Workout podcasts
June 1, 2016 6:51 AM   Subscribe

Looking for reliably upbeat, fast-paced and fascinating podcasts for my daily 30-40m workout.

I've been listening to Radiolab, which is awesome but unreliable on the upbeat front. The upbeat / fascinating episodes are perfect - ones with a humorous or scientific bent make the time fly. But then there are serious episodes about people dealing with death or depression or injustice... Nothing worse than crying during a workout.

What should I listen to? Bonus points if it has subtle dance music in the background :-D
posted by rouftop to Health & Fitness (13 answers total) 35 users marked this as a favorite
One of my favorite workout podcasts is Oh No, Ross and Carrie! They investigate fringe religious groups and various woo-woo pseudoscience by actually joining up/doing the thing, and then they hilariously podcast about it. Right now they are completing what is probably going to go down as their magnum opus: joining Scientology.
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:57 AM on June 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: No Such Thing As a Fish reliably kills time for me. Rapid-fire "fun facts;" funny and entertaining. No music, though, sorry.
posted by uncleozzy at 7:02 AM on June 1, 2016 [2 favorites]

I don't know how often they'll be doing it, but the new Adam Ruins Everything podcast is just Adam Conover having longer conversations with the experts he talks to for a few seconds on the TV show. The first one (and only one, so far) is great.

If you like sports at all, Hang Up and Listen is a terrific look at all aspects of sports, generally in segments of about 10-15 minutes each. The most recent one has segments about the NBA playoffs, the Baylor football scandal, and why soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo sucks; and they always have short "afterball" segments at the end that are just weird and hilarious.

Hound Tall is a pretty funny panel discussion that takes a single topic (electronic music, women in politics, baseball), invites an actual expert or two and a few comedians, and lets them all just talk.

These are all about twice as long as you need, but they're pretty easy to drop in and out of. The thing I like about them is that they're really just conversations between people who don't hate each other, but just like discussing stuff.
posted by Etrigan at 7:27 AM on June 1, 2016

If you like the lively, ragged Radiolab at its best, you might like podcasts about a variety of subjects where two or more people have good or great chemistry and you learn something along the way. I'd recommend:

Another Round (Tracy and Heben and guests talk, drink and riff)
Answer Me This (Helen and Olly -- and Martin -- respond to a variety of listener questions. Think AskMe staffed by cheeky Brits. The podcast is on holiday right now, but there's a huge backlog available)
BackStory (Ed, Peter and Brian investigate American cultural history -- you may need to skip some topics)
Futility Closet (Greg and Sharon present a miscellany of historical events, then try to solve puzzles. Some podcasts cover sadder topics than others)
How Did This Get Made? (Paul Scheer, June Diane Raphael and Jason Mantzoukas discuss bad movies, often with a key player along to provide the dirt)
The Infinite Monkey Cage (Brits Brian Cox and Robin Ince, plus various guests, blather on about science and Brian's past as a minor pop star in the 80s)
You're the Expert (a science game show with a rotating cast of comedians as contestants)
posted by maudlin at 7:46 AM on June 1, 2016 [3 favorites]

I love Surprisingly Awesome. Upbeat and super interesting - every time :)
posted by getawaysticks at 7:52 AM on June 1, 2016 [2 favorites]

Tim Ferris' podcast may work for you
posted by kbbbo at 9:07 AM on June 1, 2016

Ask Me Another, Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, Good Job Brain!, StartUp, The Allusionist, Reply All, Friday Night Comedy from BBC4 ,The Bugle when it updates (used to be weekly, is now "monthly," due to one of the hosts getting a job at HBO), 99% Invisible, Song Exploder.
posted by General Malaise at 9:25 AM on June 1, 2016

Dead Author's Podcast. It's not in production anymore, but all the other ones are hilarious.

Comedian Paul F. Tompkins pretends to be H.G. Welles, who goes back in time to get dead authors, also played by comedians and interviews them.

John Hodgman as Ayn Rand is particularly awesome. As is the Brothers Grimm episode.
posted by brookeb at 11:00 AM on June 1, 2016

Buzzfeed's Another Round With Heben and Tracy is fantastic.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 11:36 AM on June 1, 2016

Slate's "The Gist" with Mike Pesca. Daily. 20 minutes. Fast-paced and humorous.

Also: serious love for "Another Round" as mentioned above.
posted by amanda at 12:05 PM on June 1, 2016

Sawbones all the way! A show about dumb medical stuff humans have done throughout history. The hosts are funny and charming as hell. There is one episode I would avoid called Our Birth Story. No other episodes are like it, it's their personal story of having their daughter Charlie and some of the problems that came with her birth. It gets kind of intense.

I also feel like you might love Switched On Pop. Two music know-it-alls look into the meaning of the music and lyrics of a popular song (or songs). However interesting/fun you're thinking that might be, double it!

How to do Everything is lighthearted and fun, doesn't go into as deep of dives as Radiolab, but just as interesting IMO.
posted by moons in june at 3:53 PM on June 1, 2016

I love Awesome Etiquette for running - it's a podcast from the Emily Post institute - Lizzie and Dan (both relatives of Emily Post) answer etiquette and awkward situation questions. It's peppy and usually upbeat, and even when they deal with hard topics, they do it in a friendly and kind way.

As a perk, you also learn killer awkward situation communication skills.
posted by beccasaurus at 6:15 PM on June 1, 2016

Response by poster: No Such Thing as a Fish is amazing! The rapid-fire pacing is perfect for a workout, the topics are fascinating AND they're hilarious! Thank you!
posted by rouftop at 8:01 AM on June 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

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