When I first started my fitness odyssey in September, it soon became apparent that I would need some extra help staying motivated. I sought out fitness buddies at home (husband and friends) and online (through apps and websites) but my friends and I have varying schedules and commitments and the online stuff wasn’t something that sustained me through a workout. So it occurred to me that to stay dedicated to my fitness goals, I could keep fitness talk streaming through my earbuds while I work, workout and travel via podcasts. Maybe it would rewire my brain to think healthier? At the very least, it might give me some new ideas and skills to contemplate.
I’m here to report it is working. In the past 7 months, I have contemplated the use of vitamins, the perks and drawbacks to juicing, the thrill of adventure sports, the benefits of training as a means to a concrete goal (like a 5K and beyond), the trials of caving in to temptations, and the pleasures of understanding the complexities of the human mind and body. Although no podcast can do the work I require of myself to improve my overall health, they certainly make for good company when I undertake to do so.
Ben Greenfield Fitness & the Get Fit Guy
When I need to get a scientific lift, I turn to the the body & life hacking pro, Ben Greenfield, an Ironman Triathlete and ex-body builder who has opted for a healthier approach to fitness using science. He has a master’s degree in exercise physiology and has a faithful following of inspired folk who read his books, listen to his podcasts, hire him as a personal coach, read his articles and newsletters and travel to his retreats.
It must be Ben’s spirit of inquiry, enthusiasm and willingness to explore the limits of the human body that attracts the curious who are looking for some direction for their efforts. It’s obvious by the multitude of projects he is involved in at any given time that his health regimen is working well for him. Boundless energy seems to be the main result from his admitted efforts towards peak performance. These efforts are a little intimidating to new listeners, but they are mollified by his sense of humor and his understanding that people are individuals with a variety of fitness goals. His shows are varied and lively and full of great rapport with individuals from the fitness industry who demonstrate a huge range of health perspectives. Ben will consult with them all for the slice of information that you seek.
Check out his podcasts on a day when you need an energy boost that is the equivalent to a double espresso, and take good notes to follow up on his thoughtful and rapid fire reports.
For a more heartfelt and forgiving approach on those days when I have not proven myself to be optimizing my performance on this earth, I often turn to Logical Weight Loss and the host Dave Jackson, whose podcast tagline is “We left our excuses in the past, and we’ve forgiven ourselves for abusing the gift that is our body”.
Listening to Dave share his fitness exploits, you get a real sense of camaraderie, as if you were just catching up with your work buddy about their daily struggles with making time to workout. Dave made a commitment in 2006 to turn his life around by getting in shape, and he has been wrestling soda pop temptations with long walks and Fitbit habits ever since.
He too has a big base of regulars who enjoy his reviews of fitness apps and gadgets as much as his honesty about his personal attempts to transform his body. Dave is that friend who gives you a pep talk when you need it and always welcomes the same from his listeners. With recent titles such as Progress versus Perfection and Goals to Keep You Motivated without Using the Scale, you can enjoy Dave’s comforting sense of humor and pledge to the cause of health through community.
Rich’s podcast goes beyond the topic of physical fitness in to the realm of recognizing the vitality of the whole person. He continually pulls off interviews with inspiring people and drawls out their stories of when and how they were able to overcome a low point in their lives and transform themselves in to a person who accomplishes the things that matter most to them. Sound hokey? Maybe in someone else’s hands, but with Rich it is anything but that.
The talks with his guests never wade into the shallow end of the self help pool, but dive boldly in to discussions of turning point moments in their lives. With a comfortable and open rapport, Rich manages to extract details of the actions and thought patterns his guests used to change their negative habits and experiences in to a drive to improve health and happiness levels. Although his guests come from various backgrounds, from doctors, athletes and celebrities to authors and business people, one thing most of them have in common is a spirit of inquiry and a commitment towards the importance of prioritizing one’s own physical and mental health in order to have the kind of energy necessary to make the world a better place. Rich is consistently able to apply their stories to the wider idea of empowerment through action for all people.
Recently an episode of his show featured Youtube filmaker Casey Neistat titled Making It Count and How to Do More. It addressed Casey’s philosophy of action versus words, summed up with his own personal mantra “Work hard and be brave.” This was followed up by a long rousing talk with Osher Gunsberg of Australian Idol on how he recovered from being depressed after a divorce to a being content man who loves to run and who shares his anxiety busting secrets . Another interview was with the dynamic author, chess master, public speaker, podcaster and entrepreneur James Altucher called Why You Should Chose Yourself (after the book of the same name) which celebrates embracing the failures and successes of life. James is known for his cheat sheets, my personal favorite being The Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Dealing with Haters.
Regardless of who his guests are, and whether or not you agree with their world view, you will find yourself googling them afterward to see the work they do. I spent a whole hour watching Casey Neistat videos after Rich’s interview with him and was excited to introduce my 13-year-old son to his work. My son’s response? “Yeah mom, he is kind of famous. My favorite one is where he takes his son to Machu Picchu.” Mental note: take my son somewhere awesome which requires hard work, action and bravery.
This task of getting guests to detail struggles with their personal demons seems to come easy to Rich, possibly because his own background affords him empathy towards people who have taken a positive stab at improving their lives. He started as an attorney and ended up struggling with drug and alcohol addiction in his 30’s, as well as obesity. In spite of the mayhem those problems brought to his life, in the end it was his inability to climb a flight of stairs at the age of 40 without injuring himself which shocked him out of his complacency. Since then he has become an avid athlete, written books, and won the Ultraman World Championship several times. Still, his greatest contribution to the fitness world, apart from the example of his own story, is his podcast. Pop it on when you are going for a long bike ride or run and you might be back home before it ends (most of his interviews last well over an hour), but you will have a few new tricks in your pocket for keeping your own endeavor for wellness alive.