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Peak Performance: Inside The World Of Super Athletes

Runners start of the 94th edition of the 56-mile-Comrades Marathon between Durban and Pietermaritzburg in Durban, South Africa.
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

In her new documentary “Homecoming,” singer Beyoncé talked about the punishing measures she took to prepare for her two-hour show at Coachella, only a few months after she gave birth to twins:

In pre-Coachella behind-the-scenes footage, a voice off-camera — presumably Beyoncé’s choreographer, JaQuel Knight — said that she was likely burning 1,500 to 2,000 calories per day from hours of rehearsing.

“It’s true,” Beyoncé responded. “And eventually, I want to be able to do Soul Cycle, the stairs, and rehearsal in a day.”

The “Formation” singer also revealed that she followed a strict diet to get back in shape: “In order for me to meet my goal, I’m limiting myself to no bread, no carbs, no sugar, no dairy, no meat, no fish, no alcohol — and I’m hungry.”

She pushed her endurance, just as many elite athletes do every day. And the determination to work that hard may simply be a quality with which you’re born.

From National Geographic:

Numerous factors—genetic, psychological, cultural, and financial—go into making a super performer, but the right genes may be the most critical. Elite athletes, as these super performers are called, are in a sense fortunate freaks of nature.

How do you mentally prepare someone to endure the pain that comes with pushing the human body to its limits? What can people who do significantly less exercise learn from those who reach these elite achievements?

We talk with an ultra-marathoner (who also happens to be a doctor), a performance psychologist and a U.S. Olympic Committee official about excelling at the highest level.

Produced by Morgan Givens. Text by Gabrielle Healy.


Phil Cheetham, Director of sport technology and innovation, U.S. Olympic Committee; @philcheetham3d

Michael Gervais, High performance psychologist; co-founder Compete to Create; @michaelgervais

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