What is a Podcast?
Podcast is spliced from two words: iPod and broadcast.
Coined in 2004 by journalist Ben Hammersley, a podcast is an episodic audio series streamed or downloaded over the internet onto a computer, tablet or smartphone. As far as on-demand programming goes, podcasts are ideal for the gym as they can be downloaded ahead of your workout.
It's easier and far cheaper to develop a podcast than it is to create and market a radio or television programme. It's an accessible medium, therefore, not just for listeners but for those with knowledge or insight to share with an audience. As a result of this, the number of podcasts has proliferated in recent years and even large media outlets like the BBC, CNN and the New York Times offer them alongside their regular output.
Whatever you're into, there'll be a podcast for it somewhere. One example of how powerful and popular the medium can be is 2015's Serial from This American Life: a superb series of episodes centred around the true-life murder of a US High School Student and the man accused of killing her. As of March 2018, Serial has had over 300 million downloads worldwide.
Where Can You Find Podcasts?
If you're searching for a specific series, then it's nothing that Google can't handle BUT if you're looking for a specific episode, topic or guest appearance, then your best bet is to visit Listen Notes. Listen Notes is a search engine that lists over 500,000 podcasts and 30 million episodes, and you're bound to find something to keep those headphones clamped to your ears. iTunes has an impressive selection, too, with over 450,000 shows and 15 million episodes. Another handy resource is podbay.fm which lists a wide range of shows and is easy to navigate.
Why do people listen to podcasts?
Why do people watch television or read books?
For entertainment, primarily, but given the number of podcasts out there and given how niche some of the topics up for discussion are, it's fair to say that podcasts can be educational and inspirational, too. Which is ideal for fitness and strength training.
Entertainment and education aren't mutually exclusive. You'll find some great examples of how casual chat and humour can intersect with science, psychology and nutrition in the strength training podcasts we've listed below.
Podcasts offer a certain freedom for hosts to explore niche or taboo topics ignored or under-explored by the mainstream. What's more, podcasts serve huge online communities of like-minded people from all around the world and are a reminder that we're not alone. When we're sweating and grunting our way through never-ending sets, podcasts are a reminder that other people have done this. They've been there (or they are there right now and listening, too), got the racerback t-shirt and the podcast channel. Fitness might be a well-trod path but it's one we take alone. Podcasts are a way of aligning our course with the trailblazers who've gone ahead of us. Listen up and you might just learn something.
We already know that music can improve our performance in the gym. One reason for this is that listening to something helps us to focus beyond how exhausted we're feeling. As podcasts are episodic, they're similar to audiobooks and people have admitted to exercising for longer just to hear the end of a chapter. Podcasts could perform the same function, so even if you're committed to streaming your workout music playlist, give podcasts a try.
It's good to mix-up our workouts so it makes sense to mix up what we're listening to, too.
So Which Podcasts Should You Be Listening To?
Iron Radio is hosted by Dr Lonnie Lowery and focuses not just on bodybuilding but on the science and nutrition behind it. According to his biography on Iron Radio website, Dr Lowery is an 'Exercise Physiologist (PhD) and a nutrition professor of eight years'. He was a former competitive bodybuilder, too. His co-hosts Rob Fortney, Jon Mike, Phil Stevens and Mike T Nelson are a mix of powerlifters and academics. The latest episode 'Food Trends for Lifters' was released on 6th May 2018 and is the 468th upload, so if you're new to Iron Radio, then you've plenty of catching up to do.
Episode 319: Gym Etiquette Revisited
Episode 349: How to be a Meathead
Episode 394: Comfort Foods for Recovery
Episode 426: Grey-Area Performance Enhancement
Episode 430: Appetite Manipulation for Gain and Loss
One ringing endorsement of this podcast said that Jugglife is informative about strength training and lifting but without sounding like 'a college lecture'. Certainly, we'd agree that there's great chemistry between hosts Chad and Max.
Episode 61: Peaking Programming and Mentality
Episode 63: Terminator vs Rambo
Episode 64: Dan Brown-Building a Weightlifting Club
Episode 73: Dr James Hoffmann | Recovery Adaptive Strategies
Episode 75: Differences in Male and Female Training.
The first Barbell Shrugged podcast went out back in 2012 and is now one of the most popular shows in the industry. They cover everything in weightlifting and cross fit with a range of guests and experts. The audio quality is spot on, and there's plenty of video content, too.
Hosted by Mike Bledsoe and Doug Larson, the episodes go deep into the issues discussed but with entertaining topics and decent banter, you won't get bored.
Episode 223: Metabolic Flexibility, Insulin Sensitivity, Macros and Ketosis with Dr Mike Nelson.
Episode 226: How to Use Strongman Exercises to Build Functional Strength
Episode 288: How to Become a Professional Strength Coach – Scott Caulfield
Episode 293: Effects of Drinking Alcohol on Training – Dr Jakob Vingren
Episode 309: Hustle, Loyalty, Respect with John Cena
Massenomics is relatively new on the block of podcasting but is quickly building up an impressive catalogue of episodes. Guests have included Mike Bledsoe, Doug Larson and Dan Bell and centres on issues related to weight training, nutrition and fitness. The conversation between the three hosts is relaxed and entertaining, making it ideal for passing the time when you're working out.
Episode 41: Bulking, Cutting and Creatine
Episode 83: The Year of the Deadlift
Episode 88: Hugeness on the Go
Episode 97: The Gift of Injury
Episode 105: To Sumo or Not to Sumo
The Bodybuilding.com podcast releases new episodes each week and prides itself as a home for 'health and fitness tips'. Exploring strength, nutrition, motivation and bodybuilding, it's built up an impressive catalogue of episodes covering a range of relevant topics and featuring a wealth of experts and special guests.
Hosted by Nick Collias and Heather Eastman, the easy conversational tone of the podcast makes this eminently worth listening to.
Episode 5: Dr. Layne Norton's Hard Truth of Training
Episode 16: All About Caffeine – What Every Lifter Needs to Know
Episode 19: How to Earn Your Best-Ever Back Squat
Episode 20: The Weird, Gritty World of Contest Prep
Episode 26: Sadik Hadzovic on Training and Napping Like a Champ
You can listen to episodes on the Bodybuilding.com website
There are a ton of podcasts out there dedicated to strength training, bodybuilding and fitness. One of the best places to start looking for something to listen to is Player.FM which lists channels for all types of exercise.
And if you can't find something that you'd enjoy listening to, then why not think about setting up your own podcast. If you've got something valuable to say, then there are people out there willing to listen.
Whatever podcast you settle on, remember to add a pair of EarHugz to your headphones. These awesome covers will stop sweat ruining your headphones. Anti-bacterial, machine washable, sweat resistant and in a range of sick designs, EarHugz is one gym accessory you WON'T wont to leave in your locker.