17 Movie Soundtrack Motivationals to Facilitate your Fitness Resolutions

Posted by Kells, January 25, 2015 04:28pm | Post a Comment

It's way past mid-January, do you know where your fitness goals are? Have you found that your get-up-and-go up got up and went? Are you looking for that perfect mix to pump [clap!] you up? Whether or not the holiday pounds have still got you down, chances are you or someone you know is looking to get motivated and stay fit in '15, even if it's just for one more week. To that I say: JUST DO IT! Push those New Year's resolutions to the limit and stay physical with this list of schlocky soundtrack anthems, Scotti Bros. label classics, and movie montage motivationals! 

[note: this post is dedicated entirely to the one and only Danimal, without whom this list would not have been so inspired nor exhaustive (however incomplete) as we have, during the course of our respective overlapping Amoeba journeys, spent countless hours extolling the many wonders, peaks, and pitfalls of these storied stimu-jams!]

Frank Stallone - "Far From Over"

From the soundtrack to Staying Alive (1983), Sylvester Stallone's second ever directorial effort and follow-up to the successful Saturday Night Fever, comes this undeniable force of motivational rock courtesy of baby brother Frank Stallone. In more ways than one this track is the the leaping-point from which this film takes flight, providing a desperately high-impact canvas for the opening credits/dance-or-die audition montage. Catching up with Tony Manero's dreams of "making it" as a professional dancer in the cutthroat theater scene of the big apple has never been so sweaty, or lean.

Power lyric: "I'm diggin' in, I want it more than anything I've wanted/Save me darlin', I am down but I am far from over!"

Frank Stallone - "Far From Over" / opening credits Staying Alive

Tommy Faragher - "Look Out For Number One"

While we are reveling in the motivational moods of Staying Alive, we might as well include Tommy Faragher's "Look Out For Number One"  - an uncompromising ode to self-importance and the second cut from side two of the soundtrack (the side that doesn't entirely feature lukewarm Bee Gees fare, though "I Love You Too Much" is a unshakeable favorite of mine). Directly following Stallone's "Far From Over", "Look Out For Number One" further illustrates the struggle of our overworked and under-appreciated protagonist as he transitions from day job to night job, downtrodden by rejection after a rigorous audition, only to be further degraded by the creepy chicks that stalk him at work, insisting, "guys like you aren't relationships, you're exercise."

Power lyric: "You gotta work a little harder, be a little smarter, move a little faster, know just what you're after/ you gotta look out for number one, set your sights on the stars and the sun..."

the Tommy Faragher "Look Out For Number One" scene from Staying Alive

Robert Tepper - "No Easy Way Out"

While we're touching on Stallone, perhaps no one has given us a body of truer get-up-and-get-the-dream soundtrack initiatives than the cinematic triumph-by-association that is the Rocky film franchise. Has there ever been a greater source of movie music motivation than Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger"? Add to that the equally encouraging "Burning Heart", also by Survivor, as if their very name indicated a desire to carve out their sub-genre of rock anthems. Then there's John Cafferty's "Hearts on Fire", Bill Conti's "Going the Distance" and "Gonna Fly Now (Theme from Rocky)", and James Brown's "Living in America"...okay, so they're not all blood-pumping roid-rousing hits. But they're all winners, eh  Rocky? My favorite of the bunch is without a doubt Robert Tepper's jarring, synth-sploitative slice of AOR righteousness "No Easy Way Out".

Power lyric: "Some things are worth fightin' for. Some feelings never die. I'm not askin for another chance, I just wanna know why?" Why? "There's no easy way out. There's no shortcut home."

Pat Benatar - "Invincible"

This jam incites a different kind of motivation, like a Hunger Games kind of a fair is fair fire-catching trigger for action, or something. Featured as the theme for a film about a rad woman, The Legend of Billie Jean, and is itself a song written and performed by rad women, namely Holly Knight (who also penned "Love is a Battlefield") and Pat Benatar, respectively, its inclusion here is not only wholly warranted, but way beyond a definite maybe. Simply put, a cardio mix based around a theme like this is gonna needs a dose of estrogen here and there to temper the massive testosterone overload that's sure build up. I think I can already smell it.

Power lyric: "This shattered dream you cannot justify/ We're gonna scream until we're satisfied/ What are we running for?"

Stan Bush - "The Touch"

If inspirational rock were a kingdom, Stan Bush might just be its king. His monumental song "The Touch", written solely for winners, specifically, winners with the touch (hint: he means everybody, especially you, what with your touch), has to be is one of if not the most encouraging motivational rock songs of all time. That it has somehow managed to find its way from the soundtrack for Transformers: The Movie to cult status (defined by countless inclusion in movies, TV shows, commercials, video games and, of course, the world of professional wrestling) is a testament to the pure power of it's message: Break the rules, take the heat, you're nobody's fool...

Power lyric: "You're at your best when when the goin' gets rough/
You've been put to the test but it's never enough/ You got the touch, you got the power!"

Tim Capello - "I Still Believe" 

Tim Capello's beloved tower of steamy sax-n-synth stimulation seems doomed to garner endless ridicule and reverence. This is probably only because his is a singular vision, one that is, for better or for worse (but really, for better), forever tethered to his performance of "I Still Believe" as it appears in the 1987 film The Lost Boys. We're talkin' a shirtless, well-oiled and slick pony-tailed, musclebound man, wearing chains around his neck and tight pink pants, gyrating, singing, and blowing his sax in a pulsating paean of inspirational rock set against the savage summer nights of the Santa Cruz beach boardwalk, burning with young lust and a vampire infestation - easily the most memorable scene of the film. But I digress, this post is about soundtrack motivationals and this song is nothing if not long on encouragement and fully fit for this mix.

Power lyric: "I'll march this road/ I'll climb this hill/ Upon my knees/ If I have to...Oh, I still believe!"

John Parr - St Elmo's Fire (Man in Motion)

Do you feel the burn? Wonder what it could be? Could it be St Elmo's Fire burning in you? Known mainly as the eponymous theme for Joel Schumacher's 1985 post-coming-of-age Brat Pack feature St Elmo's Fire (Schumacher also directed The Lost Boys so, you know, how about that link up? I can't help but wonder, if one were to dig deep enough, could this micro-genre be traced back to an ambitious genesis?). Though I derive more pleasure from the likes of Parr's "Naughty Naughty", Parr himself derived more remuneration from "St Elmo's Fire (Man in Motion)" when it topped the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks late in the summer of '85. Still, this ditty'll get you going whether or not you need a pair of wheels.

Power lyric: "
I can see a new horizon/ Underneath the blazin' sky
I'll be where the eagle's flyin'/ Higher and higher

John Farnham - "Thunder in Your Heart"

Given the focus of this post, choosing just one John Farnham song is a challenge. It's as challenging as choosing one Stan Bush song in that it's the same challenge because they basically record the same songs. They've carved out a living by making music like this and doing it to death. That said, if I had to choose one song, just one song that I feel entirely defines what I am getting at with this post from a conceptual standpoint, without a doubt it is John Farnham's version of "Thunder in Your Heart" from the soundtrack to the BMX-'ploitation flick Rad (alongside a few other Farnham rockers of similarly synth-spiring quality). Not much is known about the provenance of this song, but the lyrics match flawlessly with the urgency of Farnham's vocal performance perfectly. For me, it doesn't get any better than this! I recommend sequencing this in the lifeline slot of your mix.

Power lyric: "Cry of the wind, spirit of fire/ The heart of a lion/ Taking control, burning desire/ Your flame never dying. Don't lose that feeling/ Don't ever stop believing/ There's one more moment of truth and you're gonna face it"

John Farnham - "Thunder in Your Heart"

Moving Pictures - "Never"
Australian rock band Moving Pictures may not have had a very memorable career, globally speaking, but their contribution to the Footloose soundtrack is nothing if not a monumental moment in motivational movie montage history. This song, when paired with Kevin Bacon's rhythmic feats of athleticism (born of frustration with local bible-thumpers' attempts to ban dancing and rock n' roll in their rural hometown), created a scene so memorable and iconic that it coined a new term for the sort of physical therapy it depicts: punch dancing! Andy Samburg also paid extra special homage to the song and the scene when he reproduced it faithfully in the film Hot Rod. High impact, màs gumption, very necessary.

Power lyric: "If you don't give your heart wings/ You'll never, never, never ever, never, never, never ever fly..."

Now punch-dance it out:

Another gem in this gym bag of sweaty eighties diamonds, "Sacrface (Push It To The Limit)" was written by powerhouse producers and pop hit guarantors Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte for Brian De Palma's 1983 film Scarface. Performed Paul Engemann (who would later join Animotion alongside triple threat Cynthia Rhodes of Staying Alive/Flashdance/Dirty Dancing fame - more on that later), the song soundtracks a power montage that has nothing to do with fitness goals exactly, but achieves nearly the same effect of that Kumite song* from Bloodsport. I mean, how many times can you say "push it to the limit" in one song? Never enough times, apparently.

Power lyric: "Going for the back of beyond/ Nothing gonna stop you
there's nothing that strong. So close now you're nearly at the brink/
so, push it (ooh yeah)/ Welcome to the limit

Here's a nice fan made vid for Paul Engemann's "Scarface (Push It To The Limit)"

Night Ranger - "The Secret of my Success"

If you're always too busy and can't seem to find enough time in your hellish schedule to work in a work out on the regular, you might need this song to to breathe some big eighties can-do gumption into your should'a would'a could'a resolution blues. Yes, it's the kinda tired and heinously basic theme song to the Michael J. Fox farmboy-takes-Manhattan 1987 film of the same name (that plays like it should'a would'a could'a been made a decade or two before its time, which is also what makes it so strangely easy to love against whatever taste-level you're operating on), but the cut of this jam manages to impart me with a magical "let the river run" Working Girl lift, putting a determined step into my stride like I'm an executive power-bitch primed for the quarterly boardroom brawl hence it's inclusion here.

Power lyric: "The harder they come, the harder they fall/ I never say maybe and I go for it all/ Just like the sound of electric guitars [insert the sound of electric guitars, here]"

Night Ranger - "The Secret of My Success" video with no footage from the film (shocker!):

Ever find yourself second-guessing your strength and ability against the stoutness of your heart just moments before the big showdown in spite of enduring the rigorous and occasionally bizarre training methods of some crazy old coach that made you hand-clean his house? Me neither. But if discipline is the linchpin of your fitness regimen then perhaps you, too, would do it all for the glory of love that is the moment where Ali, love interest to the best, screams, "you're the best!" after witnessing her Daniel-san besting a competitor in The Karate Kid. This leads into the near-penultimate scene of the film which unfolds, naturally, as a montage set against Joe Esposito's "You're The Best Around" i.e. why this movie rules.

Power lyric: "History repeats itself, try and you succeed/ Never doubt that you're the one/ and you can have your dream!"

Tim Feehan - "Where's the Fire?"

At this point in this exhaustive workout list, I have to admit I was beginning to feel like I was losing my will to keep this going, as if the flame beneath the idea for this post had been snuffed out. I suppose I could say I was asking myself, "where's the fire?" only then - like lightning - Tim Feehan's street heater by the same name from The Wraith soundtrack came to mind. Starring Charlie Sheen, Sherilyn Fenn and Nick Cassavetes, The Wraith is perhaps the best film about fast boys, hot cars and phantoms with a vengeance ever made in Arizona. It also boasts a stellar soundtrack packed with eighties hits that were never really hits (the real cream of the crop being La Marca's stellar "Hold On Blue Eyes"), Feehan's fire query filling the need for a radio-friendly rock motivational.

Power lyric: "It don't take a lot to keep me moving/ It's gonna take a lot to make me stop/ I feel the heat inside me/ Should slow down but i just can't stop"

Jean Beauvoir - "Feel the Heat"

Having rekindled the fire for this topic, as it were, I am reminded of Jean Beauvoir's "Feel the Heat" from the soundtrack to the 1986 film Cobra written by and starring Sylvester Stallone (another heavy regular appearing all up in this list like some kind of genre genesis figure). This song is not so much about feeling the heat in terms of feeling the burn, like St Elmo's Fire, but it is, or at least seems to be, about taking control of your destiny and "going for it" in the most general sense. Lyrically, it shares the general vibe of Tepper's "No Easy Way Out" in that it's not really telling you what to do or how to feel, but it seems to be speaking to your already kindled resolve to follow through on, you know, whatever it is you've got cooking, re: "the heat".

Power lyric: "Then you start feeling the heat, feel the heat/
Come on and feel it/ Just feel the heat"

Karen Kamon - "Manhunt"

When attempting to choose a song from the Flashdance soundtrack for this list, I often felt pulled in too many directions to choose just one. I settled on Karen Kanon's "Manhunt" in the end because I not only wanted to revisit the notion of diluting this list of mostly manly inclusions with a splash of estrogen whenever possible, as previously stated above, but also because I thought the song fitting in that it touches on gender role reversal. Used as the backing track for one of the film's many "strip tease" routines, "Manhunt" features Cynthia Rhodes (here she is again) prowling down the stage of an unusually well-equipped steel town nightclub while unamused blue-collar clientele watch with indifference. Though Michael Sembello's "Maniac" may be a better for your workout, it's no match for the macho animality of "Manhunt" and the overall sonic congruence it brings to this list.

Power lyric: "I'm goin' on a manhunt/ we all got the need/ the one that's been waitin' has taken the lead."

Rainey - "I Can Fly"

Okay, of all the schlocky jock jams assembled here, this addition is most likely to fall under the umbrella of my personal guilty pleasures and is also among the most obscure. Recorded for the soundtrack to the 1985 dance rom-com Girls Just Want To Have Fun (a film with no official association to Cyndi Lauper, but nevertheless features a version of her eponymous hit as re-recorded by, to quote Wikipedia, "unknowns"), Rainey Haynes' "I Can Fly" serves as the central dance practice/falling in love montage for Sarah Jessica Parker's uptight catholic school girl and Lee Montgomery's rebel without a ...job. Haynes, a.k.a. Rainey, never really made it big in show biz, though she made some appearances on Cop Rock -- remember Cop Rock? However, in spite of receiving zero support or promotion from the label responsible for the GJWtHF soundtrack, Rainey's soaring montage motivational "I Can Fly" managed to make it to the top ten on Billboard's Dance chart and stay there for six months following the film's release thanks to DJ airplay spurred by listener requests. My soft spot for this film and it's soundtrack, such as it is, shall never grow callous nor diminish.

Power lyric: "I'm giving in to the sound/ Giving in to the magic I've found/ And it's breaking me free"

Here's the montage featuring Rainey's "I Can Fly" from Girls Just Want to Have Fun

Cheap Trick - "Mighty Wings" 

Cheap Trick's soaring anthem "Mighty Wings" from the Top Gun soundtrack never fails to put wind in my sails. Though the Loggins-helmed hit "Danger Zone" and Larry Greene's "Through the Fire" also get the job done, "Mighty Wings" is real stand out motivator on deck here (I'm not even gonna touch on "Playing with the Boys", but, you know, whatever quickens your pulse). Though the chorus and the most of the rest of the song's lyrics are ambitious flight metaphors, the message is pure git-'er-dun encouragement pushing you to "do something" already. Your limits are sky high...

Power lyrics: "I take a chance on the edge of life/ Just like all the rest. I look inside and dig it out/ 'Cause there's no points for second best"


*Bonus video: Stan Bush's "Fight to Survive" from Bloodsport

Because part of me doesn't want this list of incendiary movie rock to end, here's one last power cut to assist you with reaching that target heart rate. I know I mentioned it above with a mind to skip including it officially, but you can't ignore that primal instinct that kicks in when it's time to fight to survive...


Relevant Tags

Soundtrack (16), Movie (6), Fitness (2), Workout (1), Motivation (1), Rock (26), Inspiration (1)