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Peak Performance for the Rest of Us with Bradley Stulberg: PYP 180

bradley-stulbergBradley Stulberg writes for New York and Outside magazines about the connections between exercise and human physiology and psychology. He's interviewed many of the world's elite athletes, and has synthesized their insights into valuable lessons for the rest of us.

I first came across his work in a beautifully researched and written New York Magazine article, “How Exercise Shapes You, Far Beyond the Gym.”

He had me at the first paragraph:

“When I first started training for marathons a little over ten years ago, my coach told me something I’ve never forgotten: that I would need to learn how to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. I didn’t know it at the time, but that skill, cultivated through running, would help me as much, if not more, off the road as it would on it.”

If my 2016 has a theme so far, it's exactly that: learning how to get comfortable with discomfort. From my morning practice of pouring 5 gallons of cold water over my body to my newly minted identity as an ultra runner, this year has been all about freeing myself from what Marc Schoen calls The Comfort Paradox: the more comfortable I am, the more terrified I become of ever leaving that comfort zone.

So I reached out to Brad to learn more about the research, and about his personal journey of discovery, and immediately found a kindred spirit. I hope you'll have as much fun listening to our conversation as I had participating in it.

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We covered:

  • the Zen of paying attention to your body while exercising
  • the joy of real athletic accomplishment vs the contrived metrics of the workplace
  • getting into running by losing a bet
  • how to compete with yourself
  • the difference between pain and damage
  • dialing in the right doses of stress and recovery
  • merging fitness and social science in his writing
  • the behavioral economics of fitness
  • how to harness the “fresh start effect” to launch a new habit
  • lessons from interviews with elite performers
    • having the courage to rest
    • developing a sense of purpose and meaning behind the work
    • focusing on one's area of expertise and not sweating the rest
    • exquisitely tuned self-awareness and self-honesty
  • dealing with the “Comfort is King” society (“you can't close your SUV trunk without pushing a button”)
  • the need to swim upstream against societal ease
  • parallels between running and writing (a lesson I'm still working on!)
  • sifting through the scientific research looking for truths (“there's so much bad reporting on the literature of human performance”)
  • his upcoming book
  • and much more…

Enjoy, add your voice to the conversation via the comment box below, and please share – that's how we spread our message and spread our roots.

Links

How Exercise Shapes You, Far Beyond the Gym,” New York Magazine

Brad's articles in New York magazine

@bstulberg – Brad on Twitter

BradleyStulberg.com – for comments, questions, compliments, and criticisms

Your Survival Instinct is Killing You, by Marc Schoen

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Music

The Plant Yourself Podcast theme music, “Dance of Peace (Sabali Don),” is generously provided by Will Ridenour, a kora player from North Carolina who has trained with top Senegalese musicians.

It can be found on his first CD, titled Will Ridenour.

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This podcast is not underwritten by advertising, so I can experience complete editorial autonomy without worrying about pissing off the person paying the bills. Instead, I pay the bills, with your help. It's free for those who can't afford to pay, and supported by those who can. You can contribute to the growth and improvement of the podcast by . Click the “Support on Patreon” or “Donate” buttons on the right to help out.

Music

The Plant Yourself Podcast theme music, “Dance of Peace (Sabali Don),” is generously provided by Will Ridenour, a kora player from North Carolina who has trained with top Senegalese musicians.

It can be found on his first CD, titled Will Ridenour.

You can learn about Will, listen to more tracks, and buy music on his website, WillRidenour.com.

Gratitudes

Thanks to Plant Yourself podcast patrons – Kim Harrison – Lynn McLellan – Brittany Porter – Dominic Marro – Barbara Whitney – Tammy Black – Amy Good – Amanda Hatherly – Mary Jane Wheeler – Ellen Kennelly – Melissa Cobb – Rachel Behrens – Tina Scharf – Tina Ahern – Jen Vilkinofsky – David Byczek – Michele X – Elspeth Feldman – Leah Stolar – Allan Kristensen – Colleen Peck – Michele Landry – Jozina – Sara Durkacs – Kelly Cameron – Janet Selby – Claire Adams – Tom Fronczak – Jeannette Benham – Gila Lacerte – David Donohue – Blair Seibert – Doron Avizov – Gio and Carolyn Argentati – Jodi Friesner – Mischa Rosen – Michael Worobiec – AvIvA Lael – Alicia Lemus – Val Linnemann – Nick Harper – Bandana Chawla – Molly Levine – The Inscrutable Harry R – Susan Laverty the Panda Vegan – Craig Covic – Adam Scharf – Karen Bury – Heather Morgan – Nigel Davies – Marian Blum – Teresa Kopel – Julian Watkins – Brid O'Connell – Shannon Herschman – Linda Ayotte – Holm Hedegaard – Isa Tousignant – Connie Haneline – Erin Greer – Alicia Davis – Heather O'Connor – Carollynne Jensen – Sheri Orlekoski of Plant Powered for Health – Karen Smith – Scott Mirani – Karen and Joe Crabtree – Kirby Burton – Theresa Carrell – Kevin Macaulay – Elizabeth Rothschild – Ann Jesse – Sheryl Dwyer – Jenny Hazelton – Peter W Evans – Dennis Bird – Darby Kelly – Lori Fanney – Linnea Lundquist – Emily Iaconelli – Levi Wallach – Rosamonde McAtee – Dan Pokorney – Stephen Leinin – Patty DeMartino – Mike and Donna Kartz – Deanne Bishop – Bilberry Elf – Marjorie Lewis – Tricia Adams – Nancy Sheldon – Lindsey Bashore – Gunn Marit Hagen – Tracey Gulledge – Lara Hedin – Meg from Mamasezz – Stacey Stokes – Ben Savage – Michael K – David Hughes -Coni Rodgers – Claire England – Sally Robertson – Parham Ganchi – Amy Dailey – Brian Tourville – Mark Jeffrey Johnson – Josie Dempsey – Caryn Schmitt – Pamela Hayden – Emily Perryman – Allison Corbett – Richard Stone – Lauren Vaught of Edible Musings – Erin Hastey – Sean Owens – Sagar Naik – Erika Piedra – Danielle Roberts – Michael Leuchten – Sarah Johnson – Katharine Floyd – Meryl Fury – for your generous support of the podcast.

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