Podcasts: The pretty good, the pretty bad, and well, that’s it.

There are a lot of health & fitness podcasts out there. Many of them are garbage, and some of them are part garbage, part good advice. There are probably a few that are mostly good advice. One of the great things about podcasts is also one of the awful things— anyone with a microphone can say anything they want. That means the echo-chamber effect of misinformation-based subcultures can run rampant. It also makes a great place to share information and experiences from people who may be marginilized in mainstream medicine. Most people are ill equipped to tell which thing is happening, though.

It’s also really hard to tell who you’re taking advice from. Anyone can call

what’s in those headphones?

themselves a trainer or a nutritionist or an expert, and it doesn’t mean they’ve had any training, passed any exams, or gotten any meaningful certification. Lots of people write things in their bios that are so vague you can’t tell if they have a doctorate or never went to high school.  I’m especially wary of anyone who’s giving advice without telling the audience what their background and perspective is. Try it: “I’m Zabby. I’m a doctorally-prepared nurse practitioner working in family practice with a focus on patient-centered care, lifestyle management of chronic disease, and symptom management.” Now you know who I am and where I’m coming from. You know whether what I have to say might be relevent to you and can decide how much to trust me.

Interestingly (tellingly?), iTunes has a “health” category that is separate from it’s “science and medicine” category. This is where I find lots of truly nerdy medical stuff (JAMA summary, anyone?). But it’s not where I go for entertaining or inspiring listens for a long run. I thought I’d let you in on what’s in my ears now and then, and what I think about it. Cool?

  • Ben Greenfield Fitness: Takes a research-based approach to athletic performance and longevity. Very into gadgets and supplements, but in general, scientifically pretty sound. Occasionally mispronounces or misuses a technical/scientific term, but hey, at least he’s going after that level of detail! I get some funny looks when I accidently correct him out loud.
  • Rich Roll: Takes on some health and fitness topics, but not exclusively. Also interested in personal development and spirituality. Talks about plant-based nutrition, meditation, and lifestyle choices a lot. Chooses interesting guests and doesn’t give them a platform to expound on bullshit.
  • Harder to Kill Radio with Steph Gadreau: Focuses on strength training and wellness. Upfront about her proclivities, which are paleo and lifting heavy (which isn’t my bag, but I still enjoy the show). Acknowledges that there are multiple sound approaches to fitness, generally realistic and interesting.
  • Model Health Show with Shawn Stevenson: Focused on positivity and wellness, but goes off the rails on occasion into “woo-woo science” without necessarily flagging it as such. Fun to listen to, but also most likely to engender an eye-roll.
  • No Meat Athlete: It’s a vegan running podcast, what’s not to like? They discuss diet stuff, training stuff, gear stuff, and some other random stuff on occasion. It has an informal feel and isn’t at all into health geekiness or hard science— it’s much more about two guys talking about their experiences as runners and vegans, and offering some tips.

Got any others I might like?

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