The Joyful Athlete
How can athletes train for maximum performance and joy? The Joyful Athlete reveals how anyone can learn to "listen to the body" and exercise in harmony with its ever-changing needs. With research and stories of elite athletes, The Joyful Athlete tells the joyful "inside story" of sports and exercise.
The Joyful Athlete shares the findings of a veteran runner who worked as an editor at Runner’s World and has raced at distances from 100 yards to 100K (62.2 miles). After receiving a master’s degree from Stanford University, author George Beinhorn was paralyzed from the chest down for three years. No sooner had he recovered than a spiritual teacher urged him to start running—there would be no time for self-pity.
For the next 40 years, he researched ways to make training both scientific and personally rewarding. Studying the careers of hundreds of athletes, he found that the most successful shared two qualities. First, they were expansive—they had a positive outlook and exceptional energy. And they practiced “feeling-based training”—they had an uncanny ability to understand the signals their bodies were sending.
Athletes in our western culture have been obsessed with numbers. The assumption is that by analyzing our training rationally, we’ll be able to achieve more consistent results and get the most enjoyment.
In practice, this premise hasn‘t worked out very well. Athletes from cultures where intuition is honored, notably elite runners from East Africa, continue to dominate. That’s because sports training isn’t about “running the numbers.” It’s about working with the individual body that we must train with, and whose needs change continually.
The Joyful Athlete tells a riveting story of groundbreaking research that reveals why our bodies thrive when we cultivate expansive thoughts and feelings, and how scores of athletes at all levels have found success by “feeling-based training.”
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