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The All Things Risk Podcast

The All Things Risk podcast explores the themes of risk, uncertainty and resilience as applied to sports, the arts, current affairs and just about any other domain. We feature long-form conversations with interesting guests who have loads of fascinating stories, tips and tools.
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May 19, 2019

What are the limits to human performance? This episode is all about that. It’s not an easy question to answer. As you’ll hear, those limits are elastic – and they are about the body and the mind. 

My guest is Alex Hutchinson. Alex is an award-winning journalist and author. He has a regular column in Outside magazine. His most recent book Endure: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance is amazing. This is a book that among other things, explores the relationship between the mind and body in athletic performance. In reading it, I came away with not only a greater understanding of the research into athletic endurance, but with a far greater appreciation for the interaction between mind and body than I ever had before.

And, when we think about uncertainty, one of the biggest uncertainties we have is in knowing the limits to our physical performance as humans – and how these limits may have been set by our own minds.

This is an amazing conversation. In it, we cover:

  • The background to Endure which includes a great story by Alex;
  • The role of perceived effort;
  • The “Central Governor Theory”;
  • Pacing and risk;
  • Belief;
  • Oxygen and breath;
  • Mental fatigue
  • Tons more!

 Show notes:

Alex’s website

Alex on Twitter

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

Alex’s column in Outside Online

Tim Noakes

Jens Voigt

Samuele Marcora

Nike’s Breaking 2 project

Loss aversion

Erick Wainaina

Freediving

Alex’s New Yorker article on Brandon Hendrickson and extreme breath holding

Wim Hof

Good to Go by Christie Aschwanden

Roger Bannister

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