Up until two weeks ago I’ve never stepped foot in a gym. Well, other than picking up my college ex who worked at a New York Sports Club. I’ve just never been the physical type and being around a bunch of sweaty grunting dudes just wasn’t my thing. It still isn’t but sitting behind a desk for hours on end cranking out content for XXLMag.com and my own personal blog doesn’t do much for the heart rate so I decided to do something about it.

While I’ve been taking swim classes for the past two years, it wasn’t really giving me the workout I was looking for. I’m not into free weights and all that jazz, so just joining a gym wouldn’t do it. I needed a class of some kind and after asking around I settled in on kickboxing. Not only is it supposed to get you super fit, it also adds a few knock-a-nucka-out moves to the arsenal.

Anyway, my first class tore me up last week and it felt like the longest hour of my life. However, this past weekend it wasn’t a breeze by any means but it definitely wasn’t as bad. Part of it is because I knew what to expect this time, but another could be the soundtrack. With a different instructor came a different play list, while last week’s trainer played Jersey Shore anthems, my man Frank kept it funky with some good ol’ fashion hip-hop.

He may have been a your typical White guy from Long Island, but to quote the lovely Keri Washington in Chris Rock’s I Think I Love My Wife he sure had some “ni**a ears.” Throughout the hour everything from Black Sheep’s “The Choice is Yours” and LL Cool J’s “Mama Said Knock You Out” to OutKast’s “B.O.B” and House of Pain’s “Jump Around” got some burn while we burned calories.

In between reps, though, I did notice that one artist in particular kept popping up—50 Cent. “Get Up,” “I Get Money,” “Ok, You’re Right,” “Hustler’s Ambition” and “What Up Gangsta” were just some of the songs that came blaring through the speakers.

An old co-worker once told me that she only listened to 50 when she exercised and now it all made sense. Aside from his saccharine pop concoctions, Curtis has a knack for picking high-octane productions that not only get booties on the dance floor but also make the perfect soundtrack for a good workout.

Since I’ll be hitting the gym more regularly now, I figured I better get my own hip-hop play list together for my next workout. I figure more “aggressive content” like some Onyx, M.O.P., and Busta Rhymes will make the cut, but I was just curious about who y’all listen to when working out. —Anslem Samuel