The Future of Performance Training
Today I met Andy Walshe (andywalshe.com), Director of High Performance at Red Bull. We had an interesting discussion about the future of performance training. Andy is an Aussie with a long and very successful track record working with Olympic skiers, snowboarders, and other high performing athletes and teams. At Red Bull, he has pushed the envelope with SOF and elite athletes to try to unlock the “Why” behind the body-brain chemistry of elite level performance. My teammate, Master Chief Pete Naschek, led a team of Andy’s Red Bull athletes into the mountains and jungles of Patagonia to test the effects of extreme stress. Last year, Andy was the performance team leader for the world record stratospheric parachute jump of Felix Baumgartner. Just a few examples of the cool work Andy gets to do!
At any rate, most of you reading this know that I have been evolving a human performance training system through my businesses SEALFIT and Unbeatable Mind. My approach is unique in that its end goal is total integration of human physical, mental, emotional, intuitive and spiritual domains. Integration at this level unlocks massive internal potential (read last week’s blog post about integrated training) and produces profound performance results when enacted in the following manner:
- Download the training philosophy, methods and tools into your whole body-mind system through an immersion experience.
- Develop a clear purpose (your “Why”) for taking charge of your own human development.
- Activate and stick to a daily training plan that covers the five mountains and develops momentum toward integration.
- Test yourself routinely with small, medium and enormous challenges (I call them crucibles) where you put the training to the test under pressure, gain new insights, and spiral out of the event at a higher stage of development.
This process has led to enormous breakthroughs in the individuals who we have trained, and we readily acknowledge that it takes discipline and patience. The journey is more important than the destination. The changes you make are not temporary, it becomes a lifestyle. And though the integrated warrior development is applicable to elite level athletes, my original impulse was to make elite warriors immune to the chaos of war and more likely to thrive as leaders in that environment. We know it works but it is still largely speculative, from a scientific point of view, as to how. That is where Andy comes in.
Andy is focused on the future of performance training, which is twofold. He is focused on both aspects in his work at Red Bull, and we intend to assist where we can. The first aspect is to rigorously test what happens to the body-brain system when athletes and warriors are submitted to training such as Kokoro Camp (or any other modality that produce performance enhancing results). This means poking and prodding, MRI’s and EKG’s and apps and all sorts of other hook ups to test neuroplasticity, epigenetics, interoception and the like (scientists love those fancy names). The desired end state is to be able reverse engineer performance by understanding better what happens to the human when they activate flow-states and elevated performance levels.
The second imperative, and more interesting from my perspective, is to leverage future technology to both accelerate performance gains and to make performance training more accessible to the everyday individual. This component is expensive now, but tech advances are speeding up and combining in incredible ways. It will be possible to build virtual and augmented reality training tools and environments in just a few years. Just imagine how cool it will be to step into a Star Trek like, “Holodeck Virtual Environment” and train for a SEAL mission with intense reality, or jack into the construct of the Matrix fame, download a Kung Fu file, and train like a master! Augmented reality will provide a virtual coach or training partner to guide our actions, and real-time neuro-emotional feedback during training and performance.
Other low-tech focus areas include nootropic supplementation, personalized nutrition and neuro-hacking to stimulate advanced states of consciousness. All of these tools and others unmentioned will radically alter the field of performance training and coaching.
I have often said that you can’t hack your way to performance. It takes dedication to training, and you must do the work daily. However, I do believe that technology can assist us in our search for our True Selves, and I think that we are on the precipice of a new era of human performance, and even a new stage of collective consciousness. Perhaps it is just in time since the machines are beginning to outsmart us!
Talk to you soon. Until then, stick to the basics that have worked in the past, but look to stars for your future development!
PS… Be on the lookout for a future podcast with Andy on this subject!