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Matt Dixon is an Ironman University Master Coach and a former professional triathlete. He has a master’s degree in clinical and exercise physiology and has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Men’s Journal, Men’s Fitness and Men’s Health. Dixon is also the author of two books, Fast-Track Triathlete and The Well-Built Triathlete, available from Velopress.

Matt runs Purple Patch Fitness, an organization that provides a customized training experience for athletes of all levels. This includes multiple World Champions (Athletes that have trained with Purple Patch Fitness have amassed over 400 IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 wins and podiums) and time-starved executives in Silicon Valley (includes Sir Michael Moritz of Sequoia Capital, Mark Pincus - Founder of Zynga, Sami Inkinen - Founder of Trulia et al).

We spoke about a range of topics including how Matt transitioned from being an athlete to a coach to an organization builder, similarities and differences in coaching elite athletes and time-starved business leaders, why toughness is not a differentiator at the very top, expanding the mental reservoir of strength, dealing with the “wall”, criticality of rest and rejuvenation and more.

Published in July 2019.

Coaching CEOs and Elite Athletes

Matt speaks about the similarities across and differences between how elite athletes and time starved CEOs approach training for triathlon. He makes the distinction between the individuals that check boxes and those that really use this as a springboard to thrive in their mission.

Coach Coachee relationship

Matt discusses how he stays on top of adjacent disciplines such as nutrition, sleep science, strength and conditioning and other related topics to be relevant in the work he does. He also reflects on the learning opportunities in working with the athletes and coaches that he trains at Purple Patch Fitness.

Athlete to Coach to Entrepreneur

Matt speaks about the transition from being a Triathlete to being a Coach and to being a Business Owner. He speaks about how he thought about the choices at each of these transition points and what made him go down this path.

Forced growth - plugging the weaknesses

Matt speaks about how athletes come to him with excellence in one or two domains (cycling, running, swimming) but have to quickly come upto speed in a totally different area to be competitive in a multi-sport context. We discuss the parallels between this and how Functional leaders need to transition to General Managers.

Toughness is not a differentiator

Matt mentions that in the “thin air of world-class performers” toughness is not a differentiator and speaks about the importance of training and rejuvenation in creating the recipe for sustained and consistent performance at the very top.

Expanding the mental reservoir

Matt speaks about how he works with athletes to expand their mental reservoir that they can tap into during a big event. He also delves into the detail behind how successful athletes debrief after a failure. He speaks about the importance of a grieving window and the need for perspective where the coach could offer significant value.

Visualization as a technique

Matt speaks about his take on terms such as Visualization and Meditation and speaks about how he relates to them. He specifically discusses a ritual of a 7-15 minute quiet time that he practices every day and speaks about the benefits of this exercise in improving one’s performance in a certain.

Dealing with the "wall"

Matt speaks about how athletes deal with “the wall” which often happens when you deplete your stored glycogen (carbohydrate stored in our muscles) and the negativity and the feelings of fatigue that come with it. He also speaks about how he gets athletes to deal with pain and the nature of the relationship they could develop with pain to derive the performance that they desire.

Rest, Sleep and recharge

Matt Dixon speaks at length about the criticality of rest and rejuvenation. He specifically speaks about some of the qualitative and quantitative considerations around having a restful night’s sleep to be effective in our functioning on a sustained basis in our various domains of life.

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