Podcasts continue to be one of the best ways to consume knowledge from the great minds in the world of strength and conditioning, self-improvment, and anything really. A decade ago, you would have travelled all over the world for the opportunity to hear from the best in the business and to soak up their wisdom, now you get to stream great ideas right into your ears wherever you are, for free. The only problem now is keeping up with all the excellent content that is being put out there, as the number of good podcasts proliferate. There is a podcast for everyone..
They say that you can tell a lot about a person from their podcast feed (has anyone said that yet?), and you can see mine above.
2016 was a great year for them and here are some of my favourite episodes. Putting the list together proved tricky enough, and was subject to me actually remembering the episodes that I have listened to (which might explain the slight bias towards episodes from the latter part of the year). There are certainly great podcasts that I don’t get around to listening to, time being finite and all that.
However, in no particular order, the below episodes have all been impactful on my thinking, and I highly recommend them.
Health, Movement & Self-Improvement
I say it’s in no particular order, yet this was probably my top episode of 2016, with Joe Rogan himself saying that it was one of the most informative and interesting podcasts he has ever done (which is a pretty sound endorsement considering that he’s nearing in on 900 episodes). Mark Sisson of Mark’s Daily Apple is full of knowledge on all matters relating to the human body from an primal perspective.
Tip: Anybody in their 60’s who is as shredded and youthful-looking as Mark Sisson is worth listening too.
The Iceman has been gaining quite a reputation lately, promoting the use of cold therapy and breathing techniques through his own Wim Hoff Method. He’s definitely a bit mad, but good man.
Chris Kresser, who has his own podcast, is an expert in ancestral health, Paleo nutrition, and functional and integrative medicine. They talk about all these things on the show.
The good thing about the Joe Rogan podcast is that when an interesting guest comes on, you get a lot out of it due to the long-form and from Joe Rogan’s good interviewing skills.
Steve Maxwell is a strength and conditioning coach with a background in Gracie Jiu Jitsu, who lives out of a bag and travels the world giving training workshops. He is in better shape in his 60’s than most 20 year olds who workout in the gym every week. He is a fan of breath work, bodyweight training, mobility, and kettlebells, and we love all of those things here at Feed Me Strength too. You will find Steve Maxwell featured on every health and wellness podcast under the sun, but this is my favourite of the lot as Joe Rogan will at least question some of his more out-there ideas, whereas most podcast hosts only serve to blow smoke up their guests arses!
5) The Tim Ferris Show #158 The Secrets of Gymnastics Strength Training with Christopher Sommer
Chris Sommer of Gymnastic Bodies has been to the forefront of the emergence of gymnastics strength training as a training method for non-gymnasts. Coach Sommer authored Building The Gymnastic Body: The Science of Gymnastic Strength Training, and developed Gymnastic Bodies’ online training programs. In these two episodes he shares his wisdom on how and why this type of training should be a part of every fitness enthusiast and athlete’s movement practice.
Charles Poliquin is a Canadian strength coach who has been on the scene for over 20 years. He is very opinionated and sure of himself, which is entertaining listening, but may be alienating to other strength coaches. However, he has certainly had a big influence on the strength training industry, and shares some great training and lifestyle insights here.
Tony Robbins is the American self-help superhero, with a recent Netflix documentary following him over the course of a weekend at his annual super-motivational, mega-expensive, mega-event, Date with Destiny. I find him a bit exhausting but he has helped millions of people live a better life and has some gems to take away from this podcast.
Ido is the movement master. If you are into movement or Conor McGregor you probably already know him. While he is annoyingly elevated and worshiped by his followers as some kind of demigod, that isn’t necessarily his fault. He certainly is a pioneer of the human body, and it is always very inspirational to hear him speak and to watch him move. This was the most viewed/listened to episode of 2016. Ido has been on London Real a couple of times before which are well worth a listen too: Ido Portal: Move or Die, and Ido Portal: Just Move.
Tip: I find the host of London Real to be obnoxious and excruciatingly painful to listen to or watch, so do yourself a favour; skip his pre-episode waffle, and try not to be put off by his cringey contributions.
I hadn’t heard of Philip McKernan before hearing him here, but afterwards I was pumped up for life. He is a motivational speaker, from Ireland, and he’s pretty funny and well..motivational. As his website home page tells you: I can’t move mountains but I can help you climb them. Who doesn’t want a bit of that!
I always like to take motivational speakers in the spirit of their motivational-ness and not to spend too much time thinking about the fact that their own success is based on motivating other people to become successful. (If we are all motivated to become successful motivators who will be left to motivate?). I’m not saying this applies to Philip here, he seems like a great lad.
Freakonomics do a great podcast, in the vain of Radio Lab and This American Life, they are always beautifully produced. The episode was part of Freakonomic’s Self-Improvement Month and features Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit, and his latest book, Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Business and Life. This episode tells us how to get more done in less time, and discusses the difference between being busy and being productive.
Strength and Conditioning
Ian McKeown is an Irish Strength and Conditioning coach and the Head of Athletic Development with AFL side Port Adelaide. In these episodes of Well Travelled Wellness he discusses his athletic development philosophy and programming, with Jake Schuster describing it as one of the most candid and informative podcasts to date. I found myself strongly in agreement with his philosophy, and he came across as genuine and authentic, well worth a listen or two.
Leicester City FC were the sports story of 2016, beating 5,000 to 1 odds to lift the Premier League title in a fairytale season. Their Sport Science department came in for huge praise as Leicester had fewer injuries during the season than any other team. In this episode of the Historic Performance Podcast, Matt Reeves, Head of Fitness and Conditioning gives a very open and honest interview, speaking in detail on some of the training processes at Leicester City.
Jonas Dodoo is a speed coach and founder of Speedworks, training Olympic track athletes as well as elite team sport athletes. I had the good fortune of attending a couple of speed workshops delivered by Jonas in 2016, and can see why he is known as one of the UK’s leading speed coaches. He breaks speed training for sport down in a way that makes sense and doesn’t make things more complicated than they need to be.
Another excellent podcast episode focused on speed development. Dr. Mike Young is Director of Performance and Research at Athletic Lab, and was the fitness coach for MLS-side Vancouver Whitecaps. In this episode, Dr. Young discusses speed development for soccer, the importance of work capacity for speed & power development, and how to individualize training load in a team based sport.
Sigma Nutrition is one of the best nutrition podcasts around, due in no small part to Danny Lennon’s own depth of knowledge in the area which makes for great discussions. As a result, you can always sense that the guests enjoy having these conversations which makes for better interviews. Also, undoubtedly for me the easiest podcast to listen to and whenever my brain is overloaded from listening to eccentric American hosts, Sigma is the only one place to go. I really enjoyed Mike Israetel’s nutrition philosophy, in this episode discussing the hierarchy of nutrition factors that influence health and body composition.
In this episode of Sigma, Danny speaks with Dr. Quinn Henoch, who is the head of rehabilitation at JuggernautHQ and the founder of ClinicalAthlete, a network of health care providers. Dr. Quinn is a very smart and knowledgeable guy, backed up by his experience as a Div1-AA American Football player and in Olympic Weightlifting. Good listen for matters relating to training and rehab.
Nick Winkelman is one of the big names in the Strength and Conditioning world these days, making his name at EXOS and known for his work on internal and external cueing of athletes. This episode of the Pacey Performance Podcast took place shortly after Nick took up the role as the Head of Athletic Performance and Science for the IRFU.
Kelvin Giles, founder of Movement Dynamics, is a pioneer and leading thinker in the field of Athletic Development. His coaching philosophy has strongly influenced that of many athletic development coaches, including my own, prioritising movement competency and always reinforcing the importance of the getting the basics right. This episode is as entertaining as it is informative, as Kelvin goes on some great rants.
Vern Gambetta, head of Gambetta Athletic Improvement Network (GAIN), doesn’t need an introduction to anybody in the world of athletic development. He is a return-guest to Sports Coach Radio. In this episode they discuss his recent experience with various teams in Europe, including his visit to Arsenal where he delivered an informative coaching workshop. He talks about the importance of culture in sporting organisations, over-training and over-reaching issues, as well as mindless coaching mistakes.
Radio Lab is a delightful audible experience, taking podcasts to the next level of editing and producing. This one looks at the technology available today for surveillance of the masses, raising moral questions and pondering the increasing reality of Big Brother.
An absolutely fascinating look at the complex world of trees, the network of communication, co-operation, and intelligence, hidden beneath the roots. I’ve gone back to this one for a second listen. What if trees and plants possess a consciousness just like animals, and what does that mean for Vegans?!
Malcom Gladwell takes his captivating form of story-telling to the podcast in Revisionist History. This story about the Toyota controversy of 2009 when 10 million cars were recalled due to sudden and uncontrollable accelerations. As Gladwell has done before in his books, he provides a fascinating insight into the human mind and cognitive processes in stressful situations.
Song Exploder are short 20 minute podcasts, looking at the creative process of musicians and songwriters in developing and producing their music, with artists telling the story of how a song was made. An absorbing insight into the minds of great artists, and the sometimes seemingly arbitrary way that great music comes to being.
Here are some of my favorite episodes from 2016
What podcast episodes made your best of 2016 list? Please share the wisdom and let us know in the comments section!
Cairbre is the face behind Feed Me Strength. Cairbre has previously worked as Strength and Conditioning coach for Arsenal Women FC, Arsenal Youth Academy, and the Limerick Hurling Academy. He has a passion for athletic performance and an endless curiosity about the inner workings of the body and mind.
UKSCA accredited, with a Sport and Exercise Sciences BSc, and Sports Performance MSc from the University of Limerick.