Jon Pope on Resilience, Stress Physiology, and Changing Beliefs

Jonathan Pope is an embodiment of what it means to be resilient.

As a high school athlete, Jon was a six-foot, 150-pound, right-handed baseball pitcher who could throw a ball 90 miles an hour. But he needed to get bigger and throw harder if he wanted to play at the Division I level.

Thinking that the gym would be his key to becoming a more powerful athlete, Jon devoted his efforts to lifting weights.

In his sophomore year, Jon had a serious accident and by the time he started playing in college, he already had one surgery.

He invested his time and resources into his recovery to be the best athlete he could be, but the more motivated he was, and the harder he worked, the worse things became.

Five surgeries later, Jon was convinced that there had to be a better way.

Wanting to figure out how he could fix himself, become the best he could be, and help others do the same, Jon dedicated himself to strength & conditioning, physical therapy, and movement.

Jon continues his mission to this day through his strength & conditioning facility, Ethos Colorado, his coaching work at Precision Nutrition, and his book, Building the Elite, which he co-authored with Craig Weller.

Jon joins me today to share his insights on what makes a person resilient.

He illustrates how perception can impact stress and how stress can affect workout performance.

He highlights the difference between a challenge-based and fear-based response, and reveals how mindfulness and practices of attention can help alleviate stress.

And last but not least he shares the tools and methods coaches can use to help their clients take their performance to the next level and underscores the power of vulnerability.


How you think about things has a massive impact on your stress response and the underlying physiology of what occurs in your body – Jon Pope


This week on the Physical Preparation Podcast:

  • Jon’s background from collegiate athlete to Ethos Colorado owner and author
  • The importance and meaning of resilience
  • The physiology of stress and how perception changes a client’s workout experience
  • The differences between a challenge-based and a fear-based stress response
  • What makes special ops selection programs challenging
  • Predictability and ambiguity in workouts
  • Attention, its different types, and its uses in workouts
  • Tools to help clients focus on their workout
  • The various domains of attention and how to cultivate them
  • Using attention and its practices to help manage stress response
  • The role of beliefs, expectations, and stories in training and performance
  • Practical mental skills coaches, trainers, and rehab professionals can use to help clients elevate their progress
  • The power of vulnerability and relationships


Connect with Jon:


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