How can athletes train for maximum performance and joy? 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." It’s an enjoyable reading experience that will inspire athletes in every sport. The Joyful Athlete answers the most basic question every athlete faces: "How can I be successful and enjoy my training too?"
- Based on scientific research, the experiences of elite runners, traditional training methods, and stories of athletes' experiences, this book clearly establishes the precedence of an expansive heart in harvesting power and joy from exercise and from all that we do. (Michael Holland, former Stanford University specialty coach for flexibility, strength, speed, power, and nutrition)
- George Beinhorn and I have independently concluded that success in training (and life) comes from listening to your body and mind and finding your own ever-changing path to self-actualization. Eloquent and expansive in his exposition, Beinhorn has written an exceptional book for fitness-minded individuals of every persuasion. (Clarence Bass, two-times Mr. America in his height/age class; author of RIPPED and Take Charge: Fitness at the Edge of Science July 2014)
- Beyond being a wonderful book, this is a doorway to new ways of training that can help us find joy. It’s entertaining, readable, and the author writes beautifully. There are lots of people who could benefit from this information, but they won’t find it anywhere else. I deeply enjoyed The Joyful Athlete. (John Smallen, marathon PR 2:37, 50 miles sub-7:00 March 2015)
- Your book is tremendous. It has powerfully influenced my own practice, and I am recommending it to all my coaches plus our students in our Level 2 Precision Nutrition certification as part of a ‘bodymind’ curriculum unit. (Krista Scott-Dixon, founder of Stumptuous.com)
- Since reading The Joyful Athlete, my daily aerobic exercise has become more interesting and rewarding on levels that go far beyond the body. This book showed me undreamed-of ways to get my mind, body, and spirit exercising in harmony. I believe it will help many people, and it’s extremely well-written and enjoyable to read. (Asha Praver, recreational swimmer, inspirational speaker, author of "Loved and Protected")
- Whether you’re an elite athlete or a sedentary person who never exercises, you’ll find this book wonderfully readable, earthy, and inspiring. As I read, I thought over and over that it’s a book about much more than sports and exercise. It’s about ways of having a happier life in whatever we do—as parents, partners, and business leaders. I’m not an athlete—my ‘sport’ is walking with friends. Yet I particularly enjoyed the parts of the book about following our hearts, and balancing logic and reason by listening to our calm, intuitive feelings. Every page had useful insights that inspired me. (Kristina Stone)