The Best Motivational Podcasts For Dedicated Athletes

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Podcasts are on the rise. No matter what you like to listen to, from business to crime stories, there is a podcast for it. Some straightforward explanations include growing consumer demand for high-quality, on-demand content. And if you're a dedicated athlete, the best motivational podcasts are out there waiting for you!

The dissemination of high-grade technology to average consumers has made creating a podcast is easier than ever. And that means there are plenty to choose from.

Best Motivational Podcasts

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First and foremost, a podcast is an audible story. You can listen to these through Spotify, iTunes, or websites focused on the best motivational podcasts. Their accessibility means that you can put one on and listen while you pick up groceries, go for a run, or wait for the train.

Sometimes they're as gripping as track athlete Peter Norman's encounter with civil rights at the Olympics. Of course, sports podcasts are also just as often the story of you and your path to better fitness.

Whether you like fitness for its own sake, yoga with a sassy host, or inspiring stories about the impact of sports, there is something for everyone. Specifically, we'll be talking about the best motivational podcasts in training, health and fitness, and narrative styles.

Health and Fitness

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If you're in the mood to open your mind to new health and fitness knowledge, these podcasts might be for you! Both cycling and yoga have relatively low physical bars for entry. If you're interested in learning more, check these out!

Ask a Cycling Coach

For those interested in hard numbers, facts, and tips about cycling, Ask a Cycling Coach is the podcast for you. If you need more incentive, you should know that cycling causes less impact on your body than most forms of exercise.

You can get a good muscle workout. And it doesn't require a high level of physical skill.

Whether it's improving training times or discovering whether music helps or hurts performance, the podcast has information about cycling you need to hear.

What’s it about?

Hosted by USAC/USAT Level I certified coach Chad Timmerman; the podcast is reasonably straightforward. The host fields questions from the website through the podcast, keeping the audience up to date on the world of cycling.

Some recent episodes include, "Hot Weather Tips, Rest Weeks, Aero Field Testing & More," and "How to Beat Light Riders, Rest Day Cravings, Sauna Training & More."

When it's not busy breaking down particulars, the podcast often holds interviews with top athletes, including cyclist Alison Tetrick and mountain biker Keegan Swenson.

Fascinating episodes

In the podcast's 173rd episode, the panel fields a profound question from one of their listeners about how to bounce back after defeat. According to Timmerman, if you have 10 races, it's likely that 5 will go differently than you think.

While there is competition in cycling, a key strength to foster is mental endurance, and that means bouncing back after painful losses. Timmerman says that putting too much stress on one race creates a "pass/fail" structure in your mind, where you either win everything or nothing.

However, viewing cycling more holistically will keep you healthier, happier, and make you a better athlete.

iTunes rating

This podcast holds the coveted rating for any podcast — 5 out of 5 stars. The show is most likely not appropriate for casual listeners or beginners and more geared toward avid cycling enthusiasts. However, the welcoming environment makes it a place where people of multiple skill levels can learn and grow from one another.

From the Heart: Conversations with Rachel Brathen

If you're not strictly looking for information, From the Heart: Conversations with Rachel Brathen might be your new go-to podcast. Brathen's breezy and down-to-earth nature make listening to her podcast like having a conversation with a friend. She's not shy about swearing and seems to gain her strength from a straightforward demeanor.

Brathen is a Swedish native and New York Times bestseller for her 2014 book Yoga Girl. Through her podcasts, she delivers a quirky and accessible guide to yoga. And her 2.1 million Instagram fans seem to love it.

What’s it about?

At its core, Brathen's podcast is about connection. Whereas some may closely associate yoga with detachment, Brathen is clear that yoga is meant as a tool to foster closeness. With it, you can build bridges to bring you closer to friends, family, and communities.

When Brathen is more on-topic, she creates episodes like "Yoga Every Damn Day." When she's not, she may turn her eye to the outside world and process current events with her listeners.

Fascinating episodes

Recently, Brathen published an episode titled, "F*ck Your Abortion Ban." While it may not initially seem to have a lot to do with yoga, Brathen clarified. In keeping with her message of connection, Brathen denounced recent abortion bans in Georgia, Alabama, and Missouri in favor of what she calls "the whole."

According to Brathen, whether or not to get an abortion is no choice one can make for another. What's fascinating about the episode is Brathen's belief that yoga is not supposed to put her above the problems of the world, but more in tune with them.

iTunes rating

The podcast currently sports an excellent rating of 4.8 out of 5 on iTunes, but that doesn't mean everyone's a fan.

User Shannonkoz gave the show two stars, claiming, "I want to like this podcast." Shannonkoz goes on to explain that while she appreciates Brathen's mission, she finds the podcast a bit too rambling and off-topic.

Look out for this while searching for new podcasts — some are tightly-knit and highly produced, while others are more conversational and less directed.

Training

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If athletic training is more your style, we have just the podcasts. Of course, some listeners are dedicated athletes wanting to push themselves to the limits. Others are curious about getting into better shape. In either case, you'll be able to find something to love among these training podcasts.

The Get Over Yourself Podcast

Sometimes, it doesn't hurt to throw a little tough love into the mix. Athlete Brad Kearns is on a mission to find healthier ways to live.

What’s it about?

The theme of Kearns' show is "expertly balancing competitive intensity with an appreciation for the journey." Too many times, when people enter a fitness regimen, they forget about other necessary parts of life. The true goal of fitness is to empower your life, not necessarily to make it your life.

According to Kearns' website, he doesn't want listeners to be turned off by the snappy title. Even though it's called "The Get Over Yourself Podcast," Kearns is still dedicated to healthy living and training. To him, that means competition without the mental baggage and understanding that your greatest opponent is yourself.

Fascinating episodes

One notable episode from the podcast is about cold water therapy. If you're a sports fan, you might be accustomed to seeing star players' plunge into an icy bath.

According to Kearns, this isn't just for show. There are real benefits to picking up a cheap chest freezer, filling it with ice, and hopping in, including:

  • Improve your focus
  • Increase your confidence
  • Improve your mental resilience

The practice of this method is growing in the training community. Therefore, it's worth checking out! However, you're going to want to make sure you consult a medical professional before trying this at home.

iTunes rating

Kearns' podcast enjoys a 5 out of 5 rating on iTunes, making it one of the best motivational podcasts around. One of the reasons may be what gave Brathen success with her yoga podcast — candor.

Among the many positive comments about the show, one that comes back, again and again, is Kearns' vulnerability. By not shielding his audience from the struggles of being a father, partner, and dedicated athlete, Kearns builds a bridge to his listeners.

Barbell Shrugged

In recent years, fitness training has gotten a boost from the creation of CrossFit. A wildly popular and unique workout, CrossFit was initially intended to train police forces before it grew in popularity with the average consumer.

Barbell Shrugged is the podcast for those with a keen interest in fitness training. The podcast regularly features interviews with Crossfit Games athletes like Marcus Filly or fitness experts like Dr. Jordan Metzl.

What’s it about?

Barbell Shrugged is a part of the larger brand, Shrugged Collective, a collection some of the best motivational podcasts, websites, and content related to fitness training.

The podcasts take an irreverent tone, often joking about getting "sexy" at the gym. Sometimes they give their episodes salacious titles such as, "Orgasmic Birth, Hyper-Flexibility, and What Happened to my Abs?"

Fascinating episodes

While the bulk of the show is about training, they also dive into other aspects of wellness. For example, for their interview with Marcus Filly, they decided to tackle functional fitness.

The episode, which is about an hour and thirteen minutes long, seems to value flash over substance. The host stresses that even athletes with perfect health and youth have things to learn about functional fitness and injury prevention.

Shrugged Collective reminds their listeners that real fitness is about taking care of your body in the short-term and the long-term.

iTunes rating

Although Shrugged Collective is generally rated one of the best motivational podcasts, several listeners feel that it has gone down in quality in recent times. Among their complaints is that the host doesn't let interviewees talk or that the conversation seems prescribed and forced.

One user, paulrg11, claims that the show has "strayed far from what made it great." However, these listeners are in the minority, with most praising the podcast for its information, guests, and humor.

Physio Matters

If you're interested in expert advice in the world of sports medicine, Physio Matters may be one of the best motivational podcasts on the topic. Regularly featuring industry professionals and top names from all aspects of healthcare, this podcast will provide all the info you need about the body you have — and the one you want.

What’s it about?

Physio Matters spans a diverse range of topics, including patient stories and new treatment styles. In its description, the podcast claims to provide "expert, honest advice" for no cost to their listeners.

Caution: Podcasts should never be used as a substitute for proper individual medical advice. If you have an immediate issue or concern, consult your physician.

Fascinating episodes

In one episode, the podcast talks about Evidence-based Physiotherapy (EBP), a trend catching steam in rehabilitation circles. According to Physiotherapy Canada, the going definition for EBP, though it has some flaws, would be this: a blend of top research, clinical expertise, and patient values.

The gray area of EBP makes it a perfect issue to clear up on the podcast. Physiotherapists Neil O'Connell and Felicity Thow break down what the recovery process can look like.

A surprising tidbit from O'Connell is that with most injuries or conditions, symptoms are expected to improve regardless of care. Therefore, when researching a patient's physical state, it's essential to not to confuse a reduction in symptoms with the effectiveness of their care.

By whittling away the fluff, researchers are doing their best to come to a better definition for evidence-based physiotherapy.

iTunes rating

Physio Matters has a 5 out of 5 rating on iTunes, with listeners claiming they deliver excellent and topical content. Many consider it to be one of the best motivational podcasts around. User feel-Dmusic claims that the podcast does an excellent job of breaking the mold of "cookie-cutter" care to look for better ways to help people.

Narrative

As mentioned before, some of the best motivational podcasts are stories. Incredible stories come from people trying to achieve the impossible. And even better stories come from people struggling to overcome themselves. No matter your preferred style, you'll find something in these narrative podcasts you like!

Hurdle

This podcast is all about inspiration. If you enjoy spectacular tales of grit, endurance, and triumph, take a look!

What’s it about?

According to the podcast description, this show is about "badass humans who got through tough times" with wellness. While it's easy to think of wellness activities as fun hobbies, sometimes wellness can bring others from the brink of despair.

With a fast-paced digital age on our hands that shows no signs of slowing down, these stories remind listeners what we gain from good health.

Emily Abbate, a former fitness editor at SELF Magazine, created the podcast to inspire others towards living their best and healthiest lives.

Fascinating episodes

In one of her episodes, Abbate interviewed reality television star, Kenny Santucci. Santucci came to popularity for his appearances on MTV's reality show "The Challenge."

Besides noting that he turned down non-fitness-related reality TV roles, Santucci spent the podcast talking about what wellness means to him. A self-described "fitness enthusiast," Santucci told a story where he got a 47-year-old woman to fall in love with CrossFit. And even better, she later bought out his gym.

iTunes rating

Hurdle has a 5 out of 5 rating on iTunes, and its listeners call it one of the best motivational podcasts they listen to. Users say they look forward to listening to the podcast every week, and that it helps orient their struggles with wellness, motivation, and inspiration.

One user, Erinrun, claimed that without Abbate's personal story, she would have probably quit training for a half-marathon. Instead, the podcast changed her whole perspective on running.

Outstanding stories

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Though these podcasts may not be dedicated to athletics, here are a couple of amazing stories for you to check out!

Peter Norman

Among sports stories, Olympic ones always stand out as the flashiest. It's hard to think of a sporting event with more acclaim or higher stakes. That's what makes the story of Peter Norman a phenomenal one.

Peter Norman was a white Australian track athlete. In 1968, after winning a silver medal for the 200-meter, Norman joined black medalists Tommie Smith and John Carlos for an impossibly iconic moment on the dais.

Smith and Carlos, with one black glove apiece, raised their fists during the national anthem. They kept their fists raised for the duration of the song. All three athletes wore human rights badges on their jackets. They did this to bring attention to the cause of Civil Rights in America.

The protest galvanized the movement, and to this day remains one of the boldest protests in modern Olympic history. And that means that it had consequences.

To hear more about Norman's incredible story, click here!

Radiolab — Games

Radiolab, a podcast known for its off-center quirkiness, delves into the world of sports for an episode. The episode offers distinct takes on sports, including a guest enamored by the power of sports, why the underdog should lose, and Bobby Fischer's "Game of the Century."

The best story from this episode comes from northeastern Alabama, where a high school basketball game defied imagination. To hear more about it, click here!

What Do You Think?

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No matter what your interests, there's no shortage of quality audio content available for listeners today. We think these are some of the best motivational podcasts out there. But if you have suggestions, leave them in the comments below!

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