Athlete Profile: GymDJ On His Ones & Two

I love chatting up other people. When I came across this gentleman and I immediately tuned in.

If there is one thing I love during a long run, it’s having new jams in my iPod. Take it easy on me running purists, sometimes I need a little boom boom pow to get me through. I am always looking for playlists, new songs and such to keep my workouts fresh. I stumbled across GymDJ and was floored when he was listing songs that I hadn’t heard of before. I am somewhat of a music snob, so he had me at one of his special mixes. I am thrilled to sing the praises of this muse.

GymDJ Lets the Beat Drop: Get ready to rock: GymDJ combines beats per minute (bpm) with exercises to motivate people to work out longer / better. They promote mainstream music as well as up-and-coming musicians. The face behind the music, Jonathon. And this kid resides in my favorite U.S. city, Chicago.

Likes: State the obvious, music. Working on the interwebs, does a good bit of Web design. Cooking, that’s right he takes spins on the grill as well. Adventure racing.

Dislikes: I’m going out on a limb and saying GymDJ probably isn’t a major fan of Barry Manilow and those dogs that came out with a Christmas album a few years ago.

WARNING! Fitness lovers run the gamut on the variety of things that keep them interested in staying on their game. Jonathan shares a unique look into how he become passionate about staying in tune with his body.

My passion for music started when I was a youngster. For Christmas one year I received a Casio Keyboard, the drumsticks you can wave in the air and they would make drum noises, and a toy electric guitar that had about six buttons with pre-determined riffs. I loved all three. My elementary school had an after school program to learn the piano. I had the crappiest keyboard and had no idea how to play but I didn’t care. On the first day we were asked to play a little something for the teacher to hear, kids were rocking out to Beethoven and Mozart and I followed the lights to Listen to the Music.

Fitness as a passion didn’t really sprout until my junior year of college. I was away from home, had nothing to do but go to class, eat, party and work out. I really wanted to bulk up, I was 5’11” and 180 pounds. So I researched natural ways to gain muscle. I came across a website that said protein was the key; dine on chicken, eggs, cheese…all the things I started to eat in the cafeteria before spending 2 hours a day at the gym. Since then I’ve just always like going to the gym. For me it’s more of a spa day than a chore. I start with cardio, most of the time running or elliptical, hit the weights, end with swimming (my buddy and I call that the “triathlon”) and the hot tub or sauna was sometimes added to the mix. Fitness is important to me because it’s a great way to stay in shape and feel better about yourself. I’ve changed my eating habits recently, the biggest part was cutting down on the amount of sugar I have per day.

Hanging round.

I am always seen at the gym with headphones on but the idea to put music and fitness together on a website didn’t come to me until last year. I am a website designer by day and was looking online for design inspiration one day. I view web design galleries that showcase user submitted designs and thought I should put together a site where users can submit music they’d like to hear and promote. Then I thought of who I’d be competing with…Amazon, iTunes, Rhapsody and went back to the drawing board. Then I thought, why not take the same idea and add exercises. I searched online for that idea and only found sites that would make CDs with a specified BPM range and try to sell the CDs to you. The songs, in my opinion, were junk so I started a site that promotes pop music as well as user submitted.

I have always believed that the right music or mix could be your motivation. I was the only one out of my friends that would make mix tapes that had some order and reasoning behind it, not just thrown on the tape to fill it up. I have always preferred working out by myself so I don’t have too many fitness motivations but I have an eclectic mix of musical motivation. I listen to pretty much anything but I’m attracted to mostly fast paced songs. One mix that I really like running to is from DJ Lee Michaels, a Chicago DJ. Here’s a link to a free download so let me know if you like it.

Not quite the eye of the tiger.

As far as racing, unless you count the turkey trot I did in grade school I would say I have one official race under my belt. It was the Warrior Dash in June 2010. The Warrior Dash is a 3.17 mile race with 12 obstacles to conquer such as hurdling cars, jumping fire, army crawling 50 feet through mud under barbed wire and much more. I didn’t do to well running it, probably made it about half way. It was 90 degrees with high humidity and the obstacles wore me out, but I finished and had a good time. We forgot to look at our times, probably to concerned with getting our free beer, but I did enjoy it and will do it again next year.

One of my main training tips would be to not compare yourself to others at the gym. I know many people who want to exercise but feel intimidated by people that are more fit than them so they don’t go. Everyone starts out somewhere. If you do feel intimidated, just put on headphones and don’t worry about them. Get in your zone and stay there. My zone is when I’m running on the treadmill. It doesn’t matter if I have music on or a television show to watch, I’m usually staring off into space and thinking. During that time two things happen, I come up with ideas for GymDJ or new websites I think may change the Internet and my time flies by. Before I know if I have about 5 ideas and have ran a mile.

GymDJ’s recs are on the top of my playlist. Applause for sharing his thoughts and views. Always great hearing what moves other people. You can also follow the music on Twitter.

What are some of your favorite tunes and we’ll see if we can’t get the GymDJ to make us our own mix!


15 responses to “Athlete Profile: GymDJ On His Ones & Two

  1. Wow! This is an awesome piece, and GymDJ is an awesome concept! Nice to “meet” you, Jonathan!

    I’m a fan of Drake – Find Your Love right now, although it can get a little slow in parts of the song. Also, Kelly Rowland – Commander is a good one as well. It’s pretty much a pure dance song, so I think it could work better for you =P And a bit of a stranger song that seems to get me going is Mika – Kick Ass. It’s the lyrics that do it more than anything. Check it out if you want though.

    Great stuff as always, Nichole!

  2. Nichole, I’m totally giving you a shout out around xmas for the barking dogs idea, maybe mix it with who let the dogs out lol. Also, get out of my head with the custom mixes. It’s in the works.

    Thanks again for the interview.

  3. I couldn’t agree more about music helping you through a run. Typically I run sans music with my husband. But, I have started running solo again with my handy iPod. However, I never use it for races… I try not to rely on it getting me through the pain…i mean fun… I like anything that’s upbeat, high tempo.

  4. First of all, congrats on the triathlon decision! That’s very exciting!! Good luck with the training!

    Secondly, this is sch a cool concept!! I rely on music to get me through most of my runs and actually spend a lot of time crafting the “perfect” playlist with the right songs in the right order when I have a big race or long run. It makes such a difference. So I love the thinking behind Gym DJ. I’ll definitely be checking this out.

    And I loved reading the interview with Jonathan too. It’s nice to get to know the people behind these awesome ideas.

  5. Fun post – I’m musically challenged…well, in other words, I don’t take a lot of time to download music and make playlists. My fiance put a bunch of music on my iPod – fun, upbeat techno that keeps me feeling energized during a workout! Tiesto, Armin Van Buren, etc. 🙂

  6. Oh my…how awesome! I am definitely going to check into this. I LOVE music and it is a must when working out for me!!

    I also had a Casio keyboard…loved it!! I still have it…haha! I won’t part with it even though it is easily 20 years old! 🙂

  7. I have to say I am one of the purists, I feel that listening to music on runs over 5 or 7 miles makes the time go slower. I am also anti iPhone during runs, less gadgets the better. Call me boring.

  8. Great concept! I don’t run to music outside, but it is my savior when I’m forced onto the treadmill…and it seems I’m always looking for something better to listen to. I’ll look into this. Thanks!

  9. I almost always listen to techno remixes when I run. The fast paced music makes me push myself harder! I would love a little dubstep/drum n bass mix – Crispey’s Bulletproof remix is bombbbb (:

  10. This is awesome. I stole a ton of my boyfriends spin mixes to train to because I need a constant stream of music where I cant skip songs. I will definitely need to check out GymDJ more carefully. Right now I am obsessed with “In the Morning” by Junior Boys and I Believe by Simian Mobil Disco.

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