68 episodes

The Building the Elite (BTE) podcast discusses all facets of human performance - from physical training to the mental and emotional factors of resilience. Each episode looks at principles drawn from the world of special operations. These concepts help people succeed in the toughest military training courses in the world and can help anyone thrive in chaotic and challenging environments.

Building the Elite Podcast Building the Elite

    • Health & Fitness
    • 4.9 • 56 Ratings

The Building the Elite (BTE) podcast discusses all facets of human performance - from physical training to the mental and emotional factors of resilience. Each episode looks at principles drawn from the world of special operations. These concepts help people succeed in the toughest military training courses in the world and can help anyone thrive in chaotic and challenging environments.

    Laura Gordon: Nervous System Regulation - Ep. 68

    Laura Gordon: Nervous System Regulation - Ep. 68

    Laura is the Lead Performance Instructor at Deep End Fitness in San Diego, a trauma therapist, and a strength coach. She is about to graduate with the Master’s portion of her Ph.D. next month (May 2024) and will continue for two more years to complete her Ph.D. She previously received her Juris Doctorate degree but opted to change career trajectories toward something more fulfilling and service-driven. 
    Laura specializes in Applied Behavioral Neuroscience through a Polyvagal Theory approach and currently leads training sessions on Nervous System Resilience and Regulation for First Responders and Military Personnel in the greater San Diego area.

    She also probably squats more than you. 

    Laura's Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lauragordon__/

    Deep End Fitness San Diego: https://www.instagram.com/deependsandiego/

    Deep End Fitness: https://www.deependfitness.com/


    00:00:22 Intro to Laura Gordon
    00:01:15 Athletic and Educational Background
    00:03:12 Deep End Fitness
    00:06:11 Universal Factors 
    00:07:31 Nervous System Regulation and Resilience
    00:11:08 Leveling of Attitudes
    00:14:19 What Workouts Look Like at Deep End Fitness
    00:16:00 What Changes Mentally During Training
    00:18:25 How People Understand Their Body
    00:22:50 Body Prediction Error
    00:28:30 Tuning Out The Negative
    00:32:34 Polyvagal Theory
    00:34:49 Avoiding Full Immobilization 
    00:39:50 Ventral Vagal and Dorsal Vagal Systems
    00:43:09 Healthier Versions of Stress Coping
    00:44:28 Individual Zone of Optimal Functioning
    00:47:34  Controlled Stressors 
    00:49:40 Tools and Cues
    00:53:49 High Level of Trust While Coaching
    00:56:48 Behavior Model 
    00:59:00 Shifting the Course of Lives
    01:00:46 Managing Burnout
    01:03:33 Managing Your Recovery 
    01:08:57 CO2 Tolerance
    01:11:32 Finding Connection and Community 
    01:14:43 Best and Worst Advice
    01:16:58 Learn More about Laura
    01:17:22 Outro

    • 1 hr 17 min
    Dr. Krista Scott-Dixon: Emotional Resilience in SOF Selection - Ep. 67

    Dr. Krista Scott-Dixon: Emotional Resilience in SOF Selection - Ep. 67

    Dr. Krista Scott-Dixon (also known as KSD) is a trained counselor specializing in the psychology of behavior change, with certifications including motivational interviewing, solution-focused, DBT, CBT, and trauma counseling.
    She’s the author of numerous books and accredited nutrition, sleep, stress, and recovery courses. She is our go-to performance psych and works 1-1 with many of our clients seeking to sharpen the mental and emotional skills needed to handle some of the toughest training courses in the world.
    We’ve been training people for special operations selection courses around the world for almost 15 years now, and at this point the physical side of that is a predictable process. With sufficient training time, we can reliably get just about anyone to the physical performance levels needed for a given selection course. 

    We’ve also gotten pretty good at teaching the cognitive skills needed to do well in these kinds of high-stress situations - things like segmenting, compartmentalization, and managing self-talk.

    But, there’s another piece to the puzzle that is just as important, and you can’t thinky-brain your way out of it - that’s dealing with the emotional challenges of SOF selection. These courses are not just designed to break you down physically and mentally. They also test your emotional resilience. They’ll put you in situations that make you doubt your sense of belonging or whether you deserve to be there.

    Ultimately, many people who quit SOF selection courses do so not because they’re missing the physical performance standards but because, at some point, they are overwhelmed by an emotional sense that either they don’t belong there, or other people don’t think that they belong there, and they believe them.

    Many of our clients work with Krista to prepare for these emotional challenges in training and bring that resiliency into their courses, just as they do with physical training. This kind of work isn’t just important for getting through selection - it also helps people to manage the stresses of their careers in special operations so that they can have long, productive careers and healthy relationships at work and at home. 

    To learn more about KSD or book a session with her, go to https://www.buildingtheelite.com/performance-psych-coaching/


    00:00:21 Intro to Dr. Krista Scott Dixon
    00:03:43 Key Themes With Prospective Special Operators
    00:07:57 The "Everyone Else Problem"
    00:11:14 Entry Stakes
    00:16.20 How the Skills for Success Can Bring Struggle
    00:20:49 Bridging the Gap Between Knowing and Training
    00:27:10 Replicating Environmental Stressors
    00:33:41 Staying Mindful 
    00:40:50 Dealing With Depression After Success
    00:49:16 Ways to Practice Emotional Regulation
    01:02:09 Processing Rejection
    01:07:23 The Gift of Fear
    01:15:06 Concepts to Prepare for SOF Selection
    01:19:36 Outro

    • 1 hr 19 min
    Aaron Epstein, MD - Global Surgical and Medical Support Group - Ep. 66

    Aaron Epstein, MD - Global Surgical and Medical Support Group - Ep. 66

    Dr. Aaron Epstein created the Global Surgical and Medical Support Group in 2015 to provide high-quality care to victims in Iraq of the ongoing conflict with ISIS. 
    What started as small teams of physicians and surgeons inserting themselves in communities facing ISIS has since expanded to an organization of over 1,000 leading US licensed medical experts, covering every medical and surgical subspecialty from medical institutions worldwide and US Special Operations veterans.  This unique combination of medical expertise and the ability to operate in austere settings allows them to rapidly bring unparalleled services to some of the harshest environments and serve populations in dire need.

    To learn more about GSMSG, go to their website, GSMSG.org. 

    You can also follow them on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/__gsmsg__/


    00:00:22 Intro 
    00:01:26 Global Surgical and Medical Support Group
    00:04:37 Roles Within 2,000 People
    00:06:27 Aaron Epstein’s Background
    00:09:35 Field Hospital in 72 Hours
    00:12:50 Logistical Problems
    00:13:48 Long-Term Strategies  
    00:19:33 Stateside Training and Continuity
    00:21:11 Levels of Training
    00:24:14 Refresher Training
    00:26:13 Health Care and Medical Training 
    00:29:00 Decreasing Poverty Levels 
    00:33:17 Innovations in Battlefield Medicine
    00:38:03 Moving Away from Direct Blood Transfers
    00:38:49 Biggest Obstacles for Point of Injury
    00:43:04 Mitigating FPV Drones
    00:44:55 Lessons Learned for Battlefield Medicine
    00:48:51 Interested in GSMSG
    00:53:40 Outro

    • 53 min
    Tim Richardt, DPT - How to Run and Ruck Without Getting Injured - Ep. 65

    Tim Richardt, DPT - How to Run and Ruck Without Getting Injured - Ep. 65

    Tim Richardt is a Colorado-based Physical Therapist with a passion for rock climbing, trail running, and technical backcountry skiing. Professionally, he's been involved in the physical preparation of military, tactical, and law enforcement personnel since 2010. After finishing his collegiate running career in 2012, he relocated to Denver to pursue his Doctorate of Physical Therapy at Regis University. Since graduating, he has made it a priority to continue to better understand the multifaceted nature of human movement and answer the ultimate question of what makes resilient, robust, and adaptable athletes capable of withstanding competition, selection courses, or whatever life has in store for them.
    Tim is part of our team at BTE. We’ve worked with him to develop our movement assessment app and bulletproof joint series, which our clients use to get individualized movement drills that help them move better and train harder without injury. He’s also behind our new courses on improving the technical skills of running and rucking so that our clients can handle high training loads without breaking down. 
    Many people struggle through cycles of training hard, getting injured, taking time off, and then starting over and trying to catch up. By integrating regular movement work and some of the concepts that we’ll talk about on this call into your training, you can break this cycle and stay healthy while training consistently. 

    To learn more about Tim or work with him for either in-person physical therapy or online coaching, you can contact him at TimRichardt.com or message him on Instagram.
    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tim_richardt_dpt/


    00:00:22 Intro To Tim Richardt
    00:01:43 SOF Selection
    00:04:23 Primary Reasons for Shin Splints
    00:08:30 Cadence 
    00:10:02 What Your Cadence Should Be
    00:11:50 Foot Strike
    00:13:30 Basics for Running Better
    00:16:03 Ankles, Knees and Hips
    00:17:02 Useful Running Cues
    00:18:53 What is ISA?
    00:21:01 Physiological Profile for Running and Rucking
    00:23:02 How Should Magnus Train
    00:25:37 Human Pogo Stick
    00:27:27 Tissue Elasticity
    00:31:58 What Was Thoracic Extension Training Missing 
    00:35:30 Why Did People Think It Worked?
    00:38:44 Barefoot Running
    00:40:47 Individual Foot Structure
    00:42:19 Flat Foot Type
    00:43:50 When Are Insoles Useful?
    00:45:53 Moonbounce Shoe Trend 
    00:48:28 Cushioning In the Floor
    00:50:12 Improve Foot Posture
    00:55:30 General Ideal Shoe Characteristics
    00:58:59 Insole Varieties
    01:01:44 ITB Syndrome
    01:05:22 Where Do We Learn More
    01:06:17 Outro 

    • 1 hr 6 min
    How to Regulate Your Nervous System - Ep. 64

    How to Regulate Your Nervous System - Ep. 64

    You must manage your stress response before you can manage your self-talk, emotions, pain, or fatigue. The process that controls our stress response occurs automatically and outside conscious control. 
    Even though many stress responses are automatic, we can learn to identify, manage, and shape them. To do that, we first need a mental model of the physical and mental cues accompanying different types of stress responses and an understanding of how our autonomic nervous system works. 

    • 37 min
    Don Tran - Marine Raider and Deep End Fitness Co-Founder - Ep. 63

    Don Tran - Marine Raider and Deep End Fitness Co-Founder - Ep. 63

    Don Tran is a former special operations Marine, and is the co-founder of Deep End Fitness. Prior to joining the MARSOC, or Marine Special Operations Command, community, Don was a water survival instructor, where he first began learning the skills that he developed over his career and brought to Deep End Fitness. 
    Don was also a JTAC - a Joint Tactical Attack Controller, which is a specialty within US SOCOM that involves the coordination of combat aircraft in close support of ground operations.  
    He finished his time as a Marine Raider in a leadership role as a team operations chief and spent additional time at 4th Force Reconnaissance Company before leaving active duty in 2018. 
    From there, he shifted full time into his work at Deep End Fitness, where he and his team teach physical fitness and water confidence, integrating the training methods he learned and developed as a maritime special operator. 
    At BTE, we’re big fans of the work that Don and his crew are doing at Deep End Fitness, and we encourage our clients to train at their facilities for in-person coaching on the critical skills in the water that they’ll need to excel in their selection courses. The concepts that they’re teaching have been at the heart of maritime special operations culture for a long time, and it’s great to see those benefits becoming more mainstream and reaching not just other competitive athletes, but people from all walks of life seeking to become more fit while learning to better understand and manage their bodies and stress responses.  

    Deep End Fitness:



    Time Stamps:

    00:00:22 Intro to Don Tran
    00:01:58 Don's Career Overview
    00:02:45 Water Survival Instructor
    00:05:26 Marine Raider
    00:08:56 Advice For Someone Becoming a Raider
    00:10:15 Attributes Don Struggled With
    00:12:51 Selection Courses
    00:19:47 Underwater Football League
    00:22:51 Stresses of a Career as a Raider
    00:24:58 Getting out of the Military
    00:27:07 Deep End Fitness
    00:29:23 How to Explain the Concept of DEF
    00:32:32 MMA Fighters and NFL Players at DEF
    00:36:10 Training Methodology
    00:41:01 Manage Baseline Anxiety
    00:43:33 Fear Vs Anxiety
    00:44:45 Water: The Great Equalizer
    00:47:37 Basic Safety Guardrails
    00:50:01 In-Water Safety
    00:52:45 Don’t Panic Don’t Drown
    00:54:42 Firefighters
    00:55:11 Find Deep End Fitness
    00:55:50 Outro

    • 56 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
56 Ratings

56 Ratings

ScottFangshi ,

Great Co-Hosts and Small Episodes

Jonathan and Craig do a great job scripting their small, short episodes to maximize knowledge in an important area of performance or mindset. More podcasts should be like them with time efficiency to value.

hendricksont ,

Above and beyond

Each episode of Building the Elite is a treasure trove of information and application. They go way beyond set and rep schemes and into the philosophy of training, resilience, discipline and so much more. Even as an experienced personal trainer, I find myself challenged and stretched at different points in every episode and find myself reviewing and sharing each one multiple times. It’s well worth your time. However, I must caution you that the lessons only work if you do—so make sure you put the principles into practice!

InfinitePriors ,


The most comprehensive and thorough subject experts I have ever come across. The team at BTE are truly masters of their crafts and are doing the SOF world (along with its aspirants) immeasurable excellence. Any field that they pursued would undoubtedly benefit, I’m just glad it’s the SOF world. Buy their book, listen to their podcast, subscribe to the app, put in the work!

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