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Pump Up the Volume

Use a high-energy playlist to jumpstart your workout routine

Are you looking for an extra edge to get you through your next workout (that won't involve testifying before Congress)? Then reach for your ear buds because the answer might be easier than you think.

It's no secret that portable MP3 devices have revolutionized the way people exercise. But now there's even more proof that your iPod might actually give you an added boost during strenuous activity.

Dr. Mark H. Anshel, a professor at Middle Tennessee State University's Department of Health and Human Performance, believes the "distraction hypothesis" can best explain how upbeat music can enhance an athlete's performance.

"The distraction hypothesis says that the performer is distracted by the external stimuli of music, which allows the person to ignore the effects of intense physical activity, such as fatigue and exertion," says Dr. Anshel.

While most guys are distracted by a lot of things at the gym, Dr. Anshel's theory makes sense when you take into account the physiological effect of how the nervous system reacts to stimulation.

"Depending on the situation, such as performing aerobic exercise or watching a scary film, fast-paced music usually increases adrenaline, the hormone that speeds the heart rate and increases arousal level (excitation)," adds Dr. Anshel. "Heart rate can be increased within 10 seconds of listening to music that is fast-paced and loud."

Lift Some Heavy Metal

Here, we've compiled a list of heavy metal classics to get you started. Add these to your gym playlist and pump up the volume.

AC/DC — Highway Hell
Time: 3:59 Best song for: Setting the pace for an adrenaline-filled workout
Motorhead — Ace of Spades
Time: 2:47 Best song for: Turning the treadmill up to 11
Metallica — Enter Sandman
Time: 5:31 Best song for: Realizing the true meaning of intensity
Guns N' Roses — Welcome to the Jungle
Time: 4:33 Best song for: Turning Axl Rose's banshee screams into fuel for one more set
Black Sabbath — Iron Man
Time: 5:52 Best song for: Maxing out to the lyrics "I am Iron Man"

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