GAINcast Episode 243: Keep it simple (with Dr. Michael Joyner)

Looking back on successful people, coaches, training programs, and processes, one thing keeps showing up over and over: simplicity. Dr. Michael Joyner has wide-ranging experience at the forefront of medicine, research, public health, elite performance, and coaching. Across these domains he keeps seeing the reductionists move ahead. On this week’s GAINcast he shares examples of how simple approaches can be effective when it comes to planning, data collection, performance models, load management, and much more.

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Notes and quotes

Dr. Michael Joyner is an anesthesiologist and physiologist at the Mayo Clinic. He is one of world’s leading authorities on the limits of human performance and also the lead researcher for clinic’s convalescent plasma therapy program.

  • 0:00 – Introduction
  • 2:15 – The human performance model applied to medicine: “Parts of medicine look like an industrial activity where you can go from A to B, but it’s not. You need a performance mindset where you think of yourself as a performer.”
  • 4:45 – Measuring training: “4 rules for when to think about measuring in training: Is it meaningful? Is it measurable? Is it actionable? Is it durable?” “We have to think about the tension between more information and less information. What is your bandwidth? Is it better to do 3 things well, or 30 things poorly? If we do a few things well, we’ll also be able to fall back on them in stressful situations.”
  • 8:30 – The javelin clap story.
  • 11:15 – Cross-discipline learning and reductionist approaches. “As Antoine de Saint-Exupery said: Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”
  • 19:30 – Beyond the ‘more is better’ mindset.
  • 22:30 – Remembering active rest and making your hard days hard and easy days easy.
  • 25:30 – The psychological side of coaching: “Master coaches set themselves apart by their ability to navigate the psychology of their athletes.”
  • 30:30 – Moving beyond formulaic thinking: “Science is not technology or a formula. Science is a structured form of inquiry. It is a way of gaining insights into the unknown.” “We seek an answer, but when we are dealing with uncertainty we might not get an answer. It could just be shedding a little light. Life is full of ambiguity, we need to embrace it not eliminate it.”
  • 37:15 – Load management and educating athletes to know themselves: “Sometimes with load management we’re talking the athletes into being tired.”
  • 43:30 – Creating a good training environment, training group chemistry, etc.
  • 48:15 – Lessons from Jack Daniels and Jack Nicklaus: “What is the purpose of this workout? If you can’t explain it to yourself then you need to think again.”

To hear more about these topics you can listen to the full episode above. If you like what you hear on the GAINcast, don’t forget to give us a review and subscribe on iTunes.

Further reading

The following links were referenced in the podcast or provide some additional reading material on the topic: