Mental Conditioning

Archive

Wilderness pros are trained to deal with physical injuries, but what about the psychological trauma that can result while on an expedition, from fear and stress, or from watching someone die in a fall, an avalanche, or whitewater? Australian psychologist and mountaineer Kate Baecher created a training program to equip guides and athletes with a tool kit to handle the worst mental distress we encounter when we're far from help.

Wim Hof's teachings about breath work and the health benefits of cold plunges have attracted millions of followers who swear it has cured everything from depression to diabetes and makes them happier and stronger. Our writer traveled to Iceland (naturally) for a deep dive with the man and his methods.

How self-determination theory can help you survive the long, drawn-out pandemic

When the going gets tough, which sensation actually slows you down?

From pizza to ultramarathons, what's the best way to chill out?

New research says yes. Fortunately, there's something we can do about it.

How a dog and a fly rod can be the perfect prescription

On trail running, trespassing, and what your neighbors do or don't owe you

One day, Michael Shattuck started to run. He liked it, so he ran longer, sometimes for as many as 65 hours each week. He never wanted to stop. What was he running from?

As most of the world stays indoors for days on end, we're all feeling varying degrees of cabin fever. Here's how to make sure you come out of it OK.

New research explores why you go slower and feel worse, even though you’re pushing as hard as usual

In his new book, 'The Wedge,' bestselling author Scott Carney travels the world to investigate the surprisingly effective methods humans have developed to rewire our brains and control our response to stress. And it all starts with taming fear.

Wouldn't it be great if there was a technique that would allow us to vanquish fear and beat back stress? 

Tricks to making your home workout as easy—and productive—as possible

'Shred It in Place' explores how iconic, untouched routes like the Kitchen Traverse can make this time just a little more bearable

We were already worried enough about the climate. So with COVID-19, how do we cope with a brand-new feeling of helplessness?

Men suffer higher rates of suicide and drug abuse than women. Many are anxious and lonely—and, as a result, they’re all too often angry and violent. Wilderness Collective thinks the solution lies in open spaces, UTVs, and fireside talks. But is that enough?

After a nasty bike accident, journalist Sarah Allely found basic activities impossible. Then she started spending more time outdoors.

Launched by Specialized CEO Mike Sinyard, Project New Day promotes the use of hallucinogens like mushrooms to treat addiction and PTSD

Both substances are being studied for stress and anxiety relief. We asked the experts if and how they work.

Alex Honnold has made a career of facing down risk in the mountains. Because of that, he has insight into how to process that possibility.

Delayed gratification gets harder when you’re overtrained, according to a new brain-scanning study

Whether you’re striving for peak performance or coming back from injury, psychological techniques can help

When your love for the outdoors meets chronic pain, you grieve—and then you adapt

The quality of your habits determines the quality of your life. Here's your step-by-step guide.

A new meta-study, which followed 267,000 people, sheds a few answers

An expert's guide to sticking it out through pain and suffering

A new study looks at the effect of subtle wording changes on the performance-boosting power of motivational self-talk

The world-champion obstacle course racer has had a 20-year history with anorexia. But now she's in the process of recovering, and she has some important lessons to share.

Cal Newport, author of 'Digital Minimalism,' explains how we need to reimagine our relationship with technology

Or how running and meditating both led one woman to the same unexpected place

Society has primed us to care about ego and status. Here's how to get past that.

Smart ways to strengthen your mental game

In 'Beautifully Savage,' boxing-gym owner Joe Buckner recalls his troubling history and how that's shaped him into the man he is today

Katie Arnold, author of the new memoir Running Home, talks about the unique healing power of endurance sports

Our favorite gear to increase work-hours productivity

In Nepal, where mental-health issues are widespread following a long civil war and the 2015 earthquake, one organization offers counseling alongside primary care

Studies show that your emotions spread further than you think

On polar madness and other games the Arctic plays with the human brain

Most accomplished athletes, from Alex Honnold to Mikaela Shiffrin, have rituals they perform before a big day

Author Caroline Paul talks to Tim Ferriss about what she learned battling blazes—and how those lessons enabled a life of adventure.

As America wrestles with high rates of suicide among military personnel and veterans, outdoor programs have been offered up as a promising treatment. Dan Sidles seemed like the ideal candidate: an Iraq War vet who suffered from PTSD, he tried to find a renewed sense of purpose through climbing and mountaineering. Ultimately, it wasn’t enough. Brian Mockenhaupt explores the final years of a tortured friend.

A massive new study confirms the mental health benefits of exercise. Don’t let the negative spin get you down.

Devon Yanko was sexually abused as a teenager. It took hundreds of miles for her to run away from the trauma.

New research finds that those who can identify and regulate their emotions keep pushing when the going gets tough

Scientists point the finger at the brain chemical adenosine for the endurance-sapping effects of mental fatigue.

The British and Canadian governments are tackling athlete mental illness. So why can't we?

The less you worry about making mistakes, the better you’ll perform

If you pick the right class, it's an invaluable tool for building strength, flexibility, and resilience

I'm approaching 30 and haven't competed in years, but that pre-race dread is much bigger than running

At 43, the five-time Olympian seems indestructible

The effort paradox explains everything from mountain climbing to buying IKEA furniture

Thanks to new equipment and a more holistic approach to training, they turned a dismal 2014 showing into a commanding lead this year

Our columnist literally wrote the book on peak performance, but he had to reconsider everything after an unexpected battle with mental illness

She just made her first national team—after 13 failed attempts

In an era of specialization, a new study argues for diversifying your interests.

Sports psychologists weigh in on the challenges of being among the best in the world

A cycling study finds that the lure of a reward throws off pacing instincts

Kathrine Switzer on the lessons she's learned after a lifetime of running. Nonrunners, take note.

The focus-demanding sport could affect the brain more deeply than we know

Despite the chronic doping scandals, the sport still has a lot to teach us about fitness

It's within this cavern of discomfort where we take stock of our courage—and figure out what we're made of

Elite competitors have long practiced meditation and mindfulness. But neuroscience shows that it’s the true believers who are finding that higher gear—through prayer.

Exercise is as good for your brain as it is for your body, and researchers are just beginning to discover why

Every world-class performer—from athletes to chess players to musicians—follows these rules to keep improving at their disciplines

An entire industry is trying to curb our boredom while running. But if you can harness that feeling of restlessness, you may find yourself stronger and faster than ever.

Self-talk—repeating a phrase in your head—is a practical, proven strategy to push your limits

Ultrarunning is as tough on the mind as it is on the body, so the sport's best have developed mental strategies to reframe their darkest moments. Their techniques can help us all get more from our training.

How to put in the work now to ensure that you will go for it later

You don't have to summit mountains bare-chested or meditate on a snowbank to train your body to reap the benefits of one of the world's most extreme approaches to health

Florence Williams has been writing about the tangible benefits of getting outdoors for years. Presenting the best of what she's learned.

Risky pursuits like BASE jumping offer a buzz better than any drug. New technologies provide the same rush without the danger.

A new device called Halo Sport promises to improve performance by stimulating your mind. We zapped our brains in the name of science to see if it could really make us faster.

American churches are building first-class gyms to get followers in shape and attract new members to the flock. Critics see lucrative businesses masked as ministries, but the programs are a spirited defense against our obesity epidemic.

New research shows that perceptions of fatigue and pain stop us from hitting our physical limits long before our bodies do. Can athletes train their brains to reach unheard-of levels of peak performance?

If you’re willing to work hard, conquer your fears, and maybe don some superhero spandex, anything is possible