Alex Hutchinson: Exploring The Limits Of Human Athletic Performance


Manage episode 352421779 series 2937910
By Brad Kearns. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Welcome to a fast-moving and interesting conversation with Alex Hutchinson, author of the book Endure.

Alex is a popular columnist for Outside Magazine, covering topics related to sweat science, and is an expert on the scientific aspects of peak performance and human limitations, especially relating to endurance. He recounts his extraordinary story at the start of the show, sharing the amazing breakthroughs he’s made in his career as a middle distance runner in college, and you won’t believe some of the memorable insights he presents, many of which I’m still thinking about today.

In this episode, we get into all kinds of topics like the popular Central Governor Theory, promoted by Dr. Timothy Noakes, who proposed that the brain is the true limiter of peak performance, not fatigue, talk about the ultimate limits of human performance, and much more!


The brain is the true limiter of peak performance, not fatigue. [00:46]

Alex has an amazing story of how he became a 4-minute distance runner. [03:59]

His progress was at an unheard-of pace. [15:56]

It is hard for endurance athletes to buy into the idea that our mindset is holding us back. [20:06]

What is the ideal competitive disposition? The cocky “I can win” and the “I don’t belong here” are at both ends of the spectrum. [24:38]

Alex thinks genetics had very little to do with his ability as a runner. [35:45]

Is there such a thing as fear of success in these athletes? What you say to yourself makes a big impact. [40:55]

It is difficult to distinguish between the discomfort or pain of effort and the discomfort of an injury. [48:14]

Do the coaches need to do something different when an athlete gets injured? [51:58]

No one is going to break records by large amounts. [58:43]

Alex is moderately optimistic on doping. [01:02:34]


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