Breathe In. Breathe Out. (Good. You Just Started.)

From Ordinary to Extraordinary

We're not advocating that you throw out your weight-lifting and cardio routines and start wearing robes. But relying solely on treadmills and barbells clearly isn't enough anymore. "Guys especially need to realize that fitness is not the same as running to the gym and jumping onto cold steel equipment to lift weights," says Annbeth Eschbach, CEO of Manhattan's Exhale Mindbody Spa, which marries the traditional elements of a spa—massage and facials—with classes in yoga and core-strength conditioning. "They also have to go through a host of flexibility exercises to develop a real transformation in their bodies."

Before retiring from the NHL this fall, New York Rangers goalie Mike Richter took his game to a new level with help from Loehr's company, LGE Performance Systems, of Orlando, Florida. "Mike monitored everything from his sleep, his thinking patterns, and his moods to his game-day preparations, his food intake, and his daily energy states—anything that would help him fine-tune his mind, body, and spirit," says Loehr. "The result is one of the greatest hockey players in history." Becoming a Whole Athlete is as easy as stopping now to take five deep breaths and recognizing that peak performance involves more than punishing your body or listing your achievements. It's about paying attention to what you feed your body and how you protect it from stress. It's about trying new sports or regimens that keep you interested in fitness for 20 years instead of two months.

Experts who believe in training the Whole Athlete agree that no matter how touchy-feely some of these disciplines may appear, they are all intensely practical. The only way to find out is to simply try them. As the new year begins, why not recalibrate your approach to fitness with your first yoga class, a day-spa session, or a week at a vacation spa. You'll come away with the tools—yoga, meditation, or whatever sticks—to live a fit and healthy life.

Loehr, for one, knows what results to expect. For 30 years he's watched schlumpy executives and star athletes alike transform their lives. "You'll become physically energized, mentally focused, and emotionally aligned so that whatever activity you're doing, you'll create great force, whether you call it the zone, flow, or something else," he says. "You'll be able to summon it at will. It's the pathway from the ordinary to the extraordinary."

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