Health

16 Incredibly Interesting Podcasts To Get Lost In While You Work Out

Because sometimes you want stories, conversation, and infotainment.

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Fact: Most of us need something in our earbuds to get us through a workout.

Instagram: @misskrissyrenee / Via instagram.com

And sometimes that means knowing exactly what music you like and constructing a playlist scientifically proven to make your workout better.

But sometimes you're doing a workout that's long and slow — maybe you're spending a while logging miles on the treadmill or a bike — or something that requires lots of rest and deliberate, controlled movement, like weightlifting. And for those workouts you maybe don't want something loud and fast to get you in the mood to go hard. Maybe you want something to distract you from the clock or keep you company while you put in work.

So, we rounded up 16 podcasts that are actually great for workouts.

They're lively, have a decent pace, and are legit interesting.

1. The Friend Zone

Facebook: TheFriendZonePodcast

What it is: A podcast about important stuff like mental health, self-care, dating and relationships, health and fitness, and all kinds of other important social and cultural topics, all discussed in a nuanced way by three friends who almost always bring differing opinions and perspectives to the table.

Why it's great for working out: Listening to people discuss accessible approaches to self-care and well-being is awesome motivation for your workout. Bonus: Dustin, Fran, and Assanté are as likely to make you laugh as they are to make you think.

You should listen if: You are interested in important self-care topics but feel that jokey asides, bursts into song, and being a little goofy are basically essential.

Where to begin: Fitness Regine Hunter

Average episode length: About an hour and 40 minutes

2. Limetown

Facebook: limetownstories

What it is: Basically what happens when you cross Serial with The X-Files.

Why it's great for working out: It's super absorbing; you will get lost in the story. Also, it's kinda creepy, so listening to it when you're safe and sound in a brightly lit gym or getting fit enough to fight off an alien aggressor is a great idea.

You should listen if: You want an engrossing, goosebump-inducing story to get absolutely lost in while you grind away.

Where to begin: This podcast is meant to be listened to in order, so start with episode 1, "What We Know."

Average episode length: About 30 minutes

3. You Must Remember This

Facebook: youmustrememberthispodcast

What it is: A well-researched and thoroughly sourced history of Old Hollywood, but told so dramatically it feels like historical fiction, or even just fiction.

Why it's great for working out: You'll get lost in the stories, which makes this a perfect listen for cardio workouts that get long or kinda tedious and that you can tune out from and still do properly (like running, cycling, StairMaster, etc.).

You should listen if: You want to learn about the history of Hollywood in the most absorbing way possible.

Where to begin: The 12-part story about the Charles Manson murders

Average episode length: About 45 minutes

4. The Read

Facebook: ThisIsTheRead

What it is: If you handed mics to your two funniest and most opinionated friends, and asked them to make you laugh at and think deeply about everything from music and pop culture to race and relationships, you'd have The Read.

Why it's great for working out: You know how sometimes you're not that thrilled to work out and wish you had awesome company to get you through it? Crissle and Kid Fury are that company!

You should listen if: You love people who are no-holds-barred honest and hilarious. Warning: You might have to take laugh breaks during your workout.

Where to begin: Race-Themed or Future Support

Average episode length: About an hour and 20 minutes but sometimes longer

5. Put Your Hands Together

feralaudio.com

What it is: Every week L.A.-based comedians Cameron Esposito and Rhea Butcher host a live comedy show at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater with some of the funniest stand-up comedians around. Each show is recorded and released as a podcast episode along with backstage interviews with some of the comics.

What makes it great for working out: There's something undeniably exciting about being at a live performance. And if you can't be there in person, listening in on a recording is a great second-best option, which brings some electricity to your workout.

You should listen if: You like stand-up comedy, going to live shows, and not having to wait for a comedian to come to your hometown to hear their new material.

Where to begin: The episode released March 10, 2016: Beth Stelling, Alex Edelman, Matty Ryan, Grant Pardee, and hosts Cameron Esposito and Rhea Butcher


Average episode length:
About an hour to an hour and a half

6. Girl on Guy

Facebook: girlonguy

What it is: Every week comedian and The Talk co-host Aisha Tyler interviews a celebrity guest (actors, directors, comedians, etc.). Most of her guests are men, but she interviews women, too.

Why it's great for working out: Aisha Tyler can be raucous and a little raunchy, and she and her guests often drink while recording, which makes it a great high-energy listen.

You should listen if: You want to hear loose, pretty casual conversations (that are sometimes light and fun, other times serious and probing) between Aisha Tyler and guests who range in fame level from Travis Van Winkle to Taye Diggs.

Where to begin: This podcast recently went behind a paywall but the most recent 10 episodes are always available for free. The name of the celebrity being interviewed is in each episode title, so just choose one you like/have heard of.

Average episode length: About an hour and a half

7. Snap Judgment

Facebook: SnapJudgment

What it is: Really well-edited stories about people (and things that they've been through) that uses original beats, sounds, and music to make each segment evocative and dramatic.

Why it's great for working out: The stories are gripping and dramatically told, and the beats and soundscape give each story its own rhythm.


You should listen if:
You want to hear stories that are already interesting made even more listenable thanks to music, beats, and sound effects.

Where to begin: Episode #701 High Crimes and Misdemeanors ("Stories about real people trying real hard to stay on the right side of the law.")

Average episode length: About 50 minutes

8. 99% Invisible

Facebook: 99percentinvisible

What it is: The nifty, cool, and quirky stories behind the "invisible" things that are in our midst every single day.

Why it's great for working out: Every episode brings you stories that are legit surprising, which is great for getting your mind off the clock on the treadmill and into the narrative.

You should listen if: You want to know about the origin of the fortune cookie or maybe the story behind how U.S. currency was designed or even the history of the Ouija board.

Where to begin: Heyoon, or one of the podcast's staff's favorite episodes.

Average episode length: About 20 minutes, but sometimes as short as five minutes and as long as 40 minutes

9. WTF With Marc Maron

Facebook: 221008701265316


You should listen if:
You are a fan of comedy or of hearing artists talk about their lives and careers. Also, if you don't like quiet and restrained interview styles, you'll probably enjoy hearing Maron, a self-taught, rough-around-the-edges interviewer, probe his guests about their craft, their childhoods, and the skeletons in their closets.

Why it's great for working out: Marc Maron is an intense and sometimes even aggressive interviewer who gets great stuff out of most of his guests. Sometimes the conversations wander into emotionally complicated terrain, which makes for an exciting listen.

Where to begin: The show has episodes going back to 2009 but only the last 60 aren't behind a paywall. Your best bet for the free episodes would be to just choose a couple episodes with guests you're interested in. Behind the paywall, the two-part interview he did with Louis CK (part 1 here, part 2 here). His 2011 interview with Chris Rock is an epic deep dive into comedy. Ditto his 2011 interview with Amy Poehler. Or listen to him interview Amy Schumer way back before she had her own TV show.

Average episode length: About an hour and a half

10. Awesome Etiquette

Facebook: awesomeetiquette

What it is: A show hosted by the great-great-grandchildren of Emily Post, the author who literally wrote the book on etiquette. The co-hosts answer emails from listeners with all kinds of quandaries about how to gracefully and appropriately handle stuff like thank-you cards, noisy neighbors, social obligations during the holidays, shoes on or off indoors, and wedding invitations.

Why it's great for working out: The co-hosts are bright and cheery and always sound thrilled to talk about etiquette, a topic that's not universally exciting. Their disposition may rub off on you.

You should listen if: You are interested in how you're probably technically supposed to behave in various social situations.

Where to begin: Blood Is Not Thicker Than Facebook

Average episode length: About 35–40 minutes

11. How Did This Get Made?

Facebook: HDTGM

What it is: Three professional funny people (whom you'll recognize from TV and movies) and an additional funny guest talk about terrible movies (the so-bad-they're-good kind of terrible).


You should listen if:
You're a comedy fan, a movie fan, or one of those people who gets the most pleasure from watching the worst movies.

Why it's good for working out: If you're feeling unmotivated or kinda blah about working out, let the co-hosts make you LOL and your workout will be that much happier.

Where to begin: Start with any episode that talks about a movie you've seen or want to hear them talk about. If you're up for a slightly unrepresentative episode (in that it's recorded live for an audience), go for From Justin to Kelly: LIVE!.


Average episode length:
Mini episodes: about 30–45 minutes; full episodes: about an hour and a half

12. On the Media

Facebook: OnTheMedia

What it is: Two wry NPR co-hosts (Brooke Gladstone and Bob Garfield) leading you through a deep dive into the week's news with lots of listenable analysis.


Why it's great for working out:
Reading news and culture analysis requires a lot of your concentration and attention but OTM is great infotainment; you can learn while also maybe being a bit distracted by counting reps or timing rest.

You should listen if: You want more than just the news; you want an analysis of what's going on in the news, or you simply want to multitask by using your time exercising to also get up to speed about what's happening in the world.

Where to begin: Feel This

Average episode length: About 50 minutes

13. Out There

Facebook: 429034337252379

What it is: A quiet, gentle, NPR-esque podcast about the wonders of the natural world.


Why it's good for working out:
People who enjoy hiking and other outdoor exercise have accomplished a goal that is elusive for lots of people — finding a way to work out that they actually find exciting, satisfying, and maybe even beautiful. Listening to an entire show of such people talking about nature might inspire you to think more intentionally or mindfully about your own exercise.

You should listen if: You need some quiet inspiration to get yourself outside.

Where to begin: Love Is Not A Finish Line

Average episode length: About 15–30 minutes

14. Ask a Clean Person

heritageradionetwork.org / Via heritageradionetwork.org

What it is: Just under an hour of actually interesting conversation about all things cleaning, hosted by a cleaning advice columnist (Jolie Kerr) and cool guests.

Why it's great for working out: Sometimes exercise feels cleansing, other times it feels like a chore. Either way, every episode of Ask a Clean Person will make you feel even more like a master of productivity and adulting than you already do just from working out at all.


You should listen if:
You're a clean-space enthusiast or really just genuinely psyched about learning how to deal with mold and mildew, sex stains, cleaning while traveling, sandy rooms, messy cats, and way, way more.

Where to begin: Order Out of Chaos

Average episode length: About 45 minutes

15. Sampler

soundcloud.com

What it is: A curation of awesome moments from the best podcasts plus interviews with some of the podcasters responsible for those moments.

You should listen if: You've tried podcasts and can't find any you find consistently entertaining. You don't feel like wading through entire shows or series to find the best episode or moments.

Why it's great for working out: Because each episode is just 30 minutes of great content, the chances are slim that you'll have to wait out boring moments or fast-forward through something that's uninteresting.

Where to begin: My Thorn and My Muse

Average episode length: 30 minutes

16. Another Round

soundcloud.com

What it is: This podcast — which is produced by BuzzFeed — is a conversation between co-hosts Heben Nigatu and Tracy Clayton and their weekly guests, who you'll know from all different parts of culture, including television, comedy, Twitter, and politics.

You should listen if: You want to hear two co-hosts with awesome on-air chemistry be funny and thought-provoking while discussing pretty much all aspects of current events and culture, with particularly deep dives into race and racism.

Why it's great for working out: This is an energetic podcast with several different segments per episode, each one funnier or more interesting than the last. It'll keep your attention, and the pace is lively.

Where to begin: To Be Young, Gifted, and Black with Hannibal Buress or The Yum Center with Melissa Harris-Perry

Average episode length: An hour to an hour and a half