Best Audiobooks to Listen to While Working Out

Need to motivate yourself to work out more? Why not download a great audiobook and get lost in a listen while breaking a sweat? Here are our favorite audiobooks to listen to while working out.

We've all heard that exercise is good for the body, and reading is good for the mind and soul. But knowing these facts doesn't increase the number of hours in the day. Maybe you can eke out a little time for one activity but not the other. Or maybe you are looking for something to motivate you to get those steps in. Either way, audiobooks might well be the perfect solution. 

Audiobooks allow you to listen to reading, freeing your hands for activities like lifting dumbbells or getting in some push-ups or jumping jacks. As exercise often includes repetitive movements, it is easy to let your body keep moving while your mind focuses on a book's plot, characters, and settings. In this regard, audiobooks may be a better listening choice than your workout playlist. Songs end after a few minutes, breaking your concentration. But audiobooks can last for hours, giving you plenty of material to keep your brain occupied across multiple workouts.

What are the best audiobooks to listen to while working out? They don't necessarily have to be about health or exercise! Any subject that interests you will do. And if that subject lends itself to the kind of tension, excitement, and intrigue that gets your heart pumping, all the better. That said, here are some of the best audiobooks to work out to.

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The Princess Diarist

Carrie Fisher, best known for her role as Princess Leia in the iconic Star Wars films, was also an incisive yet hilarious memoirist. Her books about fame, addiction, and love have made fans laugh and cry for years. The Grammy-winning The Princess Diarist is mostly read by Fisher, with her daughter Billie Lourd stepping in as the voice of Fisher's younger self. This makes the audiobook version a truly incomparable experience.

The Autobiography of Malcolm X

One of the most notable icons to emerge from the 1960s American civil rights movement, Malcolm X remains an elusive, little-understood figure. His autobiography is the result of interviews between him and Alex Haley, who wrote the epilogue after Malcolm X's assassination. Read by acclaimed actor Laurence Fishburne, the audiobook version is an intense journey through the icon's life, political views, and hopes for a future he never got to see.

Gideon the Ninth

In this sci-fi epic, Gideon, an aspiring swordswoman, agrees to represent the Ninth House in a deadly contest to see which houses survive. Gideon the Ninth is the first of a trilogy, so if you enjoy author Tamsyn Muir's distinct blend of action and humor, there's plenty more where this came from! Moira Quirk reads both this installment and the next, giving an unforgettable performance as Gideon, her friends, and her foes.

The Splendid and the Vile

Winston Churchill became prime minister of England under dire circumstances. Despite his many detractors, it was under his watch that Britain outlasted the Nazi Blitz and emerged as one of the victors of the Second World War. Celebrated nonfiction writer Erik Larson documents the ups and downs of Churchill's political and personal life during the war that defined the 20th century.

Boyfriend Material

All Luc O'Donnell wants is a quiet, normal life—an impossible request, when your parents are literal rock stars. He sets out to find the most average boyfriend he can and convinces the thoroughly conventional Oliver Blackwood to pretend to date him. But what happens when their phony relationship becomes all too real? Joe Jameson's narration is immersive and fun, making this already charming tale even more so.

The Feather Thief

Why would a flautist break into a world-famous museum and make off with hundreds of valuable bird skins? In this account of the eye-catching, head-scratching heist, author Kirk Wallace Johnson relates the details of the theft and the circumstances that precipitated it, while narrator MacLeod Andrews brings its many bizarre characters to life. If you enjoy immersing yourself in heist films and books, this is the adventure for you!

Arsenic and Adobo

Cozy mystery fans will enjoy Arsenic and Adobo by debut novelist Mia P. Manansala. It starts when Lila moves back in with her family to recover from a nasty breakup. Things go from bad to worse when her ex-boyfriend is murdered, and Lila becomes the prime suspect! To save her future and her family's restaurant, Lila must find the real killer—before he finds her.

I Contain Multitudes

Most people don't think much about the microbes that live in us and all around us—or, if they do, they try to forget about it as quickly as possible. Author Ed Yong gives the humble microbe its due, exploring the role it plays in human health, animal development, and so much more. His clear, humorous writing, paired with Charlie Anson's engaging narration, makes the book accessible to all listeners, regardless of their scientific know-how, and really fascinating.

More Myself

In her autobiography, Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Alicia Keys relates how she overcame the more difficult aspects of her childhood and her own self-doubts to become a superstar beloved by millions worldwide. This Earphones Award-winning production features appearances from some of today's biggest stars, including Oprah Winfrey, Jay-Z, and Michelle Obama.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

In V.E. Schwab's best-selling romantic fantasy, a young woman achieves immortality, but the cost is steep: everyone Addie LaRue ever meets is destined to forget her. For centuries, Addie suffers alone...until a fateful encounter in a bookstore turns her invisible life upside-down. Narrator Julia Whelan brings to life Addie's hopes, desperation, and determination to be a part of the world again.

Chasing Space

Being a professional athlete and being a real astronaut are high on many people's lists of unachievable dreams. Leland Melvin managed to achieve both. In this moving autobiography, Melvin—through the voice of narrator Ron Butler—shares the many obstacles he faced and conquered to live a most extraordinary life. Chasing Space will appeal to those who love sports, science, and poignant storytelling.

Pride and Prejudice

Jane Austen's classic novel has received many an update over the years. This audiobook version, available only on Audible, is read by Oscar-nominated actress Rosamund Pike, who played Jane Bennett in the 2005 film adaptation (and later starred in the film adaptation of Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl). Nearly 200 years after the original novel was published, Pike breathes new life into this timeless tale of Regency romance and a woman's resilience.

Never Caught

Despite popular myths to the contrary, George Washington was an unapologetic, lifelong slaveholder. Never Caught spotlights that fact by telling the true story of Ona Judge, a young slave who risked everything to escape the Washingtons and live freely. Read by Hall of Fame narrator Robin Miles, this book will introduce you to an extraordinary woman and give you a new perspective on one of America's most revered leaders.

Her Royal Spyness

Her Royal Spyness is the first in a series about Georgie, a cash-strapped royal who occasionally undertakes dangerous spy missions for her more famous and affluent relatives. Award-winning writer Rhys Bowen and celebrated audiobook narrator Katherine Kellgren bring plenty of heart, humor, and suspense to this popular cozy mystery series. And if you’re hooked after the very first installment, don’t worry—there are over a dozen more audiobooks in this still ongoing series.

Daring Greatly

Taking risks, whether professionally or personally, is never easy. But there's no shame in feeling afraid when facing challenges. Dr. Brené Brown argues that vulnerability is what makes all emotion—from courage to creativity to sadness—possible. As both author and narrator, Brown makes you feel better about showing your vulnerable side in this best seller.

Shadow and Bone

The audio edition of Shadow and Bone tells the gripping story of Alina Starkov, a woman whose incredible powers represent the last hope for Ravka, a nation torn apart by creeping, monster-filled shadows. (Netflix recently turned Leigh Bardugo's widely raved about fantasy into a TV series, so now is a great time to get caught up!)

We Are Legion (We Are Bob)

Named Audible’s Best Sci-Fi Audiobook of 2016, this tongue-in-cheek interplanetary romp is wildly popular among listeners. And what’s not to love? With a wide range of characters, ever-evolving generations of Bob, and absolutely unmatched narration by the brilliant Ray Porter, the first installment in Dennis E. Taylor’s Bobiverse series is sure to leave you hooked and ready to devour the remaining installments.

Nothing Like I Imagined

Comedy writer and actress Mindy Kaling—known for TV shows like The Office and The Mindy Project and movies like Late Night—reads her own essays in this hilarious, empowering collection. Kaling explores what it's like to deal with social anxiety and single parenthood, as well as to find a new appreciation of her family's faith and heritage. Nothing Like I Imagined has been nominated for an Audie Award and is available only on Audible.

Murder on the Orient Express

For pause-resistant thrills, it's hard to beat Agatha Christie. With this innovative audio drama that combines multiple talented voice actors (a perfect fit for Christie's enigmatic ensemble of suspects) and special effects, Christie's work becomes more exciting than ever! Murder on the Orient Express, one of her best-known mysteries, finds quirky detective Hercule Poirot stuck on a train with a murdered man and a dozen people who wanted the victim dead.

The Tipping Point

Ever wonder why some things become popular and others don't? Malcolm Gladwell, author and narrator of The Tipping Point, brings science to bear on this complex, seemingly unpredictable topic. Using diverse examples from history and pop culture, Gladwell explains how ideas and actions go from isolated incidents to inescapable trends.

Alien: Out of the Shadows

If you prefer to get your blood pumping from both physical exertion and psychological terror, look no further than the Audible Original dramatization of Alien: Out of the Shadows. Set in the same universe as the megahit Alien film franchise, this terrifying listen features exceptional voice acting and a chilling soundscape that may encourage you to run just a little bit faster.

The Princess Diarist

Carrie Fisher, best known for her role as Princess Leia in the iconic Star Wars films, was also an incisive yet hilarious memoirist. Her books about fame, addiction, and love have made fans laugh and cry for years. The Grammy-winning The Princess Diarist is mostly read by Fisher, with her daughter Billie Lourd stepping in as the voice of Fisher's younger self. This makes the audiobook version a truly incomparable experience.

The Autobiography of Malcolm X

One of the most notable icons to emerge from the 1960s American civil rights movement, Malcolm X remains an elusive, little-understood figure. His autobiography is the result of interviews between him and Alex Haley, who wrote the epilogue after Malcolm X's assassination. Read by acclaimed actor Laurence Fishburne, the audiobook version is an intense journey through the icon's life, political views, and hopes for a future he never got to see.

Gideon the Ninth

In this sci-fi epic, Gideon, an aspiring swordswoman, agrees to represent the Ninth House in a deadly contest to see which houses survive. Gideon the Ninth is the first of a trilogy, so if you enjoy author Tamsyn Muir's distinct blend of action and humor, there's plenty more where this came from! Moira Quirk reads both this installment and the next, giving an unforgettable performance as Gideon, her friends, and her foes.

The Splendid and the Vile

Winston Churchill became prime minister of England under dire circumstances. Despite his many detractors, it was under his watch that Britain outlasted the Nazi Blitz and emerged as one of the victors of the Second World War. Celebrated nonfiction writer Erik Larson documents the ups and downs of Churchill's political and personal life during the war that defined the 20th century.

Boyfriend Material

All Luc O'Donnell wants is a quiet, normal life—an impossible request, when your parents are literal rock stars. He sets out to find the most average boyfriend he can and convinces the thoroughly conventional Oliver Blackwood to pretend to date him. But what happens when their phony relationship becomes all too real? Joe Jameson's narration is immersive and fun, making this already charming tale even more so.

The Feather Thief

Why would a flautist break into a world-famous museum and make off with hundreds of valuable bird skins? In this account of the eye-catching, head-scratching heist, author Kirk Wallace Johnson relates the details of the theft and the circumstances that precipitated it, while narrator MacLeod Andrews brings its many bizarre characters to life. If you enjoy immersing yourself in heist films and books, this is the adventure for you!

Arsenic and Adobo

Cozy mystery fans will enjoy Arsenic and Adobo by debut novelist Mia P. Manansala. It starts when Lila moves back in with her family to recover from a nasty breakup. Things go from bad to worse when her ex-boyfriend is murdered, and Lila becomes the prime suspect! To save her future and her family's restaurant, Lila must find the real killer—before he finds her.

I Contain Multitudes

Most people don't think much about the microbes that live in us and all around us—or, if they do, they try to forget about it as quickly as possible. Author Ed Yong gives the humble microbe its due, exploring the role it plays in human health, animal development, and so much more. His clear, humorous writing, paired with Charlie Anson's engaging narration, makes the book accessible to all listeners, regardless of their scientific know-how, and really fascinating.

More Myself

In her autobiography, Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Alicia Keys relates how she overcame the more difficult aspects of her childhood and her own self-doubts to become a superstar beloved by millions worldwide. This Earphones Award-winning production features appearances from some of today's biggest stars, including Oprah Winfrey, Jay-Z, and Michelle Obama.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

In V.E. Schwab's best-selling romantic fantasy, a young woman achieves immortality, but the cost is steep: everyone Addie LaRue ever meets is destined to forget her. For centuries, Addie suffers alone...until a fateful encounter in a bookstore turns her invisible life upside-down. Narrator Julia Whelan brings to life Addie's hopes, desperation, and determination to be a part of the world again.

Chasing Space

Being a professional athlete and being a real astronaut are high on many people's lists of unachievable dreams. Leland Melvin managed to achieve both. In this moving autobiography, Melvin—through the voice of narrator Ron Butler—shares the many obstacles he faced and conquered to live a most extraordinary life. Chasing Space will appeal to those who love sports, science, and poignant storytelling.

Pride and Prejudice

Jane Austen's classic novel has received many an update over the years. This audiobook version, available only on Audible, is read by Oscar-nominated actress Rosamund Pike, who played Jane Bennett in the 2005 film adaptation (and later starred in the film adaptation of Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl). Nearly 200 years after the original novel was published, Pike breathes new life into this timeless tale of Regency romance and a woman's resilience.

Never Caught

Despite popular myths to the contrary, George Washington was an unapologetic, lifelong slaveholder. Never Caught spotlights that fact by telling the true story of Ona Judge, a young slave who risked everything to escape the Washingtons and live freely. Read by Hall of Fame narrator Robin Miles, this book will introduce you to an extraordinary woman and give you a new perspective on one of America's most revered leaders.

Her Royal Spyness

Her Royal Spyness is the first in a series about Georgie, a cash-strapped royal who occasionally undertakes dangerous spy missions for her more famous and affluent relatives. Award-winning writer Rhys Bowen and celebrated audiobook narrator Katherine Kellgren bring plenty of heart, humor, and suspense to this popular cozy mystery series. And if you’re hooked after the very first installment, don’t worry—there are over a dozen more audiobooks in this still ongoing series.

Daring Greatly

Taking risks, whether professionally or personally, is never easy. But there's no shame in feeling afraid when facing challenges. Dr. Brené Brown argues that vulnerability is what makes all emotion—from courage to creativity to sadness—possible. As both author and narrator, Brown makes you feel better about showing your vulnerable side in this best seller.

Shadow and Bone

The audio edition of Shadow and Bone tells the gripping story of Alina Starkov, a woman whose incredible powers represent the last hope for Ravka, a nation torn apart by creeping, monster-filled shadows. (Netflix recently turned Leigh Bardugo's widely raved about fantasy into a TV series, so now is a great time to get caught up!)

We Are Legion (We Are Bob)

Named Audible’s Best Sci-Fi Audiobook of 2016, this tongue-in-cheek interplanetary romp is wildly popular among listeners. And what’s not to love? With a wide range of characters, ever-evolving generations of Bob, and absolutely unmatched narration by the brilliant Ray Porter, the first installment in Dennis E. Taylor’s Bobiverse series is sure to leave you hooked and ready to devour the remaining installments.

Nothing Like I Imagined

Comedy writer and actress Mindy Kaling—known for TV shows like The Office and The Mindy Project and movies like Late Night—reads her own essays in this hilarious, empowering collection. Kaling explores what it's like to deal with social anxiety and single parenthood, as well as to find a new appreciation of her family's faith and heritage. Nothing Like I Imagined has been nominated for an Audie Award and is available only on Audible.

Murder on the Orient Express

For pause-resistant thrills, it's hard to beat Agatha Christie. With this innovative audio drama that combines multiple talented voice actors (a perfect fit for Christie's enigmatic ensemble of suspects) and special effects, Christie's work becomes more exciting than ever! Murder on the Orient Express, one of her best-known mysteries, finds quirky detective Hercule Poirot stuck on a train with a murdered man and a dozen people who wanted the victim dead.

The Tipping Point

Ever wonder why some things become popular and others don't? Malcolm Gladwell, author and narrator of The Tipping Point, brings science to bear on this complex, seemingly unpredictable topic. Using diverse examples from history and pop culture, Gladwell explains how ideas and actions go from isolated incidents to inescapable trends.

Alien: Out of the Shadows

If you prefer to get your blood pumping from both physical exertion and psychological terror, look no further than the Audible Original dramatization of Alien: Out of the Shadows. Set in the same universe as the megahit Alien film franchise, this terrifying listen features exceptional voice acting and a chilling soundscape that may encourage you to run just a little bit faster.

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