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This post has been updated for 2018! Check out the updated list here!

When you work out, do you listen to music?  Zone out?  Watch TV or read a magazine from your machine at the gym? I do believe in the restorative power of tuning in to your own thoughts or listening to your body when you work out, but I have to admit that I do it very rarely*.  Without a “distraction,” I find myself constantly checking the distance on my Garmin (I know, I should leave that at home, too!), repeating a single line of a song over and over … and over, or re-hashing my to-do list mentally.  None of these are very restorative!  However, when I have a form of distraction or stimulation, I find that I’m better able to really process my thoughts and work through anything that’s bugging me.  As strange as it sounds, I really do believe I multi-task my thoughts while running!  I always feel better about any nagging problems after a run.

So what is my favorite form of distraction?  Podcasts!  I have many favorites, and I want to share them with you all, too!  So here you go … my top 7 list of free, exciting podcasts to listen to while you work out.  I’m providing links to the iTunes sites below (and picture sources are all from the same link), or you can just search for the title in iTunes and subscribe (for free!) to get updates automatically downloaded to your device. 7 podcasts to motivate your workout

  1. Marathon Training Academy: I save this one for my long runs because it gives me something to look forward to.  Angie and Trevor, the hosts, are so relatable yet so inspirational, so funny but also so informative.  They talk about their own races, conduct interviews with running “celebrities,” and give tips to improve your own running.  Topic: running. Length: <1 hour. Frequency: every 2-3 weeks. marathon training academy
  2. Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast: By far, the one from which I learn the most, and the one that challenges “traditional” thinking.  Ben and Brock, the hosts, are informative but still keep it interesting and fun.  I secretly want to be (the female version of) Ben – he’s sharing his knowledge with so many people through so many different forums, and is also an awesome athlete and family man. Topic: fitness, nutrition, health. Length: 1-2 hours, with special episodes as short as 20 minutes. Frequency: regular podcast weekly (or so), special episodes 5+ times per month. ben greenfield fitness
  3. The Jillian Michaels Show: The one that makes me think about my own life, laugh, cry, and sometimes learn.  I adore Jillian, and you really feel like you’re listening to a friend or a mentor when you’re listening to her show.  She talks about everything from weight loss to marital problems, from building your self-confidence to fueling your workouts.  Topic: fitness, nutrition, self-improvement. Length: <1 hour. Frequency: weekly. jillian michaels
  4. Endurance Planet Podcasts: EP offers several varieties, my favorite of which is “Sports Nutrition” (because obviously, I love that stuff!).  “Ask the Coaches” has good running and triathlon information, and “Ask the Ultrarunner” and “Ask the Doctor” are just like they sound.  Tawnee, the host, is knowledgeable and fun, and makes it feel like a three-part conversation (with her, the expert, and you).  Topic: training for endurance sports. Length: 20-60 minutes. Frequency: probably 3-4 per week across all varieties. endurance planet
  5. (*May 2014 update: since I initially published this, the initial #5 podcasts, For the Love of Food, seems to have discontinued.  So I’m including a new favorite here!)  The Wellness Wonderland!  If you want to be inspired by amazing people sharing their top tips on how to motivate yourself, accomplish your dreams, and feel inspired, then listen up!  Wellness Wonderland host Katie’s genuine enthusiasm for sharing inspiration never fails to make me smile and leave feeling ready to take on the world!  Topic: inspiration for life, health, and entrepreneurship.  Length: about an hour. Frequency: weekly ww-radio-new-final-03
  6. Nutrition Diva’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Eating Well and Feeling Fabulous: This podcast is the smart version of a Shape, Fitness, or Self magazine (no hate – I read all of those, although sometimes I disagree with their approach!) in that it covers trendy, obscure, eye-catching topics … but in an educated and informed way.  I always turn to the Nutrition Diva when another podcast ends and I still have a little ways to go on my run.  Topic: nutrition. Length: <10 minutes. Frequency: about every week.
  7. nutrition divaSlate Political Gabfest: Well, this is clearly the outlier!  I have no intention of turning this into a political blog (or discussion), just keeping it real!  I like listening to this on Monday mornings because it gives me informed, logical thoughts on three important current events each week.  Emily, John, and David are fun to listen to and keep the mood light-hearted (and try to be relatively balanced).  They do a good job of helping me flesh out my own thoughts by agreeing or disagreeing with theirs.  Topic: politics, current events.  Length: just <1 hour. Frequency: weekly, usually on Fridays.

slate

*Side note: this post came about as my iPod died in my last few miles of my Saturday long run (which was cut a bit short, as you may have seen on Instagram).  I was sure it was just out of batteries, but it died again in the first mile of my Monday morning run.  Now I’m stuck out of town for work, dealing with (gasp!) a full week of workouts with no distractions.  It’s a challenge, but it’s definitely good for me!  And after you try out my list of podcasts, you should give a distraction-free work out a go, too! So tell me in the comments … do you use “distractions” when you work out?  Do you have any great podcasts to add to my list?

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18 Comments

  1. Ashley @ This is the Place on July 24, 2013 at 11:13 am

    I almost always listen to music when I run, but I’ll do without when my iPod dies or something (like it did before Tuesday’s 10mi run!).

    I like podcasts, but I feel like they slow me down and I lose focus on the workout bc I start focusing on the discussion instead. Not a bad thing for easy.long runs though…

    • Megan Lyons on July 24, 2013 at 11:23 am

      I do agree they slow you down … I save music for races or speedwork, but especially since I’m not training for anything specific right now, I love podcasts to zone out, distract me/ pass the time, and help me learn! Great workouts this week!

  2. Tarra Thomas on July 24, 2013 at 11:53 am

    Totally tried this today while on my 6 mile easy run and enjoyed it. I listened to Jillian’s podcasts and I actually found that my speed wasn’t effected much at all. It was nice to change things up! Thanks for this post!

    • Megan Lyons on July 24, 2013 at 11:56 am

      So glad you tried Jillian’s podcasts, Tarra! And way to go for getting in a 6 mile run – you go, girl!

  3. Shashi @ http://runninsrilankan.com on July 25, 2013 at 11:46 am

    What a great idea to listen to podcasts – I usually watch tv (on a treadmill) or listen to music or my own thoughts…Great post!
    Shashi @ http://runninsrilankan.com recently posted…Tofu Tikka 🙂My Profile

    • Megan Lyons on July 25, 2013 at 12:02 pm

      Thanks, Sashi! Let me know which ones you enjoy!

  4. […] to get your workout in, but I’ve heard both Marathon Training Academy and Jillian Michaels (two of my favorite podcasters) recommend doing workout videos with your kids in the room.  Allow them to participate to make it […]

  5. Greasing Your Groove | The Lyons' Share Wellness on January 22, 2014 at 6:32 am

    […] of “Greasing the Groove” from Ben Greenfield (remember hearing about him on my post of my favorite podcasts to listen to while running?).  Basically, Ben’s adapted concept is that you form a habit of performing a small number […]

  6. […] 7 Podcasts to Motivate Your Workout from The Lyons Share […]

  7. […] music during races, but on most of my runs, I listen to podcasts. I shared a few of my favorites in this post. I also try to go for one run a week without any entertainment, but it’s hard for […]

  8. […] women to inspire, empower, and connect.”  Katie from The Wellness Wonderland (one of my new favorite podcasts!) frequently raves about Gabby, which re-ignited my interest in her several months ago, so I was […]

  9. Blog Changes + Just Be + MyYogaWorks Review on July 7, 2014 at 7:38 am

    […] though I can’t generally let my thoughts wander on runs (instead, I almost always listen to podcasts or audiobooks), I am often able to focus on being present through yoga.  Something about the […]

  10. Act As If on July 14, 2014 at 6:01 am

    […] yesterday’s run, I was listening to a podcast (The Wellness Wonderland, one of my favorite podcasts!), and Alex Beadon, the featured guest, discussed the fears surrounding starting her new job this […]

  11. […] house to get your workout in, but I’ve heard both Marathon Training Academy and Jillian Michaels (two of my favorite podcasters) recommend doing workout videos with your kids in the room.  Allow them to participate to make it […]

  12. Sam (@TipsOfTheScale) on July 18, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    A little shameless self-promotion coming, Megan. 😉

    I host a motivational podcast about weight-loss at TipsOfTheScale.com, where I interview successful “losers” from all around the world. We talk struggles, tips, daily routines, even music playlists.

    Would love your feedback! 🙂
    -Sam
    Sam (@TipsOfTheScale) recently posted…98: Shawn Stevenson on How Sleep Can Make or Break Your Weight-Loss SuccessMy Profile

    • Megan Lyons on July 20, 2014 at 9:03 pm

      I’ll check it out, Sam – I love finding new podcasts! Thanks for sharing!

  13. growtopia growganoth cape town on April 3, 2015 at 4:56 am

    growtopia growganoth cape town

    7 best podcasts for running and workout motivation!

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    […] good and has great nutritional stats, although I would personally prefer organic meats.  One of my favorite podcast hosts, Ben Greenfield, always recommends the jerky from US Wellness Meats, and I also like Tanka bars, […]

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