I love to lift weights. If you’ve been following my Instagram account you will see my daily workout stories where I’m lifting heavy and being awesome. (Okay I’m completely joking with the awesome part there.) For me though, I have to do some cardio to actually see results. I can’t rely on lifting alone. Maybe it’s the old long distance swimmer in me, who knows? Cardio though; it sucks. It’s boring, long, and unless you have a partner lonely. When I was training for a half marathon five years ago I had to do a lot of my runs on the treadmill because part of my training was during the winter. You want to talk about boring? Let’s talk about running on a treadmill. You go nowhere fast. I used to rely on my TV to entertain me on my cardio jaunts but now I’ve turned it over to podcasts and while cardio is still my least favorite thing to do, it’s tolerable.
What is a podcast?
The technical way to explain a podcast is, according to Wikipedia, “A podcast or generically netcast, is an episodic series of digital audio or video files which a user can download in order to listen to. Alternatively, the word “podcast” can refer to the individual component of such a series; or to an individual media file.” The best way I explain it to non-podcast listeners is that it’s similar to talk radio, usually with less commercial breaks and most podcasts come out weekly. A few of the news podcasts do come out daily though while some audiodramas come out monthly.
How do I listen to a podcast?
You can listen to a podcast by using your smartphone – iPhone or Andriod. Apple has a huge library of podcasts in iTunes and because of the wide audience Apple has their rating system is kind of the golden standard. Android and iPhone users have quite a few podcast streaming apps to choose from:
- Google Podcast
- Pocket Casts (available on iOS and Android) – $4 – one of the best things about Pocket Casts is that it allows you to pick up where you leave off on other devices. That’s huge if you have multiple devices you’re using.
- Castbox (available on iOS and Android, Amazon Echo Skill, and Apple Watch & CarPlay support.) – FREE – this is a newer app but it’s been winning a lot of best of awards.
- Podbean (available on iOS, Android and Amazon Echo Skill)
- Stitcher (available on iOS and Android) – Stitcher is known for the ability to search for episodes and create multiple playlists. The app is free but there is a premium membership that offers podcasts ad free as well as a few premium only podcasts.
- Spotify – Not just for music anymore, Spotify has curated quite the podcast library and is adding new shows daily.
- Podcast Addict (Android only) – Free
- Castros 3 (iPhone only) – According to quite a few reviews I read Castros 3 is the best iPhone only app to use if you are subscribed to many different podcasts.
There are more apps for you to use to listen to a podcast but those are the most notable ones, I think, that are out there.
10 Podcasts to Guaranteed Beat Cardio Boredom
I am not going to tell you to go and listen to Serial season one; yes, that technically should be on your must-listen list of podcasts but everyone knows that. Serial’s host, Sarah Koenig, really introduced a new way of doing true crime podcasting. She’s set the tone and many have followed in her footsteps as far as style goes. Some of these podcasts are older and the beauty in that is that you can binge listen.
I cannot get enough of Crime Junkie, a podcast based out of Indiana that is all about true crime, the stories we know about and the lesser known crimes that never made it that big in the news. Host Ashley Flowers, a self-confessed true crime fangirl, and her producer, Brit, have this way of telling a story that makes it so easy to get lost in. Ashley tells the narrative, what she’s researched, to Brit, who hasn’t done any research on the crime. Then Brit reacts and nine times out of ten, it’s usually exactly what I’m thinking. Another thing I love about this podcast is that Ashley and Brit have created tons of resources on their website including a “If I go missing” kit. I’ve downloaded it and the thing is massive, I have yet to fill it out but I really should. Get lost in their podcast and take heed to their slogan: “Be weird. Be rude. Stay alive.”
Nothing gets your heart rate going like a good suspenseful story so if you want to listen to a podcast that helps you forget that you’re working out, check out Dirty John on Wondery. If you watch BRAVO maybe you’ve seen the mini-series starring Connie Britton and Eric Bana of the same name, Dirty John, the podcast, which came first is ten times better. Investigative journalist for the L.A. TIMES, Christopher Goffard, investigates and hosts the podcast which chronicles the relationship of a single mom and the scheming ways of her significant other, John. The craziest thing about it is that the tale is completely true, from beginning to end. I’m not going to ruin anything for you but try to avoid reading anything about what happened. The ending was shocking to me.
I’m not into modern history, I’m more of an ancient Greek kind of gal but I kept hearing things about Slate’s podcast Slow Burn and I just had to check it out. Slow Burn looks at monumental moments in history and digs deeper than the headlines that covered the story when it happened. Journalist, Leon Neyfakh, hosts the show and does a really great job at storytelling. I think I would’ve paid more attention in history class if he had been my teacher. Season 1 looked into the Watergate scandal and season 2 looked at Bill Clinton’s impeachment saga that dominated much of his presidency.
Fellow blogger/influencer Tiffany Reese slayed her first podcast series with Something Was Wrong. It’s insanely addictive and lucky for you the season is over so you don’t have to wait for weekly episodes like I did. Something Was Wrong is a true story about Sarah, a nice Christ believing woman, who falls in love with the man of her dreams…or so she thinks. After a whirlwind romance and a race to the alter, Sarah finds herself two weeks before her wedding day calling off her wedding because something was wrong.
How can a podcast that’s about business and finance be entertaining enough to make your morning run fly by? Well, I don’t know how Jane Marie and her team from Art19 made business interesting but she’s done it with this podcast about MLMs, pyramid schemes, and Amway. Here’s the description from The Dream:
What if we told you that with zero experience and only a few hundred dollars down, this podcast could change your life? Well, we’d be lying. This season on The Dream, Jane Marie dives into the world of pyramid schemes, multi-level marketing, and all the other businesses that require their members to recruit their nearest and dearest in hopes of a commission. Join us as we trace the path of get-rich schemes from Jane’s roots in rural Michigan all the way to the White House.
Most people who are completely new to podcasts do not start off with an audiodrama, however, if you want something that’s going to hold your attention while you’re working out Homecoming should be your first stop. Homecoming is from Gimlet Media. Here’s the description, “Homecoming centers on a caseworker at an experimental facility, her ambitious supervisor, and a soldier eager to rejoin civilian life — presented in an enigmatic collage of telephone calls, therapy sessions, and overheard conversations.” There are some A-list actors who voice the characters as well – Catherine Keener, Oscar Isaac, David Schwimmer, Amy Sedaris, and David Cross. The podcast was so well received that Amazon grabbed it and made a mini-series starring Julia Roberts. Yes, it’s that good.
Sometimes when you’re working on that summer bod (which I actually completely disagree with, workout because we should all be active) you need a little motivation and love to accept yourself where you’re at. That’s where MollyMay+ comes in. MollyMay+ is hosted by Molly May, here’s the description from Matriarch Digital Media, “Meet Molly May! She’s an artist, designer, social media maven, VagWoolf and most importantly, your new podcast bestie. Every week, Molly encourages you to get out in the world and live in big bright living color. She shares stories with humor, heart and a good sprinkling of colorful language (you’ve been warned) to encourage you to enjoy your life right now.” Molly is hilarious and vulnerable which makes listening to her inspiring. You really do feel like you’re chatting with a friend.
This is another audiodrama that I happened upon in the fall. I was hooked and definitely racked up many miles on my treadmill at home while listening to it. Lesser Gods is a murder mystery podcast set in the future where humans are unable to procreate except for a select few. That group of young adults are heralded as celebrities in the society because, let’s be honest, they’re trying to save the entire human race. There’s so much more to the series which is why you have to listen to it immediately.
If you liked shows like LOST or THE OA on Netflix, you’re going to love Rabbits from the Public Radio Alliance is a mystery that involves an alternate reality game that’s decades old. The protagonist Carly Parker is looking for her best friend, Yumiko “Miko” Takata, who recently vanished. The PRA also hosts my other favorite audiodrama Tanis but that’s really sci-fi and if you aren’t a fan you’ll find it really difficult to get into it.
When Carly Parker’s friend Yumiko goes missing under very mysterious circumstances, Carly’s search for her friend leads her headfirst into a ancient mysterious game known only as Rabbits. Soon Carly begins to suspect that Rabbits is much more than just a game, and that the key to understanding Rabbits, might be the key to the survival of our species, and the Universe, as we know it.
Up and Vanished is a perfect podcast to listen to while you’re working out because as the host, Payne Lindsey, is investigating the cold case of Tara Grinstead, new evidence about the case start to resurface. I listened to the podcast in real time and it was fascinating to watch everything unfold in real life, confessions were made and now two suspects are awaiting trial. From Tenderfoot TV, the network that hosts Up and Vanished,
Season 1 of Up and Vanished explored the 2005 disappearance of beauty queen and high school teacher Tara Grinstead in Ocilla, Georgia. The cold case was the largest case file in the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s history, with no arrests in 11 years. The podcast quickly drew attention, both in South Georgia and nationwide.
As the people of Ocilla began talking about the case again, new leads and stories emerged. In February 2017, the GBI arrested two suspects for Grinstead’s murder. Up and Vanished will continue to provide updates on this no-longer-cold case as the criminal trial proceeds in 2018.
There are so many other podcasts I could have added to this list. A few honorable mentions to help entertain you on that long run are S-Town and Sandra. Do you listen to podcasts when doing cardio? Tell me what are some of your favorites?