What if we told you there was a way to spice up tedious commutes, recharge your workouts, or make uneventful evenings at home way more productive — all by pushing “play.” Your answer: Podcasts — and not just any old shows. We’re talking ones that serve up support, inspiration or just new ways of learning to make healthy living work. Think about it: Wouldn’t a brief meditation reign far superior to the subway chatter or your seventh screening of Modern Family when you’re trying to get a fresh start? Likewise, getting schooled on the benefits of the Paleo plan as you’re doing your Whole30 diet (recipes for you, right this way) can help you stay on track for a tough month of strict eating, too.
And what’s especially great about podcasts is that they’re frequently updated, and most of them are completely free. Tune in to one of these wellness gurus that’ll have you chomping at the bit to get moving, start lifting or shut your mind down for the evening all in the name of having a happier, healthier New Year.
RELATED: 7 Killer Workout Playlists to Get You Through Any Workout
The 8 Great Health and Fitness Podcasts for 2016
1. The Minimalists
Listen If: You’ve finally committed to cleaning out your closets.
Clear clutter, clear you mind, right? Hosted by two men who walked away from six-figure corporate jobs to live a more minimal lifestyle, this podcast discusses what living a meaningful life actually means. And since the duo’s podcast is brand-new — just three episodes deep! — subscribe now and you’ll get the absolute latest tips to keeping the clutter out of your life, leaving you totally on point this New Year.
2. Spartan Up
Listen If: You’ll try anything once.
Level up your life with this podcast from Spartan Race founder Joe Dessena. (Don’t know what a Spartan Race is? Think epic mud run.) Conversations with superstars like entrepreneur Tim Ferris, marathoner Meb Keflezighi and Kelly Starrett of Mobility WOD will keep you motivated on the most dreary winter days, and yes, inspire you to sign up for one of those obstacle course races. We can’t guarantee you won’t want to start making your own life more epic after hearing a few episodes.
3. Start Cooking
Listen If: You’ve set off the kitchen smoke alarm one too many times.
If the kitchen and you aren’t the closest of friends, it can be tough to maintain a healthy diet. (Restaurant fare packs on extra calories, not to mention dollars.) Kathy Maister wants you to start cooking, and through her bi-weekly podcast, teaches simple, filling recipes, like grilled cheese and chocolate chip pancakes to anyone with ease (college students included). Try making some of our waistline friendly versions of Maister’s classics (think our 10-minute gazpacho) — the same skill set applies for all kinds of her comfort food picks.
RELATED: 7 Free Tutorials on How to Cook Practically Anything
4. The Fat-Burning Man Show
Listen If: You’re passionate about farm-raised meat.
Health crusader Abel James is out to teach us a thing or two about how to actually lose fat. (Spoiler alert: He’s a big supporter of the Paleo lifestyle and he’s currently competing on the new ABC show, My Diet Is Better Than Yours). On his podcasts, James interviews nutrition experts like Dave Asprey (the pioneer of Bulletproof coffee) as well as New York Times bestselling author and gluten expert David Pearlmutter about eating clean, partying in moderation, dietary dogma and other food-related facts. Also expect to hear Paleo experts like Mark Sisson and Michelle Tam weigh in on the pros of a protein-heavy diet.
5. Radio Headspace
Listen If: You want to take your stress levels down a notch.
If you’re thinking about dipping your toes into the meditation waters but aren’t quite sure you’re ready for that level of chillness, listen to Radio Headspace first. From the same folks who make the awesome guided meditation app is this podcast, which covers a variety of topics including change, fear, kindness and stress. Host Georgie Okell’s soft, accented voice alone will transport you to a calmer state of mind.
6. Half-Size Me
Listen If: You need a friend to help you with your own weight loss journey.
Straight up is how Heather Robison serves her podcast. An everyday mom — not a Hollywood star nor celebrity trainer — Robertson shed 170 pounds over five years and amassed an audience after sharing her story with others. She’s now keeping it real, busting diet myths and dishing out the best strategies for sustainable weight loss weekly. Hear how regular people like Robinson avoid binge eating, regain fitness after pregnancy or lose (and keep off!) significant amounts of weight.
7. The Rich Roll Podcast
Listen If: You’re a bit of an (admitted) overachiever.
It’s not just veganism and meditation on Rich Roll’s podcast. The ultrarunner and author of Finding Ultra and The Plantpower Way also dives into topics that include creativity, spirituality, nutrition and more. From entrepreneurs trying to shatter wellness elitism to Olympic swimmers sharing their motivation behind the passion, no two guests interviewed these episodes are alike — which will keep you coming back for fresh voices each week.
8. The Nutrition Diva Quick and Dirty Tips
Listen If: Any kind of food-related news usually makes your eyes glaze over.
Drowning in a sea of confusing nutrition information? Let Monica Reinagel, a nutritionist and trained chef, set the record straight for you. Her digestible episodes (sorry, had to) are perfect for those looking to clean up their eating habits. Want to know how to brew coffee that won’t upset your stomach? Can miso really benefit your health? Is timing your meals important? Reinagel has all these answers and more on her can’t-miss podcast.