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
The Science of Goal Setting and 'Good Grit' with Caroline Miller
In a world filled with endless possibilities and opportunities, setting goals is often seen as the key to success. But what exactly makes a goal effective, and how can we avoid common pitfalls in the goal-setting process? I sat down with renowned goal-setting expert Caroline Miller to learn practical strategies for achieving our toughest goals and cultivating the determination to see them through.
Caroline shares what it means to develop grit how to cultivate intrinsic motivation. We talk through the differences between learning goals and performance goals, explore the concept of 'good grit' versus 'bad grit,' and discuss practical strategies for building self-regulation and finding balance in our pursuit of challenging goals.
Tune in to learn grit impacts all of us, from young kids in the next generation, to professional athletes - there's something for everyone in this episode!
Here are some key takeaways:
- The differences between learning goals and performance goals
- Types of good and bad grit
- Building self-regulation and intrinsic motivation
- Finding a balance between challenging goals and short-term satisfaction
- Developing grit in younger generations
- The importance of lived experience in applying positive psychology concepts
- Check out my ultimate guide to goal setting
- Learn how Mario Fraioli coaches athletes to focus on growth over goals
- Read my blog about the risk of unrealistic standards
Championing Change: Athleticism, Motherhood, and Identity with Cyclist Jenny Smith
From her upbringing in New Zealand to her career as a multi-sport athlete, Jenny Smith has proven that you can achieve athletic excellence while balancing changes in identity.
Jenny's journey through motherhood and endurance sports hits close to home for me, and I was thrilled to reconnect after our time with the Breck Epic Women’s Cycling Summit this summer.
In this conversation, we explore Jenny's evolution from a young runner to a dominant force in cross-country mountain biking and XTERRA triathlon. She shares how she balances the demands of training and competition with the joys of motherhood.
Plus, hear about her philosophy on coaching athletes - emphasizing skill development, positive youth development, and cultivating a supportive training environment - and her experiences and thoughts on aging as an athlete.
Jenny gives us the potent reminder to invest in personal growth, authenticity, and staying true to one's roots amidst the demands of elite sports.
Here are a few key takeaways:
- The Past Informs the Present: Jenny's upbringing in New Zealand and background in running
- Navigating Career Transitions: Hear about her transition to mountain biking and racing career accomplishments
- Motherhood on Two Wheels: The impact of having a child on her training and racing
- Aim High Performance: Her philosophy and approach to coaching athletes, especially adolescents
- Changing Identity: Jenny shares her views on aging as an athlete and cultural identity
- Learn more about Jenny's coaching and Aim High Performance
- Check out other episodes about parenthood and athletics
- Listen to another powerful interview about balancing motherhood and the podium with Olympian Erin Huck
From Olympics to Advocacy with Switch4Good's Dotsie Bausch
At the height of the "Got Milk" campaign, Olympic silver medalist Dotsie Bausch found herself appalled at the assumption that dairy milk created successful athletes. She decided to do something about it. I sat down with the remarkable cyclist and advocate to hear her story of overcoming adversity, conquering anorexia, and finding solace and strength in cycling.
While her transition to a plant-based diet was initially fueled by ethical convictions, it ultimately led her on a quest for improved health and performance. She shares her path to found Switch4Good, a nonprofit organization she founded to promote plant-based eating and challenge the dairy industry's status quo. Plus, her advocacy for the Add Soy Act and its potential to provide healthier, non-dairy options in schools.
Dotsie's journey has always inspired me to challenge norms, embrace change, and live with purpose - even when you are going against the grain. I hope it brings some strength to you, too!
Here are some key takeaways:
- Dotsie's Story: From battling anorexia to Olympic glory, all through the power of cycling.
- Why Choose Plant-Based: Changing her diet for ethical reasons not only transformed Dotsie's health and performance but also ignited a powerful movement for change.
- Switch4Good: Learn about the bold campaigns and disruptive messaging that are revolutionizing the way we think about plant-based eating, sparking a wave of compassion and conscious choices.
- Inflammatory Dairy: The harsh truth about dairy's inflammatory effects and its link to widespread health issues.
- Add Soy Act: This groundbreaking legislation proposes a vital shift towards healthier, non-dairy options in schools, offering hope for the next generation's well-being.
- Learn more about Switch4Good
- Learn more about Dotsie's career and advocacy work
- Follow Dotsie on Instagram
- Get inspired by this interview with vegan athlete Fiona Oakes
Embracing Competition: Cultivating an Adaptive Mindset with Kim Perkins
Competition isn't just about winning—it's about growth, resilience, and pushing beyond our limits. I sat down with former pro speedskater and organizational psychologist Kim Perkins to talk about how competition shapes our lives and how to harness the power of an adaptive mindset.
Together, we explored the multifaceted nature of competition, including how it can be both a source of inspiration and a powerful challenge in our lives. With a Ph.D. in positive organizational psychology and experience as a journalist, Kim brings a unique perspective to the playing field - and our conversation.
From reframing rivalries to embracing self-compassion, you will learn powerful strategies for cultivating a more adaptive mindset around competition.
Differentiate: Look for ways you are different from competitors rather than focusing on similarities, to avoid unnecessary rivalry. Finding compassion: How to extend understanding to yourself and others, and cut people some slack rather than being overly critical. Enjoy the ride: Focus on the activity itself rather than outcomes or social comparison. Lead with curiosity: How to approach competition with curiosity rather than judgment of yourself and others. Set realistic expectations: Lowering perfectionistic standards can support you and others LINKS
Check out Kim's website Read Kim's book "Winner Take None" Interested in rethinking competition? Listen to this solo episode Find out what's behind the Winning Mindset with Jake Thompson
Aging Gracefully, Training Powerfully: Insights from 80-year-old Endurance Coach Joe Friel
At the remarkable age of 80, Joe Friel is a testament to the power of staying engaged in the activities that bring joy and fulfillment. He is an active endurance sports coach, author of 17 books, and a trailblazer in the realm of multisport coaching.
What does it mean to age gracefully? In this episode, Joe shares his wisdom on fitness, adaptive training methods, coaching, self-regulation, exercise and well-being. As athletes, it's so important that we create bridges between endurance sports, holistic health, and overall flourishing - which is why I found this conversation endlessly inspiring. I hope you do, too!
- Sustaining Career Engagement: Insights on maintaining professional engagement throughout a career, including valuable lessons on longevity and passion
- Aging Athletes: Maintaining vitality through enjoyable activities, healthy eating, sufficient sleep, and sociability
- Adapting to Age: Learn how changing expectations and utilizing tools like e-bikes can support sociability and routine
- Coaching Considerations: Should amateurs seek coaching? We break down factors like the financial investment, the importance of being informed, and the transformative power of aligning expectations
- Check out Joe's website
- Read The Triathlete's Training Bible
- Want to learn more about peak performance aging? Listen to this episode with NYT Bestselling Author Steven Kotler
Finding Flow with Positive Psychology Expert Orin Davis
Flow—an elusive state where time seems to dissolve, and we're fully immersed in the present moment. But how do we get there? Dr. Orin Davis is self-actualization engineer and the first recipient of a doctorate in the field of positive psychology. Today, he joins us to explain the complexities of what flow really means, and how we can incorporate it in our lives - both personally and professionally.
As we explore the pathways "the optimal experience," we find not only enhanced productivity but a profound connection to our innate capabilities. From neuroscience, trust, feedback, and alignment, we tackle common myths and come to realize that flow is for everyone.
Let's commit to fostering a state of flow for optimal well-being and peak performance. Ready?
- What is flow?: When your skills match the challenge, you're motivated from within, fully absorbed in the moment, and self-consciousness fades away
- Myths about flow: Research papers from the 1970s-1990s may have misled our approach to finding a true flow state
- Building team flow: requires trust, open communication, common goals, and regular feedback.
- Tips for how to cultivate flow: Doing things you love, aligning with your skills, and dedicating focused time
- Why feedback is so crucial: It can spotlight processes, not just results, and be delivered respectfully to foster trust
- Check out Orin's website
- Learn more about flow states with psychologist Jonah Paquette
- Struggling to find your flow? Listen to this solo episode about the paradox of comparison
Encouraging and Inspiring
Thanks Sonya for these informative episodes with really cool and interesting guests - so many are unique and they all offer actionable tips and well-being ideas!
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.