Playlists are played out.
June 7, 2017
With apologies to the dumbbell, the treadmill, this weird sledgehammer, and those extremely dubious girdles that pledge to electroshock your abs into existence for only three installments of $39.99 plus shipping and handling, the single most important fitness accessory in the world is the universal set of earbuds. Everyone has a different preference for the brand of tunes that come through them—runners prefer upbeat jams that help pace their strides, while generations of bros have fueled their lifts with the darkest, angriest, screamiest metal in existence—but listening to music is a de rigor aspect of properly working out. This is all fine, of course. But the superior form of audio entertainment to consume while you work out is the podcast.
The idea that a proper musical accompaniment is vital to getting a good workout is largely the product of powerful marketing, and at this point, you’ve heard your “GO HARD LEGS DAY” playlist far too many times for it to have any real impact on your performance. Also, I hate to break this to you, but the days when it was even remotely socially acceptable for you to belt out the hook to “Down With The Sickness” in the middle of a crowded gym are over, my friend, and the embarrassing number of holes in your faded frat rush cutoff prove it.
Podcasts, meanwhile, cover every topic you can imagine and a few you couldn’t even if you spent hours mining the weirdest spaces in your brain. By forcing you to track an unfamiliar narrative, they distract from the more painful aspects of the task at hand, and their length helps you get into a zone that the staccato four-minutes-and-the-song-changes format that music can’t replicate. The best part is most episodes last between a half-hour and an hour—which is almost exactly the length of time you need to squeeze in a workout unless you’re incredibly lazy or a bona fide psychopath.
What podcasts should I listen to?, you ask, while wistfully deleting “Headstrong” from both your music library and your iPhone’s storage. We can point you in the right direction, but really, that’s up to you! You can catch up on the NBA playoffs, or hear very smart people discuss whether President Trump’s latest terrifying stunt is legal, or ends of the week’s strongest performers on The Bachelorette. In fact, if you find something you like, and you commit to listening to it only when you exercise, you’re suddenly going to find sticking to an exercise routine to be much easier. (God helps you if you choose, say, S-Town, though, because you’ll end up staying on the treadmill for the entire seven-plus hours running time so that you find out what happens with John B. McLemore’s treasure.)
If you give it a try, chances are good that you’ll work out just as hard and find the entire process to be that much more tolerable. Getting in the zone is much easier when your brain can zone out somewhere else.
By Jay Willis
Read full article at GQ.com