It’s Sunday! And there’s a blog…it feels like the stars are becoming ‘slightly’ aligned! To be fair I did publish last week – but it just doesn’t seem the same on a SATURDAY! Anyway, thanks once again to everyone who made their way down to train with us last week – we all really appreciate it. I did want to make a special mention to the Ladies Lifting crew – 7pm on a Tuesday – who are absolutely killing it. It’s so great to see all the support they give one another…just a great environment to train in.
I’ve been reading again. One of my favorite “fitness” sites is called “The Growth Equation” – they have a great blog, podcast etc – and the guys behind the site (Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness) have published a few different books either co-authored or independently written. Anyway, I’ve had one of their books – “Peak Performance: Elevate your game, Avoid Burnout and Thrive with the new Science of Success” – on my Kindle for a few years now but somehow have never ‘quite’ gotten around to reading it. One of the guys on the site (Brad Stulberg) has recently released a new book (‘Master of Change’) and when I was hovering over the ‘buy now’ button I realised that rather than just probably buy NEW books I should probably read the ones I have already paid for first! Radical idea I know.
What’s the book about???
First off: “Peak Performance: Elevate Your Game, Avoid Burnout, and Thrive with the New Science of Success” – What a TITLE!! It’s certainly ambitious and (to me at least) a little intimidating. I guess one of the reasons I had put off reading it was that last ‘part’ of the title – ‘…with the new science of success’ – just sounds like it might be a bit ‘much’…anyway, I’m happy to say it was a super-engaging read and their use of real life examples with ‘human connections’ vs ‘science speak’ to provide insight was great…it was an easy read and very enjoyable.
The Growth-Rest Cycle: Balancing Stress and Recovery
One of the core concepts emphasized in “Peak Performance” is the importance of balancing stress and recovery to optimize performance. With the speed the world moves today, so many of us often fall into the trap of constantly pushing themselves to ‘do more’ – allowing no time for rest (physical AND mental) which in turn leads to burnout and diminished performance over time. The book introduces the “growth-rest cycle” principle, which highlights the significance of oscillating between intense efforts and periods of rest and recovery.
Research suggests that pushing yourself beyond your limits without adequate recovery can lead to physical and mental fatigue, increasing the risk of injury and performance decline. By planning and incorporating DELIBERATE rest and recovery into your routine, you can recharge your body and mind, leading to improved overall performance and well-being. What does that mean? Well, it might mean taking a ‘disconnected’ holiday where you are away from stress and devices for an extended period of time…it might ALSO mean finding time to meditate in the afternoon to recharge for the afternoon.
The Power of Purpose
Having a ‘WHY’ was one of the things that had me constantly nodding my head in agreement – but the key is to have a ‘WHY’ or ‘Purpose’ that is genuine and meaningful. To me, it is like the conversation when someone has an intrinsic driver to come along to the gym – “It’s my sister’s wedding in 3-months and I want to look my best in the photos” vs “My partner told me I need to come”….The book takes the ‘WHY’ a lot further though with Stulberg and Magness arguing that understanding your “why” is just one part of it – making sure it aligns with your values is what significantly enhances your ability to stay focused, dedicated, and resilient throughout your fitness journey. Example? Well, I always come back to the people who have a core belief that they are fit + healthy people – they see themselves as active and strong – always have a better chance of ‘sticking it out’ than others who – at the base level – picture themselves as ‘no good’ at anything physical…people who see themselves as ‘no good’ or ‘uncoordinated’ are always expecting themselves to fail – therefore when they do (and it is inevitable for EVERYONE on some level regardless of your ‘mental model’) rather than look to fight through it, instead they ‘happily’ give in and use the experience as yet another brick in their mental image of themselves that says “I’m no good at ‘that’ type of stuff”.
Having a purpose provides intrinsic motivation, making it easier to navigate challenges and setbacks. When your actions are driven by a deeper sense of meaning, you are more likely to maintain consistency and perseverance, even when the going gets tough. This purpose-driven mindset helps you remain passionate about your fitness goals, which ultimately leads to greater success.
Embracing Discomfort and Challenges
The authors challenge readers to embrace discomfort and view challenges as opportunities for growth. Stepping out of your comfort zone and willingly facing adversity is essential for pushing your limits and discovering your true potential.
What does that mean for us at the gym? Well – just making small changes to push yourself beyond your perceived capabilities can lead to breakthroughs and significant progress. By incorporating new training techniques, trying different workouts (I blogged about this here: https://round1fitness.com.au/the-next-step-is-bigbut-its-the-one-you-need-to-take/) – or, for anyone reading this just ‘thinking’ about getting started – simply by taking up a challenging fitness regimen, you can develop mental resilience and adaptability the benefits of which will extend well beyond the walls of the gym. I mean, I 100% believe this last part – having a strong ‘physical’ challenge as part of your everyday life simply helps you ‘FEEL’ better and gives you a confidence to overcome that flows through to work, family, etc.
Growth Mindset and Learning from Failure
Having a growth mindset is almost a cliche in 2023 so I am a bit hesitant to comment too much here. I really liked the commentary Stulberg and Magness provided though around the importance of viewing failures and setbacks as opportunities to learn and grow, rather than as indicators of inadequacy.
In the context of fitness, most discussion of experiencing setbacks seems to focus on topics such as plateauing in progress or even getting injured – essentially situations where things are going great, then you get ‘bumped off course’ and become discouraged.
It’s funny though – most of my experience around setbacks experienced by members at Round 1 has NOTHING to do with those things. In fact, I would go so far to say that people at Round 1 aren’t too concerned about failing when they try and pick up a heavier barbell…they understand it’s a journey and they’ll “get it next time”. The failures ‘most’ people battle with relate to falling out of their training groove, missing a few sessions which turn into missing a few weeks of sessions and ‘repeating’ the cycle of failure that – to them – has been happening ‘forever’. I’m sure we have all experienced it. Things are going great, 3x sessions per week, every week. Then work gets crazy for a couple of weeks and bumps us out of our groove. This is followed by a couple of weeks of illness…then 5-weeks has gone by and instead of 3x sessions each week you have done 1x session in 5-weeks. And because your mind is telling you that ‘this ALWAYS happens – it’s me, I’m no good, I always quit…I mean, I don’t REALLY have time I guess I should just quit’, well…that’s exactly what happens.
Don’t get me wrong, I totally understand the authors point that if those people ‘thrown off course’ as I outlined above were able to adopt a ‘TRUE’ growth-oriented mindset, then they would be able to reframe the challenge of work and sickness and – well, the rhythms of life! – as stepping stones towards ultimate success…but at the same time, I think that’s really hard to do independently when we are talking about ‘intangible’ problems! I guess a growth mindset would allow you to seek guidance and adjust your approach in order to be successful…I just wonder how many people who feel they are on a pathway of repeated failure in terms of their gym attendance/training/diet cycling will be able to do that??? If anyone out there thinks they are, well, I’m always here and ready to try and help you! ????
Practical Strategies for Peak Performance
“Peak Performance” offers a heap of practical strategies and techniques to integrate the principles of growth, purpose, and recovery into a both fitness routines and daily lives. I have tried to finish this off with a bit of a summary guide as to why you might find the book interesting and why I think you should read it.
|Establishing Effective Habits||Pretty simple one – creating consistent, positive habits is crucial for maintaining peak performance. For us ‘normal’ people, this means sticking to a regular workout schedule, prioritizing sleep, practicing mindfulness, eating WELL and developing habits that align with your goals is what leads to sustained success.|
|Managing Stress:||Chronic stress can negatively impact both physical and mental performance. The book provides tools and techniques for managing stress effectively, such as mindfulness practices, meditation, and finding moments of stillness throughout the day. I know my morning Yoga stuff really helps me in this area – Yoga mornings, train at lunch time…two times every day where I have to focus INTERNALLY rather than worry about external things I can’t immediately control and influence!|
|Optimizing Recovery||Recovery is a critical aspect of peak performance. The authors explore various recovery strategies, including nutrition, sleep, and relaxation techniques, to ensure that your body and mind are adequately rejuvenated for optimal performance. I really liked the way they slid nutrition into the ‘RECOVERY’ section…makes a lot of sense to think about food as ‘things to make my body/mind feel better’ vs ‘stuff that I want cos it tastes good’.|
|Avoiding Overtraining||Overtraining can lead to burnout and hinder progress. “Peak Performance” highlights the importance of listening to your body and recognizing the signs of overtraining to prevent long-term setbacks. I still think it’s hard to over-train doing 1x 45-minute session per day – but that said, I will continue to recommend that|
So – I finally got around to reading “Peak Performance,”. In this great book by the guys behind ‘The Growth Equation’, Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness offer a comprehensive guide to achieving and sustaining peak performance in fitness and connecting it to various other areas of life. When I started I was nervous that the ‘science of success’ part of the title would mean this was one of those ‘heavy’ reads…I don’t mind books like that but they are 100% hard to read in bed at the end of the day – in any case, it isn’t really like that at all and uses a heap of real life examples to keep the ‘story’ moving.
To me, the book does a great job of explaining the science-backed principles in a real world way and provides you with concrete details of how to incorporate them into your lifestyle – and it does get you excited about how by making a few pretty simple changes (simple for most people already getting to the gym 3x each week in any case) you can elevate your performance, avoid burnout, and really thrive and progress.
I found the book had great relevance for my life coaching both at the gym and at footy where I’m dealing with 17/18 yo’s on more of a ‘elite athlete’ track – as well as my own gym life. To me, “Peak Performance” provides valuable insights and practical advice for unlocking your potential and – by making a few simple changes particularly around mindset and recovery – adding an element of ‘high-performance’ to an everyday life.
That’s it – let’s get cracking into the new week!
See you in the gym,
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