Creating Peak Performance using Music with Dr. Costas Karageorghis

Boomer Anderson
July 10, 2018
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You can think of a music program almost contouring your expected heart rate. Starting at a low point, having a peak and then gradually coming down. If you're engaged in interval training such as HIIT - high intensity interval training - it might be that you have peaks and troughs in the energy of the music so as to reflect the physiological peaks and troughs in the workout. So I think the desired mental state and the underlying physiological state are drivers for the type of music that you would select. If I was stretching for example I might use a track such as No Diggity.

Affiliate Disclosure

Who is Dr. Karageorghis?

Dr. Costas Karageorghis is a leader in sports psychology and Divisional Lead for Sport, Health and Exercise Sciences at Brunel University in London. From 2009-14, he served as Deputy Head (Research) of the former School of Sport and Education and led preparations for two REF2014 subject submissions (Sports-Related and Education). Costas has established an international reputation for his research into the psychological, psychophysiological and neurophysiological effects of music. He has captured 25 research grants during his academic career.

Costas is the author of two textbooks, 12 book chapters, 80 peer-reviewed journal articles and 100 professional papers in sport and exercise psychology.

Costas’s music research has been featured in newspapers around the world; most recently in the Times, Independent, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and Sydney Morning Herald.

He is currently working on multi-modal stimulation during physical activity that entails the use of music, video images, virtual reality and visual primes. Such work is oriented towards enhancing people's sensory experiences during physical activity, with a view to increasing exercise adherence and promoting public health.

Costas is a chartered member of the British Psychological Society and a double-accredited member of BASES (psychology research and scientific support). In September 2010, he was elected a Fellow of BASES for his services to sport and exercise sciences in the UK. In September 2013 he was awarded Chartered Scientist status by the Science Council. Costas acts as consultant psychologist to a number of international and professional athletes and has worked with a wide variety of UK governing bodies of sport (e.g. British Athletics, British Canoe Union, British Water Ski Federation and England Hockey). He has also worked with many multinational companies in the sports world and music industry.

During his spare time, Costas plays the piano, often performing in a jazz and latin duo with drummer Joel Shopland.

Dr. Costa Karageorghis' Research and Books

Note: I only link to those referenced in the podcast. The catch-all link is at the bottom.


Research Papers

Key Highlights

  • What is music?
  • How Dr. Karageorghis began his studies in music starting in 1995
  • The effects of music on athletic performance
  • How Audley Harrison used Japanese Classical music to win a gold medal in Boxing at the 2000 Olympics
  • Dorian Yates, Guns n' Roses, and the 41-ton leg workout
  • The process Dr. Karageorghis uses to conduct his studies
  • Faraday cages, EEG, and the development of technology which allows Dr. Karageorghis to study music in the field
  • The ergogenic effect of music on performance
  • Brunel Music Rating Inventory and its use in evaluating music for motivation
  • How to create the ultimate playlist for performance
  • Dr. Karageorghis' personal playlist for workouts

Dr. Karageorghis' Top Trick for Enhancing Focus

  • Deep work - shutting off from the world for a portion of the day

Dr. Karageorghis' Favorite Book on Peak Performance

Episode Transcript

Dr. Costas Karageorghis
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