What is an audio-guided fitness workout?

Getting fit can be tough at the best of times, but trying to do it on your own can be almost impossible. Without the motivation of a PT or friend, sticking to a program and, more importantly, pushing yourself harder than you thought possible, is a real challenge. This is where guided audio workouts can help – they are easy to use, inexpensive and can have a huge impact on your health, all while having fun.

Key takeaways:

  • The best audio-guided workouts will feature specially-curated music synced to the efforts, just like a DJ at a party, designed to motivate and push you to achieve more than you thought possible.
  • Audio fitness workouts are especially suited to indoor cycling, running and rowing. The best thing is that you don’t need to watch your screen as you get your workout. Just press play and put your phone away.
  • Instructor cueing is critical. Find great instructors who you enjoy listening to and who are skilled at preparing you for each effort and helping you get the most out of it.
  • The best audio-guided workouts will be selectable based on sport, duration, intensity, instructor and music choice.

What is an audio-guided fitness workout?

An audio-guided workout is a fitness session that is delivered by an instructor straight to your ears by headphones. It’s perfect for a solo workout when you want to burn calories, sweat and make the most of your cardio session, but don’t want to hire a PT or attend a group class.

You’ll receive clear instructions on when to change your pace and adjust your machine’s resistance over the course of the session.

Importantly, a good audio-guided workout will feature music directly synced to the workout that changes and adjusts with the intensity of the efforts in the workout with energetic music in the efforts and calmer music during warm ups/downs and breaks.

Audio-guided cues allow you to push much harder than you would on your own but avoids the high cost of a PT or in-person instructor.

Image by Drazen Zigic on Freepik

Benefits of audio-only workouts

There are many benefits to audio-only workouts, but one of the biggest is the avoidance of visual distraction. Because you’re not watching a video, you can just put your phone in your pocket once you hit play.

Removing the need to hold or watch a video on your small phone screen simplifies the workout process considerably and allows you to focus on your own form. Indeed many audio-guided workouts will feature the instructor reminding you of technique to consider while listening and working out, not just how hard to pedal/row/run.

Here are a number of other benefits:

  • Music synced to the timings of your workout will keep you motivated and engaged
  • Your instructor will push you try harder and keep going when the going gets tough
  • Feel confident at the gym – no one needs to know you’re listening to instructions
  • Much less expensive than a personal instructor
  • No planning required! Just hop on your bike/treadmill/erg and hit play

How do they work?

Firstly, you’ll need to sign up to a service like Cardiofit.app to access your workouts.

When you get to the gym or hop on your stationary bike, erg or treadmill, just login and choose the kind of workout you’d like to attempt and hit play.

Most services will allow you to select workouts by:

  • Duration
  • Level of challenge
  • Type of challenge eg. Hill Climb, HIIT, sprints, etc.
  • Style of music
  • Instructor

Once you’ve chosen the workout, pop on your headphones, hit play and just follow the instructions while enjoying the beats.

audio workouts with headphones

What sports use guided audio workouts?

Audio-guided workouts are most commonly associated with cycling, running and rowing. You may also see them offered for elliptical machines at gyms and sometimes even indoor skate/ski systems.

These kinds of workouts are of most benefit when used with stationary machines eg. in a gym or home setting, but I’ve also seen audio-guided running workouts that take you through an outdoor program.

The challenge with using an audio-guided workout outdoors is that it’s very difficult to align efforts or hill climbs with actual challenges in the real world. That’s why at cardiofit, we work with people using equipment at gyms and in the home studio.

best audio running workouts

One of the reasons that these three sports work best for audio-guiding is because the technique, at least at the basic level, is relatively straightforward.

It would be much harder, for example, for a novice to attempt an audio-guided yoga workout without watching what the positions look like demonstrated by an instructor.

That said, if you’re still new to these three sports, watching videos to confirm you’re set up correctly on the equipment and running/pedalling or stroking (eg. rowers) correctly is important.

That’s why at cardiofit we’re building a bank of instructional videos to remind you of the correct technique and it’s also something that our qualified instructors mention during workout cues to remind you to stay focussed. Stay tuned for more when we release these!

The importance of music sync

The use of music during a workout can have dramatic effects on motivation and perseverance. Many of our Cardiofit workouts feature segments where the BPM (the beats per minute) of the music track aligns precisely with your cadence (run/row/ride).

Keeping to the beat helps maintain focus and motivation through tough sections, hill climbs and challenging HIIT routines:

“Your body has a natural way of synchronizing with the beat of a song. The more fast-paced and energetic a song is, the more likely your pace will be, as well. Music stimulates the part of the brain that controls movement, so it helps your body complete repetitive movements more efficiently. This synchronization increases your heart rate, metabolism, and energy efficiency, while also reducing blood pressure and physical and mental stress. Also, you’re less likely to feel fatigued.” (Source).

Any good guided audio workouts will feature elements of sessions, or even whole workouts, synced to the BPM of the music.

For example, a hill climb on a bike session might be at 60 BPM (really slow) with a high resistance followed by a flat workout at 90-100 BPM (fast cadence). Syncing the music to the BPM of the hill climb dramatically impacts a cyclist’s ability to persevere to the top.

audio-guided spin workouts

Comparison between video-guided and audio-guided fitness workouts

Video guided or group classes Audio guided solo fitness
Need to find a place to watch your phone screen as you workout. Easy for your phone to fall off equipment or just be hard to see. Sometimes there’s literally no-where to put your phone. Hit play and close your phone and keep it in your pocket. All you need is your headphones. If you have bluetooth headphones, you can even leave your phone in your bag or on the floor!
Easy to get distracted by the instructor or other people in the class. The instructor will provide cues and guidance about technique during the session so you can focus on your form.
Group classes can be quite intimidating, especially for the uninitiated. Feel and look confident if you’re at the gym, knowing that you’re (secretly) being guided and not just listening to music. No one needs to know what you’re doing except you.
Group classes can be quite impersonal. Feel like you’re getting personalised training from an instructor. Get to know the instructors –  there’s something about getting the workout straight into your ears that really connects you with the instructors. Try it and see! If you’re a fan of podcasts, you’ll know what I mean!

What to look for in a quality audio-guided workout


The most important element of quality audio-guided workouts is a competent instructor who understands cueing and is highly experienced.

Cueing is the way that the instructor will countdown before changes in efforts during a session, allowing you understand what’s required ahead of time and to prepare for each element of the workout.

Poor cueing will lead to an inability to make the most out of each effort and negate the effects of the workout.

At cardiofit, all our instructors are highly experienced trainers with not only precise cueing but also friendly attitudes and a special knack for putting a smile on your face with a funny comment (even when you’re hurting).

what's an audio guided workout


As mentioned above, make sure you find a service that provides music synced to the workout.

Many free audio-guided workouts (and even some paid ones) either have no music or let you choose the music which will play randomly through a playlist in the background.

What this means is you miss the physical and psychological advantages of the music changing in sync with the amount of effort you’re putting in. The last thing you want is some classical music randomly coming on when you’re half-way up a tough hill climb!


Let’s face it, you don’t want to be stuck listening to boring instructors with no sense of humour or ability to inspire.’

Similarly, instructors from some countries and services can come across as really OTT (over the top), shouty or even aggressive.

Find a service that has instructors you can really connect with and whose music choices you love.

The most popular workout services will likely have instructors with their own profiles you can follow online.

At cardiofit, we pride ourselves on the quality of our instructors. All are super fun and motivating but, even more importantly, all of them are highly experienced. Our lead instructor, Adam, actually runs one of the only certification programs for indoor spin/cycle instructors in Australia.

Other cardiofit instructors are current or aspiring Olympians and all are guaranteed to give you a super fun and motivating workout.


If you’ve never tried an audio-guided workout before and know that you need a little motivation when it comes to exercise (without the shouting), then give it a go!

Whether you’re in need of a quick, but effective, warmup before a weights session, whether you’re looking to maximise your cardio fitness or whether you just want to finally make use of that expensive exercise equipment you bought yourself, there’s never been a better time to try out audio workouts.

Here at Cardiofit, you can get full access to all our workouts for free with a 7 day trial.

Click here to find out more.

Here’s what one of our initially-skeptical Cardiofit users recently told us:

“When I first heard about the CardioFit concept I thought: ‘No – that’s not for me.’ How wrong I was! Instead of having to constantly find new ways to keep myself motivated and stretch my fitness at the same time, the team at CardioFit delivers me encouragement, variety, inspiration and guidance. My running has been energised, my motivation is back and I am more cardio-fit than I have been in years!” Dan Woods, Melbourne

Got any questions about audio-guided workouts? Feel free to leave them below.

What is an audio-guided fitness workout?

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