Welcome to April’s Athletic Bookworm pick! This month, we’re all about the brain, and reading Mind Gym: An Athlete’s Guide to Inner Excellence. My teammate Christin (ahem, check out our crit team here!) recommended it and I immediately picked it up. Because honestly, what I need right now is a mental boost—across all areas of my life, but especially in sport.
In Mind Gym, noted sports psychology consultant Gary Mack explains how your mind influences your performance on the field or on the court as much as your physical skill does, if not more so. Through forty accessible lessons and inspirational anecdotes from prominent athletes–many of whom he has worked with–you will learn the same techniques and exercises Mack uses to help elite athletes build mental “muscle.” Mind Gym will give you the “head edge” over the competition.
Conveniently, I was just on a bikepacking trip that renewed my stoke in cycling by 200 percent. So this was a great time to start reading something that would get me inspired. My racing in general over the years has been a bit challenging: I’m actually uber competitive, so racing anything that isn’t pure endurance and involves sprinting can be weirdly challenging for me because I’m so results-focused that a result in a bunch sprint can be tough, especially as someone who has a lot of fear around group sprints. You’ll notice I’ve shifted to a lot more solo sports in recent years, from Xterra to Ironman—all grueling physically, and all pushed me in different ways, but rarely do those races require my top end. I’ve shied away from things like 5Ks and crits that require explosive power because to me, that’s a lot harder than getting through an Ironman. Seriously.
But this summer, I’m challenging myself by jumping back into crits with a rad crew of ladies (more on that later this week!) and adding in some ultra-endurance stuff for fun. So, Mind Gym is going to be a great read as we head into the season and I try to rev up my body and my brain for some actual competition against people, not just against a clock. I’m psyched.
Who’s with me on this month’s read?
Get it here: Mind Gym: An Athlete’s Guide to Inner Excellence