Alex Hutchinson on Developing the Power to Endure

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If you can’t endure discomfort, you’re not going to make it very far in your training, not to mention your life.

Lifting weights is hard. Doing HIIT is hard. Stick to a diet is hard. Learning valuable skills is hard. Burning the midnight oil at work is hard. Overcoming setbacks is hard.

What’s more, willpower and motivation are notoriously fickle, and when they’re at a low ebb due to poor sleep, stress, angst, or whatever else get us down some days, everything only gets harder.

That’s why it’s often the ability to endure that separates the successful from the unsuccessful in just about every arena of life, not just athletics

Now, endurance can be defined in many ways, but my guest Alex Hutchinson has an elegant one: the strength to continue despite an increasing desire to stop.

Even if you aren’t an endurance athlete (I’m not), understanding how people find the physical and mental stamina and grit to finish marathons and other even more extreme endurance events can help you reach more of your own finish lines, inside and outside of the gym. 

In fact, one of the reasons so many people enjoy endurance exercise is because of how it empowers them to struggle through hardship of any kind.

All of this is why I invited accomplished endurance athlete, writer, and researcher Alex Hutchinson back on the show

In case you’re not familiar with Alex, he’s a New York Times bestselling author of several books including his most recent, Endure, as well as an award-winning science journalist and former physicist and national-class runner.

And in this interview, he shares many of the insights he gleaned from researching and writing his book Endure, including how the brain influences our physical and mental limits, how elite athletes are able to exceed these limits, how to “recharge” after intense effort, and more. 

Let’s get to it. 

Timestamps:

5:49 – Can a mother lift a car to save her baby? 

12:54 – How is our performance limited by our brain? 

15:46 – What are some of the reasons the brain limits itself? 

21:13 – What are some ways that elite athletes are able to exceed brain limitations? 

25:41 – Does enduring physical pain improve your ability to push through discomfort in other areas of your life? 

31:32 – What are some strategies to recharge between mentally demanding tasks? 

50:02 – Does incorporating fun into your life improve sleep and decrease anxiety? 

Mentioned on The Show: 

Shop Legion Supplements Here

Alex’s Website

Alex’s Twitter

Alex’s Book: Endure

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What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!

 

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Mike Matthews is a bestselling fitness author of Bigger Leaner Stronger, Thinner Leaner Stronger, and The Shredded Chef, as well the founder of Legion Athletics.

His simple and science-based approach to building muscle, losing fat, and getting healthy has sold over a million books and helped thousands of people build their best bodies ever, and his work has been featured in many popular outlets including Esquire, Men’s Health, Elle, Women’s Health, Muscle & Strength, and more, as well as on FOX and ABC.

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