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Insights From Arnold Schwarzenegger (Breather Episode with Brad)

By Brad Kearns

I’m rapping again like I do on the Primal Endurance podcast! Horrors or cheers? Send your commentary to getoveryourselfpodcast@gmail.com. In this episode, I talk about the often forgotten negative aspects of fast-paced modern life: burnout. Regarding my show about maintaining competitive intensity throughout life and how valuable that is, there is a flip side where an overly intense approach can lead to breakdown and burnout. My old friend Johnny G, fitness celebrity who invented indoor group cycling with his Spinning program in 1995 and finisher of the nonstop bicycle Race Across America in 1989, likes to say that, “only things that are natural and easy to maintain are healthy.”  If you enjoyed my show with Dr. Peter Attia, you can reflect on an interesting insight that on the heels of his three-year experiment with strict nutritional ketosis (and 24/7 glucose monitor implanted into his abdomen to generate smartphone app readout.) It’s cool to pursue crazy and extreme goals as I did when I was a professional triathlete, for growth experiences are generated when you push yourself beyond your existing comfort zone and test out the limits of your physical or cognitive abilities. However, you must implement a sensible approach that is aligned with your current age and lifestyle circumstances. Over your lifetime, it’s best to continually recalibrate your goals to keep things fresh and healthy and avoid getting into ruts or burnout situations when your life gets out of balance. People ask me all the time, “do you still do triathlons, just for fun?” No, I’ve been there and done that and   I share an epic quote from Arnold Schwarzenegger that I clipped from a bodybuilding magazine 23 years ago (while working with muscleheads at a bodybuilding supplement company, trying to convince endurance athlete to pound the same powder and recover faster.) Arnold was asked in this magazine interview if he ever yearned for the days when he was back on stage, oiled up, the most muscular man in the world? “No.” was his answer! He elaborated that because he was a healthy man, he is able to grow more easily through the various stages of life. Obviously, in his case, pursuing a succession of daunting goals like becoming a movie star (with a crippling accent that they tried to choke out of him at first), and then to enter politics in a major way when he served as the Governor of California.   I have thought about this quote frequently over the past couple of decades, as I have continually recalibrated my goals as a parent, athlete, and career person to keep things fresh and exciting and healthy. That said, is there a risk of burnout when you plunge deep into peak performance goals while you are trying to manage assorted other responsibilities of daily life, and also counting the decades going by. Indeed there is, and we must be realistic with our goals and daily routines to make sure they support health and longevity, but keep us feeling fresh and energized and competitive in a healthy sense.  

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