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Muscle Intelligence

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Jul 17, 2020

Some of the greatest obstacles posed by any challenging pursuit are the ones that exist in our own minds. This is a concern at the center of High-Performance Psychologist Dr. Bhrett McCabe’s work and today he joins us on the show to share his perspectives on the subject. Dr. McCabe works with both professional and amateur athletes, focusing on mental strength and keys to success, and together with him, we take a deep dive into what it takes to perform optimally and some common challenges that stand in the way. Dr. McCabe weighs in on the idea that different people are motivated by different things, sketching out five personality types and a variety of psychological games that athletes have played with themselves to help themselves perform better. He talks about the need to commit fully and get out of our comfort zones if we wish to grow, and how he approaches training his clients and students to elicit this from them, which requires that they trust him first. We cover some interesting terrain around beating common mental stumbling blocks like negative thinking, impatience and using sub-par performance as a buffer against the fear of failing. Dr. McCain talks about internal versus external motivators, the minimum amount of struggle needed for a task not to become boring, the role of reflection in perception, and the importance of social dynamics in the performance of teams. Other big takeaways are Dr. McCabe’s thoughts on beating addiction, the five things we have to do each day to perform at our best, and the content to be found in our guest’s amazing coach training program called the Catalyst School.

Thank you to our awesome show sponsor, makers of Ben’s favorite grass-fed collagen and powdered MCT: BUBS, a company making just a few extremely high-quality products and giving back a whopping 10% of their sales to charity. Ben uses their powdered collagen and MCT in his coffee every morning. Use the code MUSCLE for a full 20% off your purchase HERE.



  • Introducing our guest, Dr. Bhrett McCabe, and his work on performance psychology. [0:16]
  • The value of a gratitude practice focusing on things we usually perceive as negative. [3:30]
  • How Dr. McCabe discovered the power of mind while playing major league baseball. [5:59]
  • Mental difficulties like negative thinking and impatience, and how to treat them. [9:57]
  • Dealing with the stress of uncertainty by seeing it as an opportunity to grow. [14:23]
  • Five daily categories of tasks that everybody should do to perform optimally. [16:15]
  • Why Dr. McCabe’s approach to consulting amateur or pro clients is similar. [20:53]
  • Achieving goals and growing through a fully committed rather than an ‘if-then’ attitude. [23:11]
  • Our tendency to use our habit of not committing fully as a scapegoat if we fail. [25:15]
  • A story outlining Dr. McCabe’s approach to getting students to perform optimally. [27:00]
  • Getting past external things that validate us internally to true internal validation. [30:38]
  • The minimum amount of struggle necessary for a challenge to remain interesting. [33:00]
  • How Dr. McCabe earns the trust of his clients by using a non-judgmental approach. [35:39]
  • Five types of people categorized by the types of things that drive them to succeed. [43:45]
  • How to manufacture the emotion or state that drives you to perform at your best. [47:00]
  • Identifying and optimizing what makes you special in order to win. [49:36]
  • ‘Fear the proud’: true buy-in and what makes UA’s football team the best. [52:42]
  • Getting past addictions and how the risk is highest when we think there’s no risk. [55:01]
  • The interplay between the psychological, neurological, and immunological. [59:07]
  • How detrimental stress is; book recommendations from Dr. McCabe on this topic. [1:00:39]
  • The Catalyst School and how it helps coaches be better at what they do. [1:02:18]
  • Dr. McCabe’s workouts; exercise is about internal as much as external rewards. [1:05:54]