Bain talk over it. Win Win Win!!

    • TrickleDownTacoRiff

      I hate that crap..I wont watch the movie…that is all.

  • Tyree

    Tragedy for the win!

  • Jeff Loomis Rules

    Man, listening to older In Flames made me realize how much the new album is going to BLOW.

    What the hell.

  • the only exercise i need is walking around the gym flexing for the mirrors.

  • Lord Ov Kapsko

    I’ve snapped my shit 1,5 month ago, couldn’t walk till last week. Do your warmups seriously, and wear a liftan belt. No deadlifting for Fabio….