NPR logo Your Body Is A Temple: A Gospel Workout Mix

Your Body Is A Temple: A Gospel Workout Mix

Gospel singing
Stephen J. Boitano/Stringer/Getty Images
Gospel singing
Stephen J. Boitano/Stringer/Getty Images

Gospel music sounds just as inspiring outside church as it does inside — and don't we all need to hear that we'll make it through the tough times on weekdays, too? Making a workout list of praise music might seem irreverent, if not outright sacrilegious, but don't forget the words of 1st Corinthians 6:19-2: "Do you not know that your body is a temple? So glorify God in your body."

Regardless of your religious views, the colorful energy and powerful voices of these singers are hard to resist. Think you're too busy to commit to a workout schedule? There's some Good News for you: that you can save time by toning both your body and your soul with the help of these gospel greats.

Your Body Is A Temple: A Gospel Workout Mix

Cover for Enlightenment

There's Got to Be a Change Made

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There's Got to Be a Change Made

  • from Enlightenment
  • by The Blind Boys of Alabama

Step One: Admit you are powerless. Step Two: Renounce your slovenly ways. Then, listen to the The Blind Boys of Alabama convince you, beyond all doubt, that things have got to change. Let the swinging guitar, organ and drums, punctuated by Clarence Fountain's signature vibrato calls and shouts, stir your soul -- and your feet -- as you ease into your warmup.

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Song
Enlightenment
Album
Enlightenment
Artist
The Blind Boys of Alabama
Label
Great American Music
Released
2009

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Cover for Grace

Muphulusi

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Muphulusi

  • from Grace
  • by Soweto Gospel Choir

Ever feel like you need help steering clear of your old, flabby ways? Then you'll need some encouragement and a whole lot of spirit. Studies show that we're more likely to stick with a fitness program if we have a workout buddy. In this Vendi traditional song, the Soweto Gospel Choir reminds us of a certain embodiment of perfection whose unique qualifications include being a "pillar of strength forever." The South African tribal beats should help you increase your pace, while the interwoven vocal harmonies propel you into a steady groove. For added cardio impact, try clapping along with the choir.

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Song
Grace
Album
Grace
Artist
Soweto Gospel Choir
Label
Shanachie Records
Released
2010

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Kirk Harris and God's Property Cover

Stomp [Original Mix]

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Stomp [Original Mix]

  • from God's Property
  • by Kirk Franklin

Now turn up the volume and move into a low-impact cardio blast by infusing your workout with some hip-hop beats. Put your hands together and stomp your feet to the groove of this contemporary gospel crossover that topped the charts in 1997 and broke ground by being the first gospel song played on video networks. Let its infectious hook and contagious energy inspire you to dance yourself fit.

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Song
God's Property
Album
God's Property
Artist
Kirk Franklin
Label
Zomba
Released
1997

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Voices of Citadel CD

No Joy No Strength

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No Joy, No Strength

  • from Voices of Citadel
  • by James Hall

Now it's time to get the lead out of your feet and ignite a fire in your soul. Let James Hall's Voices of Citadel choir wash over you with a powerful wall of sound as its voices belt out the virtues of joy and strength. Then, just as you think you're finishing up your final set of repetitions, the group's relentless ostinati drives you to push yourself to the limit. Try incorporating Hallelujah Hands into your routine, a la Molly Shannon ("Superstar!"). "Leap for it / Clap for it / Sing for it / Dance for it" -- the Voices of Citadel's members remind listeners that if you're not having fun, you're doing it wrong.

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Song
Voices of Citadel
Album
Voices of Citadel
Artist
James Hall
Label
Music Blend
Released
2006

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Mississippi Mass Choir CD

I'm Not Tired Yet

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I'm Not Tired Yet

  • from Not by Might Nor by Power
  • by Mississippi Mass Choir

When you start to feel your blood sugar crashing, where do you find the inspiration to keep going that extra mile? The Mississippi Mass Choir can give you a little spiritual motivation to reach a higher ground. If you find yourself thinking you just can't go on, let the call and response between the soloist and choir convince you that, no, you're not tired yet. This is yet another occasion to work hand-clapping into your routine -- at this rate, you'll have some guns that rival Robin Hilton's in no time!

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Song
Not by Might Nor by Power
Album
Not by Might Nor by Power
Artist
Mississippi Mass Choir
Label
Malaco
Released
2005

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Cover for Freedom Highway

Glory, Glory Hallelujah!

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Glory, Glory Hallelujah!

  • from Freedom Highway
  • by The Staple Singers

Free at last! Slow down the tempo with the help of "Pops" Staples' blues guitar and join in the punctuated responses from the other Staple Singers, praising "glory, glory" and "hallelujah" until you're sufficiently grateful for the day's successful conditioning. Lay your burden down, and praise yourself for a job well done. With dedication and devotion, you'll soon see the glory of your efforts.

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Song
Freedom Highway
Album
Freedom Highway
Artist
The Staple Singers
Label
Columbia

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