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Home » Six Pillars of Optimal Performance & the Power of Grit with Brad Ritter! Ep105

Six Pillars of Optimal Performance & the Power of Grit with Brad Ritter! Ep105

#105 – Ever felt stuck in a rut, struggling to find your stride? We had a riveting conversation about grit and optimal performance with Brad Ritter – an expert on performance, author of the best-selling book, School of Grit, and a walking testament to the power of transformation. 

Brad shared his journey of overcoming mediocrity and how an intense experience at a camp modeled after Navy SEAL training ignited a life-altering change in him. What ensued was the conception of the six pillars of optimal performance and a mission to build a warrior class community, helping individuals take control of their lives.

Topics Covered:

  • Hear Brad’s story and what led to developing the six pillars
  • Learn the six pillars of optimal performance
  • Listen to practical ways you can implement the six pillars in your life

Today’s Guest

Brad Ritter shares with us the six pillars of optimal performance

Brad Ritter

Brad Ritter is one of the world’s leading experts on performance.  He is the author of the best selling book, School of Grit:  Unlock Your Potential Through Purposeful Adversity. After graduating from Kokoro camp in 2015, he wanted to find a way to serve others,  help people take control of their lives, and get unstuck. He accomplishes this through a proven system that focuses on your physical, mental, emotional, intuitional, and warrior spirit. His mission is to build a “warrior class” community.  That is why he created the School of Grit.

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Listen to Inspire to Run Podcast:

Richard Conner: [00:00:00] Hi, my friend. Do you have the grit and the tools to make a big change in your life? Well, our guest is going to share his story about how he made a change in his life. And he’s also going to share what he calls the six pillars of optimal performance. Hope you enjoy.

Intro: Welcome to inspire to run podcast. Here, you will find inspiration, whether you’re looking to take control of your health and fitness, or you are a seasoned runner looking for community and some extra motivation, you will hear inspiring stories from amazing runners, along with helpful tips from fitness experts.

Now, here’s your host Richard Conner.

Richard Conner: Hi, my friend, welcome to inspire to run podcast today. We’re sitting down with Brad Ritter, who is one of the world’s leading experts on performance. He is the author of the bestselling book school of grit, unlock your potential through purposeful adversity. After graduating from the Kokoro camp in 2015, he wanted to find a way to serve others.[00:01:00]

Help people take control of their lives and get unstuck. He accomplishes this through a proven system that focuses on your mental, physical, emotional, intuitional, and warrior spirit. His mission is to build a warrior class community. That is why he created the school of grit. Welcome to the show, Brad.

Brad Ritter: Hey, thanks Richard. Appreciate you having me on, brother. Looking forward to this.

Richard Conner: Yeah, I appreciate you being here. And you know, I really love this topic around school of grit. And I would say that recently we brought on the show guests that talked about performance and really thinking about how can you, you know, level up your performance, whether it’s in your life or in running or your athletic career.

So really excited to bring you on and hear more about Your journey and what inspired you to even get on this journey. And then I know you have some really important advice and lessons and tips to share with the community. So, you know, welcome to the show and just tell us a little bit about you and your journey.

Brad Ritter: Yeah, man. So, um, I’m [00:02:00] 44. Actually just had my birthday last week. And, uh, father of two. Got two awesome kids, Hallie and Brody. They’re 12 and 9. And I’ve been married for, uh, my gosh, coming up on 18 years, dude. So, uh, so I’m, I’m very fortunate, very blessed, but you know, what got me really thinking about this topic about, you know, human performance and, and, and just getting better, um, wasn’t really just, wasn’t a traumatic event that happened in my life.

I think it was just a series of years and years of just really being mediocre, man. And finally looking at myself in the mirror and saying, you know, what are you here to do? Are we just going to be like a tumbling tumbleweed and just go through life or like, are we going to leave our mark and, and actually go after some, some pretty gnarly goals?

So, you know, that’s, that’s really what happened, man. It was like a true man, the mirror moment. Uh, I was shaving actually when it happened and I just. I called a time out and took a mental health day for myself. And that was a good 10 years ago. And I’m so glad I did it, dude. Cause I haven’t been the same since.

Richard Conner: That’s incredible. [00:03:00] And you know, I love what you said about, it was just a series of things that kind of led to that moment where you realize, Hey, I want to make a change in my life and you’re kind of reevaluating and, and, you know, through this podcast and through the interviews, I’ve been a little bit of a student of this, is trying to understand.

What’s that one moment of time where someone decides that they want to make a change and usually is precipitated by some sort of life event is what I found. But your case is a little bit different, right? It was for a series of things that were happening and just not, I guess, being happy, maybe where you are in your life at that time.

So it’s really interesting to hear, you know, your story and your background in that way.

Brad Ritter: Yeah, man. Uh, it’s spot on. Like I said, nothing, it wasn’t one particular event. It was just a series of, of just stuff, let’s say like life. And then, you know, constantly having that voice in our head that’s. You either choose to listen to it or you don’t. And I finally did. And took action on it. That’s the next thing.

Not only do you listen, but you actually take action on it.

Richard Conner: So what did you do? So tell us a [00:04:00] little bit about, you know, what was the journey that you took in terms of taking action there?

Brad Ritter: Yeah, so, you know, I grew up and still live in the Midwest, man. Born and raised in Indiana. Midwestern, you know, white kid. And, um, very fortunate because, um, grew up middle class, I’d say. Maybe upper middle class. Definitely wasn’t rich, but I knew we weren’t poor, man. Um, so, you know, I didn’t really have to…

You know, fight to survive, so to speak, had a, had a really good up, had a great upbringing actually, man. My parents are still married. Uh, they’ve been married, married like 46 years. I’m the oldest of four, got a super tight family. So yeah, my story is probably a lot different than the other stories you hear, man.

Um, I had a rather easy life, you know, comparatively speaking. And that’s really what hit me. I was like, man, like, I haven’t really pushed myself to, uh, to see who I really am and reveal that character and I was looking for a way to do that and did a bunch of research online and I wanted, uh, I wanted to basically go to a, uh, an event that was just going to shock [00:05:00] the system, so to speak, physically, mentally, emotionally.

Uh, really cultivate that warrior spirit. So, uh, by luck, I found this camp called Kokoro Camp online. That’s put on by, uh, former Navy SEAL commander Mark Devine. And it’s modeled after, uh, Navy SEAL training, in particular Hell Week. And I don’t know if you… No about how weak or what that looks like but how weak is about a week of no sleep and just constant Let’s call it harassment from professional cadre And if you survive then you’re worthy enough to be trained essentially is what is what they’re trying to do.

So You know this particular camp I signed up for It’s for civilians. Um, it’s 50 hours. So it started on a Friday, ended on a Sunday. No sleep. And man, I just got pushed to the brink. Physically, mentally, emotionally, like I said. And, uh, you know, I kind of found myself for the first time. When you’re, when you’re staring at the abyss and, and, uh, and, and nothing’s looking back at you, man.

You really, you really had your character revealed [00:06:00] and what’s important and what’s not. And that’s really what supercharged me. And I felt like I was reborn, man. Um, We had about 50 people sign up in that class and, uh, we, we dropped half and I was actually one of the oldest ones there, dude. They were calling me Gramps at age 35.

If you could believe that, man, I’m going to get all these, these young studs, right? But, uh, it was such an awesome experience and that day goes by. I don’t, um, use some tool or tactic that I learned out there and it inspired me so much. I actually wrote a book about it. That’s called school of grit published last year.

And that’s what inspired me to get into coaching and. And the rest is, and now we’re here talking, right? So without that camp, I wouldn’t be talking to you probably right now.

Richard Conner: Oh, that’s incredible. Well, congratulations on going through that. And, you know, when you described it, it sounds a little bit like an ultra marathon, but maybe without the harassment part, but, you know, just kind of pushing yourself to the limit and putting yourself in that environment. Um, it’s really, really incredible.

I love what you said about finding yourself and really, you know, having a better understanding of like who you are, [00:07:00] um, kind of going through that process. So, you know, tell me like going through that week. What would you say would have been like the hardest thing you had to deal with that week and how’d you overcome it?

Brad Ritter: I think it was just the sheer volume and the magnitude. You know, if I let my mind focus on, um, the end instead of the present, it was just insurmountable, right? And I mean, it started right from the get go. Right from the get go, they have something called, uh, Breakout or Shark Attack. And just imagine being lined up basically on a parking lot, and then you’re all of a sudden surrounded by ten to fifteen cadre, and it’s fire hoses in your face.

speakers and you’re trying to listen to the commands and keep up. And it’s just hardcore calisthenics for straight two hours. And either you can hack it or you can’t. But if your mind starts thinking about Holy crap, I can’t even make it this next five minutes, let alone the next 50 hours. How am I going to do this?

That’s when people break and we had people break. We had about five people quit right there within the first hour. So you just got to, um, [00:08:00] you got to keep yourself in the present and set some smaller goals. You know, I’m going to make it, To that next mile or I’m going to make it to that next meal or whatever, you know, to, to take the analogy back to running, I have done an ultra and it was, it was hard.

It pushed me big time. But again, it was just, if I focused on the entire gravity of the race, you know, I could feel my mind slipping, but if I just focused on being present, Hey, I’m just going to make it up to the next checkpoint or whatever. It’s like sooner or later you start shipping away and then it’s not such an insurmountable goal.

Richard Conner: Yeah, for sure. And you know, I love how you brought it back to running. Cause whether you’re doing your first 5k or first 50 miler, it really is that one mile at a time. And honestly, I’m just to get back to my last half marathon, which I didn’t really get to where I wanted to be in the half marathon, but.

For sure. That’s how I was thinking about it. Like every mile that I just was ticking off the list and I got excited. I was like one miles done, two miles done. I got halfway through. I’m like, wow, I’m on track. And, but I’m not thinking, wow, 13 [00:09:00] miles over the next couple of hours. I’m thinking where I need to be at mile three, where I need to be a mile six, where I need to be at mile nine, and then just kind of taking, taking them off one by one.

So I’m glad you kind of brought it back to running. So, so now that you mentioned a little bit of running, I know you. You kind of got into it and I don’t know if it was before or after that experience, um, at the camp, but, you know, tell him, tell me a little bit about that.

Brad Ritter: Yeah. So I, you know, I’d always been athletic, I guess you’d say I played baseball in high school, chose not to pursue sports in college, but always stayed active. And you know, I wouldn’t say I was a runner in my twenties. If you count, you know, hopping on the treadmill for 30 minutes in between doing some bicep curls and tricep extensions running, then yeah, I guess, I guess I would qualify really wasn’t until my thirties that I kind of found.

Um, sort of the love for it and it’s definitely a love hate relationship, man, because I don’t really like it. Um, there’s some, there’s days I’ll just spend, you know, several minutes looking at my running shoes. Like, man, do I really want to lace these bad boys up? And that first mile is never easy, dude. It [00:10:00] is always hard, but I just love the feeling.

Afterwards, like, yeah, I accomplished that even when I didn’t want to do it. You know what I mean? And, uh, I started off small, like anyone else doing, uh, like my first three K five K and then did a, uh, a half marathon. Didn’t really train right for it. , had some big time it band syndrome. I think I over trained.

That’s what ended up happening. So I kind of took a break from running, but then slowly kind of got back into it. And now, , I don’t run, , a lot of quote unquote long distance. And I know that’s different depending on what kind of running you’re into. But for me, it’s, uh, yeah, I’m usually around the three to five mile range.

If I go out for a run. That’s, that’s typically that zone. However, I do have a half marathon. A buddy of mine just talked me into, uh, signing up for, , thanks Kyle. Cause I saw him a couple of weeks ago and he’s like, Hey, you want to run this, uh, half marathon with me in October? He’s like, I’m looking for someone from my team.

I’m like, yeah, man, no problem. And I’m like, dude, I haven’t even really been training for this at all, but I don’t have to [00:11:00] either. And I’m not saying that because I’m conceited. I just, I know I’ve done, I’ve done the distances. my body’s healthy. I know what the pain is going to feel like. Like I can push myself through it, you know, and, , you know, my training has gotten smarter to the older I’ve gotten.

Like, for instance, you see me walking right now. I’m on a walking treadmill. If you’re training for mileage, just my own opinion, don’t feel like you just got to beat the pavement and rack up, you know, tons and tons of miles you can walk, you can get the miles by walking, rucking, doing all sorts of rowing, whatever it is, you know, cross train would be my advice because I didn’t do that originally early on and I, I over trained, like I said, I did too much running on the pavement.

It hurt me. And, uh, Hey, if you’re starting to get into my age, man, you know, bid forties, like we’ve got to really watch out. Recovery becomes a big time thing. Yeah. So

Richard Conner: Yeah, for sure. And, you know, I saw a meme on the internet the other day, if, if your birth year starts with 19, don’t, you can’t afford to skip stretching or something or dynamic warmups or something like that.

Brad Ritter: so important, so [00:12:00] important. Yeah. I cannot understate that. Yup.

Richard Conner: but you’re absolutely right in terms of having more of a holistic training plan.

So, you know, the way I see it is if you’re, if you’ve never run before and you’re just kind of getting into it, it’s really more about building that habit. The way I see it is putting on the shoes, following a plan, committing to it and following through. But at some point as you’re going through it, you’re going to need to do those other things, right?

Proper nutrition, hydration, proper cross training, which includes strength training. Um, You know, proper warmups. So there’s a number of things that you need to do, but really just kind of getting into it is the way I see it again, is really starting with your mindset, which I think is a lot of the work that you’re doing, you know, in your, your book and your coaching is around mindset.

So let’s talk about that. Like what are, you know, I know we talked about. You know, before we, before we got on the call around optimal performance, which is a topic that we brought on the show before, and I’m really excited to explore this topic further. So I know you have some tips and lessons and advice kind of around how to get that optimal performance.

So tell [00:13:00] me a little bit about that. That’s

Brad Ritter: Yeah. I mean, it’s, it’s spans, uh, you know, what we probably already know, but I basically chump chunk it into six areas. The first is a movement, nutrition, then nutrition, and then you’ve got sleep and recovery, so that’s the first three. And then you’ve got, , like stress, how you deal with stress. Cause we all stress in our lives, whether it’s positively charged or negatively charged, and we’ll talk a little bit about that.

, getting out in nature, just such a fan of just getting outside. And then finally, , communities of practice or social groups that we’re a part of to help, , you know, sharpen the sword, so to speak. So, so yeah, those are, those are primarily the six areas that, uh, that I hit on. But you know, before we dig into that, what went through my head, like a real simple thing that I always have all my clients do.

, especially once you run because I’m a huge believer in breath and it’s actually, , when I teach mental toughness, there’s a big four mental toughness that I hit on and the first breath. That’s where we always start because if you can control your [00:14:00] physiology, you can control your psychology. So, if you can slow your breath down, you can slow your heart rate down.

You can begin to think about what’s truly going on and start to process it better. So here’s an interesting one for y’all. Maybe you’ve done it. If you haven’t, I encourage you to do it today. Get it done. I want you to just, uh, , get a mouthful of water, close your mouth, and go run a mile. That’s it. See how much breathing you do through your mouth versus your nose.

That’s what that’s good. That’s what’s designed to teach you. So we got to get it in a better habit of breathing through our nose. We have a nose for a reason versus our mouths.

Richard Conner: awesome. And yeah, I was just actually talking to somebody about this, who’s specializes in this area around breathing. And, you know, we started talking about this person in particular taped his mouth shut, um, as a way to kind of control his breathing and breathe through his nose. And I’m like, that’s scary to me.

I feel like I would suffocate. So do you have any other tips? And that was the same thing, right? You could put water in your mouth. So, you know, if something happens, at least you have a lot more control over, [00:15:00] um, what happens next, right? You don’t feel

Brad Ritter: Yeah, for sure. I, yeah, I don’t suggest starting with taping your mouth shut. I mean, you know, what, whatever you want to do, but yeah, I’d go with the water first.

Richard Conner: Yeah, very cool. Okay. So, so that’s a good tip is, so is that’s around that first kind of pillar is around breathing.

Brad Ritter: Yeah. So I like to loop in, , breathing. It can really be looped into a lot of different pillars, but, , yeah, we’ll just start with the first one movement. And that is pretty simple one, right? Like we’ve got two legs for a reason, unless you’ve got a medical issue as to why you’re not able to get up and move and walk around.

Like as humans, we need to be able to get up and walk around. , you can see me, I’m walking right now. A lot of us just, we don’t get enough, , movement in, period. And it doesn’t have to be running or walking. It’s like whatever your jam is. Yoga, rowing, bicycling, you know, you name it. , equally as important to how much time we’re spent moving is how much time do we spend, um, sedentary.

So that’s an interesting one to track. Like, how often are we sitting? How often are [00:16:00] we laying down? How often are we sitting, uh, in, on a commute, in our car, on a bus, on a train? You name it and start to look at that ratio. So it’s like, man, if I’m spending eight to 10 hours a day sitting, but I’m only running for an hour, like, is that healthy?

I don’t know. Is it? I’m probably leaning towards no, but everybody’s a little bit different. So that’s, that’s the first place I start with people is, is movement and just getting them going, whatever they’re jamming. And it’s got to be fun, right? Just because I like running doesn’t mean you’re gonna like running and, and, and so on.

But there’s lots of different ways we can, we can get the movement. in there. So that’s the first area we look typically. And then the second is, uh, nutrition and I’m not a, I’m not a doctor in this. I don’t, I don’t have any extra classes. I just know what works for me and I know what has worked for other people.

And I tend to follow just a simple 80 20 rule, more like a zone dieting type thing, like when I’m eating, it’s all about the protein. So every meal I have, whether it’s breakfast, lunch, [00:17:00] dinner or snack, I’m like, okay, where am I getting my protein and then how am I going to, uh, supplement with some of the other stuff, right?

Where are you getting your carbs? Where are you getting your fats? Stuff like that. So, but just keep it easy. Am I going to go out and measure all my macros? No, I’m not. Why? Because that’s fun. That’s a job to me. I just don’t want to do it. I want something that’s easy. So, , good rule of thumb is, you know, your hand, if you make a fist, that’s a big chunk of protein, so get you a piece of chicken, a piece of fish, steak, and I’m not a vegetarian, so if you’re a vegetarian, there’s other avenues you’re gonna have to look at, but, uh, it’s not as hard as you think to get the right amount of protein, if you’re eating real food, you know, and real food doesn’t usually come in a box, or, um, it doesn’t come from the heart of the grocery store, it’s usually on the periphery, you know, that’s where the real food is.

I’m guilty too. I’ll go into the cereal aisle and whatnot. I mean, I got little kids. I know what’s up, but, , but you know, I’ll have that donut too. No big deal. I just won’t have four. [00:18:00] So eat in moderation. So that’s, uh, let’s see, that’s nutrition. Number three, sleep and recovery. Uh, just a big fan of good sleep, man.

I got to have my eight hours. I just do. And I know it. I’ve experimented with six, seven, nine, 10. Everybody’s a little bit different, but more often than not, you’re somewhere around the seven to eight hour range. So. It’s not rocket science, get it done. And that starts with putting yourself to bed, uh, the right way the night before.

So, uh, I know what works for me and what doesn’t work for me. What does not work for me is watching TV before bed. Why? It stimulates my mind, and my mind starts thinking, I start having crazy dreams, and then my sleep becomes pretty crappy because I’m getting up all the time and whatnot. Likewise, I try to stop drinking anything, you know, a couple hours before bed, so I’m not up using the bathroom.

, if you drink alcohol, obviously. Uh, you know, I’ll have a few beers every now and again, but, , you know, try to limit that as well. And, uh, yeah, just a huge, huge believer in sleep and then recovery [00:19:00] being part of that. Uh, we were just talking about that a little bit. Hey, the older we get, recovery becomes more and more important.

So, yeah, I’m a huge fan of, uh, pre stretching and, and, uh, you know, I’m not just going to go out and run five miles. I’m a little bit. Then. Then go out and run, , or there’s, there’s lots of cool ways you can, uh, stretch and cool apps to, to guide you like raw mods, one, and, and there’s, there’s a few others out there.

So, , huge proponent of that. All right. So that’s the first three, any questions or should I go into the next three?

Richard Conner: Well, yeah, so let me, let’s pause there and I’ll share, you know, just a little bit on kind of what you shared already. So first around the movement part, I love what you said about it doesn’t have to be running because, you know, our, the three pillars we talk about here on the show is mindset, movement and motivation.

And we talk about, For movement, we talk about running cause that’s what I know and love. And I’ve seen running transform the lives of so many people, right. That we’ve had on the show and a really positive way. So I love to share those stories and talk about it, but you’re [00:20:00] right. Movement could be other things.

Um, it’s really about what you enjoy doing. Again, I’m going to say you should try running if you, if you haven’t done it, but if you say, Hey, I cycle or I swim, or you’re doing something where you’re active. Then stick with it, right? Then that works for you. Then, you know, I wouldn’t necessarily force running on you, but again, I seen how it’s just had such a positive impact on, on everybody’s on everybody.

I brought on the show on their lives. So, um, so just wanted to comment that on how important movement is and the type of movement. So, so thank you for sharing that. And, you know, also what you said around nutrition. Now, this one is such a controversial topic because, you know, there’s, there’s one camp around, you know, tracking everything.

Using the app or writing it down and then there’s another camp about like, just, well, how do you feel right? When, when you eat certain things. So, so I get it. I understand both sides of it. I know which camp I’m in just because of who I am. Um, and what works for me, but what works for me doesn’t work For everybody.

So I think you need to find what works for you, [00:21:00] but there are some fundamental things that are important, like, you know, certain food categories, like you mentioned, um, protein or, you know, certain things that you might want to stay away from or have less of. Cause you don’t necessarily want to deprive yourself, right?

You mentioned you might have that donut, you might have the beer, but you’re not having a case of beer and you’re not having a dozen, you know, a whole dozen donuts, right? So it’s about moderation there. And then, you know, about the sleep and recovery, this one is big for me simply because I don’t do it.

Well, right. I feel like I need to sleep and I get the sleep that I want, but it’s not always quality sleep. So I’ve been on this journey myself to understand. Well, why, why is that? What am I doing? That’s impacting my sleep. And you mentioned the crazy dreams. 100%. I have those crazy dreams. I mean, sometimes I feel like a mission impossible.

Right. And I’m on like the spy mission and I’m like, what, what’s going on in my mind, like what’s driving all that? Cause I wake up in the morning and I don’t feel rested. So that’s been a personal journey for me. So I love the first, the first three that you shared and just want to [00:22:00] interject my own story there.

Brad Ritter: Yeah, I love that. And, uh, yeah, you’re, you’re doing the right thing. It’s the first. Way to solve a potential problem is to realize you have one. So now you start digging into it. Like, okay, what’s my sleep environment look like? What am I eating? What am I drinking before bed? Uh, what am I doing? Am I reading or am I watching a movie?

Are you watching mission impossible? Yeah. I mean, all that stuff, uh, goes into it. So good, good for you, man. All right. So, so the last three, two, I put in here, um, stress because we’re not going to get rid of stress in our life, but we can handle stress in different ways and we have to realize, is this stress positively charged?

Is it negatively charged? Like for instance, uh, speaking or being on a podcast, that’s probably pretty stressful to most people, but the more you do it, the more comfortable you get, but it’s positively charged, right? It’s going to make me better. It’s going to make you better. , you know, so I’m a proponent of it.

, we all know what the negative stressors probably are in our life, but it’s a, [00:23:00] it’s just good to examine that. And that’s another, that’s, that’s when you can just examine the day and say, okay, on a scale of one to 10, 10 being super stressed, you know, how’s my stress level? Was it a one or two or was it a 10?

If it was, why, you know, just very good to keep track of that stuff. And then if you keep track of all these, you can see the trend lines over time. Which is pretty cool. And the whole goal around this is just to have good days. Good days become good weeks, good months, good years, you know, ultimately. So that’s stress.

, there’s other areas we can go into there, but I’ll, I’ll, I’ll save, I’ll save some of those details for later. If they come up, I also put in here, uh, nature and just a huge fan of getting outside and Hey. That’s you can kill two birds with one stone. If you go for a run outside, guess what? You’re knocking out two of these.

You’re getting your movement and you’re also outside. So hopefully there’s some sunshine around you get that vitamin D. Uh, if not, just get, you know, breathe some of that hopefully clean [00:24:00] air, you know, as long as you’re not in a huge city or maybe there’s, uh, air quality problems, I’m fortunate where I live.

I don’t have to worry about any of that stuff. You know, I can tell when I haven’t been outside for a while, even if it’s just five minutes, you know, I’ve got days where I’m on calls back to back to back to back, but it’s good to just put some. Uh, time and just go walk the dog or get outside, breathe some fresh air.

It’s going to help. It’s going to help with that stress level too. Um, and then finally I put in here, , communities of practice, social interactions, so taking stock of, uh, what groups you become a part of. , it’s one pretty cool thing I’ve seen happen with the internet. There’s lots of, lots of groups you can get into and, , you know, the technology has eliminated the distance barriers.

So you know, you can find like minded people who maybe like to run or be on podcasts together and you know, come together and just talk about life, you know, or talk about whatever. I’ve been a part of several, I am a part of several. , right now I’m just a huge [00:25:00] proponent of, of, of those types of groups might be church groups for some people, you know, whatever your jam is.

I mean, I think that’s one thing that’s CrossFit has shown. , I think sometimes CrossFit gets a bad rap, but no doubt. , they’re a tribe, they’re a group. You know, kind of like Peloton. That’s the, that’s what they got going on. So, so those are the six pillars, man. , I think those pretty much, those encompass a lot and I would venture to say, if you can kind of check the box and all those and, and accomplish that and have some pretty low stress, chances are you probably had a pretty good day and that’s all we’re after here is having, having a good day.

So there we go.

Richard Conner: I love that. So thanks for sharing the six pillars of optimal performance. And I definitely want to talk to you a little bit more about the last three, but you know, maybe that stress one in particular, um, because I think that You know, obviously it affects everybody and I don’t know if all of us have the right tools to kind of deal with it.

So like, what would you say would be like one or two quick tips to help us [00:26:00] deal with that stress, better deal with that stress.

Brad Ritter: Yeah. Um, I’ll go back to something we were talking about earlier, breathing. So I teach a lot of different, uh, breath techniques. And I’m a huge proponent of something called box breathing. I’m not too sure if you’re familiar with. , but it’s uh, if you imagine like the four shapes or four sides of a box, typically I start with, , four to five seconds and this is all done through your nose.

So we’re not breathing through our mouth. This is all a nasal breath. So you’re going to breathe for four or five seconds through your nose. Hold. For four or five seconds, exhale through your nose for four or five and then hold for four or five and just do that repeated pattern over and over and over again.

It’s a really cool way to, uh, to get centered, to calm yourself down. , I’m a huge proponent of doing it as part of like your morning routine. I’ve got my own practice, , but I have others who are in my group that they’ve got their own morning routine practice, and this is very much a part of it. Helps them, uh, to visualize their day, you know, see themselves getting stuff done.

So, that’s probably where I would start is breath, and, , I shared box breathing, but, [00:27:00] hey, I know if you’re listening, you’re probably like, well, what if I don’t have time to, like, just sit down and box breathe? Hey, I get it. Then I would move to what’s called a tactical breath, and this is what they teach in the military.

and whatnot. , you know, if you’re really under fire and super stressful, it’s just a couple seconds into your nose, a couple seconds out through your mouth. Just repeat that, uh, ratio, but focus on your breath. And, , where this really. home for me is, is raising kids. So I’ve got two kids, uh, yeah, they still drive me a little bonkers at times, but when they were super young, you know, they would get into things and spill things.

And as a young parent, I found myself getting mad and upset. And I just found myself, , I was, I was reacting instead of responding. And if you just take the time to take a few breaths, you’ll more often than not respond versus react. You’ll have a better answer. Um, you’ll, you’ll, you’ll, you’ll, you’ll just trust me on this one.

It’s a game changer. And it’s, it’s, it’s hard to [00:28:00] do until you pra have some sort of breath practice and then it becomes almost subconscious. You know, just taking that, so that momentary couple seconds, just, uh, take a breath and it’s like, okay, that gives me time to think, and I’m not going to fly off the handle this time because my son spilt milk for the fifth time and I’ve told him not to, and now I’ll handle the situation appropriately.

So there we go. I’ve started breathing on stress.

Richard Conner: Very cool. Thank you for sharing that. That was a good one to do a little bit of deep dive. Cause again, I think we’re all kind of going through it. So that’s really good practice. That’s universal. That can help everyone. So. This has been an incredible, thank you so much for sharing your journey.

Thank you for sharing the six pillars of optimal performance. As I mentioned, it’s really an important topic for, you know, our community. And, you know, for us as, as people, right, whether it’s in our personal lives or our day to day lives, or whether it’s in the sports and running athletics. So tell us a little bit more about school of grit.

Like what’s the work that you’re doing here, the book, the [00:29:00] programs. And what do you offer?

Brad Ritter: Yeah, so I’ve, I’ve got a book and it’s based on, uh, Kokoro Camp, which I, which I talked about just a little bit, but it actually details everything I went through for over 50 hours. Not only the, the, the crucibles and the evolutions that, that I had to do, but it gives you the, the why behind it, , why the seals were having us do certain things.

And then at the end, I tell you kind of how to apply it to everyday life in the eyes of, , you know, being a parent, being a coworker, uh, being an entrepreneur. And then I like to put challenges in there. So each chapter has a challenge too. So, , so that’s the book. I love for you to check it out. It’s part adventure, part self help.

I think you’d like it a lot. And then, yeah, if you go to, uh, school of grit dot org, not dot com, but dot org, you’ll, you’ll find all my contact information there. I do have, , coaching groups. So if you’re, if that’s something that you’re interested [00:30:00] in, hit me up and we’ll see if it’s, , if it’s a fit for you, but, , we, we pretty much work with, , anyone.

Who is on their journey of, , self mastery, let’s say, and that’s comes in the form of five things, physical, mental, emotional, your intuition, and then your, uh, warrior spirit and spiritual. So, , I encourage you to check that out. That’s something that sounds interesting.

Richard Conner: All right. Well, thank you so much, Brad. So I’m going to put that information in the show notes to make it easy for our listeners to find you and follow you. Check out the book, check out your, your program. Um, and yeah, so thanks again for coming on the show, sharing your journey, sharing these insights with us.

And you know, with that have such a great day.

Brad Ritter: All right, Richard, appreciate you having me on man.

Outro: That’s it for this episode of inspire to run podcast. We hope you are inspired to take control of your health and fitness and take it to the next level. Be sure to click the subscribe button to join our [00:31:00] community. And also, please rate and review. Thanks for listening.