238: Alex Brooker and Mike Guadango on The Power of Belief, Placebo Effects in Training-Rehab and Becoming Your Own Coaching Superhero
Our guests today are Mike Guadango and Alex Brooker. Mike and Alex (“Brooker”) met when Alex interned for Mike at DeFranco’s gym a decade ago, and they now have a podcast together, “The Mike and Brooker Show”, in addition to their coaching careers.
Alex is the owner and operator of Pathfinder, a private training service focused on performance psychology and physical preparation for professional athletes. In addition to traditional schooling, Alex is now pursuing his PhD in Self-Hypnosis at the University of Bern. Mike is currently a Coach, Writer & Owner at Freak Strength. He has been mentored by coaching greats such as Buddy Morris and James Smith, and started his career working at DeFranco’s gym. Mike has coached levels of athletes from many different professional sports to Olympic medalists to pre-pubescent athletes, as well as consulting for high caliber athletes and coaches worldwide.
As an ever-optimistic individual, it’s important for me to have conversations with those who have a different way of looking at what actually works in the world of sports performance. In the coaching world, it is extremely easy to have worked with an athlete who has achieved a high result, and then rationalize the factors that led to their success. It is very easy for us all as coaches to think of our own training as highly optimal, but a question to ask is how often and effectively we truly challenge our reasoning?
In looking at training closely, it is helpful to fully understand the power of belief, as well as placebo effects in not only training, but also pain science and rehabilitation. Understanding human adaptation to training and rehab stimulus requires, not only an understanding of the body, but also of the mind.
In today’s podcast, Mike and Alex “Brooker” talk about how they have evolved themselves as coaches, moving into the realms of hypnosis/mental training, acupuncture and rehabilitation. We spend a lot of time chatting about the power of belief and the ability of the mind to supercede a “poor” training program, and how the fundamentals of adaptation style can be seen in rudimentary rehab. Finally, Mike, Brooker and I spend some time discussing some training points such as play, competition in training, and training transfer. This was a fun show with speakers of 3 clearly diverse viewpoints, which always makes for great discussion.
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Timestamps and Main Points
6:15 Mike and Brooker’s moves into more alternative forms of human performance, and a philosophy of when to move on from hair splitting in strength training methods
15:00 Thoughts on a system that prioritizes play and autonomy as a substantial shift in a positive direction towards the sports performance industry
32:30 Thoughts on whether or not gym training should carry mental, emotional and physical elements of what is required of a person in their sport
46:25 How and why our interventions in strength, performance or pain reduction actually work, and how much we really know about these mechanisms
55:55 How Mike and Brooker diverted from the traditional routes of strength, performance and data in athlete performance training
1:05:30 More on Mike and Brooker’s “skill stacking” in their human performance pursuits
1:13:10 Mike and Brooker’s use of high-transference exercises to athletic performance
1:15:30 In 10-15 years, where do Mike and Brooker picture themselves
“Even if there is a difference between the two (exercises), and transferability, how much of a difference is it really?”
“15% of who you are as an athlete, you actually have some type of control over”
“The more high talented people you work with, the room to improve them in the gym gets smaller,