5:52pm

Mon January 9, 2012
Music Interviews

What Makes Newton-John Get 'Physical' At The Gym

Aside from watching all the new shows on TV, many people in the New Year will hit the gym, and we're doing our part to help. For the next couple weeks, we're asking athletes, actors and others what music gets them moving.

"Physical" has been a gym-goer's favorite for decades, but Olivia Newton-John says it didn't start out that way.

"When the song came out — I recorded it, thought it was a great song and then had a panic attack, and then called my manager and said, 'You can't put this out! It's too over the top; it's too risqué,'" Newton-John says. "He said, 'It's too late, it's gone to radio.' So then I said, 'Well, you know what I think? We need to make it more about exercise and take away from the naughtiness.' But, of course, that made it even naughtier."

So, what does Newton-John listen to to get her going? Well, it's not "Physical." She says listening to her own songs would be weird. Besides, she doesn't even exercise to music. It turns out that CNN and The History Channel make her "get physical."

"I have a home gym, so I get on my treadmill and put on the television," Newton-John says. "So that's when I catch up on the news or a documentary or something."

A lot of the time, Newton-John isn't at home. She's on the road, touring. But she says she doesn't leave her fitness routine behind.

"Pretty much from when I get to the hotel, I'll throw on my sweat clothes and go for a walk, because that's the way I adjust to the sunlight," Newton-John says. "I'll find a tennis coach if there's a tennis court and try to do things I like. I love to walk. I love to be outside in nature, and I'll find a gym... with a TV and The History Channel."

Newton-John did finally admit that there is one song that makes her get physical: "Brown Sugar" by The Rolling Stones.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Related program: