How Leadership Can Be Improved With Endurance Training - Understanding The Psychophysiological Factors That Intertwine

How Leadership Can Be Improved With Endurance Training - Understanding The Psychophysiological Factors That Intertwine

About 5 years ago, I began to see a problem with Leadership Programs that Existed at the time.

It started with the statistic that 80% of Leadership Development Programs Failed to have any Impact, with "Limited Success" the rest of the time.

I dove into how a $350 Billion Industry could so Catastrophically Fail the people it claimed to help.

As I went further, I saw that the Problem had to do with the difference between Leadership Skills and Leadership Psychophysiology.

Leaders Were Not Failing because they lacked the Motivation, or the Skills, or the EQ, or the IQ to Succeed.

In Fact, most Leaders had a fair dose of all of these, yet were still Completely Ineffective.

What kept getting in their way was their Psychophysiology that underpinned all of these Aspects to Success, and more.

This has become even more apparent in recent times as Burnout has grown into the Largest Problem that Leaders currently face.

When you look to Understand Burnout at a Deep Level, you begin to see that Burnout is an Energy (Mg-ATP) Problem that is Caused by Chronic Dis-Stress and Stress Damage (Oxidative Stress).

If you Fix the Energy (Mg-ATP) Problem, you can Improve Your Leadership Capacity, even without ever gaining the Skills that are taught so frequently.

So then the question is, what can you do to Aid in the Energy Problem?

Well, in my Research and in Developing Myself, I have found that Endurance Training can be an Incredible Tool.

Now, why is this?

There are a few factors that are involved.

However, my first disclaimer is that I am "Not" Recommending that you just start trying to run for 100 Miles Straight starting tomorrow.

That is a surefire way to Injure Yourself and make your already Terible Situation as a Leader Even Worse.

There are specific Training Factors involved in Properly getting ready for Endurance Events that are Extremely Useful for Leaders.

The first of which is that True Endurance Racing forces your body to become more Efficient at using Fat for Fuel instead of Carbohydrates.

See, when you study Nutrition, you know there are 3 Primary Macronutrients: Carbohydrates, Fat, and Protein.

Our bodies can "technically" use all three of these to create Energy (Mg-ATP), but there are tradeoffs.

Carbohydrates can produce Energy Quickly, but they are not the most Energy Efficient way to accomplish this, and we can only Store a Limited Amount.

Fat is slower to produce Energy than Carbohydrates, but are Both Significantly More Energy Efficient and Burn More Cleanly (aka Less Oxidative Stress/Stress Damage).

Protein is really best for Rebuilding the Body, and should only be used to Produce Energy (Mg-ATP) as a Last Resort in Starvation Situations, so we won't Focus on this one.

Now, what does this have to do with Leadership?

Well, a lot actually.

Most people today are Over-Reliant on Carbohydrates for Energy Creation, which puts them at a Major Disadvantage.

If you are Forced to use Carbohydrates for even the most Menial of Tasks (as is the case for most Leaders and Employees today), then you will "Always" hit a Wall with how much Carbohydrates you can Store.

Plus, if you have to use Carbohydrates for Menial Tasks, you will have Fewer (or None!) for the Tough Tasks of Life.

Then, when the Tough Tasks Inevitably Come (as Leaders Must Face), you have Fewer Carbohydrates in Storage to Utilize, will Burn through them Significantly Faster, and it is Impossible to Intake Enough Carbohydrates to keep up.

So a great Solution to this Problem is to Teach your Body to use Fat for Most (if not All) tasks required of you.

If your Body switches to Primarily Fat Burning, not only is there going to be Less Stress Damage (Oxidative Stress) over time, but You will also have More Carbohydrates for Truly Tough Tasks and those Tasks will utilize Fewer Carbohydrates.

This means you could Effectively Handle More Tough Tasks!

This is something that can be accomplished through Endurance Training and is known as "Glycogen Sparing".

Essentially, you begin to Train your body to switch more to Fat Burning Systems and teach it to do this at higher and higher levels.

For me, I have trained my body to do Sub-10 Minute Miles at my Fat Burning Zone (Calculated through Heart Rate during Endurance Running).

If I can use mostly Fat while Running Multiple 10 Minute Miles, imagine how Few Carbohydrates I need to Sustain Running my Business.

However, there are still more Benefits.

One of the things about properly Training Endurance is that it can help you produce More Mg-ATP, Faster.

Now, if we go back to Burnout, one of the Challenges that exist with that is that you are not producing Enough Energy (Mg-ATP) to meet the Demands of your Stressors.

You are running on an Energy Deficit that leads to your Stressors literally Tearing your Body Apart.

So, if you can find ways to Increase the amount of Energy (Mg-ATP) that you create, then it will directly combat Burnout.

When you do Endurance Training, it can create More and Bigger Mitochondria in your body.

Now, Mitochondria are "what" actually Generates the Energy.

If you have More Mitochondria, and they are Bigger, then you are going to have more Energy Production.

On top of this, your body will build more capillaries that transport oxygen, nutrients, and metabolites.

Essentially, what this is doing is making it Easier for your Body to get the Proper Nutrients for Energy Production to the Correct Places, Faster, and More Efficiently.

Essentially, you're using Less Energy for More Health.

Less Energy Spent transporting Nutrients means More Energy can be Diverted to more Difficult Tasks.

Then, with all of this, your body can also produce more Enzymes which Unlock More Mg-ATP Production through Endurance Training.

Essentially, your Mg-ATP production will be Limited by your body's ability to Produce Enzymes, but that Limiter becomes Erased with Endurance Training.

All of this means that not only are you using more Efficient Fat Burning Processes, but you are also Significantly Increasing Available Energy.

Let us next look at another Important Topic within this Conversation.

All Stress Adds.

What this means is that all of the Stressors we have in our Lives add together toward what is known as your Stress Threshold, or how much Stress you can handle at one moment.

Something very interesting about Endurance Training is "how" it can Impact Overall Stressors.

To begin, All Exercise is a Stressor.

From a Walk to Pulling Semi-Trucks by Your Teeth.

No matter what type of Exercise you do, it will be a Form of Stressor.

Now, in Burnout, part of the Problem is that you have too many Simultaneous Stressors occurring, which puts you over the Stress Threshold.

Now, if you add something like HIIT Exercises on top of your Burnout, you are more likely to make your Burnout Worse.

However, when you properly do Endurance Training, it is Significantly Less of a Physical Stressor than other forms of Exercise.

Generally, in Endurance Training, most is done below a certain Heart Rate.

As you Improve your Endurance, you can go Further and Faster, but at the Same Low Heart Rate!

This then becomes mixed with a few other Benefits.

During Running, especially Endurance Running, there are some "Feel-Good" Neurochemicals that are produced which make us "Feel-Good".

They directly Lower other Stressors - Especially Mental and Emotional Stressors.

This can then turn Endurance Training from a "Stressor" to a form of "Active Recovery" which helps the body De-Stress overall and Recover Energy (Mg-ATP) for other things.

"Technically" it is still a Stressor, but when it comes to your Stress Threshold it will Lower "Total" Stressors to Below the Threshold.

This makes it much Easier for your Body to turn into a Habit than other forms of Exercise, leading to Further Energy Efficiencies.

If you are "Really" Training Endurance properly, you can also

  • Fix your Body Structure (Improper Body Structure is a Stressor itself)

  • Positively Activate the Nervous System (Creating a Calming Effect)

  • Improve Breathing

All of these combined Remove Huge Levels of Stressors that affect Most People.

One Final Amazing thing that goes with this is a common Fear that people have around this topic.

Many people are Afraid of going Long Distances, either due to Challenges they have had in the past, or from never having done it before.

However, as Humans, we are Designed by Nature to Run Long Distances!

There is an Amazing Book called, "Born to Run" that goes more deeply into this topic, but regardless of our Build, we are Designed for Long Distance Running.

The 2 Biggest things that get in the way of what we were Designed For are Improper Footwear and Deconditioned Form.

The Amazing thing is that both of these can be Easily Remedied!

How do I know?

I am a Distance Runner who has Injured myself, Both due to Improper Form and Incorrect Footwear!

However, I have worked on it, and today because of Running, my "Fitness Age" is 19.5, and I Regularly Run Barefoot on Sidewalks and Blacktop, multiple miles per day.

All without Injury.

I can also tell you that my VO2 Max (a Runner's Sign of Health) is Superior for my Age Group, and my Devices regularly tell me that my Stress Levels are Low.

So Low, in fact, that my average Amount of Stress is less than 1 Hour per Day, in Total.

That doesn't mean that I don't have Stressors, because trust me, I have Plenty.

What it does mean though is that my Body is Better Equipped to Handle the Stressors, and my Stress Threshold is Significantly Higher.

This also means that I have the further Ability to Regularly get into Flow States.

In Flow, we are more Innovative, have better Problem Solving, and are More Productive.

This means that I get More Work Accomplished, in Less Time, More Efficiently, and at a Better Quality.

With my Clients, it also means that I can Understand their Stressors, and help them Overcome them with More Ease as well.

This becomes the Power of Developing our Psychophysiology.

There are Compound Effects that Impact Every Aspect of our Lives, which allows us to Become Better Leaders.

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