Pro Mountain Biker, Plant-Based Athlete, and World Endurance Champion, Sonya Looney interviews inspiring leaders about vegan & plant-based nutrition, cycling and endurance training, mountain bike tips, sports psychology, adventure travel, mindset, personal development, and entrepreneurship to help you unlock the best and healthiest version of yourself. Find out more at: www.sonyalooney.com
Mindset Mastery: Elevating Performance with Neal Palles
Ready for a mindset transformation? In this episode, I sit down with Neal Palles, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Mental Performance Coach based in Longmont, Colorado. With a master's degree in applied sport psychology, Neal helps us better understand the intricacies of mental skills training and performance psychology - from embracing uncertainty and clarifying values to cultivating acceptance.
We delve into the delicate dance of harmonious and obsessive passion, discover the resilience-building power of imagery, and explore the art of emotional regulation. Neal guides us on a journey of self-discovery, clarifying personal values and unveiling the transformative impact of mental support. Join us for a masterclass in mindset mastery – your key to navigating life's challenges with grace and purpose.
Here are 5 takeaways from the conversation:
1. The difference between harmonious and obsessive passion, and how to balance multiple goals and values.
2. Using mental imagery to rehearse challenging scenarios and build mental resilience.
3. The importance of emotional regulation and redirecting emotions productively.
4. Clarifying personal values through examining goals, sources of anger/passion, and life themes.
5. Differentiating terms like mental performance coaching, sports psychology, and psychotherapy.
Learn more about perfectionism with Thomas Curran Prioritize self-compassion with these tips Dig into Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) with Dr. Diana Hill and Dr. Z More tips for developing mindset with self-talk and expectations with Ethan Kross Learn about Performance Aging with Steven Kotler
Cultivating Inner Qualities for Positive Change with Oren Jay Sofer
On the quest for contentment, I have learned so much from meditation and cultivating positivity. I had the privilege of chatting with the insightful Oren Jay Sofer about his transformative new book, "Your Heart Was Made for This."
We explored the profound practices of mindfulness, meditation, and Nonviolent Communication to nurture qualities like patience, contentment, and forgiveness. Oren shares wisdom on differentiating empathy, compassion, and kindness, highlighting how shaping our inner lives can lead to personal and social transformation.
Here are some key takeaways:
Cultivating inner qualities: like patience, contentment, forgiveness through contemplative practices can help with challenges in life and create positive change. Empathy vs Compassion: How to balance our feelings with what others feel; recognizing that kindness is such a powerful warmth and connection between people. Contentment: Using mindfulness to focus on appreciating what we have rather than craving more. Forgiveness: How to free your own heart from past suffering by embracing qualities like equanimity. Plus, tips from Your Heart Was Made for This: Learning how positive changes in our own lives can create positive changes in the world around us.
Listen to my previous episode with Oren: Say What You Mean Learn more about fulfillment from my conversation with Mario Fraioli
Mastering Change, Rugged Flexibility, and Building Resilience with Brad Stulberg
In a world that changes every day, how do we stay flexible? I'm thrilled to have author and expert Brad Stulberg on the show to discuss his latest book "Master of Change," including concepts like rugged flexibility, order/disorder/reorder, identity, and much more.
We dive into the complexities of identity, discussing how our various roles, from parent to athlete, come together to form an integrated whole. We talk about how making changes from a place of strength versus weakness urges us to assess the bigger picture before embarking on transformative journeys.
This conversation came at a perfect time for me, and I hope it helps you, too. These practical insights will help you build resilience and master change in all aspects of life. Don't miss this opportunity to explore the art, science, and practice of achieving a more fulfilling and sustainable kind of success.
Here are our key takeaways:
What is rugged flexibility? How we can be willing to bend and adapt when navigating change over the long term. Aligning expectations with reality: The importance and impact of understanding true outcomes Analyzing identity: Recognizing that we are made up of differentiated parts (like parent, athlete) that are integrated to form a cohesive whole. Making changes from a place of strength: Why it's better to assess the bigger picture before making a change Authenticity: Why podcasts have the potential to portray our most clear, free-formed ideas LINKS:
Learn more about Brad Stulberg and subscribe to The Growth Equation Listen to The Practice of Groundedness podcast I recorded with Brad Listen to a conversation on embracing change in the workplace with Kristel Bauer
Finding Fulfillment Beyond Growth: Consistency, Goals, and Pivoting with Coach Mario Fraioli
In our quest for self-improvement, it's easy to focus solely on measurable progress—faster times, more significant achievements, and tangible results. However, growth extends beyond these external markers. In this episode, running coach Mario Fraioli joined me to discuss a topic we are both deeply passionate about: doing an activity for its own sake.
As an elite athlete, writer, and coach, Mario has deep insight into how process, dedication, and commitment can bring satisfaction, regardless of the outcome. He shares the powerful shift in perspective that consistency comes from commitment and how much our mood can determine our understanding of progress. Plus, we talk about the significance of relationships and lifestyle in finding true fulfillment.
Mario's wisdom has left a lasting impact on me, and I hope it resonates with you too.
The work itself can be the reward, not just external achievements or metrics.
Growth doesn't always mean measurable progress - it can be internal too.
Consistency comes from commitment to your values and goals.
It's important to find fulfillment from relationships and lifestyle, not just outcomes.
Pivoting requires honesty about what still serves your values and purpose.
Learn more about Mario Fraioli and subscribe to the morning shakeout newsletter
Washington Post Article featuring Sonya and Erin Huck, by Yael Schonbrun
Episode with Erin Huck and Sonya about Athlete Motherhood
How do you go about setting goals? Check out this episode about measuring progress
Exploring the Science of Happiness: My Journey in Applied Positive Psychology
I'll be taking you on a journey through my academic adventure as I pursue a Master's degree in Applied Positive Psychology. I'm excited to share the fascinating insights I've gained, the classes I've been taking, the papers I've been writing, and the transformative concepts that have left a profound impact on my life.
I discuss key components like positive interventions, flourishing, and the intriguing concept of maximizing versus sacrificing. I'll share how these ideas have the potential to shape our daily lives and bring about positive change.
And ultimately, this is a tool for my daily life, too. I share personal experiences with positive interventions and my quest for greater pride and gratitude. I offer practical insights into implementing these interventions in your own life and the incredible impact they can have on your overall well-being.
We'll also reconsider the concept of connection and why feeling like we're a burden, asking a "stupid" question, or bothering someone can lead to isolation rather than enriching society. It's a powerful perspective that can change the way we interact with others and build meaningful connections.
Together, we'll gain valuable insights and practical tips that can change the way you approach life and well-being. I'm with you on this journey of personal growth, adventure and our mission to be better every day.
- What is a positive intervention?
- Why we should consider experiencing more positive emotions
- The importance of feeling pride as a way to celebrate success
- How to give and receive gratitude
- How we make decisions and why we shouldn't always shoot for best
- Rethinking connection: How can we focus on interaction, rather than isolation
Positivity by Barb Fredrickson Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz Generations by Jean Twenge Happy Together by James and Susan Pawelski Want to hear more from Sonya? Tune into these solo episodes:
- The Power of Small Wins
- The Ultimate Guide to Goal Setting
- Tuning in to Savoring
Balancing Motherhood and the Podium with Olympian Erin Huck
“I just can’t believe how grateful I am. I just love being a mom, and I am an Olympian.”
This episode features a special conversation with Erin Huck, recorded during the Women's Cycling Summit at Breck Epic. Erin is a mountain biker who competed in the women's cross-country event at the 2020 Summer Olympics, and the 2015 Pan American Games. She’s also a mom, like me.
We explore the remarkable journey of balancing motherhood with a flourishing athletic career. Our candid discussion covers postpartum physical rehab, shifts in racing perspectives, and the art of balancing multiple roles. Plus, we share our experiences with unexpected challenges, like infertility, uncertainties and fears we grappled with in continuing our athletic careers, and the complexities of sponsorship and identity in the world of competitive sports.
So, how do athlete parents find a balance between racing and parenting? Tune in to hear about how vital systems like childcare and meal prep are for training and maintaining flexibility in the face of change. This conversation is raw, honest, and essential for anyone leaning into the spectrum of parenthood experience.
The Ultimate Recovery: Learn tips for utilizing tools like rehab, fitness, and fueling after pregnancy
Managing Expectations: How does motherhood change performance?
Appreciating Our Bodies: Reflections on the power of motherhood and developing empathy for changes in their bodies and appearances.
Cycling and Identity: Hear about challenges navigating the sponsorship and training in the professional cycling world as moms
Personal Experiences: Plus, we share anecdotes from our own motherhood journeys, miscarriages, and infertility
Want to hear more from inspiring athlete moms? Check out this interview with Olympian Kara Goucher Work, Parent, Thrive with Yael Schonbrun Tune into my series about being an athlete mother Learn tips on training the pelvic floor with Corrine Wade Explore exercise guidelines for pregnancy and postpartum with Catherine Cram
Listening to your podcast after a bad day and rough night of sleep - but now I remember what a privilege it is to be out in nature, to have the ability to move my body, to choose what I want to do. Thanks for the reminder to stop the all or nothing thinking!
I always come away feeling inspired and educated. I love Sonya’s thoughtful perspective and thorough research.
If you love intelligent conversations about nearly every aspect of well-being, you’ll love this podcast. Sonya is an excellent interviewer, and has the leading guess guests who are experts in so many important topics.