I have a podcast problem. I'll admit it - I'm addicted to the variety of free, on-demand audio content downloaded directly to my smartphone, tablet, computer, and even TV. I get my podcast fix daily - often for hours at a time. This addiction has become so extreme that I've dug the Podcast app out of an obscure folder on the second screen of my iPhone and have promoted that purple square to my home screen. Do not feel sorry for me though, I am a fully functional podcast-oholic. In fact, the podcast has become my favorite method of consuming information, and in my opinion, one of the best ways to increase intelligence.
Podcast content spans a wide range of topics including health & nutrition, bio-hacking, entrepreneurship, personal development, daily news, comedy, entertainment, music of virtually every genre, and much more. Podcasts are generally presented by a host who is an expert in his or her field and provides monthly, weekly, or even daily episodes that can be streamed, downloaded a la carte, or automatically pushed to your device(s) once you subscribe to them. The episode format varies widely from genre to genre, host to host, and even episode to episode. This variety of content, format, and style is growing and is why I consume so many podcasts regularly, and a big part of why their popularity is quickly rising.
As an example, a music podcast might be presented like a two hour long radio show with a continuous stream of music mixed seamlessly as the DJ occasionally chimes in to review what songs are coming up next and what artists you just listened to. Health podcasts typically have a well-known leader in the industry as the host with featured doctors, researchers, or other pioneers in the health community to interview and share cutting-edge information. Entrepreneur and business-focused podcasts may have a well-known marketing guru or business personality who gets their brain picked for an hour, dishing out motivational stories and inspirational one-liners along the way. There is literally something for everyone in the podcast world - the diversity of content is incredible. But what they all have in common is that they are sharing new information for free that is often unavailable anywhere else first. Best of all, you can consume this content - for entertainment or educational purposes - at the same time that you're doing virtually anything else.
I plug in my headphones and start my podcast listening very early in the morning, generally when I'm making my coffee. I continue this through most of the first parts of my morning routine, including my entire gym session and even in the shower (thank you waterproof bluetooth speaker). It took some time to transition from lifting heavy weights with intense music blasting in my ears to people talking calmly about health or business. I now find it preferable to music - I am truly improving both my physical and mental well-being at the same time and am in the perfect state of mind to absorb all the information streaming into my ears.
There are many other great opportunities to listen to podcasts throughout the day that you may not be taking advantage of yet. When I said I listen to hours of podcasts at a time, I wasn't exaggerating. Whenever I'm cooking (once or twice every day), I'm listening to a podcast. When I'm cleaning, doing laundry, or other household chores - podcasts. Driving for 5 minutes or 5 hours - podcasts. Believe it or not, I am actually not a huge proponent of "multi-tasking" (research suggests that this is not the best way for most people to get things done effectively); however, when a task does not require intense concentration or lots of mental bandwidth, such as the tasks I mentioned above, listening to podcasts is a great way to make the most of your time.
Now that I've shared my passion for podcasts with you, and how to squeeze the most time out of your day to get some solid listening time in, I'll share some of my favorite podcasts with you. Like I mentioned, there is a wide variety of podcast content out there, and I listen to a fairly diverse mix of them. In this article, I will review my favorite podcasts that are generally about Health, Fitness, Science, and Lifestyle.
Health, Fitness, Science, and Lifestyle Podcasts
Bulletproof® Radio with Dave Asprey
Dave Asprey (aka the Bulletproof® Executive) is the creator of Bulletproof® coffee and author of the Bulletproof Diet book. Dave's goal is to provide "everything you need to upgrade your mind, body, and life" via world-class experts, question and answer segments, and more. Dave's guests are frequently doctors, researchers, and other advanced specialists - so things can get pretty technical at times. I really enjoy the variety of topics covered, many of which are cutting-edge and even controversial, that are all geared towards helping the listener become better at "kicking ass" every day.
The Tim Ferriss Show
Tim Ferriss is the author of The 4-Hour Workweek, 4-Hour Body, and 4-Hour Chef. He calls himself a "human guinea pig" and is constantly striving for optimal-minimal. If every one of my podcasts had a new episode posted at the same time, Tim's would most likely be the one I listen to first. His diverse group of guests have included Arnold Schwarzenegger, Peter Diamandis, Tony Robbins, Ramit Sethi, Peter Thiel, and many more interesting leaders in their industries. Tim also occasionally does short episodes with highly condensed, but useful or enlightening content. He is a great interviewer and always leaves me wishing there were more at the end of each episode.
ReWild Yourself! with Daniel Vitalis
The ReWilding approach to health, according to Daniel Vitalis, is about "living a life aligned with our biology and...reconnecting individuals with their intrinsic wild and sovereign nature, inspiring them to rise to the heights of their boundless potential, and empowering them with ancient and modern strategies for vigorous living." I had the chance to listen to Daniel speak at a health conference and was immediately a fan of him and his message. He encourages you to break the habits - or at least be aware - of the self-domesticated modern world that society has constructed over hundreds of years that we live in. Daniel and his guests give valuable strategies to not just survive in this unnatural modern world, but to thrive.
The Fat-Burning Man with Abel James
Abel James takes a similar "primal" approach to health and well-being like Daniel Vitalis, but Abel focuses more on nutrition whereas ReWilding discusses a much wider spectrum of topics. In particular, Abel and his guests often speak about Paleo, high fat diets, intermittent fasting, and more. Abel consistently has a positive energy and genuine message that makes his show not only very informational, but also fun to listen to.
Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast
If you're a fan of the really technical and "sciencey" side of nutrition and fitness, this is the podcast for you. Ben and his co-host Brock keep things as light as possible by making jokes and telling humorous stories; however, this is probably not the best place to start if you're new to this world. Ben is a well-known coach, nutritionist, personal trainer, and Ironman triathlete, so he is very knowledgeable and doesn't go easy on his expert guests with his in-depth questions. The information is dense, but it's cutting-edge and I always end each episode feeling like I learned something new and valuable.
Brain Science Podcast with Ginger Campbell, MD
Dr. Campbell's monthly podcast is even more technical than Dave Asprey and Ben Greenfield's, so it is definitely not for someone just looking for general health advice. As the name suggests, this podcast focuses more on neuroscience with topics such as brain plasticity, sleep science, mirror neurons, consciousness, and more. The information can be dry at times, and it doesn't help that the host sounds like...well, a Neuroscientist. But the show is fascinating and I feel like I'm upgrading my brain from just listening to her. My favorite episode was when she featured a panel of neuroscientists and the Dalai Lama discussing neuroplasticity, meditation, and Eastern philosophy meeting Western medicine.
StarTalk Radio with Neil deGrasse Tyson
Neil is an astrophysicist and recently hosted the hit TV series Cosmos. Neil and his guests (which frequently include Bill Nye the Science Guy) discuss astronomy, physics, and everything else about life in the universe, but they keep it very light and fun. This show isn't as dry as it sounds (definitely easier to digest than my previous two suggestions), and has become one of the most popular podcasts in the world. If you give it a listen, you'll find out why. The show often feels more like entertainment than education, but you will definitely get a fair share of both.
I am still finding new podcasts to listen to by browsing the iTunes Top Charts, or by discovering someone interesting that's a guest on one of the podcasts I already listen to. It seems like more and more people are starting their own shows, and for good reason. The audience and content are growing together and I'm excited to see how both continue to evolve. Next, I will share my top suggestions for podcasts related to Business, Marketing, and Entrepreneurship. Perhaps in the near future, there will be an AlphaNerd Podcast to add to one of these lists... :)