Podcasts are pre-recorded audio files which are then made available on the internet. The content can cover a wide range of different topics, including health and fitness.
Using podcasts can help you to learn new information about how to train better, harder and smarter as well as providing helpful nutritional and motivational advice.
There are many different types of podcasts that can help improve fitness in different ways, so it’s important to choose podcasts that target your goals.
The world’s crazy, isn’t it? There we were, quite happily sitting there in the ’70s, minding our own business, laughing at the insane notion that a phone could possibly not have a cord… Fast forward to 50 years later, and we’ve nearly all got one!
Not only that, but phones double as mini computers and TVs, we have laptops and tablets that fit into our pockets, linking us to the amazing cyberspace that’s the internet. Information is at our fingertips 24-7 and it seems technology has developed at a supersonic rate!
Now we can all have our own websites, blogs and YouTube channels, and most of us are lucky enough to speak freely about whatever we choose. Podcasts are another popular method of delivering information.
The problem is that not all information that’s available on the internet is of high quality. Although many of us consult sources such as Wikipedia, some entries aren’t correct, and anyone can write anything they want to. How do I know? Because I found an error, tried to report it and found I could easily edit it myself!
Podcasts are a great way of conveying information. When it comes to exercise, some of them are an excellent low or no cost way of receiving guidance and support when working out. But literally anyone can make and publish a podcast. With so many different ones out there, how do we sort the wheat from the chaff?
Here’s a handy guide to the best fitness podcasts!
What Is a Podcast?
A podcast is basically an audio recording. They can be a one-off podcast, but are often presented as a series. They’re accessed by downloading from the internet and can be listened to at your convenience, either on an mp3 player or on a computer.
When they first emerged on the internet, the majority of podcasts were made by amateurs with a special interest in a particular topic. More recently, however, many big broadcasting companies, newspapers, magazines and other organizations have created their own podcast operations.
There are millions of podcasts out there on a huge variety of different subjects. Some are weekly shows on a range of topics from politics to cooking, all kinds of hobbies and, of course health and fitness.
How Do You Use a Podcast?
As briefly mentioned, podcasts are downloaded from the internet. The best way to do this if you have a tablet or smartphone is by using a podcasting app. There are various apps available, such as CastBox, Podcast Player and Podcast Addict, all widely available.
On a computer, one of the most popular platforms to listen to podcasts on is iTunes; the files can then be transferred to iPhones, iPads and iPods. You can also access podcasts through major broadcasters. CNN, Fox News and the BBC all have a range of podcasts available.
Once you’ve got your podcast platform set up, you can use it to search through huge databases of podcasts to find what you’re looking for. Often, you can choose to either stream an episode online or download a podcast episode to transfer to you chosen audio player to listen to when it suits you.
How Much Do Podcasts Cost?
The great news is that the majority of podcasts are free, making them easily accessible for everyone. In recent years, some makers have begun to charge fees for access, and in particular accessing archives. This is, however, not usual.
Free podcasts often feature audio adverts which is how podcasts can become profitable for the makers. They may have an option to remove the adds for a variable but usually moderate one-off or monthly fee. Alternatively, you sometimes find that a specific episode of a podcast series is sponsored by a company selling products related to the topic.
Why Use Podcasts for Fitness?
There are a number of different types of podcasts that can help you to achieve better results with or during your workout. Various podcasts take different approaches and focus on different areas of health and fitness, so it’s important to work out what you want from a podcast before you start looking.
Some podcasts are in the form of a weekly health and fitness show which focuses on different aspects of health, fitness and nutrition each week. Other podcasts are focused on exercise for weight loss, or improving specific sports performance.
Yet other types of podcasts can help you manage the psychological side of health and fitness. Some are great for listening to during your training sessions, and can provide motivation to and encouragement to push yourself further and increase your training successes.
So it’s important to decide which aspects of fitness you want to address, and select the most appropriate podcasts to help you achieve your goals.
In the last 10 years, the U.S. governing body for long distance racing—USA Track & Field—has banned the use of portable music devices. As well as the safety aspect, one of the reasons for the decision was to prevent runners from gaining a competitive edge. So it’s well recognized that just listening to music can be beneficial during exercise.
Listening to specific advice about the way you’re exercising, or having a voice in your ear giving you advice about technique, relaying a story about someone overcoming difficulties or providing other means of motivation is likely to have a similar, or perhaps even more beneficial effects. Some suggest listening to motivational advice while training can lead to up to 50 percent increases in performance in some activities.
How to Choose a Fitness Podcast
Whichever podcast you choose is mostly down to personal preference as to what topics you want information about, and how you like to hear that information being presented, and this is different for each individual.
The main thing is to make sure that the people you’re listening to are knowledgeable in the subject areas they’re discussing, and be aware that they may have a vested interest in the advice they’re giving. It’s great to listen to podcasts for advice, but it’s also important to do your research before making any changes in your life to make sure they’re the right changes for you.
The Best Fitness Podcasts
Here’s a closer look at some great fitness podcasts. Because it depends on exactly what you want from a podcast, they’re separated into different categories.
All Round Health, Fitness and Nutrition Podcasts
There are podcast series available which feature regular episodes and take a holistic approach to fitness. They provide advice about all kind of different topics.
This is a very popular podcast, with more than 120,000 subscribers. The presenter, Kevin Larrabee is a qualified health science professional and a certified strength and conditioning coach who interviews top experts in all kinds of topics related to fitness and nutrition.
FitCast started in 2006, and has gone from strength to strength—there are now around four hundred Fitcast episodes to date. Recent episodes include a focus on sports nutrition, biofeedback and other ways to track progress, strength training techniques, the psychology of good nutritional habits, body image and how to make changes in behavior.
This is a great podcast which, because of the variety of different topics and weekly new episodes, provides a whole host of interesting information. It’s a great series for exposure to areas of health and fitness and factors that impact on your training that you might not have considered important, and for keeping up to date with new developments.
This is a well-designed podcast hosted by Ben Greenfield, health expert, holistic nutritionist and one of the top personal trainers in the U.S. He talks in a calm, knowledgeable but user-friendly way about lots of different subjects.
There are interviews with top experts, including discussions about different kinds of diets, reviews on fitness equipment, talks on various health conditions, weight loss, supplements, sport specific chats and there’s lots of information about specialized eventing, such as triathlons.
This series is a great resources for learning about new training techniques, keeping up to date with new developments in the health and fitness industry and new data from research studies. Some of the information does get quite technical at times, but it’s generally explained in a way that’s easy to follow and understand.
This is a great podcast series with lots of helpful advice and information. It’s good to listen to this show regularly for lots of general fitness knowledge, and the episodes cover a variety of different subjects to make them both informative and interesting.
This series is billed as a total human optimization podcast. A well-established series, Onnit features a huge team of medical and other health professionals, top male and female athletes and entertainers to produce a lively, innovative, holistic health and fitness series.
The topics covered range from motivation and psychological health to nutrition and diet, and various activity specific episodes on training. For example, there are episodes with lots of advice about training with kettlebells, battle ropes and gymnastics rings, setting and achieving goals, and biohacking—taking control of the way your body works by making changes in lifestyle and nutrition.
Onnit is a really entertaining series—some of the presenters are skilled comedians who bring a great down to earth humorous touches to some serious subjects, which can be a great way to learn and retain new information. For advice getting and staying healthy, what to do if you want to get strong, or how to effectively use new equipment and training techniques, Onnit podcasts are, well..on it!
Specific Training Program Podcasts
Some podcasts consist of a series of a specific number of shows, and are designed to be used as a training program. They can be sport specific or for general fitness.
If you’re new to exercise, returning to fitness after a long break, this is a great podcast series to guide your training. Couch to 5K is a 9-week podcast series from the UK’s National Health Service.
Each episode tells you what you need to do, and gradually builds up the intensity of exercise over the weeks to help you achieve your goal. Couch to 5K was designed around the idea of a plan to help a sedentary lady in her 50s to be able to go from no regular exercise to running 5 kilometers in over two months.
The outline of the training plan is three runs per week which are evenly spaced out to allow for all-important rest and recovery. It includes a different schedule for each week, starting with a mixture of walking and running, and also provides helpful advice and reassurance for those just getting started.
This is an excellent option for beginners. Good general aerobic fitness is important whatever your favorite activity, and running is a very helpful addition to many training programs. This podcast’s going to help you get moving in a safe and effective way and help you to build confidence and achieve your goals.
There’s also a follow up program, Couch to 5K+, with structured runs, music and coaching to help develop your training, improve your running technique, speed and endurance further once you’ve completed the first series.
With over seven hundred episodes, MindPump is a long running podcast series which has gained a reputation for a take no prisoners look at all things health and fitness. The episodes usually feature very plain speaking, often pretty raw and sometimes a little shocking dialogue. If you like things sugar coated, this probably isn’t the podcast series for you!
If on the other hand, you’re a little more broad minded and want detailed, specific advice about health and fitness delivered in a straightforward way with a little humor thrown in for good measure, then this podcast could be extremely helpful for many people.
The hosts, Sal Di Stefano, Adam Schafer and Justin Andrew have a combined experience in fitness spanning over 40 years as personal trainers and personally as competitors. They aim to cut through the…er…crud…and get to the heart of fitness issues to promote safe, effective training.
Recent topics include perfecting squat technique, managing muscle cramps, crossfit, the healthiest and unhealthiest sports for the body, techniques to build more muscle, overcoming a lack of belief in oneself and the challenges of becoming a fit parent.
When it comes to health and fitness, we can often be our own worst enemies, especially when getting started. Building fitness is hard work, but when it really feels like hard work mentally too, the willpower of even experienced exercisers can take a dive. Motivational podcasts can help to address these issues.
Having been named in the Top 30 American Health Influencers, Jason Ferrugia is one of America’s premier fitness and life coaches. Known for being outspoken and telling it like it is, he combines different techniques which are aimed at building a healthy body, strong mind and an optimized life.
As well as his expert advice and experience, Jay regularly hosts discussions with top experts on a whole range of topics. Recent episodes have included mindset mastery to maximize training, overcoming insecurities, becoming stronger on the inside and the outside.
The guests on his show are knowledgeable and interesting. They’ve recently included IFBB pro bodybuilder Ben Pakulski, and Brandon Lilly; ranked one of the strongest powerlifters of all time, with whom Jay Ferruggia discussed not only getting stronger, but also measuring success and finding happiness.
With his reputation for straight talking, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that some of the shows in this podcast series come with a warning regarding the explicit nature, but it’s not over the top, and the content of the shows make this a very useful podcast for many people.
Jonathan Roche is a seasoned athlete who’s completed the Boston Marathon a massive 21 times. He’s also competed in 12 Ironman triathlons—this guy knows his stuff, but is very personable and straight talking. The aim of this podcast is to help you confront your fears, avoid making excuses and maximize your training or weight loss results.
The information is delivered in a calm, reassuring way that makes it clear you’re not on your own. There are various series of shows in this podcast, including the weekly boot camp and permanent weight loss radio shows.
This show does a really good job of helping you to step back and look at things from a different perspective and take a different approach to achieve your diet, health and fitness goals.
Other podcasts can take the form of a one-off episode featuring a top athlete or a premier coach in a particular field relating the story of how they reached their goals, or, giving training advice. Some are designed to accompany you during a training session and provide motivation and encouragement while you’re exercising, and this can be effective for many people.
I know for certain I’d run faster and push myself harder if I could hear the dulcet tones of Usain Bolt or Mo Farah telling me I can do it!
Podcasts are audio recordings which are available to download from the internet. They can be a great way to get some valuable information, advice and motivation to really help improve your quality of training, overall health and achieve fitness goals efficiently and safely.
There are many different podcasts that can be beneficial for health and fitness in various different ways. Some podcasts are in the form of a weekly show encompassing all of the different aspects of fitness, nutrition and achieving a healthy body and mind. These can be a great source of new information which can help you to change your training program and activities, diet and many other factors to help you improve your fitness.
Other podcasts are much more specific, and focus mainly on training for fitness. There are some really good podcast series for people of all different fitness levels, from beginners to experts and everyone in between. Some podcasts are designed to be complete training programs that you can follow over a series of weeks.
Motivational podcasts can also be extremely useful in achieving and maintaining good health and fitness. They can be focused specifically on overcoming hurdles in training, or include a broader topic base with the aim of helping us understand our behavior and learn how to modify it to achieve fitness goals.
In my humble opinion, there isn’t really any such thing as the absolute number one definitive best fitness podcast. How good anyone thinks a particular podcast is depends on whether you can relate to the hosts, like the way information is presented and find it helps you to achieve better fitness; so it’s all pretty subjective.
The best plan when choosing the best fitness podcasts for you is to first decide what you want to achieve, and be specific when searching for podcasts. Listen to a few different shows and see if you find them useful and enjoy listening to them. Be aware that anyone can make and upload podcasts, so don’t hold back when it comes to checking out the information to make sure it’s appropriate for you.
If you don’t like some podcasts, don’t worry—just choose another bunch to listen to. There are lots to pick from, so for me, the best fitness podcast is the one that works its magic for you!