Greetings and salutations, listeners.
I am so excited for today’s show, the guest is none other than Paul Chek. I have been a student of Paul’s for a few years now, and I am so grateful and honored he has taken time to speak to my audience.
Paul Chek has been an exercise coach for over three and a half decades, but he is much more than someone who can tell you how to do a Swiss Ball crunch. Paul has hundreds of hours of YouTube videos that detail everything from proper relationship to coffee, to numerous strength exercises, to thoughts on mediation and stone stacking, to the history of pornography, and many other topics.
Paul is the founder of the Chek Institute in Encinitas, California where he and his instructors teach classes on Holistic Lifestyle Coaching, Four Quadrant Coaching Mastery, Integrated Movement Science, in addition to numerous other programs. I am currently studying in Paul’s Academy which is a multi-year program that takes the student through every class he teaches and I have found it to add to, expand and challenge my own coaching programs in numerous ways. Paul’s programs are about far more than teaching an athlete to move well; through years of therapy Paul has learned to apply a psycho-spiritual model to coaching in order to more completely serve and heal the client.
Paul has had experience as a member of the US Army boxing team, as a massage therapist, he has repaired weapons systems on Cobra helicopters, introduced the Swiss Ball into the gym, is a former professional triathlete, is a licensed Native American Medicine Practitioner who has led over four hundred shamanic journeys.
Paul Chek & The Chek Institute: https://chekinstitute.com/
Paul Chek Four Quadrant Coaching:
Starting the Day with Arnold Patent’s Universal Principles:
Welcome to the Cycling in Alignment podcast, an examination of cycling as a practice and dialogue about the integration of sport and the right relationship to your life.
Colby Pearce 00:25
Greetings and salutations listeners. I’m so excited for today’s show. The guest is none other than Paul Chek. I’ve been a student of Paul’s for a few years now and I’m so grateful and honored he has taken time to speak to my audience. Paul’s been an exercise coach for over three and a half decades, but he has much more than someone who can tell you how to do a Swiss Ball crunch. Paul has hundreds of hours of YouTube videos that detail everything from proper relationship to coffee, to numerous strength exercises, to thoughts on meditation and stone stacking to the history of pornography and many other topics. Paul is the founder of the Czech Institute in Encinitas, California, where he and his instructors teach classes on holistic lifestyle coaching for quadrant coaching mastery, integrated movement science, in addition to numerous other programs.
Colby Pearce 01:17
I’m currently studying in Paul’s Academy which is a multi year program that takes the student through every class he teaches, and I have found it to add to expand and challenge my own coaching philosophies in numerous ways.
Colby Pearce 01:30
Paul’s programs are about far more than teaching an athlete how to move well; through years of therapy, Paul has learned to apply a psycho spiritual model to coaching in order to more completely serve and heal the client. Paul also has experience as a member of the US Army boxing team, a massage therapist, he has repaired weapon systems on Cobra helicopters, he introduced the Swiss ball into the gym, he’s a former professional triathlete, and also a licensed Native American medicine practitioner who has led over 400 shamanic journeys. He began putting butter in his coffee about 15 years ago. With that, buckle your seat belt and hang on tight for a deep journey into the insight and wisdom of Paul Chek.
Colby Pearce 02:25
You know, Paul, I just want to start off by saying thank you for taking the time to come be on the podcast. And, you know, I’d love to have a discussion around the evolution of life for an endurance athlete. I think, you know, I’ve been a cyclist for about 35 years I was a pro for around 15 years and now I’m a student of your Academy and I’ve learned so much from you as a teacher. It’s really been a fantastic journey and and I feel like I was drawn to your teachings in part because I feel as though when I began to learn more about what you’re teaching I had many parallels and my own lines of thought. But of course, I’m nowhere near as studied as you are, I’m not as experienced as you are. So you’re able to fill in some of those intuitions that I have, through your years of clinical experience and all the books you’ve read and the wisdom and understanding you bring in you’re teaching. So it’s been a powerful journey for me.
The four archetypes of human evolution and it’s relation to endurance athletes
Colby Pearce 03:22
I think what might be useful for some of our listeners is to talk about your suggestions on how an endurance athlete can or I don’t like to use the word should because I really feel you know, following Arnold Patents principles or studying them, everyone’s kind of where they should be on their journey, so to speak, everyone’s in the perfect place. That said, How does an endurance athlete evolve their practice? How did they grow beyond the sort of almost like a dog chasing a bone, kinda, I like to say, they go for exercise, but they’re almost exorcising their demons in a sense many endurance athletes are sort of, you might say, medicating their problems some plastering over their stress with chronic 5080 hundred mile bike rides, races.
Peter Chek 04:13
Yeah, it’s it’s a common thing you know, the way I’ll address that is because we can put it in the context of the endurance athlete, but all endurance athletes are human beings just like weightlifters or tennis players or anybody else. So from the perspective of the evolution of the human being, we can look at the archetypes. And so you can take the long road there’s a number of different archetypal models, but I basically from studying archetypes for so many years, narrowed the life cycle down into four key archetypal stages that we all potentially can go through. A lot of athletes be they endurance athletes or not get stuck usually in the first two stages that I’ll describe.
Peter Chek 05:10
The four stages just so you know are the child which becomes the warrior, which becomes the king or the queen, which becomes the wise man or the wise woman to complete the cycle.
The Child Stage
Peter Chek 05:25
The child archetype is that of the child and the child needs somebody else to take care for it – of it and it’s highly self centric or egocentric because it needs someone else to meet its needs. So if you think of what it’s like to parent a child, they ask you for everything, Mommy I want this, daddy I want that, gimme, gimme, if they don’t get it, they get upset…and so there’s a real need for some kind of parent figures. Which for athletes typically becomes the coach. When an athlete endurance or otherwise is in that state. A couple of things happen one, depending on the personality of the individual, they often don’t listen to the coaches or the therapists the same way they don’t listen to their parents. So some of them have a real rebellion for any perceived authority figure, even though part of them knows they need somebody to guide them. So when the athletes in the child stage there’s usually an issue of focus that’s being challenged and an issue of discipline. And they tend to want to hop from one type of event or sport to another. So for endurance athletes, you might see them dabbling in triathlon, byathalon, ultramarathon, marathon, half marathon, 10K, trail running… you know, they’re kind of like are all over the place. And because in the child phase you you have no sense of death, you have no sense of impermanence. So it’s very normal for them to train themselves into an injury, hobble their way back, or rehab their way back but not realize that the reason they’re getting injured is because they’re outputting far more than they can recover and there’s usually no consciousness of the importance of rest, or the importance of food or the importance of responsibility to others that are supporting them in their venture which we will call their “dream” and so they can often do things and say things that are disruptive to people that are supportive, be it parents, coaches, therapists, team members. And so you can, at this stage, you get sort of a wild child type behavior. And the problem with that stage is that when people aren’t yet aware of their boundaries, they don’t know when enough is enough. For example, with marathon runners, I used to get these people that would run like five marathons in five weeks, and come to me with real bad Achilles tendon problems or chronic hamstring problems or back problems and they wouldn’t realize that that not only is very detrimental to their performance, but they oftentimes had this injury after the second marathon of five, and then we’re hobbling through because they’re sort of in this “no pain, no gain” mentality, trying to keep up with the Jones’, trying to prove themselves trying to get approval from Mommy, Daddy friends trying to validate themselves. So it’s sort of a real wild stage. They’re very hard to manage. And they’re hard for themselves to manage and they don’t usually have enough experience in life or in any of their sporting endeavors to really know when enough is enough, or when not enough is not enough. And they often have a very low level of consciousness as to the importance of rest, food and mental emotional self management. And there’s oftentimes a real problem with training consistency.
Peter Chek 10:08
Typically when I’ve worked with those types of athletes, they don’t have a brake pedal. So for example, when I used to do – I used to coach endurance athletes, I don’t know if you know this, but I was the therapist for the 1988 men’s and women’s Olympic trials. I had 10 of my personal clients make it to the Olympic trials in the marathon, six women and four men. I went there to do therapy for them and they asked me to oversee massage therapy for the women’s Olympic trials. So I brought a buddy of mine who’s a very skilled massage therapist and so we were on call every day during the period for the Olympic Trials taking care of the female marathon runners. But one of the things that I saw consistently coaching endurance athletes, especially the ones in this phase is that whenever I would bring them to the track for track workouts, they did not have the ability to maintain their splits, which they should have because I did everything very carefully calculated. I would measure their most recent 10k times or half marathon times, but usually I use 10k for the track. And then I would calculate their quarter mile splits based on sometimes 85, sometimes 90% of their average mile in the 10 K so if they were running, say six minutes a mile in a 10 k I might have them do anywhere from 85% of that, for 20 2400 meter repeats, and I would have them walk until their heart rate would drop down to 135 depending on how old they were sometimes 140 and then they would go again. And sometimes I would, depending on what stage of their training was at I would sometimes take them up to 10% faster than their 10 k times. So someone running six minutes a mile might be doing their quarter miles at a pace that would equate to about a 5:50 or 5:45 mile, again, depending on the stage of their training and where you know, where they were at how much miles they had on them and various factors. But the point is, is that it was easy to see who was not following the program, because they they would usually get to about the 10th quarter mile split and they could not even hold even an 85% pace. And when I would investigate, what I found out is on all the days that I had put in things like technical training or lower intensity, what I call active rest training, they were out pushing the redline, going as hard and as fast as they could, getting involved in running groups where they’d be competing with people in the group and basically, they were racing seven days a week, even though there was no finish line and no prizes. So I found that these people are unconsciously complicating their lives so much, and getting involved in so much and they’re usually so excited that they’re out partying at night, it’s like they’re living three or four lines at once. So the child stage is is a tough stage. It’s the beginning of an athlete’s developmental career, but it’s a very tough stage because they think they’re made of steel and they’re never going to have problems and they don’t have a sense of pace and they don’t have any real depth of awareness as to the importance of the other factors I described in my four Dr. model, such as having values, being clear on what’s happy making, and what sustainable in happy making. So for example, they might find it fun to go out and smoke pot and drink all night, even though they’ve got a race the next day, right. So what happens is they start making their athletic career very complicated because it’s like they’re in a perpetual search for something. And the thing they’re searching for is recognition: somebody to acknowledge them, somebody to validate them, but they don’t realize They put that at great Jeopardy by being so out of control and not listening to coaches, teachers, people that they really should be listening to.
The Warrior Stage
Peter Chek 15:12
The next phase is the warrior phase. So if you look at a human beings life, that’s when we go into puberty, and we’re beginning to become an adult. And we have to learn to stand up for ourselves, make our own decisions, develop our own values. And the key thing about the warrior stage is that the athlete has to determine what is and is not worth fighting for. So if you are actually a warrior, you can’t just go to war at the drop of a hat or over an argument because people get killed including the warrior. So by the time the child athlete enters the warrior stage, they’re starting to realize I’ve got to pick my battles more carefully. Oftentimes, they’ve had periods where they’ve missed training for a week or a month because of some kind of chronic injury or a crash of some kind or recurring ankle sprains because they don’t realize they’re their bodies exhausted. They often were eating things that were inflaming their guts and it takes sometimes a year to have repeated exposure to the same types of problems and hearing someone like me say, you know, this is all coming from the crap you’re eating and all these bars are eating and all this gluten and all these cookies and of course, they just can’t comprehend that they don’t want to comprehend it because they’re, they’re really, shall we say, addicted to those high energy foods because they’re so fatigued all the time they don’t realize that they’re compensating for sleep by trying to eat things that aren’t feasible for them, but they feel good physically and psychologically because it’s like drinking coffee all the sudden your whole world gets a little brighter…So, it couldn’t be one year and it could be 10 years before an athlete enters what I would define as the warrior stage of their development.
Colby Pearce 17:11
You know, Paul, if I may comment on that for a moment, I think part of the problem is there’s a, there’s an endemic culture of that type of eating and endurance sports and I think a lot of people are genuinely authentically confused on what healthy eating is for an endurance athlete. They think it’s okay, and, you know, good, so to speak to eat piles of pancakes before their race or a huge bowl of oatmeal and three bananas and I’m not trying to demonize anyone’s diet choices, you know, what one thing you’ve taught me is that – my wife actually laughs at me for this because I break this one out all the time – God is a novelty generator. So we have to figure out what diet works for each individual athlete, each individual person, right, but I think there’s a lot of confusion in the endurance sports community about what good food is, what is good fuel? You know, is it okay for me to eat this giant plate of pasta and this huge plate of pancakes before every race? Isn’t that normal? Isn’t that how I’m feeling my glycogen tank?
Peter Chek 18:12
Yes, that’s part of the development of exploring your boundaries. That’s remember that was one of the things I measured about the child phases. They don’t know where their boundaries are yet. So it’s actually part of the development in the child stage to find those boundaries. So that’s one of the reasons for the rebellion is because the soul of the individual is trying to figure out who they are, you know, what is, what is it that I’m good at? What is my, what is my capabilities in anything? You know, by the time they’re athletes, they’re usually entering into the warrior stage and becoming a teenager means to reject your parents, which overflows into any authority figure. And so what they do is they tend to read magazines that have some kind of article about how so and so eats. So how does the top triathlon guy or the top guy in their sport eat, and they don’t realize that eating how somebody else eat would be like, just because your neighbor has a diesel engine in their car and you like their car, you put diesel in your car, but it runs on gasoline the next thing you know you’re stuck and can’t drive your car because it won’t run on diesel. So it’s really more like eye shopping, “Oh, that looks good, I’ll try it,” but there’s no depth of knowledge. They’re also susceptible to herd mentality. So if everybody’s eating, you know, whatever the bar or the month is, they think that’s what they should be doing. So it’s a fairly normal kind of a groping for figuring themselves out.
Peter Chek 20:01
For coaches, it’s a very tough stage but that’s also one of the reasons that we need people like you out there have that have matured through these stages that they can have a level of respect for because in the hero’s journey, you would be the mentor. And the mentor is the guardian of the gate, meaning, if you want to get into this, if you want to get to the national championships, then you better do what your coach tells you to do. Because you might be good and you might have the speed or the endurance, or the raw ability, but what you don’t have is the knowledge to manage yourself long enough to not destroy yourself with the very skill that could make you a world class athlete. So they’re all the things that you’re saying are true. And one of the challenges is that by the time they’re coaching with you, they’re often in the teenage stage of their development. And these stages don’t have anything to do with age, by the way. You can coach a 70 year old that’s in the child phase of their athletic development. So, it requires the therapists or the coaches, particularly the coaches, to have enough knowledge of the psyche and how it develops. Because how the psyche develops plays itself out in everything that they do, their sex life will be just like the way they ride a bicycle or run, how they manage money will be mirrored by how they ride their bicycle or run, how they relate to their parents, to their friends, to alcohol to drugs, you can pretty much see that it’s an echo throughout their life. That’s sort of a general theme for us. There’s always exceptions to the rule, but they’re uncommon.
Peter Chek 21:50
So, the thing that’s so important with people in the first two stages the child and the warrior They need to have somebody explained things to them in terms that they can understand. And the big mistake most coaches and therapists make with these people, is they tell them facts. And they give them orders. You got to do this or else. It’s a fact that if you eat this, it’s going to do this to you. And then they just say in their head, well, if that was true, how come the top five racers in the world are eating such and such a bar and taking such a such a protein powder not realizing a lot of those guys don’t eat or drink any of that shit they just pretend that they do to make an extra 10 grand a month from sponsorships.
How to work with athletes in the Child and Warrior Stages
Peter Chek 22:49
So, the point I’m making is always remember the rule: Tell them what they want to hear and give them what they need. What they want to hear is how that’s going to help them win, how it’s going to help them succeed. So getting the gluten out of your diet will contribute to your dream of winning your next race and success of races and enhance your recovery. Because when you inflame your gut, and I use diagrams when these things need to be visual for them, and anytime you can do a demonstration for an athlete with their own body, you’re far likely to get a better result because most athletes are kinesthetic dominant learners. They learn through moving not by listening and not by reading and not by looking at pictures. So for example, I might say, let me show you something here. Put your finger in your belly button. Well, I’ll have them start with me. I’ll say put your finger in my belly button and tell me what you feel when I bend over and pick up this dumbbell which direction is my belly button going? They’ll say, well, actually it moved inward, didn’t it? And I’ll say Yes, it did. Now stick your finger in your belly button and pick that same dumbbell up and tell me what happens. And they’ll say, oh, wow, mine comes out. And I’ll say yes, and then I’ll show them how an anatomy chart of the transverse abdominus and say this is this muscle pulls the two halves of your pelvis together to stabilize your your sacroiliac joints, which hold your lumbar spine stable so that when you’re running or cycling, you actually have a foundation from which your hip flexors and hip extensors can generate force. But I say to them, if this these two joints right here is loose, and your spine is not stabilized, what’s going to happen when you run, jump, or pull up on the pedals of your bike 20,000 times in a row trying to go as fast as you can And they naturally look at and say, Well, I don’t know if it’s too loose, something’s going to move too much. And maybe something’s going to get hurt. And I’ll say yes and exactly what’s going on with you right now. So all of a sudden, the dots start to connect. So then I say, Okay, so the first thing we got to do is clean the following items out of your diet. And here’s the specific exercise, or exercises like the blood pressure cuff, a lot of athletes hate using the blood pressure cuff because they don’t think they’re doing anything. But when I show them the needle and say, you’ve got to keep this within 10 millimeters mercury, five above and Five Below the target, then they can’t do it. And they think, well, I don’t think anybody can do it. So I’ll lay on the floor and do exercises 10 times harder than those and keep it right on the target zone for them. So they can see that the old man teaching them is actually in a lot better shape than they are and then they go okay. It is possible.
Peter Chek 26:02
So the point is, is that you always have to tell them what they want to hear how does getting the garbage out of the diet, enhance their ability to perform better and perform longer and have less problems from injuries? And then give them what they need means if you’re going to give them exercises and stretches and mobilizations, you have to show them how every one of those applications directly improves something to do with the challenge they’re facing or preventing the challenge that they don’t want to experience, be it again, or period. Or you can write the most scientific programs in the world that nobody does, which I used to do for a long time until I realized it wasn’t a question of the program is a question of my coaching ability and my ability to educate the athlete so that they understood the importance of doing what it was that I was teaching them to do, and then it wasn’t me just throwing crazy exercises out of them at them, like I’m pulling them out of a hat or something, or giving them the exercises that I like to do. That’s, as you surely know, one of the biggest problem with coaches and trainers and therapists is that they train everybody exactly how they train. And that’s a bad – that’s like telling everybody to eat the same diet you eat. And this is why I’ve been beating the drum of individual diet for for my whole career. You know, and I tell athletes, remember this rule, you are as different on the inside as everyone around you is on the outside. So look around the room. Do you see anybody that looks just like you know, even identical twins can be different on the inside. You can have one that’s gluten intolerant and one that’s not. So I say if you look around the room and see how different these people look or you’re at the start of a race, and you look at the starting line You’ll see every kind of body shape from ectomorph to mesomorphs to end the morphs to various combinations thereof, and people that shouldn’t even be out there at all because their bodies are trashed. And I say to the degree you see differences on the outside, know that people are that different on the inside. So your job is to pay attention to what your body is telling you 24/seven with your sleep, your skin, your joints, your bowel movements, your urination, your breathing, your sweating, your body temperature, your recovery rate, your posture, which joints are sore, which muscles are sore, connective tissues, how you’re recovering how you’re responding to every given exercise, which ones are the most challenging for you…
Peter Chek 28:49
And the other problem with people in that stage is they don’t like training into their weaknesses. They like to do the things they’re good at because it makes them feel good about themselves and athletics is one of the most important pathways to developing self esteem. So if an athlete has low self esteem, they will tend to gravitate only toward things that they’re good at because somebody with low self esteem does not want to expose themselves to anything that makes them feel inferior to the person right next to them that can do the exercise or can complete the drill. So that again, makes it hard to coach them because they avoid developing their weaknesses, which is, remember, the chain always breaks at the weakest link. And oftentimes, the things that they’re good at are actually getting progressively developed to the point that it creates sports specific muscle imbalances. So then they set themselves up for a lot of reoccurring niggling chronic injuries. Yeah, that is tendinitis and bursitis and lateral tracking or patella inflammation or lateral tracking of the patella, overpronation syndromes neck pain, shoulder pain, the common overuse injuries, but they don’t realize they’re coming from imbalances in their structure.
Colby Pearce 30:13
I think cycling in particular is one of the sports that promotes those sports specific imbalances more than I would argue most other endurance sports because the position is so fixed and so repetitive.
Peter Chek 30:24
Yes, it is a big problem. And I’ve worked with many elite cyclists of many different types from all over the world. So you know, and I used to be a competitive triathlete. I represented the United States Army at the 1986 National Championships in Hilton Head, South Carolina and I won the army triathlon and I was a top 10 overall finisher even with the pros six times. So I spent many years training like a madman In fact, when I was on the army boxing team for the first probably half a year, I represented the army and triathlon and boxing at the same time, so I was training for two very intense sports at once. And the only reason I survived it is because I knew enough about diet and recovery and eating and the basic things I needed to know to manage that but I was definitely pushing the red line. I mean, I was finding the edges of myself. The boxing team trained on average about six hours a day. So yeah, I was getting up very early in the morning to run then I would have to run with the boxing team. I would go to the swimming pool before our boxing started. Sometimes I would go after boxing then I would do my cycling training after boxing was over. And these guys were like how in the world are you doing that the average boxer was losing five to eight pounds, every workout just from the sweat. And I said, well, you guys, you eat and live foolishly, you waste your energy you, you give yourself away to things that aren’t important to your objective. So, point being is I’ve I’ve lived through all these cycles, so I know them intimately.
Colby Pearce 32:20
Yeah. I think this is a really important point. Paul, I you know, in today’s era of social media, it’s so easy for people to follow someone like you or someone like Jocko Willink, for example, who, you know, clearly, there’s a certain class of human, an athlete and an athletic class. That is, you know, the zero point whatever of 1% and, yes, people such as yourself and Jocko can handle exceptional physical and life loads. And on the one hand, I think there’s a two lessons you can learn from that as an observer or as a young athlete. One on one hand, you can be inspired by these types of role models. You know, Jocko posts a picture on Instagram every morning at 4:13am. And then you know, 45 minutes later, there’s a big puddle of sweat on the floor. And he’s talking about how he’s doing squats and smashing the bar and his message can be powerful and enabling for people. Because he’s just telling you stop making excuses. And before you go to bed, put your workout clothes, lay them out, get your watch, ready, get your gear ready, whatever you need, set your alarm, get out of bed and do it. And for people who are having trouble igniting their lives in that respect, it can be very powerful. The downside I think, is that most humans are not built like you and Jocko are myself included. I’ve spent years as an elite athlete, but I had to train very carefully and I ran myself into the ground many times. And so I’ve learned that lesson the hard way when I was in my child phase of my own athletic development for sure.
You can’t fake it until you make it
Colby Pearce 33:54
So maybe you can speak to how athletes might not get led astray down the wrong path in that respect, I think, because our social media really glorifies that aspect of sort of the ultimate expression of Yang, you know?
Peter Chek 34:11
Yeah, it’s a problem. So the first answer to that is, each athlete has to be aware of their own weaknesses. And unless they have somebody with enough skill to identify that for them, they won’t know. So if your weaknesses discipline and getting out of bed and completing your workouts, to develop yourself effectively, then someone like Jocko may be just the inspiration you need. But if you’re already disciplined, and you’re training effectively, you may be misled by somebody like that because you think oh, well, maybe I’m not doing enough I got to be more like Him. And the next thing you know, you’ve just destroyed your program because now you’re overtraining. So metaphorically, you’re taking Jocko’s training, diet and concept and adding it to something thing that already worked. And by trying to kind of chase after somebody else’s stardom and eat their diet and live their life, you, you, you just now you don’t have room for your own life and your own body and your own feedback mechanisms. And someone in the child stages is quite immature with the ability to listen to their body. They think pain is is just an aggravating thing that you get rid of by wrapping, strapping, taping, or taking pills so you can keep pushing in and become like the superheroes that you’re worshipping. So you see at that level, there’s not very much discernment because there’s not really a lot of self awareness yet. And you’re trying to reach out to identify yourself as who you would like to be, not who you are, which it takes more maturity that has to come in the warrior stage.
Peter Chek 36:03
So to conclude the child stage there is sort of a, it is kind of like Mexican jumping beans, you know, they’re all over the place. And that’s why the relationship with the coach is so sacred because if the coach doesn’t have good interpersonal skills and doesn’t have good communication skills and doesn’t look at what’s going on in the athlete’s life, then what happens is they they basically just train like a like a drill sergeant. This is how you do it or else. Yep. And a lot of athletes are having problems in their training that have nothing to do with their training. For example, if an athlete is living in a house with parents that fight all the time or have alcohol problems or drug problems, even medical drug problems, or there’s a lot of stress or financial stress in the family then the athlete doesn’t isn’t aware that the burden of carrying that stress, be it physical, emotional or mental is actually decreasing their recoverability. So what happens is coaches often think the athletes slacking off. And they may be one of these athletes. Like I said, That’s not making their splits on the track. So if you don’t actually look into what’s going on in their life, you don’t really know where the stress is coming from. And most people that coach athletes don’t know about the concept of the summation of stresses. So to them, everything has something to do with how you’re training, you’re either training the right amount or too much or not enough. There’s no in between. But people don’t realize as coaches and therapists, that overtraining is usually a psychological response. It’s an addiction, that serves as a way of escaping the reality. You see if you’re if you’re if you’re busy training all the time, you don’t have to be with a mother or a father or a boyfriend or a girlfriend, or a husband or a wife that irritates you, you have an excuse, and you can justify it because it’s good for you and you, we all need to exercise and you can even turn it back on them and say, you know, the reason you’re so bitchy and grumpy and feel so lousy all the time is because you don’t take care of yourself like I do.
Peter Chek 38:39
So the overtraining is, is probably one of the most common indicators that they’re trying to escape something. And if the therapist or coach or support system, even parents aren’t aware of what the Escape is from then The athlete just trains themselves into an injury and hopefully the therapist will be skilled but most therapists, coaches and trainers won’t explore these areas with athletes because because their own life is in shambles and, and one of the dangerous things is if you tell an athlete about gluten intolerance, and you stand there and show them this is what an abdominal wall looks like when there’s gluten intolerance. You see all this poop fluid pooling around your belly button, you see your abdomen distends here. Well, the next thing they know they look right at you in simple Yours looks just like that. What are you talking about? Right. So if you find that somebody is having a hard time because there’s a lot of stress in their relationship, they might say, well, how is your relationship? How do you deal with that? Right? So most, most people that we will call support people where support staff are no more developed psychological You’re spiritually than the athletes and they don’t want the athlete investigating them. So what they do is they just unconsciously or consciously avoid talking about anything where they feel insecure in their own life.
Colby Pearce 40:16
It’s the rule that you can only you can only coach what you bring to the table yourself, right?
Peter Chek 40:22
You can’t give what you don’t have period.
Peter Chek 40:25
Exactly I think this is one of the most core aspects of of your teaching school.
Peter Chek 40:29
And you can’t fake it till you make it either. People like Tony Robbins and poisoned our whole culture with this, fake it till you make it idea. You can’t, you’ll never do that. Because inevitably, we all smell a fake. You know, how do you fake it till you make it when you’re on stage giving a lecture? Well, I can tell you there’s thousands of trainers and therapists and doctors that were on stage when I walked into the room, and they got so frickin scared, they could barely talk, because they knew if anybody can smell a fake, it was gonna be me. And they were just paralyzed by it. So, you know, inevitably when you fake it till you make it, you either end up hurting yourself. Or you end up putting yourself in a position of responsibility, like if you fake that you’re a skilled coach, but you end up with elite athletes that you’re working with, you’re going to be telling them to do things that they’ve already figured out, just flat out don’t work in a really bad idea. And next thing you know, they’re not going to want to work with you. They’re going to tell other people this guy doesn’t have a clue what he’s doing.
Colby Pearce 41:40
Right. They won’t respect you.
Peter Chek 41:42
Yeah, and this happens in universities and professional sports teams all the time. Why? Because they don’t bring people in, usually based on authentic credibility. It’s a good old boy network, right. So whoever gets to be the strength coach on a professional sports team is usually the buddy of the guy that was the last strength coach, or he’s friends with the general manager, he’s got some kind of connection has nothing to do with skill level. Some of the worst doctors, therapists and coaches, and trainers and strength coaches I’ve ever seen were on professional sports teams. And when I investigated how they got there is always the good old boy network. So it’s, as you can see, already, we’re only one phase into this thing. And it’s complicated, isn’t it?
Colby Pearce 42:28
It’s very complicated. It’s very complicated, but I think it’s, you know, like anything worth doing. It’s, it’s worth digging into the details, because that’s where you get the real value out of things I am. I just want to say, you know, one of your most important lessons, as I touched on a few moments ago is that as coaches I think we have a responsibility to tidy our own lives sweep our own doorsteps, we could say metaphorically, but really prioritize our own health and well being to the highest standard possible Because we are teachers, we are leaders we are hopefully, in some sense lightworkers we are helping other people be better people and express their highest truth, their highest level of coherence with their own dream goal or objective, right? And as you pointed out, if we don’t have our own shit in gear, how are we going to be role models for other people? How are we going to help lift them to their potential?
Peter Chek 43:27
You can’t all you can do is create illusions. And when you add more illusions to the world, you make the world more complicated. And the reality of it is from a spiritual perspective, every time you create an illusion, it goes against the truth of the universe and the harmony of the universe. So you must provide the energy to maintain that illusion yourself which is one of the reasons that people that do that are so tired all the time and have to drink so much coffee and you know, this is why biohacking is so popular because nobody wants to do the real work of managing themselves effectively. I’ve penned Dave Asprey on the table and I’ve penned Ben Greenfield on the table on this pod on the whole biohacking thing and ultimately they had to agree with me. biohacking will not work until you manage six foundation principles nutrition, hydration, sleep, breathing, thinking and moving. And, you know, what we’ve created is a culture of people looking for shortcuts. Because the coaches and the therapists and the support people are also taking shortcuts themselves because they lack the discipline. But on the flip side of that coin, Colby is this:
Peter Chek 44:42
You have to be very careful not to become a fanatic.
Peter Chek 44:47
Because if you’re too fanatical, that is repulsive to people. So certainly you’ve had the experience of walking down town and there’s somebody standing on the corner shouting Bible passages that you telling that if you don’t take Jesus as your Savior, you’re gonna burn in hell. How does that feel?
Colby Pearce 45:14
To me it feels some confrontational. And as though just by walking down the street I’ve done something wrong being it’s almost an attack.
Peter Chek 45:23
Yes. And it’s it’s also somebody imposing their life story upon you as though their life story is somehow more real than yours and because you’re not doing what they do. You’re some kind of lesser quality person or hypocrite or whatever. So, you know, when when people start getting in your face, and saying, you know, get rid of that, get rid of that. Don’t do that. Don’t do that. No more drinking, blah, blah, blah. It can make a person’s life get so flat and so narrow that it actually burns them out. Because the more you give an athlete to control, you got to control your drinking, you got to control pot, you got to control your sex life, you got to control your food, you got to control what time you go to bed, you got to control what time you get up. You got to control what types of entertainment you use, so you don’t get sucked into too many video games and start missing practices or whatever you have. So what happens is, is people develop what’s called control fatigue. So if an athlete if a coach or a therapist, or a parent is too fanatical, and they’re trying to take an athlete through too big of a transition by getting rid of too many, even though everything that’s been diagnosed by the coach, therapist, support staff, or person may be dead accurate. They don’t realize that that person’s sense of self And sense of connection in the world is linked directly to those things. And most of them are stress modulators for that person. So if you come in there with a with a push broom and say, okay, out the door with all this stuff, they feel like they’ve just been forced into being in a seated Yogi where they got to lay on a bed of nails, and do exactly what you say. So it’s a combination between being in a seated Yogi and being in a boot camp in the military, which is it can be very, very repulsive. And it can lead to so much stress that they start actually hiding it all under the table and trying to pretend like they’re not doing it, which then puts them in the position of having the guilt and shame of lying to coaches and therapists and friends…
Peter Chek 47:49
So it’s the point I’m making is the flip side of the coin from being too out of control. And not being aware is having somebody that’s so fanatical controllng you, that you now lose your sense of connection. And generally, what’s got to be done is you have to identify of the factors that are involved in the so called mismanagement of their athletic potential which one of those has the greatest effect from from a domino effect if I get rid of the, for example, if you’ve got an athlete that’s smoking too much pot or smoking cigarettes and staying up late at night and eating gluten and you say, okay, we’re going to get rid of all that. That’s too much. If you say Okay, which one of these things is the most important to balance first, and then look at it against the other ones and say which one’s not only the most important but which one’s potentially going to have the most likelihood of being applied by the individual right taking them off of cigarettes that’s highly addictive. Nicotine is very, very addictive. Getting them off of alcohol that’s highly important to their social connections and their ability to fit in. Getting them off a gluten is as bad as getting them off of any other drug because when you have indigested gluten or casein and dairy, two of the most commonly eaten foods, you produce gluto morphogens as a byproduct of incomplete digestion of these foods. So what’s happening is, every time they eat gluten, or dairy, they’re actually getting a hit of morphine from it, which is his physiological fat. So it sounds to the fanatic like all I’m asking you to do is quit eating these stupid cookies. But in actual fact, what you’re doing is asking them to come off of a hard drug very quickly, which people have to go to drug rehab centers for two months, two weeks to two months at a time to do. So ultimately, the most power in a situation like that isn’t the cigarettes and it’s not the gluten, it’s getting that person to go to bed on time, and have more time for their body to regenerate and heal. And once they can manage that simple skill, and notice how much more mental clarity they have, how much less caffeine it takes them to feel good, and monitor. And then I say, look, if you’re smoking cigarettes, then cut back to just enough that you don’t have withdrawal symptoms. And you’ve got a little taste, you’ve had a little break. But don’t take any more coffee or cigarettes or stimulants, then you need to feel good, or you’re actually making your likelihood of deteriorating your performance go up because you’re becoming codependent on things that take a lot of time and energy to keep in your life and actually are not contributing to your athletic performance. And we got to look at what it is that’s driving you to do these things. What is it that it’s medicating?
Peter Chek 51:04
So the point I’m making is, it’s counterintuitive. Most people would say, Get rid of the alcohol or get rid of the cigarettes or get rid of the gluten, but they wouldn’t say focus on the sleep because they don’t think sleeps that powerful. But sleep is the most powerful anabolic driver we have. And it’s free and it’s relatively a lot easier to manage than the other things I’ve just mentioned. And it is the safest way to teach a person how a simple behavioral change can enhance athletic performance and energy levels. And vitality and sex drive very, very simply and easily. And then it gives them a sense of success. And then the coach can say now if you feel that much better by just getting an extra hour asleep at night, going to bed on time, imagine what will happen if you get rid of the cigarettes. Or the gluten and then I would say okay if you really want to achieve your potential and get to the national championships assuming we’ll make that the the imaginary goal then which are the ones that we’ve got a knockout next would you like to go for? Would you like to get the cigarettes out or the pot out or…?
Peter Chek 52:20
You know I’ve had with all this legalization of marijuana I’ve had many athletes come to me with problems from over consuming marijuana. And so that creates a problem as well because of the THC molecule takes about three weeks to clear the body. So what happens is their cells the receptor sites on the cells get so clogged up with THC that other hormones that are essential for regulation, whether it be estrogens, testosterone, any number of hormones cannot dock on the cell so their hormonal regulation starts to break down. And one of the first classic indicators of that is their emotions become very unstable, they become short tempered. They often start arguing and fighting in relationships and they just become moody, bitchy people to work with. And they don’t realize that’s because their hormonal system is completely screwed up because the cells are clogged up with all the THC. So I’ve had many athletes who came to me not because they knew they were smoking too much pot, but because their relationships were falling apart, and their energy levels were low because everywhere they go, they’re having to put out fires. And they’re blaming it on everybody else, not realizing it’s it’s actually them. That’s the common denominator. And after I do you know, a detox program on them and get their liver cleaned out and get their body cleaned out. And all of a sudden their whole world looks differently. They go oh my god, I really was the problem.
Peter Chek 53:54
So the point I’m making without all the kind of the side discussion is that It takes a lot of awareness. And if a coach is too fanatical or anybody’s too fanatical, it actually has the opposite effect. And then it becomes pride or elitism in the coach, you’re less than me because you do this. You’ll never be as good as me because you do that. And so now what you’re doing is, is you’re putting the person into a sort of a complex emotional situation where you’re almost threatening them. And there’s two types of responses to that. One of them is Screw you, I’ll prove it to you. And the next thing you know, the athletes overtraining and braking themselves to try to make a point or their self esteem is damaged. Now, they just don’t have the drive anymore because they don’t feel like they’re going to make it because they’ve been told so many times, that if they don’t stop doing such and such, they’re never going to be any good and they actually run the risk of believing it.
Athletes aren’t algorithms
Peter Chek 55:02
So the warrior stage then emerges when a person realizes what is it that I’m really fighting for? What is important to me? Mm hmm. You know, I work with an elite triathlete last year who came to me and he showed me his and he was being professionally coached by Oh my god. His father owns a Formula One racing team and his brothers are raised Formula One racecar driver. And so they had hired one of the coaches who is an ex elite mountain bike racer with using all the fancy bloodwork and electronic monitoring devices, kind of like Nassau coaching. But based on their analysis of him they were having him race sometimes every week, every two weeks. This guy was like doing so many races. He was completely fried when he came To me, and his first comment to me was Yeah, but how come other biofeedback equipment says, and I’m ready to train that hard. Mm hmm. And I said, Well, that’s one of the biggest traps of all this shit. I said, How do you think that biofeedback equipment is making that decision? So I’ll ask you Colby, how do those machines make the decision as to whether you’re ready to train or how high your vitality levels are, how rested you are or anything else?
Colby Pearce 56:29
Well, if we’re talking about, you know, one of the modern HRV devices like a whoop strap or an aura ring, what they do is they compare your HRV numbers relative to a database they have in that database is of course made up of other endurance athletes.
Peter Chek 56:43
Exactly. So you know what you’re being coached by an algorithm.
Colby Pearce 56:48
Peter Chek 56:49
So I say to them, are you an algorithm? And remember, if you have a pile of stones, That’s 50 feet tall and 30 feet wide with a net weight of 10 tonnes and the average weight is two kilograms per stone. You can find out something quite shocking if you weigh every stone. There’s not a single stone in there that weighs two kilograms, right? Okay, so the point is, what if you’re the two kilograms stone, but you’re not the same as every other stone in the pile, the algorithm is going to guide you as though everybody in the pile weighs two kilograms. And also you have to realize those algorithms are based on often hundreds of people’s data or thousands. Which means you are now diffusing your individuality into an algorithm that cannot account for your unique needs at any level.
Peter Chek 57:59
And a good example of that was when I was training Mike Salemi for Russian kettlebell competitions. He got sponsored with the, with the aura ring. Okay. But Mike had been trained by me how to monitor morning heart rate and hormonal responses and physiological responses, and all the things that I teach elite athletes. And so I said to him, you got to be really careful about letting the aura ring guide you because you can actually end up screwing your training up. But he really wanted to test it and it was real popular and Ben Greenfield uses them and all sorts of people use them, you know, they’re real popular. Yep. So I said, I want you to make sure you’re comparing what the ordering says based on what you’re being told by the data I’ve taught you to gather, and how I’ve taught you to respond. So one of the key measures is your morning resting heart rate. So, one day he calls me up, he goes, Paul, you’re not going to believe this. My morning heart rate was five beats above average, which is a very high level of stress, which means you got to take the day completely off. And I feel like I’m getting the flu. But the aura ring says, I’m ready for high intensity training. And I said, That’s exactly what I was warning you about. Yeah. Because you look, as an elite athlete, you look very good, even when you’re exhausted compared to the average person that makes the algorithm work.
Colby Pearce 59:39
Right. This is a really interesting point, Paul, especially in cycling, it’s such a data driven sport right now. And we have such a massive cross section of cyclists who are also engineers or are employed in the engineering world or are hobby engineers you might say, you know, they just like to dork out on numbers and technical aspects and it just attracts that type of mind and between power meters and HRV measuring devices and we have it’s just exploding. I mean, devices like this are exploding and all sports I think, you know, people are so focused on measuring these different biometrics, but it’s such a slippery slope and and i think you bring up a really valid point that we we have to always understand what the technology is measuring and then test its relevance on us as an N of one. Right? That’s the like, the key. You know, I go back and forth on this with a lot of cycling coaches and for me, the problem I have is that a lot of athletes are steered away from that intuition of learning their own body. For me, sport is about connection with self. And in my case, also about connection with nature. I like to use cycling for both of those things. But if you’re learning to connect with self, you’re using these numbers whether It’s a power meter or heartrate monitor or, you know, just a cycle computer that tells you how long you’ve been on the bike or how many miles are going or how fast you’re going, using these devices to help refine and fine tune and hone in on your own intuition. What is my body experiencing? How is my body processing the load of this ride? How is my body handling the intensity and when you get focused on numbers, you start to lose that intuition or you believe in worse. As an athlete, you might believe that the numbers are what the goal is the number is what is important.
Peter Chek 1:01:30
Yes, the effective application of biohacking or any of those data driven technologies is to objectify the subjective. So what do I mean by that? When I was a competitive fighter and triathlete I used to use the heartrate monitor, but I only use the heart rate monitor for one purpose. I want To know, what did the heart rate monitor, say, when I was pushing myself as hard as I could go? And it would say, you know, 198 beats a minute. I’m like, okay, that’s what it feels like when I’m pushing myself this hard. I’m way up toward the ceiling of my maximum heart rate. And so when I feel this inner experience and this much lactic acid and my breathing is like this, then I know I’m somewhere close to 200 beats a minute. What does it feel like to run at an active recovery pace, so an active recovery pace is typically 30% less than your most recent race pace, whatever the sport might be. So if your most recent 10 k was six minutes a mile, then your recovery pace needs to be 30% slower than that So then I’m running at that pace, and I’m saying, Okay, let me guess I’d say my heart rate right now is probably about 147. So then I look at my heart rate monitor. Oh, look at that. 142 I was pretty close. And I keep looking at it. And so what happens is within a couple of months, you guesstimate where you’re at, you look at the heart rate monitor, and you’re within three to five beats consistently. So now I say get rid of the damn thing because one, you’re wearing something producing an electromagnetic field. Two, you’ve got a strap around your chest, that’s restricting ribcage expansion and putting a tremendous additional load on the scaling and intercostal muscles that I’ve seen lead to all sorts of trigger point problems and neck problems, stitches and athletes, which is the same thing that happens to women when they wear their bra straps too tight. But you see what i’m saying is you use the data That which is objective to inform you about something that’s purely subject and your own inner sense of exertion, your inner sense of lactic acid development, your inner sense of effort, etc. So ultimately those devices are training wheels for awareness. But when they become cool and they become fashionable, and they become like the newest wheels or the newest handlebars, and if you don’t have them, you’re falling behind because you’re going to not shave off three seconds in your, your marathon. Now you’re just a great customer to make somebody else rich while your athletic career and your self awareness diminishes. And you become a person that is no longer a living being but a data set. So just because I’m running low on time, Let me run through these other phases because we’ve really only hit one phase here.
Colby Pearce 1:05:05
How to move past the Warrior stage into the King stage
Peter Chek 1:05:07
Once you get into the warrior phase, you pretty much come to the realization by now Okay, if I really want to succeed at my sport, I better start paying closer attention because the guys that are beating me, or the women are more disciplined in areas that I’m not. They’re doing something different than me, which could be personal self management, emotional self management, resting, eating, it can be any of the factors we’ve discussed, but you know, they’re doing something that you’re not, especially if you’ve had indicators that you have the raw talent to be good or to be fast at your sport, or you’ve had periods where you were performing at high levels, but you can’t sustain it. So then what what it takes is it takes a clear definition of a dream. What is it that I specifically want to accomplish in the next three months, six months or a year or season? And what is it that I need to cut out because it’s not part of that. And I’ll give you a great example. I’ve known many athletes that are trying to perform well in two sports at once. very unlikely to happen if you’re at the elite level. It’s just unlikely. You have to be kind of like, you know, I was raised on a farm eating really good food, and I had no childhood I was worked like a slave, or like a sled dog. From the time I was eight years old, till I left home so I was highly accustomed to very intense work for long periods of time. I developed what I call work hardening, my tissues have adapted I knew how to eat really well because that’s the only thing we did on the farm was eat our own food and our own animals. And I have good genes. My father was a professional dancer and a lifeguard and in the Navy and a professional drag racer, so he’s got great reflexes, a great agile body, good muscularity, and a beautiful mesomorphic body and I’ve got a great mesomorphic warrior type body. So my point is, I can train for triathlon and box at the same time, because my self management skills are very high, but I also have the right body and the genes to get away with it. Okay, most people don’t do that. They can’t do it. Even elite athletes because the higher you go, the closer to your genetic potential you’re going to be and the interesting thing It’s easy to get somebody to improve their performance in the beginning by big measures, but the closer you get to your actual maximum potential, the harder it is to gain seconds off of almost anything or even get an extra pound or two. You know, like if your maximum deadlift is 500 pounds, all someone’s got to do is put one pound on the bar and it ain’t coming up, right? You’re too close to your genetic ceiling. So the point I’m making is, the further you go towards your potential, the more discipline you’ve got to be in your training, because each additional percentage of performance game takes a lot more work to get and a lot more knowledge and a lot more careful self management, or you will exclude yourself from the elite ranks, most of them burnout. That’s the number one issue I’ve dealt with with elite athletes is burning themselves out. So the wire has to have a clear definition of their target. And the targets have to be intelligently spaced which requires discipline by the athlete by the coach because young successful athletes want to win everything they want the goal they want the girls, they want the guys they want the, the emotional benefits of it, they want the connection, they want the, the glory. So there’s still the young warriors desire to go kick ass. But by the time they come into the warrior stage, they usually have been through enough challenges to say, Okay, it’s time to really sharpen up my game or I’m not really going to ever get out of the kind of the middle of the pack or the high middle of the pack.
Peter Chek 1:09:46
So there you have to have a clear definition of objectives and you have to have clearly defined values, what are my values around creating a life that is nourishing to me outside of just my athletic training a lot of athletes have no life outside of athletics. They go home and they just stare at the television or sleep or they’re just bumps on the wall. They’re no fun for anybody because they they actually have really what you would call an archetype of possession, which means they’re so addicted to the athlete archetype, that anything else seems inconsequential to them, including what their friends and their family and their kids want to do with them. So they become like one one pronged, a one pronged Pitchfork. So you have to look at what are your values around happy making and what is my responsibility in my relationships and how do I maintain my athletic performance without damaging my personal relationships and my wrist and how do I maintain my responsibilities a lot of athletes get fired for showing up up later, or just not showing up at all, because they decided they want to jump into a race so they just don’t even show up to open the business or whatever. So these are values management problems. And then the warrior has to be really careful about spending themselves on races or events that don’t actually have a great significance in the ultimate objective. In other words, if you burn yourself out trying to win a race in some small town with 300 people, when ultimately you’re trying to get to the Ironman, then you’re unfortunately not very smart. It’s it’s kind of like somebody that gets to the hell beat out of them in a boxing gym sparring because they don’t like the guy they’re sparring with, they get a concussion and get their nose broken and now their coach can’t put them into the next fight, because they’re too damaged to fight. So there’s the immature warrior. They’ve been Don’t know how to pick their shots and pick their battles.
Colby Pearce 1:12:03
It’s great to hear you describe this phase because I’ve felt I’m raring moments in my own career, I’ve made all these, every single one of these mistakes or learned every one of these lessons, I’ll say,
Peter Chek 1:12:15
yeah, yeah, well, it’s pretty normal because these are the archetypes of how the human psyche grows and evolves, and you’re not an athlete, if you don’t have a psyche, you’re, you’re a sea cucumber or a clam, or, you know, something like that, right? Or a corpse are a very boring person.
Peter Chek 1:12:40
But so really, when you’re looking at the issues of the warrior, its focus, its discipline, its clarity, and it requires coaching. You’ve got to select a mentor, you really at that level, have to find somebody that you trust enough to listen to, even when your addictions and your urges are being challenged, or you won’t make it to the next level of your development and the coach in the hero’s journey is the Guardian at the gate. And he’s the one that tells you when what you’re doing is or isn’t going to help you. And if you don’t trust them enough, then you are just going to never make it to the level that you want to or you’ll make it there but you’ll be a one hit wonder. So you become someone that won a couple of races, but two years later, not a single person around you knows who you are, okay. That’s the those are the main features of the warrior stage. You know, if I really wanted to get down into the nitty gritty I could, but…
Peter Chek 1:13:51
The warrrior stage is also a stage where people are quite aggressive, because you have to be quite aggressive to become a champion. But if you’re not careful you carry that aggression into your relationships both in with friends and family and co workers. So, the warrior tends to be an aggressive person and if they’re not careful, they actually start creating stress around themselves in relationships that deteriorates their athletic recoverability. Okay?
Peter Chek 1:14:25
To get to the king stage, you have to be a very good warrior and remember the rule to be a good leader, you first have to be a good follower. And unfortunately, a lot of the people that make it want to make it are not good followers because they’ve had a lot of athletic success in their child phase and early warrior phase. So they think they already know everything. It’s just a matter of them pushing harder and harder. So this is why the mentor is so critical because you have to be able to trust your mentor more than you trust yourself.
The King stage
Peter Chek 1:15:09
The King stages is very rare to get to the king stage is represented by somebody who has mastered their craft is highly respected, usually is being paid very well for their craft and builds an empire. So when you think like Mark Allen as a triathlete, he was the king of triathlon for a while Paula Newby Frazier, you know, you get people that have won 10 marathons or something and they’re their king, right? A lot of these barefoot runners from Africa and Ethiopia and places like that, you know, they’re they seem unbeatable. But what do you see you see that they’ve got lots of sponsorship money coming in. They’ve got a nice car. They got a nice house. They’ve got the best equipment which makes them even harder to beat because you know, they got bicycles that might be worth 80 or $100,000, or custom made shoes by the factory that sponsors them. That is custom design. So their foot pronation is just right, etc, etc. They’ve got the best feedback, they’ve got massage therapists. They’re like they’re once you get a king, it’s very hard for a warrior to be the king because if their skill level is equal, that kings usually got way better support around them, right. And they’ve already made it through the Warriors stage so they don’t typically make stupid mistakes.
Peter Chek 1:16:40
But the problem with the king is they usually develop a persona that is so big, and they have their iron in so many fires from being sponsors and obligations here and signing autographs. And figuring out ways to make more money with their money and inevitably losing money with business deals that weren’t poorly, that weren’t well thought out. So the problem is, is that as you go from child to warrior and warrior to King, your life gets more and more complicated, not more simple, right? So what happens in the king stage is you can actually come to a crisis itself, where you’ve got everything you always wanted, you got the most beautiful partner, you got the car, you got the leather clothes, you got the watches, you got the whole, you know, the whole kitchen sink, so to speak. But you wake up in the morning, and you don’t want to go do it. You get up and you say, shit, I’m tired of this training so hard. I’ve been doing this for 13 or 14 years now. And you might be world famous. You got all this money coming in. But the problem is, is when you get success like that after a while you’re not hungry for success anymore. And so, your sense, your ability to inflate your ego diminishes, you just the deeper part of you is starting to crave a simpler life. It’s starting to crave not having to be obligated to so many people and not have to carry so much weight. Oftentimes, there’s businesses like athletes that have restaurant chains, or they have, you know, Nike and they have to, you know, when I worked with Kobe Bryant, he was forever having to go sign shoes and sign autographs and get mobbed by crowds, which was very draining for it’s very draining for athletes like that. And then they have high expectations from sponsors and high expectations from managers and they’re constantly being parasitized by people. Will you do this? Can we mention your name here, blah, blah, blah. So they’re so they actually become businesses in and of themselves. They’re no longer just athletes. Their profit centers for other people. Okay.
Peter Chek 1:19:05
So the point is, if you think of a bell curve, you started a child at the bottom left, you’re fairly simplistic. All you want to do is train and eat and go to bed and train and eat and go to bed and party a little bit, then you get to the warrior stage and what now? You’ve really got to think about a lot of stuff, you got to choose coaches carefully, you got to choose equipment carefully, you got to manage yourself very carefully. So all of a sudden, now the Warriors life is much more complicated than the child but the king now not only has his athletic endeavors, but he has all of the things that go with success and the responsibilities of overseeing, maintaining and protecting his empire and the parasites that come after everybody with an empire. So he wakes up one day in the morning and he cannot gather the energy. So the analogy I give is, you know, the big blow up Michelin Man you see at the tire Store sometimes 40 feet tall. Yep. Well, that’s an archetype of the ego of the king. But the king, the king’s life gets so complicated, the first thing he has to do is blow up his ego, because that’s what motivates and inspires him to keep winning the races and making the money. But all of a sudden, he realizes he gets a lot more joy out of listening to music, and gardening and hanging out with his kids and having fun than he does going out dealing with the stress and the newspapers and the criticisms because he finished second or whatever. And so now he’s craving a simpler life.
The razor’s edge between the King stage and the Wise Man stage
Peter Chek 1:20:41
So the second simplicity emerges. When you enter the wise man or the wise woman stage, and that’s when you say, Okay, this is gotta go because I can’t enjoy my training or you got to say, I need to race less races. However, You got to simplify your life to where you have enough energy and enough time to be with an inside of yourself. Because now the call of life is inward growth, not external growth, not growth of the ego, not growth of externally measurable things like money and appearances. But there’s a deep craving to really figure out what life is all about. And what’s important beyond just money and so called success. So the athlete that makes it to the wise man stage, usually is is a very rare athlete, but every now and then you run across somebody who you know is maybe 40 years old, but they’re still playing at a very high level, which is rare, or they’re, you know, you look at racecar drivers like Mario Andretti, who had a very long career, you look at some of these people who somehow managed to make it through the king stage and create time in their life for things that are meaningful and put fences around them, so that they actually have time to pursue what the soul is calling them forward to do, which is to really go past the surface of life and figure out who you are, why you’re here, what life is all about. And that’s called the spiritual connection. Because once we reach the king stage, we come to the realization that money, power and sex and fame do not actually satiate the soul. And this is why you see so many movie stars and musicians and singers commit suicide. When you think why would someone like that do that? They had all the money, all the sex and all the fame anybody could ever have. And everybody looks at them going, they got it by the tail, man. They got it made, what do you see? I mean, all you got to do Study the biographies of him. You see people like elton john Michael Jackson, Tina Turner. I mean, the list is very long of people who found the edges of themselves. And many of them don’t make it through the fire to get to the Wiseman stage and almost all of them end up needing some kind of religious or spiritual counselor or confident that they can trust in to help them work through because it’s very scary to decrease once you’ve made it that big. It’s like asking someone who’s been living in a castle on top of a mountain for 15 years to come live in a lean to and they’re like, Well, where’s your, where do I park my car and where you know, how come your showers only got one showerhead and your floors are made of dirt? You know, and so the the wise man is the person who actually realizes that they can make maintain their athletic performance, but it’s not as important to them as being whole. They won’t sacrifice the time with their children and their relationships and what’s really meaningful just for more fame, more money and success. And for example, they might be the captain of a professional sports team and step down and say, I don’t want the responsibility. I’ll come, I’ll do my best. I’ll score goals. I’ll contribute to the team. But I don’t want to have to stay around and manage all these young athletes that keep shitting on their own feet and making a mess of themselves and be responsible. If you want me to participate, then this is the rules and I don’t want that responsibility. So they actually have to make tough decisions to simplify their life and give them time to become inner athletes or they actually self destruct. And you says no man is fully alive until he has the power to destroy himself. And usually by the time you’re at the king stage, you have enough money and enough prestige and enough fame and enough success to completely be the most dangerous thing to yourself that you ever had. And this is why Osho says freedom is the most dangerous thing you’ll ever experience. And usually the more money success and power you have, the more freedom you have. And paradoxically, here you are getting worship when you’re doing good, but when you’re not doing good, it’s as though the world hates you. And you’re the reason for the failures. So the the social responsibility at the king stage is very, very high and you realize people are just completely and utterly superficial. And you can’t really take their so called support to the bank because it’s only temporary it’s only conditional.
Peter Chek 1:25:56
So this is when you really get the wise man you end into the second simplicity, which technically is the second coming of Christ. Christ means one who is has consciousness has united with the universe, who realizes who and what they are and why they’re here. who realizes who everybody else is and why they’re here. So once you get to that second simplicity, you start having a lot of peak states doing things like chanting, toning, meditating, breathing, making love and you realize, wow, everything that you thought you could only get on your bicycle or running a 50 miler, you can get in these very simple things in your life. And now your life is in balance. And now you can find that tight, you’re right on that tightrope between. If I go too far towards being a king, again, I lose myself. But if I get too deep into being the wise man, I can’t maintain my income and my athletic performance. So it’s a it’s a really razor’s edge that very few people on the planet can walk. And there’s the there’s the evolution of the athlete for you.
Colby Pearce 1:27:08
So it seems as though the evolution of the athlete through these four phases ultimately when they’re in the wise man, is it true that at some point, the warrior ultimately progresses to the king and the wise man and then puts the sword down or walks away from the sword? That’s Yeah, still an evolution of the wise man. Right?
Peter Chek 1:27:27
Yeah, to the degree that that they can do that and stay healthy. Like, uh, you know, I’m an athlete, I have always been an athlete and no matter how much I age or how far I go into the Weizmann phase, I will always be an athlete because it’s the fabric of who I am. So I would never put athletics down to say, Okay, I’m gonna go sit under the tree and meditate like Buddha until I’m fully enlightened. Because then I would actually be letting go have one of the four doctors Dr. Movement, right and I would actually be falling into the trap of Now becoming a child in another sport called inner development.
Colby Pearce 1:28:04
Right? But you’re also no longer competing, right? Does that represent you putting down the sword in a sense you’re still pursuing?
Peter Chek 1:28:10
It depends. It depends. If you’re still competing, then you you have to manage that so that you can satiate both halves of yourself, the inner self and the outer self. And like that’s why I said that’s a very hard thing to do in our culture and in this world, and only a handful of people. So remember, each stage you go up, the number of people drops down, right, only 3% of college and elite athletes that try for professional sports teams make it to the pros. So we’ll call the guys that are on sitting on the bench on professional sports teams. They’re in the king, king or queen stage or they have major sponsorships like Olympic medals or one. If you make it onto the podium at the Olympics, then you can say you’re at the king or queen stage. But that’s only a as a rough estimate, it’s only about 3% of athletes that make it that far. Those that get to the wise man or wise woman stage and still stay in competitive athletics would probably down to about one 10th of 1% of athletes worldwide.
Peter Chek 1:29:18
So do you see, the journey isn’t a quick journey and it requires a highly skilled mentor, or mentors to get you through because the mentor that gets you through the child stage may not be the right one for the warrior or the king stage. And most of the ones that are great mentors at the king stage are terrible mentors for the wise man wise woman stage because as soon as they see you going in that direction, the immediate thought they have is I’m going to not be able to make as much money off of this person.
Colby Pearce 1:29:54
Peter Chek 1:29:55
And they’re gonna want less responsibility and the same amount of money. Mm hmm. So it’s the complexity of life is for real, and the journey is for real. But now that you have a model to look at athletes through, you can probably really know who to tip your hat to. Because if they’ve made it to the king or queen stage, you know that they’ve got done a lot of work.
Colby Pearce 1:30:21
Peter Chek 1:30:21
And if they’ve made it to the wise man wise woman stage, most of them become coaches. That’s how they extend their careers they become coaches of elite athletes.
Colby Pearce 1:30:31
Thank you so much, Paul, for taking the time once again and sharing your thoughts. I know you’ve got to run so I’ll let you be free to go acquire some sustenance before you work with your client. But I’m, I’m very grateful for the time you’ve taken and, and your wisdom and your knowledge and everything you’ve shared with us. And I look forward to seeing you again. Hopefully next year. I’ll be back out at the Institute for my next round. So
Peter Chek 1:30:55
Yeah, my pleasure. Thanks for giving me a chance to share with everybody these are very, very Very important concepts. And you know, just to close, I’m 59 now so you see, I’ve had enough time to go through all those stages. Mm hmm. And, you know, you go through these stages in every aspect of your life. If you’re a businessman, you can be a child businessman, a warrior businessman, a king or queen, but that’ll kill you. And that’s what a midlife crisis is. It’s somebody who’s a king or a queen, that can’t stand the weight of being the person they created out of themselves. Yep. And so they have to figure out how do I keep the business going and keep the bills paid, but go into my wise men wise woman stage and if they can’t handle it, then they go into a major crisis and a lot of athletes I coach are in exactly that crisis. So, you know, my point is, I train to feel good. I train to be creative. But I don’t give a shit. If I have, I don’t have to go prove to myself or anybody else how strong I am or how fast I am. I’m just happy that I know how to exercise and have fun at it. And I don’t need to make millions of dollars. I don’t do what I do for money, I do what I do, because it’s what makes me feel good about giving to the world. So by the time you’re in the wise man/wise woman phase, you’re very aware that all you can take with you when you leave this world is what you’ve become. Nothing else can go with your money can’t go, trophies, medals, fame, houses, cars, none of it goes with you. And the deeper you go into spirituality, the more your ego begins to die. And that’s one of the hardest transitions because a King has a very big ego. They needed it to get there. But it’s all true spiritual development practices are Death to the ego. So there’s the wise man/wise woman phase comes with its own very big challenge. Because you, paradoxically, are disintegrating everything that made you famous and successful and lovable to the public. Right?
Colby Pearce 1:33:11
Right. Right, right. Yeah. Wonderful. Thank you so much, Paul. I appreciate it again, with much gratitude.
Peter Chek 1:33:23
You’re very welcome. If I can help you in the future, let me know. I’ll do my best.
Colby Pearce 1:33:28
Thank you. I appreciate that. I sure well.
Colby’s thoughts on the four archetype’s
Colby Pearce 1:33:35
Hi, everyone. I hope you enjoyed that episode as much as I did. I’m so grateful that Paul took the time to be on my episode. I have to say that once again. I didn’t want to interrupt Paul’s flow during the show. I felt that I wanted to give him as much time as possible to speak his mind and and I didn’t want to interrupt him with my own anecdotes and thoughts, but Take a few minutes to share those now.
Colby Pearce 1:34:04
One was that Paul talked about how every warrior needs a mentor. And I would say that there were many times in my career where I didn’t have a mentor during my warrior phase. You know, if I think about it, my warrior phases probably pretty long, probably close to 15 years in length. And, you know, there’s probably no firework show or sound of horns and trumpets when you progress from one phase to the other. That’s not how these things work. It’s more like transitioning from aerobic to anaerobic energy, I suppose. It happens gradually, in most cases, and maybe there’s even a bit of back and forth. But I did, I did have some mentors during my warrior phase, I suppose early on, it was probably Jonathan Vaughters to a large degree and some of my racing colleagues. The thing about this type of situation, it’s not unlike Some of Ken Wilber his writings, Ken talks about whole ons of spiritual development. And the thing about existing on one level, so to speak is that you can see down the chain to the previous level that you’ve already grown through. And therefore you can see other people who are in those levels. But seeing up the chain where you haven’t been yet you haven’t experienced it yourself is much more difficult. And so when someone who is further in the journey than you are offers you some advice, especially when you’re young warrior and you’ve got a real I’m gonna do this myself type of attitude. It can be really easy to reject that advice or spit it back in their faces. If you’re a person who’s listening to this, and I did that to you, sorry about that. I definitely had that. Do it myself. I’m going to learn this lesson and walk the snow both ways uphill with no shoes on my own type of attitude. And that definitely cost me some time. But I also think it’s possible. The struck me during Paul’s conversation that some of my own evolution as a coach was brought about by this struggle, the fact that I had to learn some of these lessons painfully and slowly on my own. I think that made them more well earned perhaps.
Colby Pearce 1:36:27
The flipside of that is Arnold patents universal principles which states roughly speaking that or I’m approximating, I’m paraphrasing, but one of his core concepts is that everybody’s on the journey that they’re supposed to be on at any given moment. That is our own life path, all of it, the train wreck, the beauty, the disasters, the mistakes, the love, all of it is perfect as it is. And that’s a pretty esoteric concept, but the further I go down this path of life, the more I find true In those words, I’ll put a link to the Arnold patents universal principles in the show notes for us. The online version is a little different than the printed version Paul gave us I think it was during HLC 2, got them on my fridge now and read those periodically.
Colby Pearce 1:37:19
Another concept I thought was quite interesting worth commenting on was just the breadth and depth of Paul’s knowledge. I mean, while I was out racing my bike for 35 years and traipsing around the globe and traveling to foreign countries and such in training like a like a little hamster, Paul was reading books and he accrued knowledge and had experiences in his own growth and he scoured the globe for 20 years to find rare books. And I hope that you can appreciate what he can offer to any conversation. What we saw today, his four quadrant description of athletic evolution that is really the model of his four quadrant coaching mastery program. And I’m just beginning to to learn that program. What we got tonight was a preview of, of him speaking about that and applying it to the athletes model. But as he mentioned, this is really phases of life.
Colby Pearce 1:38:29
For me, one aspect of that journey that really struck me was how when you transition from the king to the wise man, one of the major things that happens is the deconstruction of the ego, which is also what happens as you progress in your spiritual practice. And what struck me is that that’s a kind of a U shaped curve, meaning you’re trying to have less ego at the beginning or at the end and You also come into the adventure with less ego. And that’s what the child phase is about is acquiring ego. It’s about accruing ego. It’s about refining preferences, and figuring out who you are and what you want and seeing yourself through the imaginary eyes of others and all those things that make up the ego that give us our adult world. So I thought that was quite interesting.
Colby Pearce 1:39:27
The other aspect is that as we progress further down this journey, into the phase of the king or queen, there’s this transition between what the sport is and what we dreamt it was as a child. You know, just like any kid I fell in love with cycling when I first saw the course classic at North boulder Park, which is a mirror six blocks from my house. It’s a day I fell in love with the derail And the speed and the colors and the crowds. And then I conned my way into my first entry level racing bike with some clever negotiation and some lawn mowing. And I rode this bike around neighborhoods and again, I fell in love with the speed of it, and the suffering. And I dreamt about what racing would be like I dreamt what it would be like to be a professional and race at the world level. And then years and years later, when I achieved that dream, it was in some levels fundamentally the same as I had dreamt but also filtered and changed through my experience through my suffering, but also the things I’ve learned about the sport to see it from the inside. That all the sacrifices I’ve made to get there. I won’t say those tarnished it or jaded me that’s not what I’m getting at. What I’m getting at is when you get there, the expression of the sport is different than you thought it would be, on some level the suffering became more profound, became more existential at times. You know, I’ll say when you dream about a sport as a child and you’re naive, you think of the suffering as this thing that’s just a requirement of the sport and you imagine what it’s going to be like, and then you start to do well, hopefully. And suffering, to be honest, is pretty easy. When you’re at the front of a race when you’re in the lead group. And when you’re winning a race, suffering comes very naturally for most athletes. The hard part, the real existential suffering, the deep suffering is when you are going as hard as you can and you look up and there are 140 wheels in front of you. That’s real suffering, because there’s not a lot of hope left in that situation. That’s character building. You don’t dream about stuff like that. You just experience it one day, you’re in the gutter and you look up and you’re going as hard as you can and the entire peloton is in front of you. And you’re thinking, well, now what? And then you’re reflecting on how hard you train and how much you gave up to get there to get to that race and that’s the result of that moment, that’s a hard pill to swallow. So that changes the way you think about the sport, it changes the way you feel about it.
Colby Pearce 1:42:08
The other aspect that changes the king and Queens version of the sport to a degree is the money. You know, we do an unbelievable amount of work for the money we make in sports. While most of us do, I certainly did. And that has a powerful influence on your motivation to keep writing and keep racing. The last one that comes to mind that I’ll just synopsize in one simple word is drugs. I’m not going to go down that rabbit hole right now maybe in a future episode, if I feel like it, but to be honest, the subject I’m kind of tired of it. I’m sure it’ll come up at some point. We’ll deal with it then.
Colby Pearce 1:42:47
So I think one last aspect I want to touch on is Paul talked about how the warrior needs to have discernment to not use up his strength or her strength on trivial matters, competitions that don’t really have a big impact in the overall plan. And I have the textbook example of that; One year, I think was 1998, I was racing for domestic protein and I flew to Boise, Idaho for the NRC criterium that was there and it was a big deal. And I did the night crit and I won some, I don’t know I won probably several hundred dollars in premiums at night and Well, I think it was top five, but I didn’t win. Race really hard, you know, probably didn’t get to sleep to one or two in the morning because the race started at 10pm, etc. The next day, there was another criterium in Boise it was just a local race, though little tiny price list. And for some reason, I just assumed that everyone or at least most of the guys, and gals who had shown up the night before would also race this local criterium and I was there so I figured I’d do it. And I showed up and lo and behold there were about 20 people on the line. So, okay, we’re racing our bikes I get in the breakaway I attack the breakaway and of lapping the field solo I win the race I collect my whatever it was $221 plus breams box a power bars and I go home. That night I stayed in a hotel in Boise and I was so completely throttled, totally fried. My adrenals were just like little piles of dust. I was just smoke from the effort. And for what not a single person to this day probably remembers that I want that criterium except for maybe me, I don’t know the name of it. Maybe one other person there remembers it doesn’t matter did it? Did it get me anything at the time it was a candy grab it was something that was there and I did it. But that was a hard lesson to learn because what did it cost me probably a week or two of good actual training. I could have made progress. But instead, I was just roasted. So it put me in the hole. And that’s exactly what Paul’s talking about. And this is something that I think is very common in the sport of cycling. People during racing season, they just like to race and they race all the time. And I know a lot of bike racers myself included for many seasons who just race and race and race and they actually get less fit as the season goes on, or they just fry themselves from the intensity.
Colby Pearce 1:45:35
So this is what I love about Paul’s that he’s got these powerful intuitions about how athlete/athletics work on all levels. I mean, when you watch one of Paul’s videos, we’ll see how strong he is. He’s clearly a strength oriented athlete. But he’s also got a really excellent understanding of the basics of sport across all platforms.
Colby Pearce 1:45:58
I want to tell a brief story to about King Phase I said that last one was middle the final one, but I lied. I’ve had my own mild well say trivial, no, I won’t say trivial, what adjective shall we select…? I’ll say, had my own midlife crisis, we’ll just say that it was that few years ago, I hit the point where I also could not stand the weight of being the person that I had created; meaning the pressure of my own three or four businesses that I was running solo at the time, and trying to ride my bike and train and be a competitive athletes still, to a degree just became too much. And I really was having this powerful sense of inner conflict. I didn’t like the person I was becoming. I didn’t like the way my life was playing out. I didn’t want to be working every night until 10:30 – and then sprinting to bed and getting up to do it again, and always feeling behind the eight ball. As a result of the choices I was making in the demands of my clients and business. And the crisis hit at apex when I crashed on the Boulder Valley Velodrome; it was a pretty bad crash. One of the worst I’ve ever had for sure, by cycling standards not nearly as bad as some, knock on wood. But I broke four ribs collarbone, punctured a lung, pneumothorax, in the hospital for three or four days. Took me, took me a while to get going again after that one um, I remember walking a part way around the block was the first physical activity I had. And I think that was five or six days after I got out of the hospital. And that took me about 20 minutes to make it halfway up the block and back so I was pretty messed up for a while.
Colby Pearce 1:47:52
But the point I’m trying to make is that I didn’t just crash as a matter of happenstance, it wasn’t an accident. Looking back on it, I can see clearly that I basically chose to throw myself on the ground. I was so unhappy with the way things were progressing. I just hit the brakes, literally, well, no, actually, not literally, I was on the track, there were no brakes. I hit the ground is when I hit literally, or the surface of the velodrome. I just talked myself out in the middle of an effort straight up by myself at speed crashed on the track. That’s actually pretty hard to do. And, looking back on it, it was clear that I did that with some sort of intent. There was a part of me that threw myself on the track that need to stop everything, which is a bizarre thing to think about. And I just want to share that story because I wondering if some of my audience might have similar experiences where they look back on some sort of accident and realize that it was actually quite intentional. That was a powerful lesson for me. And it’s one that I have not forgotten. It’s one that drives me to keep my life in greater balance to this day. Which means, just as Paul and I discussed sweeping my own doorstep, doing my own meditation, making sure my sleep is a priority, because you have to take care of yourself before you can apply the oxygen mask to those small children or others sitting next to you.
Colby Pearce 1:49:33
I also love how Paul referred to data is something that is used to inform the subjective with the objective, and that it was something to be let go of over time. He also used the term training wheels. I think that’s so beautiful and poetic. I mean, I know this comes from me and I’ve been on power since 1995. So for me, power data’s, well, it’s been around a long time, I’m very familiar with it. But somewhere around the early 2000s, I started playing game with myself where I would start to guess what my power was, and then look at the power meter. And it would do efforts and start to estimate what my average was, and see how close I could get. Then I would do whole rides and look and see how many KJs and what the average power was. And I got freakishly good at it. And that’s exactly what Paul was describing when he was saying that he could start to interpret his own sensations and then guess what his heart rate was or predict what his heart a value was. So as a challenge for some of you, I would suggest that, especially now, in the fall of 2020, when there aren’t a lot of races happening, if any, maybe a few around the country. You might try putting a small piece of electrical tape over the power reading on your head unit and just ride record but don’t observe. Maybe even try some efforts, See if you can feel how much power you’re doing. Are you capable of doing a five minute effort without watching the power numbers the whole time for pacing, or a 20 minute effort? What happens? I have my riders do this sometimes, and many of them have found to be a very powerful exercise. The only elite writer I’ve heard of who practice this for a while was Taylor Finney. There’s some video out there on YouTube somewhere about him not using power during a TT, which a lot of people think is insane. What Taylor looks at during his time trial is speed. And the reason he does that, as explained in the video is because the objective of a time trial is to go as fast as possible. I love the simplicity of this logic.
Colby Pearce 1:51:48
Thank you for listening to today’s episode. I hope you found it as insightful and powerful as I did. As always, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org Send me your comments and I’ll try to get to them in a timely fashion. Chronic email overload is something I experience interspersed with random email avalanches. So there you have it. Thanks for listening. Take care, ride fast, ride and flow.