Endure: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance

Dr. Alex Hutchinson

Alex Hutchinson
Catalyst - Health, Wellness & Performance Podcast

Full Transcript

Brad

Welcome to the latest episode of the Catalyst Health and Wellness Coaching podcast. My name’s Brad Cooper and I’ll be your host and today’s episode is one that personally I’ve been looking forward to for months. We got this guy on the calendar months ago and it’s finally here. We’re going to be interviewing Alex Hutchinson. Alex is the author of the book Endure. Easily my favorite book in the past year, but you could probably extend that out to the past decade. It’s that good. You’ve got to get your hands on this thing. Again, it’s called Endure. Let me tell you a little bit about Alex. Alex Hutchinson, PhD is a columnist for Outside Magazine and was a longtime columnist for Runner’s World. That’s where I first came across him, a national magazine award winner. He is a regular contributor to the New Yorker online, the weekly Jockology column in the Toronto Globe and Mail and writes for the New York Times

FiveThirtyEight recently named him as one of their favorite running science geeks. He was a two time finalists in the 1500 meters at the Canadian Olympic trials and represented Canada internationally in track, cross country, road racing, and mountain running competitions. He holds a PhD in physics. Imagine that as far as what you’re going to hear him talk about. He holds, a PhD in physics from the University of Cambridge and has worked as a researcher for the US National Security Agency. He currently lives in Toronto, Canada with his family, including two and four year old kids.

Just a reminder, you can access additional resources including a transcript for this episode at CatalystCoachingInstitute.com, and please as always, don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have questions about this podcast. You have questions about your career, the idea of wellness coaching. That’s what we’re here for, so you can reach out to us at [email protected] now on with the latest episode of the Catalyst Health and Wellness Coaching podcast.

All right, well we are very pleased, I should say, I am very pleased to have Dr Alex Hutchinson on board today for the podcast interview. Alex, you’ve heard the bio about him. He wrote my favorite book of ’18, but I could probably go back another five or six years and give him credit for probably my favorite book of the decade. Outstanding book and then if you’re not following him on twitter, if you’re not reading his insights in formally Runner’s World and now Outside Magazine, you just got to do it. It is so intriguing. Just every single thing he posts it seems like, and I’m probably making him blush even though we’re not in the same room at this point, but Alex will get into some of those topics, but I’d love to get a little bit more background on you. Your history is just interesting. You had a PhD in physics from the University of Cambridge. Did you have this in mind when you were doing that or how did you get where you ended up today?

Alex

First of all, Brad, thank you for the kind words. I am blushing and I appreciate it. In terms of how I ended up here, no, this was not some sort of long term master plan, where I was like, yes, if I go study physics, that’ll get me to the point where I can spend my days thinking about running and reading cool studies about it, and even looking back, I’m not sure how it happened myself. And the more I look back, the more I’m like, how did I decide to leave physics? I had nothing. I didn’t know anything about journalism. I was doing a postdoc, after my PhD and a couple of years into my postdoc I left to go do a masters in journalism.

And at that point I had zero journalism experience. I hadn’t worked on student papers. I didn’t know anything about it. So it was a real leap into the unknown. And I give my, you know, past self credit. I’m like, hey, good job Alex. At one point, at least you were willing to take some big risks in pursuit of, I guess what I was pursuing was the opportunity to spend my days thinking about things that I really find interesting, to have flexibility and to have some autonomy to be able to make decisions about how I spent my time. And really when I was initially thinking about journalism, as best I can remember, one of the things that attracted me was the idea that, yeah, whatever I’m interested in, that can be a story I can pursue, that I can write that and I can make my own decisions about what’s interesting and how to spend my time.

I wasn’t a sort of Watergate, I dream of being a journalist. It was more an opportunity to pursue my interests. And so I’m lucky that it worked out the way it has and to be honest, looking ahead, I don’t know. I’m not sure I know where I’m headed, over the next decades. But hopefully the same sort of principles of just trying to do something that’s compatible with a life of curiosity and autonomy will be possible.

Brad

Outstanding. So now let’s, we won’t get into the coaching piece yet, but in terms of your articles for I first found you through Runner’s World and now Outside Magazine, there are so many options. One of the things I’ve discovered in doing my PhD research is how much I didn’t know, but also how many rabbit trails there are. Like they are literally endless when you dial in a specific article that you’re going to review and put into words that all of us can understand. How do you narrow it from the 10 million options to the one?

Alex

Yeah. Well, I struggled with that question every week to be honest. But I would say if I had to put one main principle for me that I’ve kind of stuck with, and it’s made my life a lot easier is I tend to start with answers rather than questions. So you know, if I’m thinking about what do people who read Runner’s World or Outside want to know, I mean there’s a ton of good questions like how fast should I run everyday, exactly how much rest should I take after a marathon or between intervals in a workout and scientifically speaking the answer to those questions is almost always I’m not really sure. And so then I can look up 50 studies, none of which really answered the exact question I’m trying to answer or call up a bunch of experts and get their opinions.

But my whole goal as a science journalist is not to just rehash people’s opinions but to actually assess what evidence we have. And the shortcut for me is to, instead of starting with the questions, look through half a dozen or 10 journals that I check regularly. Just flip through the abstracts of all the papers going out and when I find one that’s interesting, then now I know an answer. It maybe not exactly the question that everyone’s wondering about, but it’s easier to broaden. And extrapolate from that answer and say, here are some questions that we might be able to answer with that, with this new research than just start with the open ended question. And then like you said, to follow a thousand different rabbit holes, none of which exactly lead where you want to go. So the result is that I don’t necessarily answer exactly the questions that people are wondering about, but it allows me to start where I know that there’s going to be some interesting data and something new instead of writing the billionth piece of advice on how long your long runs should be or whatever the case might be,

Brad

Well you’re doing a good job. So whatever your processes, keep it going. Now let’s dip our toe into the health and wellness coaching realm. Since most of the folks listening to this are going to be in that background or pondering going that route, are there a couple of topics that you’ve written about recently or doesn’t have to be recently, last couple of years that you think would be beneficial to them? So not necessarily the elite athlete or even the elite masters athlete, but more things that would be helpful for their often nonathletic clients across the broader span. So food, fitness, finances, relationships, stress management, all those kinds of things. Anything that pops into your mind as we talk more generically about wellness?

Alex

One of the fields that I’ve just started to scratch the surface of, and I don’t want to position myself as an expert on it, but that I’m starting to think is much more important than I realized. It is a subject called exercise psychology, which doesn’t ask, you know, how hard your heart has to work at a given level. But it asks, how does a given workout make you feel? And there’s a guy whose name I can’t pronounce. I think he’s from Iowa State who’s really at the forefront of this field. And he’s really strident in arguing that we’re really missing the boat when we focus in on, you know, the nuances of how a lactate is produced at a given exercise and what really matters.

Alex

Everyone knows what’s good for them and the really hard thing is to get people to follow up on these habits like exercise but including, you know, eating well and sleeping well and all these other things. And so trying to understand how a given workout makes you feel and why some things, some workouts might make or some activities might make you feel good and others less good. Why? Some people feel good or better after a workout and others find it really difficult. That’s going to be the question that’s going to determine whether your client is still doing what you told him or her a year from now or five years from now. More than the details of whether you’ve really optimized, whether the routine is perfect. It’s like, can they live with it for their life? So for the rest of their lives, is it something that’s going to just become a habit? So I’m really interested in that field of trying to understand not what people should do, but how we convince them to keep doing what they already know they should do.

Brad

You’ve almost summed up what health and wellness coaching is. It’s not telling them how to do something or laying out the perfect plan. It’s drawing it out of them. Why does it matter to them? So I’ll need to look that guy up. So Nike 2 Hour Project, loved it, love the documentary they did on it. Just so many intriguing things and the fact that the one guy they thought was pretty much optimized before they started making other adjustments, ended up being the one guy who came closest. You wanna tell us a little bit about that briefly for folks that aren’t familiar with it and then any lessons from that that similarly wouldn’t be elite specific, but we could apply to our own lives.

Alex

Yeah, so the background here is Nike spent, gosh, this was the breaking two project where they staged a marathon race in May of 2018, but they’d been working on it for about three years beforehand and they wouldn’t tell me how much, but tens of millions of dollars trying to perfectly optimized the ultimate, fastest marathon possible to see if someone could get under two hours and they selected three runners and then eventually a guy named Eliud Kipchoge, ran two hours, zero minutes and 25 seconds, which was at the time two and a half minutes faster than the world record. So, you know, it wasn’t a sub two hour marathon, but it was an astounding performance and it really sparked a lot of discussions of like, okay, wow, Nike was doing all these things, developing all this technology, pulling all the leavers and spinning all the knobs and so on, which were the knobs that mattered, what is it that allowed Kipchoge to run two and a half minutes faster than the world record?

And if I sort of narrowed it down to one takeaway and we could talk for hours about, you know, they have new running shoes with carbon curved carbon fiber plate in them that are supposed to be four percent more efficient than they held the race on a Formula One race track in Italy with, perfectly optimized curves and totally flat. The lesson that I think is most interesting is all the stuff that didn’t really make a difference. So they had for months and months, they had all the runners in the project wearing a GPS watch and heart rate monitor and stuff. They were uploading their training nightly back to Nike headquarters where it was being fed into a super computer to analyze exactly whether they were getting the balance of recovery and stimulus right. And whether they should be training faster or slower or harder or you know, really trying to use every bit of science they could. And like you said a minute ago, Kipchoge, the guy who did best, who came closer to the two hour marathon, they were analyzing his training and trying to come up with what should we tell him about how to change his training and you know, at first they thought they had a few ideas, but their ultimate conclusion was we shouldn’t tell him anything, what he’s doing is just fine. We have nothing to teach Eliud Kipchoge. And this is a guy who’s training in a rural camp in Kenya, he’s an Olympic champion, multimillionaire but he’s living in a shared room in a dormitory, earthen floor, cleaning the toilets, taking his turn with the, with the chores.

Very simple. And his coach, there’s no supercomputer. They’re just doing like get out to there do the hardwork, then recover. All the stuff that again, we all know. So there was no secret. There was no like, oh, this is the training we needed to do to run a two hour marathon. Instead it was execute, execute what we know and execute it perfectly. Eliminate the distractions. You know you don’t need fancy GPS, you don’t need the latest, heart rate variability monitor and blah, blah, blah. Some of this stuff is interesting. Some of the stuff may be useful, but Kipchoge was able to achieve arguably one of the greatest marathon runs in history with a very straightforward approach and it was about executing the basics well, not about the technology and that’s what I kind of take away from the breaking two thing.

Brad

I love it and I would love to hear you talk for three more hours on that one. Let’s, let’s turn to your book a little bit. The title, Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance. When you sat down to write that book, did your research, and I know it was a longterm project, this wasn’t something you sat down for six months and wrote it up. It took years, but what did you discover that surprised you? You were already essentially in the field. You were already an elite runner yourself. You’d already written multiple articles about this as you pulled the book together. Were there things where you went, Huh? I didn’t think I’d see that.

Alex

Yeah, I mean like you were saying it was a long process and it was sort of gradual accretion of knowledge. So for most of what I was writing about, I kind of could see the train coming in the distance and there was no light that caught me totally by surprise, but the biggest exception, was the part I wrote about free diving. So I have a chapter on oxygen because any runner will know that you are, any endurance athlete, you know, you’re breathing hard, feels like you’re running out of oxygen. So I wanted to know what happens when you actually run out, like what does it feel like to really run out of oxygen. And so I was looking at high altitude mountain climbers and, and free divers and that led me to this sort of question, that sort of basic question of, well, how long can you go without breathing?

And so I would invite listeners before I tell them the answer to think about what do you think the record for breath holding is. And I don’t mean with any like trickery, like breathing pure oxygen like David Blaine did for his awhile ago. Just like, you’re there. Okay. You’re going to hold your breath. How long can you hold your breath? The record is 11 minutes and I think it’s 11 minutes and 35 seconds. That’s the official record. There’s an unofficial one that’s maybe 10 seconds longer or something. And that just blew my mind. And that led me down one of those rabbit holes you mentioned earlier of like, okay, I got to understand more about this. After the book came out, so this didn’t appear in the book, but I had a chance to interview the guy who just, who recently set the American record for breath holding, which I think is eight minutes and 35 seconds.

A guy named Brandon Hendricks and he actually lives in Kansas City of all places, but he’s a free diver. And he was taking me through the stages of what goes on and you know the difference between what feels like your limits. So in his dive, after about four minutes his breathing muscles started to contract and voluntarily these are called involuntary breathing movements. And it’s basically your body deciding you’re out of oxygen, you have to breathe, you’re done. And so for any of us who hold our breath, even like for most people, those might start after 90 seconds, two minutes, and it feels like wow, I reached the point where I really had to breathe. And so it was a real eyeopener to me to realize, okay, he reached that point in like four minutes, four and a half minutes. He held his breath for eight and a half minutes.

So he the, the point where it felt like he totally hit the physical wall that was halfway to where his actual limits were. And because it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s a warning system. Like physiologically what it is is your, your brain’s detecting high carbon dioxide levels are not low low oxygen levels. So it. And that’s just a signal to try and prevent you from actually getting to the point where you’re running an auction because that’s, that is obviously quite serious if you run out of oxygen. But so for me, that became a sort of metaphor, uh, for it, the general idea of the difference between, you know, a yellow light and a red light between a warning sign and a stop sign that there can be a huge margin between what feels like your limits and what’s your actual limits are a great example. I’m, I’m thinking of that with our research study we’re working on right now. That is not the yellow light. Red Light is a great, great analogy of.

Brad

Let’s, let’s talk practically a little bit here. So in your own life, was there, were there some different discoveries you made as you were doing the research on the book together that you found to be most applicable for you in the things that you’re dealing with physiologically or life in general?

Alex

Yeah. This is, this is the question I always help now in the last because it’s like you wrote about how to do this side or are you actually doing this stuff? It’s like, um, well I’m, I’m planning to real soon, man, real soon. Uh, no, it’s, it’s interesting because there’s a lot of things that I came across in, in, in writing the book where I’m like, okay, this isn’t just a vague idea anymore. I’m looking at the evidence and I’m like, this really can make a difference. Um, but there’s a big difference between a, you know, as everyone who thinks about exercise knows that there’s a difference between knowing it’s good for you and actually taking the step of doing it. And it’s, it’s interesting because for me, daily exercises just totally ingrained and I have no, it takes virtually no mental effort for me to go out and getting up from my exercise.

I haven’t made that leap for some of the things, like a motivational self-talk sort of taking control of my internal monologue or maybe the best metaphor is it or not metaphor best example rather is, is, uh, is mindfulness because it’s not just me. I think there’s like there’s probably 100 million people in North America who are convinced that mindfulness is really, really good for you and has all sorts of wonderful effects and hopefully just knowing that will mean that I’ll get those benefits. It’s like, no, you actually have to put in the work, you actually have to do it. And so, I mean, I would say that again, sticking with them mindfulness example, there are things, there are elements of mindfulness that I try and incorporate now I have two year old and a 14 year old and, and uh, you know, dealing with them, I love them really of course, but, but dealing with them requires a lot or can benefit from a lot of mindfulness.

And I’m always trying to remind myself of some of these principles of like, you know, just just be in the moment and, you know, experience my frustration, observe it, don’t respond to an emotionally Yada, Yada, Yada. But it’s, it’s just, just knowing that or just thinking about it is not the same as putting in some discipline practice to make these things a real part of your, your, your life and your day. So I would say I’m sort of, you know, at the bottom of the mountain, I know where the mountain is and I know where the path is. But um, I’m, I’m far from having sort of ascent to the summit of masterful life control.

Brad

So not a question I planned to ask, but that’s kind of what the coaches are trying to get people to move forward in areas that they, maybe they started their coaching session through their employer or whatever with nothing in mind. And then the conversation leads in a certain direction and they start talking about. I’ll just use you an example of mindfulness and then putting into practice. Would there be something someone could do with you? Someone could ask the question is, is there something that you think that would turn that dial just that extra little bit to cause those to be put into practice?

Alex

You know, if I knew what that was, I would. I think the answer is undoubtedly yes. Like I like, you know, I think that somewhere in my sort of life activities there, there’s something that’s holding me back or some excuse that I’m making that’s not valid or some, you know, I’m telling, I’m convincing myself I don’t have time when I do or whatever the case may be is don’t. I don’t know where the blockages and, and, and, and I should probably figure it out. But yeah, undoubtedly like it’s not that that I’m intellectually convinced that the benefits would outweigh whatever inconvenience cost it would take. And I don’t think there’s, like there’s, it’s not like I live in Siberia and there are no, you know, accessible opportunities to study mindfulness. Even if I did, you know, in do, you can do things on the Internet these days.

So it’s just, you know, I’m human. It’s, there is undoubtedly, there are undoubtedly ways. I think part of it for me has been over the last few years, it’s been like, okay, I’m going to deal with, I’m going to make my life better. Once I get the book done, I’m going to like make my life better. Once the book is, I’m going to make my life better once I’ve finished promoting the book. So it’s been one of those things where I’ve. I’ve put off a lot of things, including I’m looking around me, including like cleaning my desk off. It’s like, wow. So that’s been a convenient excuse for procrastination. I need to prepare to move beyond that for sure.

Brad

Well, I, I think it’s a helpful thing for the coaches to hear you say what you just said because we’re all human, but you’ve got to kind of dialed in. I mean you, you’ve got the physical piece part of your life. You’ve done all this research, you’re doing on an ongoing basis and yet you’re saying, you know what? I still struggle and I think that’s healthy for the coaches to hear and realize it’s not just their client. This is everybody. We all have issues. We all got things where we’re trying to work through and in spite of the fact that it’s, we get it, we know it intellectually. It’s there, it doesn’t turn it into application. So I appreciate your honesty with that. If you were to add one more chapter to your book, based on the things you’ve learned since you put that cover on and you shipped it off, what would you include in that chapter?

Alex

Yeah, you know, I think my answer to that actually grows directly from what we were just talking about because probably the number one question I’ve gotten from people is like, wow, this is, you know, these are amazing ideas. How do, what are the details of how we put this into practice? And, and my answer has been like, that’s not my department. Like that’s not my, that’s not my skillset. I, you know, I, I’m interested in the ideas and there are other people whose, whose personalities, whose interests, whose, whose strengths make them suited for really understanding how to implement these things in the real world. And it’s like, to be honest, I’ve had people get in touch with me and asked if I would give them, you know, life coaching and I’ve replied like, I appreciate the offer, but look at the book, you can tell the book is super strong on ideas.

Super strong on really if I do say so myself, you know, it’s strong on the theory. I, it’s weak on the implementation. It doesn’t, it, it sings the praises of motivational stuff talk. But it doesn’t really tell you how to do that because that’s not where I’m strongest. And I think I let that be a bit of an excuse to me to just. I left the book a little bit short of where it could have been because I stuck with what I was most interested in and didn’t do the heavy lifting of trying to really understand the stuff that I hadn’t already kind of mastered. So you know, I feel like if there was going to be another chapter it would, it would make a lot of sense for that chapter to be, here are five things you can do with really clear guides of, of how you can implement some of the ideas that we’ve discussed in the previous 15 chapters or whatever it was. So yeah, I think the practical implementation is really Kinda the next step and the thing that’s maybe missing a little

Brad

very interesting because that’s the world we live in on a daily basis. So maybe that’s why I appreciated so much what you present it because it was the gap that, that we often have. So very interesting. You personally, we were very honest with human scale, but I’d love to hear you expand. If you don’t mind, share with our listeners. What’s an area of health and wellness fitness society. It can be any area that you’ve been kind of. It’s just the journey you’re on right now. You’re struggling with mentioned you have a two and a four year old. Maybe it’s something around family relationships, finances, you know, just is there another area that you feel like this is kind of my journey and I don’t mind sharing where I’m at with it and some of the struggles and some of the successes that you found aside from the book?

Alex

Yeah, sure. I mean, don’t get me into the kids. It’s, it’s, it’s a struggle right now and that, you know, obviously it’s a very rewarding struggle but it’s a challenging time. But you know, like honestly the biggest thing, I’m sorry, I don’t know if struggle is the right word, but the kind of dilemma I’m really chewing over right now. It has to do with goal setting and trying to figure out where I want to be in five years and in 20 years or whatever the case may be because this really. And when we were chatting about this a little bit before we, before we started this interview, um, you know, my book came out a year ago and, and the sort of obvious question is what’s next? You know, am I going to do another book? And I’d like to do another book. But the next question is, well, what’s the book going to be about?

And to answer that question, I really have to figure out what it is that I’m after in my career. What, what am I after financial success? Am I after a, you know, influence, am I after, uh, you know, recognition from peers and if so, which, which, which people and I asked after recognition from because there’s a, there are topics that I could write about that would really resonate in the endurance community or I could try and get, you know, right, for the science journalism community. It really hard nosed evidence based thing. Or I could write something, write something literary. These are all things that are important to me, all elements of my identity. And then said, I look at my, you know, my kids and my family and I look at the, you know, is there a river? So here’s, here’s where, you know, in terms of things I’ve been thinking of, I read a book called the nature fix in September about the sort of really transformative power of spending time in natural environments and looking at the science of what is good for us both physically and mentally and I was really affected by it and I went out and bought a secondhand Kayak, like within a week of finishing the book because I live about a block from a river.

It’s an urban river, but it’s still a very nice river. I thought, yeah, I need to be able to just walk, walk a block down to the river, get in the Kayak and spend, you know, a Tuesday morning kayaking instead of sitting at this stupid computer. Then it’s like, well, if I don’t sit at the stupid computer, it’s going to take me a year longer to write my next book. So, you know, we’re obviously all me included, constrained by real world things like needing to pay the mortgage and, and, and things like that. But I’m, I’m, I’m in a relatively lucky situation where, you know, I’m, I’m, uh, my career as is going reasonably well and I’ve a lovely family and so I have to decide how much of myself I want to give for different goals and you know, which is going to be more important to me.

Is it going to have being, going to be, to have gone on a weekly Kayak by myself along the river once a week, every summer for the next 10 years. Or to have out one more book who have had a book be more successful to have reach more people. And, and you know, I’m not, I’m trying to frame this in a way that it’s not obvious what the right answer is because I don’t know what the right answer is, but I think I’m, maybe I’m, maybe I’m, maybe I’m tilts tilting it a little weight because I’m, I’m thinking really carefully about what’s valuable to me. And so I, you know, I bought this Kayak. I joined a Friday night pickup pickup basketball game that meets every Friday night. I’m trying to think carefully about the things, you know, social connections and, and the things that are gonna make my days, my present day is more valuable and not always focused on future glory.

Anything. I put Gloria and quotes, but uh, yeah, so that’s sort of, that’s a rambling answer, but that’s kind of the big question that’s been weighing on me for the last few months and I think I’m going to have to do some really heavy thinking about in the next six months say, because I’m going to have to decide what comes next. And once you make that decision, like my last book, it was, it was a journey that was, you know, eight to 10 years. Um, and so whatever, whatever decision I make, it’s not something that I’m going to want to bail on after, after a year or two, I got to make sure it’s, it’s that I’m committed to, to whatever journey that is.

Brad

I love it. The reason podcast, we were talking about the value of a theme first or a life vision first before you set the goals. And you basically said the exact same thing. It doesn’t do you any good to say, here’s my goal, when it may not be congruent with the person you want to become. It’s kind of that idea of of who before what and frankly once you get the who, the what kind of answers itself. There’s really not a lot of struggle with next piece, so

thanks for laying that. That’s good stuff. A lot of our listeners who may have previously been focused on coaching endurance athletes, runners, triathletes, that kind of thing there now

banding into more the broad wellness piece of wellbeing.

Any advice you’d have for them about some of those benefits?

Alex

On the wellbeing side, we’ll help them with their former athletic clients. I do think there’s a ton of crossover and she agreed in between the things that make you successful as an athlete and and, and make you successful or happy in life. And you know, a couple of examples that spring to mind. For me, things that have been always a part of my life as a runner are, for example, getting outside every day going for a run along in it, in a nice natural environment. I was talking about this earlier and uh, you know, meeting training partners, getting together to do a workout and so I think about some of those things. It’s like, yeah, time, time outside in nature, a social bonding, you know, arranging deliberately arranging time to meet up with friends to, to do some activity activity. I think that stuff that’s really actionable outside the athletic context and maybe it’s not meeting up for a run, maybe it’s meeting up for some other reason, but you know, so, so drawing on some of those things that athletes have always valued. It’s like people you talked to runners and it’s like yeah, I love meeting my friends for their Sunday long run and I love getting out, you know, really just getting inside into the peaceful, you know, trails and forest and having some time to think by myself and these sorts of things. But you can do, you can do, you can think about those things in a non athletic context. Just in terms of a general wellness context I think.

Brad

Nice. Very nice. And then on the other side of the coin, we’ve got folks that are wellness coaches and they’re not purposely seeking out endurance athletes, but they just end up with them. Any tips for them when they don’t have that background to effectively or at least start to effectively help these folks that might be pretty serious endurance athletes.

Alex

Yeah. And again, I think there’s a ton of crossover and it’s like if you think about some of the things that people in wellness I’ve been talking about for forever, uh, getting enough sleep, controlling your stress levels, uh, you know, being clear about your priorities, about how you want to spend your time. I think these are just more recently being recognized finally as, as crucial ingredients to, to athletic performance. So, you know, sleep is an obvious one, but you know, controlling your stress and more generally just thinking carefully about how you spend your time. Because especially if you’re talking, if you’re talking to an Olympic athlete, then maybe they’re spending all their time training anyway. But for most of us we’re, we’re balancing our athletic goals with all sorts of other commitments and goals. And in our lives, and so, and it’s easy, I think you’ll hear a lot of athletes like, oh, I just wish I could train, you know, half an hour more.

I wish I could do this. I wish you’d do that, but it’s not realistic in my life. And I think one of the sort of a important things in, in wellness in general is thinking carefully about your priorities and how you spend your time, what’s important, where, where are the places in your life that you’re frittering away time that you could be using for things that are really a value to you and if, if you’ve got a serious athlete and if you can help them figure out what is the value of their time, where, where do they want to spend their, their, their resources, uh, and how important is them? Is it to them to get that extra hour of sleep that could make a big difference. I think you’ll, you’ll be doing them a big service athletically as well as just in the context of general wellness. Fantastic. Fantastic.

Brad

What kind of wrap it up here? Any final words of wisdom you’d like to share either with current coaches that may not be thinking about some of the things that you’ve looked at or people that are on the fence and thinking like to go this route? Any, any final words you’d like to share with them?

Alex

Hi. I think I’ve, I’ve, I’ve, I’ve squeezed out most of the wisdom I have, but, but if, if there’s, if there’s, if there’s one thing that I, that I kind of try and encourage people to, to reflect on it, to think about the difference between short term and longterm goals and to, and to really not get too caught up in the short term and focus. I mean we all need short term goals. Don’t get me wrong, but, but to, to, to really get motivated about where you can be in five years for rather than in six months because, you know, it’s a cliche to say that most of us, uh, really overestimate what we can do in the short term. But I think also underestimate what we can do in the longterm. And so people get amped up about what they want to do next month and miss that target and then maybe let that throw them off.

And so I think when you’re helping people figure out where they want to go, a really just, you know, paint a picture of, of the incredible possibilities for them if they’re willing to put in not a month but a year or a few years, pursuing a goal. That is fantastic advice. I appreciate it. How can people find you on twitter? You’re pretty active on twitter. It’s at sweat science, is that correct? Yeah, that’s right. And that’s, that’s the, the, the social media venue that I’ve found has worked best for me in terms of interacting with people. So twitter, twitter, and that’s where, you know, if I have new articles and things like that or just things I find interesting, I post them there. I do have a website, Alex Hutchinson Dot net if you want to sort of explore my, you know, undergraduate gpa or anything like that. But uh, you know, twitter’s probably the logical place to go. Perfect.

Brad

Well sir, I really appreciate it. This was fun, it was great information and I think in addition to everything you bring on the research side, just your honesty and we all struggled with a lot of the same things and you’re not immune to that so thanks for laying that out for us and, and thanks jake. Taking time with us today.

Alex

Well thanks. I appreciate the therapy session and hopefully I’ll be able to, to work through some of my issues next time we talked. That was great. Thank you sir. Thanks.

Brad

That was fun. Just a couple of things I jotted down inside is listening back through this for the final editing process. First one, did you hear what he said about his career, because I know a lot of you are in that place where you’re sitting there thinking, you know, do I really want to do this for the rest of my life? And, and that’s what brought you to wellness coach and you’re thinking, well maybe that’s the route and, and I’m not here to say it is, but he talked about he had a phd in physics and he decided to go back and get a master’s degree in journalism and that put him in this role that it’s not perfect, there’s no such thing as perfect, but he’s really loving what he’s doing. Accused him that he taught what was the quarter, wrote down, do something. It’s compatible with a life of curiosity and that offers autonomy.

You could tell those are the things important to him. And, and I know it’s important for a lot of youtube, so I don’t know, maybe you want to get a phd in physics and then get a master’s in journalism or you could think about the wellness coaching, but all kidding aside, if you, if you hear some of the other things he talked about, and I think that’s what I appreciated most about Alex in this interview is I had a lot of respect for him coming in. I loved his book. He and I communicated a few times. I’d read his articles for years, but it was his transparency, his honesty that really captured my attention. And, and hopefully, uh, hopefully you heard that too and you appreciate that and you saw that potential both in your own life and that if your clients. A couple of the things I wrote down, uh, the, the pondering he’s doing about his life pursuits going forward, you could hear he’s, he’s really wrestling with that and you’re hearing that with your clients.

That’s what you’re helping them through. You’re helping through these major hurdles in their lives that will determine not just the next six months but the much of the rest of their life. So, so again, super encouraging and, and hopefully you, you heard that in there as well. And then the last thing I jotted down is, is there’s a big difference between knowing it’s good for you and actually doing it. He mentioned that a couple of times, not just in reference to other people, but again, that transparency of saying, hey, I struggle with the two. So those are again the things you’re doing as a wellness coach, the impact you’re having is helping people to realize that. And I just wanted to kind of bring that to your, your to the forefront here and make sure you hear it that. So a couple of things coming up.

We just announced the retreat. If you haven’t heard about that, you might want to take a peek at that. That’s going to be in September in ss park, Colorado. It we’re already having people registered for it. There’s a early registration discount and and people are jumping on that for the certification itself. If that’s something you’re looking at our next to. And obviously it depends on when you hear this, but our next to fast track programs in Colorado are February 20, third and 24th and then June first and second. Obviously you can do the distance learning anytime you’d like and there are four programs a year generally in. So if you miss those dates so they don’t work, just take a peek at the website or reach out to us and we can get you set up with the, with the next one. We, we do love hearing from you.

If you’ve got questions, if you have future topic ideas, we have a name, just an incredible lineup over the next several weeks, but if you’ve got ideas that’s helpful to us, we’d love to hear those and you can email us anytime at results at catalyst coaching institute dot Com and there’s a lot of resources to supplement this at catalyst coaching institute dot Com. So feel free to jump into those or reach out to us when you’d like. Folks, appreciate you spreading the word. All of you who have subscribed shared provided the ratings. We appreciate it. We’re. We’re really not marketing this thing much and so it’s, it’s been a result of you sharing it and appreciate it. Until next time, let’s all keep working towards what we like to call in this show. Hashtag better than yesterday, not just for ourselves, but for our clients. Making a great day and I’ll look forward to speaking with you soon on the next episode of the Catalyst Health and wellness coaching podcast.