Mindful Living – Exercise Physiology and How it Affects Leadership

In the new year we started with our guest Michael Tompkins who is the visionary CEO of Miraval. We have continued to build on that momentum throughout the year with guests from Miraval. Today will be a fantastic show bringing you again, another expert from Michael Tompkins’ organization, Andrew Wolf. We are going to talk about the latest secrets from Mindful Living based on the groundbreaking book of many of the experts that have been with us on the show.

Andrew Wolf is an exercise physiologist. Andrew earned his Masters degree at the Human Performance Labs in Austin. Andrew specializes in wolf, andrewexercise performance enhancement as well as diabetes treatment and prevention through enhanced metabolic function. Andrew’s expertise can help you gain a deeper understanding on how your fitness level may be impeding or aiding in the prevention of some of today’s most common and preventable diseases.

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: Andrew can you talk about how your work was incorporated into the Mindful Living experience?

Andrew Wolf: My chapter in the book is the January chapter. I think I was brought in as a sort of new beginning—the idea that a lot of us go into the new year knowing that we are doing our best to be present with our families, be present and productive at our jobs, but a lot of us go into the new year knowing that we are kind of allowing our physiology to decay a little bit at the expense being successful in other places.

I think the January designation for me just made a lot of sense. The idea that, okay, it’s a new year, hopefully let’s start crafting a new me. So therefore, the foundational piece of that is having my physiology in good repair. Without that foundational piece in place, it’s awfully, awfully difficult for your brain to work exactly the way it should. To me it really comes down to this idea of self efficacy. The idea that my body, my brain, my personality, my skill set, is really up to the task.

When you start to lose faith in that self efficacy, that notion that, okay, I’m up to this test, I’m capable, I can do this—I think that is when things start to get a little shaky. So for me, as much as sport performance may not seem to integrate into the idea of performing well in the workplace, to me it’s an integral piece of that. I think that is why having me in that January slot in the Mindful Living book was key.

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: Michael, I would love to know how you put together the book, Mindful Living, which is so powerful. How did you put together the months of the year in the order you did with the experts that you have?

Michael Tompkins: Mindful Living was really brought together through the concept of mindfulness. Mindfulness is the ability to live in the present. For us as we were looking at it, we wanted to give people simple tools that could help someone remain focused, calm, and capable of making decisions that would lead to a better life.

It also happened to give you your best opportunity for leadership skills as well. What we did was we started with the concept of Mind—Body—Spirit and combined those things, those three fundamentals with modalities that support enhancing those both individually and collectively within a human being.

Dr. Relly Nadler: Andrew, tell us a little bit about exercise physiology, what is it and how does this kind of training give insight into the topic?

Andrew Wolf: Well exercise physiology, it’s interesting, I think to this day my mother believes I’m a physical therapist; the field definitely requires clarification. Actually, interestingly enough, the field of exercise physiology and the field of exercise research, believe it or not, started in the Harvard Fatigue Lab as part of the Harvard Business School. They were looking at human efficiency in the workplace. At that time with the industrial revolution in full swing, they were looking at how can we make it so people who work on an assembly line are maximally efficient before things go south and people end up getting injured or something or overworked. So, from the get-go, believe it or not, exercise physiology had it’s tendrils in the business world; it’s genesis in the business world. From there it evolved into basically the study of the human body under stress conditions.

Dr. Cathy Greenberg:  What do you mean by success, survival strategy and what would you do with somebody like me who is such a high performer who thinks they are eating well, who doesn’t do carbs, and goes to the gym, but then doesn’t get anywhere.

Andrew Wolf: I think partially in the context of human physiology, you have to think about how quickly things are going to happen, especially when it comes to weight. When I’m looking at weight I try to think of things less in human terms and more in geologic terms.

Basically, and I think we all kind of know this intuitively, it’s when you are trying to make a change within yourself, the big thing is to break it up into as small a component as is humanly possible and integrate those little by little as painlessly as humanly possible, so it becomes more of a lifestyle alteration and less of you superimposing some sort of bazaar regiment on yourself that is just not going to last. People put themselves in a position where they work really hard, they are sore as the day is long, they feel an absolute sense of deprivation. It doesn’t really matter how hard you work. Over a two week period of time not much changes, so ease of the throttle a little bit. Make it less about another stressor in your life and just be patient with the fact that it might take a little bit longer. Understanding that the longer you take to get there the more likely you are to live there.

Learn about interval training and what Andrew suggests. What is the stimulus for change? Learn more about executive mental capacity, brain power, neuroscience, and exercise physiologies. Get more tips from Andrew and find out about our premiere Mindfulness Mastermind at the Miraval, all based on Mindful Living. Listen to the complete recording of our discussion with Michael and Andrew of Miraval, above.

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