Podcast > Episodes

episode #260

Interview with Ultra Endurance Athlete Luke Tyburski: Overcoming Depression, and Becoming a High Achiever!

June 12, 2023 in Podcast


This week I interviewed Ultra Endurance Athlete, Author, Speaker and Coach Luke Tyburski!

We discussed his life journey through overcoming depression, binge eating and insomnia through becoming an ultra endurance athlete, along with:

  • His Incredible Run from Morocco to Monaco
  • Generating Momentum with 1% Thinking
  • How to Get Started with Running
  • Becoming a High Achiever
and his one tip to get your body back to what it once was!

Brian (0s):

Coming up on the GETLEAN podcast,

Luke (3s):

I went in completely exhausted, you know, extremely fatigued, exist, tired, un empty. And then to start this 2000 kilometer or you know, 1,250 mile adventure, it was always gonna end in catastrophe. And not too many spoilers if people want to read my book or watch a documentary, but I passed out while cycling on, on my bike and my crew found me unresponsive while cycling. I passed out again, running on during the running leg. I tore a muscle, you know, the goalpost changed. I, you know, nearly got hit by a car a couple of times. All these sort of things.

Luke (44s):

There's so many setbacks and it was a massive learning experience. But also at the same time, it was also to understand that how not to do big Endurance challenges, but also how health plays a massive part in doing anything. Whether it's a big Ultra Endurance challenge or you are trying to run your fastest 5k or n your heaviest one Red Max

Brian (1m 7s):

Hello. and welcome to the Get Lean Eat Clean podcast. I'm m Brian Gryn and I here to give you actionable tips to get your body back to what it once was, five, 10, even 15 years ago. Each week. I'll give you an in depth interview with a health expert from around the world to cut through the fluff and get you long term sustainable results. This week I interviewed Ultra Endurance Athlete author Speaker and Coach Luke Tyburski. We discussed his life journey through overcoming depression, binge eating and insomnia through becoming an ultra endurance athlete along with His Incredible Run, from Morocco to Monaco, Generating Momentum with 1% thinking How to Get Started with Running Becoming.

Brian (1m 50s):

a High Achiever and his one tip to get your body back to what it once was. I really enjoyed my interview with Luke. I know you will too. Thanks so much for listening and enjoy the show, All. right. Welcome to the GETLEAN ean podcast. My name is Brian Gryn and I have Luke Tyburski on Welcome to the show.

Luke (2m 9s):

Good day Brian. Absolute pleasure to be on your show. I'm excited to get chatting.

Brian (2m 14s):

Yeah, excited to have ya on TEDx Speaker event host, you speak all over Ultra Endurance Athlete. Before we get into a few different topics, perhaps maybe give the background of what got you into Ultramarathons and Now I know you coach a lot as well. What sort of sparked your interest that way?

Luke (2m 34s):

Yeah, I'll, I'll keep the, the long story, the long story short, but basically I grew up playing soccer in Australia and I was fortunate enough to be able to travel around the world and play professional at, at certain levels. And when I retired I felt lost. I was depressed, battled with my mental health and I had no idea what I was gonna do with the rest of my life really. Cause I had this loss of identity that Now I wasn't a soccer player anymore. So I threw myself into Ultra Marathon running and Ultra Enduring Sports. And I signed up to my first ever race, which is called the Marathon, the sars. And it's running the equivalent of six marathons in seven days.

Luke (3m 15s):

Self-supported through the middle of the Sahara Desert. So that is the short story of how I got into Ultra marathons and Ultra Endurance sports.

Brian (3m 24s):

Well you didn't hold anything back, huh? For your first event. Just delve right in there, huh?

Luke (3m 30s):

I was on a journey of, for lack of a better word, phrase, self discovery. As I said, I, I was battling with my mental health. I was battling with this loss of identity changing careers as so many people do. And instead of actually taking stock and doing it in a more healthier way, I went down what some people, excuse me, seen at the time as a healthy route, but it was really unhealthy where I, I dove into basically punishing myself or not knowing what I wanted to do and taking on these extreme challenges. So there was a, a bit of a dark side to it as well.

Brian (4m 8s):

And I, you see this a lot with athletes, soccer, football, whatever they play professionally, their careers are, you know, over with at an early age. And then they sort of don't know that's all they've lived with and they've done for the last however many years. That's obviously something that you went through and so was running like your outlet, was that your way to just get your competitive juices flowing and, and you know, have something to work towards?

Luke (4m 35s):

Yeah, it, it definitely was, cuz obviously you, you sign up for even like that big marathon to stops race, it was in six months. I had six months to turn myself into a, an Ultra ultramarathon runner. Yes. I was very disciplined with my approach to training cause I'd been a professional my entire life. My back, I have a background in exercise science, I have a degree in that and I've worked with coaching people one-to-one from a health and personal training and fitness perspective for over 20 years. So I had all these tools and this knowledge that I was able to implement for myself to go out and train for these events. And yes, you've gotta put the preparation in because you just have to train and prepare for these. Cause there's just no, you can't really sort of just wing it, right?

Luke (5m 18s):

These big extreme challenges. So it did give me a purpose, it gave me a goal, like as a team, sports, you have a goal each week, you play a match, each year you have a seasons and all these type of things. Whereas now it was, for me, it was each event or each challenge or each adventure I came up with was my goal. So that felt like I had a purpose in life, but it was really sort of short term. It was like, okay, I did that one. Now what's the next one? Now what's the next one? And I was still sort of functioning with massive blinkers on, cuz I still didn't have this time to grieve is probably the best way to describe it. This loss of soccer in my life, this change of career.

Luke (5m 60s):

And I just sort of moved on to the next thing and, and it, and it came back to bite me in the backside several years later when my mental health really plummeted. So, although it did give me a goal, it was almost like a, a bandaid on a massive wound that I wasn't ready to treat you.

Brian (6m 15s):

And what, what was, if you don't mind explaining a little bit about your struggles with, with mental health, what was that, you know, sort of time period for you and how did you overcome that?

Luke (6m 25s):

Yeah, it was, it's sort of on and off for about seven or eight years where I really struggled with depression at times. Binge eating as well. I had insomnia for a couple years and when it was, at its worst for about six or eight months, I was sleeping anywhere between eight to 10 hours a week. Some nights I wouldn't even go to bed. I would get to sort of like 10, 11 o'clock and watch a movie and then gorg myself on top of ice cream and, and a pack of nuts and stuff like that. And then feel really low, feel like I wanted to beat myself up sort of thing. I put my running shoes on and go and run for four or five hours, the sun would rise and then I would continue on my day.

Luke (7m 6s):

So there was this detrimental self-harming behavior of I didn't feel great, so I wanted to feel something. So in order to go and feel something, I would go and push my body to its limits by running four or five hours at midnight or two o'clock in the morning, or ride my bike throughout. I live in England throughout the small country lanes near where I live and not really caring what's happening. So there was that element to it as well with the binge eating insomnia. And then it got so bad that I didn't, I couldn't deal with the pain anymore. And twice I stood on tops of bridges not wanting to, to live anymore. And throughout this or seven or eight year period, I went and saw a therapist and psychologists and I did my own personal work.

Luke (7m 48s):

I, I hid myself from the world. I masked what I was going through, I lied, I acted, I did all these things. And it really came to a head. At the end of 2015 when I did this big adventure, I created a 2000 kilometer, 12 day swim cycle and run from Morocco to Monaco. I dubbed the ultimate triathlon. And there's a documentary on Amazon Prime, or on Amazon I should say about this, where I finished this big challenge and I felt so empty, the most empty I have ever felt in my life. Physically. I absolutely hammered myself. And it took me 18 months to physically recover from this because my endocrine system, and this is something that, you know, we can dive into even further, but my endocrine system was started to not work, not function properly.

Luke (8m 39s):

So my growth hormones stopped secreting. So it was basically zero, which is a precursor to testosterone, which is not good as a, as a male who was at the time, you know, in his early thirties, my immune system was, was extremely compromised. I was just constantly like having little small illnesses. I was just exhausted. My nervous system was fried. So all these things and it made me stop, it made me stop and let my body recover. And it was in that period of about 18 months where I went back to therapy. I did some more self work and I tried to look at my life, okay, like what have, what have I got? What do I want? Who am I? What support systems do I have?

Luke (9m 20s):

All of these things that, that I think is healthy to do on a regular basis, regular every 12 months, every five years or whatever it is for you, or even every month, if there's a lot going on in your life to actually stop and take stock of what is in your life, what do you have, what help do you have on here to support? And I did that over an 18 month period and that's what really got me out of this dark hole of depression and the mental health issues that I mentioned before. And I really opened up and I told my whole story. I started to speak about it after I did all that personal work. And then I went and a step further and wrote it all about it in my book Chasing Extreme.

Luke (10m 2s):

So there's quite literally everything's out there. So I'm an open book, I'd have no skeletons in my closet. I sort of used a phrase, I don't even have a closet anymore cuz everything's out there. And it was like the last piece of my puzzle of sort of self healy is probably the best way to put it. And so that's where I got to today. And that was sort of 2018 when that all sort of finalized the book was out and I, I, I sort of finally was comfortable with who I am and what I was doing and what I was trying to achieve. And yeah, so I've been living life and smiling and, and helping people and telling my story on stages and keynote talks all around the world ever since.

Brian (10m 43s):

Yeah. Wow. Thank you for sharing that. And that, that Ultra triathlon that you put together from Morocco to Monaco, that was 12. I i it was like 200 kilometers, right? 2000 kilometers and 1,243 miles. I did it just for people. Listen, So, they understand. And, and so that was something that you put together and it was, it took a big toll on you obviously needed a document around it. I'm assuming you don't do anything like that now since then,

Luke (11m 19s):

I've not done anything that big. Yeah, I had a few big projects coming up. I had a big project that I was planning on doing a couple years ago, but obviously with the whole pandemic thing that sort of stopped that. So I'm still planning some big things. However, my, my view of my own health and my preparation and taking care of myself from a, you know, for lack of a better word, from a holistic perspective, is so much healthier these days. So whenever I do my next big, big thing, I've done week long things since then and extreme insurance challenges since then, but nothing of that stature.

Luke (11m 59s):

But yeah, there's more coming. But my, my support systems, my preparation is, is is a lot healthier these days than back then because I went in completely exhausted And, you know, extremely fatigued, exist, tired on empty. And then to start this 2000 kilometer or you know, 1,250 mile adventure, it was always gonna end in catastrophe. And not too many spoilers if people want to read my book or watch documentary, but I passed out while cycling on, on my bike and my crew found me unresponsive while cycling. I passed out again, running on during the running leg.

Luke (12m 39s):

I tore a muscle, you know, the goal post changed. I, you know, nearly got hit by a car a couple of times. All these sort of things. There's so many setbacks and it was a massive learning experience. But also at the same time it was also to understand that how not to do big Endurance challenges, but also how health plays a massive part in doing anything. Whether it's a big Ultra Endurance challenge or you are trying to run your fastest 5K or lift your heaviest one Red Max and you've gotta take health into account.

Brian (13m 13s):

Yeah, it's like the preparation along with like allowing yourself to recover going into it. Perhaps touch on, now you're, you're coaching Ultra marathoners, these individuals are running races that I'm assuming when you're an Ultra marathoner, what, what are like the length of the, the races that they're doing and and what's the preparation like? Yeah,

Luke (13m 36s):

Most races, and this is to, you know, like sort of blanket a blanket phrase. Most races are around the 50 mile a hundred K, which is about 62 miles, a hundred miles. Or you'll get a multi-stage race of 150 miles plus there are now races, 200 miles non-stop that takes several days. The hundred mile used to be the benchmark, but now 200 miles, 300 miles are all coming in. It's, it's, it's pretty crazy. But I would say, well the biggest races in the world in terms of mass participation, 50 miles, a hundred miles, a hundred k and your five day or seven day 155 miles in a week ish.

Luke (14m 23s):

They're, they're sort of races that most people do.

Brian (14m 27s):

People are doing this for a living.

Luke (14m 30s):

People are some, some people are, there's a select, there's a select few that are doing it for a living. There is getting more and more money into Ultra running. So running brands and things like that are sponsoring these athletes. But the majority is like marathon runners and there's very few professionals, but most people just do it for fun, believe it or not, go and run through the mountains for like 30 hours and pay, you know, a thousand dollars entry fee and get a buckle or a medal at the end. And that's what people do for fun. I get it. Most people don't, but you know, everyone's funds are different, right?

Brian (15m 5s):

Yeah, that's for sure. And I'm, I'm assuming a part of it's like becomes addictive to some degree for these individuals. Yeah,

Luke (15m 13s):

Yeah. Like I'm putting my hand up for all the people who aren't watching and listening. Like, I was definitely addicted to Endurance sports and my addiction fueled through the element of self-harm as I mentioned before, because I was feeling so low and I, and I felt numb with life. So doing big Endurance ventures was a way of performing self-harm on myself to feel something, to feel alive, to feel great. But then it was just like, okay, then do more and then do more, then do more. And I was over training and I was over, I didn't necessarily do a lot of races, but I did a lot of own personal challenges. I was doing two more of those, too many of those. And yet you, you, I see people online and in person meeting people who are addicted, who are doing too much And, you know, unless they're my Athlete who I coach up and not anyone to say anything because you don't know what they're going through.

Luke (16m 3s):

You know, I know what I was going through and then someone would say something to me, And, you know, I completely ignore them, but definitely addictive because you know, you're pushing yourself. You do a, you do a 50 miler and you're like, what if I can do a hundred K and we do a hundred k, what if I can do a a hundred miler? You do a hundred miler. What if I can do a hundred miler in the mountains? What if I can do a hundred miler in the cold in the heats? What if I can do a five stage day stage race? So it is addictive because one element is that the physical feedback you get the challenge, the feeling of accomplishment when you finish something that you go through so much pain, you go through so many highs and lows. But then I think also a lot of people, let me, let me take that back.

Luke (16m 46s):

There are a portion of people who come into Ultra running in a similar, not so much dissimilar way to me that they're running away from something. And this is an opportunity to go out and run for hours and hours and hours to run away from whatever issues they're dealing with. And they can get away with it because that's what everyone else is doing around them. So they put themselves into these communities. And as I said, that is a portion, a small portion of people who do it. But the other side of it is the community is amazing. They're so supportive and welcoming. So it's, it's hard to sort of like, not just sort of pull yourself out when everyone else is just having a good time like yourself

Brian (17m 26s):

And the people that are like yourself at one point are trying to sort of run away from certain things within their lives. What sort of got you out of, I know you talked about you, was it mainly talking with someone?

Luke (17m 38s):

Yeah, look, it was, it was a combination of things. I got to a point, and this is the only real advice I'll give to people in terms of if, if they are struggling with their mental health and, and it's only because I used it for myself and it worked. I got to a point where I realized something had to change. I knew there was an issue, I knew there was something wrong and I couldn't keep living like this. Cause as I said, like I stood on tops of bridges twice. I was like, I, I don't want, I don't wanna roll the dice on the third time. you know, I was, I was very happy that I, I found that strengthen those moments to pull myself back off. But I realized something had to change and I knew because I was doing this cycle for years, I couldn't do it myself.

Luke (18m 23s):

So I had a choice, I had an option. I could talk to a family member, loved one, and tell them what I was going through, tell 'em how I felt, and ask them for help. Or I could do option B and go and see a stranger who knew nothing about me. I could tell them as much or as little as I wanted to, but I needed to talk. And I looked at those two options and I went, you know what, there's no way in hell, right, Now, I'm gonna go and talk to my parents or my girlfriend at the time, or my best friends who I've known for 20, 30 years. I'm not ready to open up to them. So I went and talked to a stranger and started to drip feed things that I was going through and realized actually talking and the tools they gave me was really helpful. And then I went off and worked on those tools over time.

Luke (19m 5s):

So my advice is always just when you are realizing you're struggling, the best thing you can do is look at those two options. Can I talk to a stranger? Because they don't know who you are. You can tell them as little or as much as you want. Or if you don't wanna talk to a stranger, find someone who you truly trust, who you love, And, you know that they love you and there is no judgment and just start to talk to them. So that's what I did. I started to speak to a stranger. I got some tools, I worked on those tools and then I ended up opening up to the rest of my community and my family, I should say first, and then my friends, and then my community as well.

Brian (19m 41s):

Yeah, thank you. And yeah, relying on that support system obviously is really important. Like, that you're not alone through whatever you're going through. I noticed your TED talk perhaps touched a little bit on that the title is generate Momentum with 1% thinking. So maybe give the gist of, of the talk and, and how it applies to, you know, your life and others.

Luke (20m 4s):

Yeah, so I, I've been talking about this concept for many, many years and I had the opportunity to get on the TEDx stage and I thought, why not So? we are encouraged to always be positive because we know thinking negatively doesn't help, even from a neuroscience perspective, we, we can see that, that it is detrimental, thinking negative and even saying negative things out loud. So naturally we're told to be positive when something bad happens, just be positive, you know, fake it till you make it. All these phrases come out, you know, almost be positive positivity is, you know, whatever.

Luke (20m 45s):

But through my own experience in life and during my Endurance challenges, sometimes when something goes wrong, you can't be positive And, you know, you can't be negative at the same time. So I'm like, well, what do I do? So I came up with this idea that why can't we be less negative? Okay, So we not being negative, being less negative. So I thought, okay, this is like a string I pulled on for years I've played around with, to try and be able to articulate how I think and the principles and the processes I go through. Because as you know, like, and everyone's go through their heads, they have sort of, people say, well, how did you do that?

Luke (21m 28s):

And you can't really articulate it well, I just did it. What are the mechanisms? So I played around and try and find what did work and I realized, I used the analogy as like a car. If something negative happens or you put yourself in reverse and you're driving a, a thick Emanuel All, right? You can't just necessarily go from reverse and put it into a fifth gear and expect to go flying. you know, I'm gonna be so positive, I'm, yeah, I'm gonna be the most positive person in the world when something happens. So there has to be a process, a sequence to go through from slowing down, going back into neutral, and then going through the steps to move forward.

Luke (22m 8s):

And then I put into a place of, okay, well what are some of the most negative things that could happen in someone's life? And I thought about it, okay, well how does this concept apply if you lose a loved one? you know, that's brutal. you know, I'm, I'm fortunate I have lost several in my life. And it's like, okay, how do you be positive in the moment when that happens? I'm sorry, but I, I just don't think it's healthy. And I, I don't even think you can be like super positive. Yes, you can focus on what we did and what they achieved in their life, but in the moment when you first hear those news, that news, she cannot be positive. So I was like, okay, well that, or I, I get injured, you know, it's still a negative, but it's a less severity.

Luke (22m 50s):

Or I drop a glass, you know, my, my favorite coffee mug in the morning, I dropped that, you know, so all these negative things, so how can I apply it being less negative? And I used this thing called 1% thinking because it's not about government from zero to a hundred percent positivity, not even about 50%, it's 1%. So, and it's through asking yourself these three questions, what happened All, right? So you're in reverse. If you're using that car analogy and something negative's just happened, we're in reverse, what happened? You're not actually trying to do anything. You're not trying to be positive, you're not trying to be negative, but what identify what it is that actually happened so you can actually know what you're dealing with.

Luke (23m 31s):

Okay? So that is the first element. What happened? How did it happen, All, right? So you really need to take it, take it, get an understanding of the mechanisms of that. Cause what happened, okay? Like just to understand if your family member died, like knowing that, okay, this person is not here anymore, that you're starting the grieving process and what happened as, as, as they died from whatever. That's how it happened. You broke a glass, what happened? You broke your favorite glass. How did it happen? Well, I was thinking about what I'm doing later this afternoon. I wasn't really concentrating All, right? These are, this is the trivial one, but it matches with something more like civilian. So it's what happened, how did it happen to understand the mechanisms?

Luke (24m 11s):

Now here's where you went from neutral to into first gear. Where do I now need to focus in order to move forward? So the whole point, this sounds really simple and it is really simple, but it's only helpful if you apply it. But what, what I've done with thinking 1% at a time, one step at a time, one small piece at a time, is giving everyone a process to follow when you break your favorite glass, when you get fired from a job, when you, you lose a loved one and you drop your phone and you crack your screen, you know, all these sort of trivial things, but also pretty heavy things that can make a significant impact in your life. What happened, how that's in reverse.

Luke (24m 52s):

So you're stopping going backwards, identifying what happened, how did it happen? You're in neutral And now you start moving through the gears, where do I now need to focus in order to move forward? Now that's not positive. That's not like, rah rah, let's go. Yeah, a hundred percent I'm gonna smash life and I'm gonna win this thing. you know, that's not posi, that's not positive, but it's not negative, which is why I call it less negative. And it's just that one thought at a time of being less negative through 1% thinking to helping you overcome an obstacle or a setback that you either created in your life or it came to you in terms of adversity.

Brian (25m 33s):

Got it, got it, got it. Okay. I like that. Like that, that's a, that's a good way of explaining it. Because when something traumatic happens, it's like, yeah, like you're gonna, it, it's not just gonna be okay, it's positive, positive, positive that you're gonna, you gotta sort of work your way into just taking those next steps to just get out of that sort of state of maybe, you know, negativity. And it doesn't happen overnight, right? I I, I, I attribute it a lot of times when I'm coaching individuals is like, when you talk about one step at a time, it's like, pick one healthy habit to adapt and just do that for, you know, weeks, maybe a month until that habit becomes something that you're not even thinking about it, just you do it and then you can sort of take that next thing.

Brian (26m 19s):

I think sometimes when people try to take a lot on at once, nothing ends up happening. So

Luke (26m 26s):

Yeah, I, I think we get caught up in, in the acute phase of things like the right Now, I want, I want to change. I know why I want to change. Cause that's important. you know, if you want to, if you want to do something in your life, achieve something in your life, change something in your life, we gotta know why you want to do it. Cause that's bottom line, that's your internal motivation, right? We know that internal motivation is someone's more helpful than external, so we gotta know why. But it's a case of when, you know why you still need to be able to go through the process of what it is you're trying to, to accomplish. But then even if you're strong with your why and knowing the processes of how to get there, so enter that education piece. If you're trying to do everything and you're looking at it from a small perspective, like change and success takes time, but everyone wants it right here and right now.

Luke (27m 14s):

Not that, oh, I wanna be successful in 10 years. Like the way that I look at things is yeah, like I'm, if I achieve this goal in 10 years just to use a random number, like I will be happy. That will be a success, that will be great. However, the principles and the processes I'm putting in place are gonna gimme a chance to achieve that goal in three years. But I'm also gonna be happy if it takes me 10. So I'm being like aggressive daily, but patient long-term. So I wanna try and do everything I can with through those principles and those processes. And this could be for anything in life. However, at the same time, it's not about setting realistic goals.

Luke (27m 55s):

It's not about setting safe goals, it's about understanding that to be truly successful, to achieve big goals, as you said, like with with your clients, is just take one thing and be aggressive with that daily. Do the best that you can do that day and then the next day be aggressive in focusing on what you can do to achieve that thing, that day, that process that principle. You need to do the, the sequence of events, but also know that okay, if it takes me in those 10 years, those 12 years, that one year, that's gonna be a success. However, the principles and the processes that you've put in place, it's gonna give me a chance if I stick to those to achieve it in a shorter period of time. And it's having that, that, that, that flexibility and that thinking in my opinion, in my experience.

Luke (28m 42s):

And there's also, you know, certain studies that show certain things like this, there's more people who have been successful.

Brian (28m 50s):

Now, how would you recommend someone that maybe wants to get into running, not necessarily even Ultra, marathoners. How would you go about that? Would you like, for like what you did, it sounds like you picked an event, like granted it was a bit extreme, but you picked that event to work towards. Do you recommend that maybe for someone who's looking to get into it, running is sort of, yeah,

Luke (29m 16s):

To a degree it's like recommending the healthiest food in the world. Like there's, there's multiple, there's not one. Yeah. So the ways that I would do it is, yeah, pick an event. So then you've got a goal to aim for. Then you've got a target that can help with a bit. That's a bit of external motivation. External motivation isn't bad, but that can motivate you. Cause you're in accountability. You, you've paid your, your 50 bucks entry fee or you know, however much it is. So there you go, you're accountable, now you're invested, you're financially invested in this thing. So that's, that's something that's helpful. Joining a running club is great because in running clubs, they're all over the world. Even things like park run, you know, free 5K on a Saturday morning all over the world.

Luke (30m 0s):

You meet the new runners, you meet new people, you become part of the running community and it's free every Saturday morning around the world. So become part of the running community, whether it's a run club, there are so many that are free, you know, goo there's this thing called Google in Google where a local running club is, and I'm pretty sure you'll find one or park run is a great way to inject yourself into a running community, find a coach. Well if you've got a family member who runs, or a friend or runs or a friend of a friend connects and see, I think joining community, being part of that running community will be really helpful. And then don't overthink it. Like we all can run pretty much, you know, 99% of the, well that's, that's my own number, but let's just say the majority of the population can run.

Luke (30m 47s):

They look at these 10 Ks, they look at half marathons, look at marathons, look at Ultra marathons. Again, I can't do that. Well not everyone started off with a hundred mile races at first race. Maybe your big event is I want to be able to complete a 5k running and walking. That is okay, you're allowed to walk in running races. That's cool. So just start by going out, maybe going for a run around your block. It might take you three minutes, might take you two minutes, go and run for a minute and go, did I enjoy that? No, that sucked. Okay, well maybe you don't really wanna run, but if you're like, actually this is really cool, okay, the next day, can I run three minutes? Can I run four minutes? Something like that.

Luke (31m 27s):

So it's, don't overthink it. I guess it's probably the simplest answer and hopefully there's been a few ideas for people to try. If, if someone does wanna get into running,

Brian (31m 38s):

This might be a, a extreme question or broad, but what, what some of the things that you've learned through your experience with running that you could, that you wish you knew when you were, you know, maybe five, six years ago that you, you can, that you apply now that you know that you've learned.

Luke (31m 55s):

Yeah, in terms of life or, or for running, let's

Brian (31m 58s):

Say for running, you know, okay,

Luke (32m 1s):

Yeah. Let's say for running. Well, I, I definitely learned that it's important to have a nutrition plan and a hydration plan rather than just say, okay, I know I need to have like, you know, 300 calories an hour if I'm say doing a marathon or an Ultra marathon. And sometimes I'll, like, I've known this from my own education, my own background and, and worked with other, other athletes. But it, I didn't always necessarily have like this, this plan to know, okay, like these foods are this amount, this is that and I'm gonna have these foods in the first, you know, like few hours and I'm gonna have these foods in the next few hours and all these sort of things. So really properly having a nutrition plan and a hydration plan, knowing how much electrolytes you're having, how much fluid you're having dependent on the, the, the temperature and the climate and things like that.

Luke (32m 52s):

So I knew what the body needed, but it was actually having a out and out proper plan. And it's not one necessarily what's all about the numbers and you have to do this every minute or whatever, but it's just sort of having a loose plan knowing, okay, this is, this is then this is then this is then. And that's been really helpful. And, and I think also it's, it's kind of tricky because I've been an Athlete my entire life. There's definitely sort of elements of, you know, people say, oh how important recovery is and things like that. That wasn't really for me because as an Athlete I knew how helpful recovery was. But I guess in terms of running it was the different types of sessions, how they can improve your fitness, your speed, your stamina, your Endurance, all these types of things as well.

Luke (33m 41s):

So diving down into the science of that a little bit more. And then that's how, that's after I did started that I moved into a little bit more focused on running and not Ultra running when I did that, maybe about 10 years ago. But yeah, so I guess, I guess there's a couple of things that I've really learned through my running journey

Brian (34m 1s):

And Now I noticed you've run or you've run down mountain first, is that correct? That's tell me, yeah, yeah. Tell me a little bit about that. I'm curious.

Luke (34m 12s):

Yeah, no, it's it's a good one. It's a good, good catch line, right? Yeah, it's a good, yeah. So I, I, I went out to Nepal to run the world's highest Ultra marathon, which is down Mount Everest from just near base camp. So the hardest part of the whole race is getting to the start line cause she is spending 12 days tracking up to, to base camp. Which is what, 5,400 meters. So what's that? I don't know. It must be like 17, 18,000 feet maybe more.

Brian (34m 44s):

How long did that take? How long did that take to get the base camp? You said

Luke (34m 48s):

12 days. 12 days. So, we had some acclimation days as well. It's about 40, 40 miles to, to go up there. And, but what I did initially was I reached out to the race director and said, Hey, like I'm this adventure dude. I do this crazy things. Are there any Nepalese Ultra runners who speak someone English, who in the rural mountains that I could maybe go and stay with and learn from and just have like this really cool, adventurous experience, very happy to pay my way or the rest of it and not looking to commercialize it or anything. I just wanna have a cool adventure. And he wrote back and he's like, yeah, well I've got, I, I know two guys who speak a bit of English.

Luke (35m 28s):

That was cool. So I actually spent like five weeks high up in the rural mountains where like there are no tourists that go there. you know, it's not on the tourist trainer. We're talking like a two buses, 12 hours in total plus a, you know, a full day hike over the mountains and villages with like two and three shack like mud shacks, no running water, no electricity, no toilets, nothing like this. Sleeping next to buffalos and chickens and goats. It was And, you know, holds in the living room for

Brian (35m 59s):

How many weeks? Did how many weeks? I'm sorry, how many weeks did you do that for?

Luke (36m 3s):

Five weeks.

Brian (36m 4s):

So you went, you went there and you were with that, what is it called? I'm sorry, the individual who takes you up and down the mountain?

Luke (36m 12s):


Brian (36m 13s):

Sherpa, that's right. So you stayed, you were with a Sherpa for, for that long? I,

Luke (36m 18s):

Yeah, they were, one of them worked as a Sherpa, but they were just runners. Okay. So I lived with two, two families and two, two runners So. we spent like three weeks with one and two weeks with another. And then we flew to Kaman back to Katmandu or got back to Katmandu I should say. And then flew up to ler, which is the airport when you go up to Everest. And then we spent 12 days treking up to Everest and then ran back down and took me 12 hours I think it was, I struggled with a parasite called Jia from untreated water. And so I didn't eat or drink anything for the final four days of, of the track.

Luke (36m 59s):

I was literally vomiting and I had diarrhea, which is water, basically water from my muscles because I was putting nothing in my body and I was just losing weight. My, my arms and my legs were absolutely ripped cause just the water from my muscles are just getting dispelled cause of this parasite, the body showing flushed out. And then that was like for like four days before the event started. And then I got up in the morning of the race and fumbled my way down the mountain to finish the world's highest Ultra marathon covering just over 40 miles in 12 hours.

Brian (37m 34s):

Wow. That's quite the story.

Luke (37m 37s):


Brian (37m 38s):

When you're going through something like that, how, how do you get through it mentally?

Luke (37m 44s):

That's a, that's a great question and it's one of the things that I do a lot with my athletes is, is mental strength side side of things. And I work with, I mentor athletes all around the world. Many elite athletes from sort of like high school and college age groups who are sort of one or two steps away from being professional or one or two steps away or one step away from going to the Olympics at various sports. And I mentor them in terms of, a part of it is mental strength, but it's also just the, the lifestyle of of how to achieve your best. Cuz I've been there and I, and I've done that. But the mental strength side of things is, it's a really key, it's really interesting piece because a lot of people think, okay, if I'm not a professional Athlete, I don't need to like do visualization or mental strength training.

Luke (38m 28s):

But here's the thing, like we're all high performers, you know, we're all high performers. High performers for me is just trying to achieve your best. Trying to achieve one little bit more above your best. Say there's a kid at school when he gets four D's one year at the end of his report card and then the next year he gets two C's and a d he's a high performer cuz he is achieved more than what he is achieved four. So he is, he's performing at a high level So, we can train three things, our body, our craft. So a skill. If you're, if you're an Athlete, if you are a salesperson, you, you can change, you can train your, your sales skills, stuff like that.

Luke (39m 9s):

Marketing, you can, you can become a better marketer by train that we can train our mind. But training our mind can dictate whether or not we actually go through, we're training our skills, our craft, or we are actually training our body to stay healthy. So I think it's a really important piece that a lot of people in daily life is missing. And part of it is they don't know how, and part of it is they have this imposter thing of like, well, I'm not an Athlete, why do I need to do mental strength training? All, right? So I have basically, I bought into this whole concept of sports psychology, mindset, mindfulness, and like the late 1990s when I was a 14, 15 year old kid playing for my state about to go to the national championships in soccer.

Luke (39m 54s):

and we got this performance coach doing air quotes here for people who aren't watching. and we got this performer coach in, and basically she laid us down in a room, lights off, candles, incense burning, and she guided us in meditation. Now we're 14, 15 year old boys in the, in the mid nineties here in Australia in a, not a massive sport in that country, but I, I bought into it, I was like, this stuff is awesome. We did muscle relaxation, we did breathing protocols. And I was like, this is fantastic. This is one way that I can train my body to be a better Athlete. All my teammates were like messing about slapping people in the head and kicking people in the butt and all that stuff.

Luke (40m 34s):

But I bought into it. So from the age of 14, I had been practicing mental strength training my entire life. So then you get to an adventure, it's a long way of sort of setting up my answer to your question. But I got, I got to running down Mount Everest in a really, really sorry and, and, and sad state. And I had done a, you know, 30 years of, of mental strength training and almost, so it was things like, okay, focus on what I can control, but how do you do that? Well be present. How do you be present? Okay, I've got self-aware, I've got be, need to be self-aware of what I'm feeling, what I need, what are my key fundamentals? I need to eat, I need to drink, I can't, okay, I need to keep comfortable.

Luke (41m 18s):

So I had all these, these tools that I was able to use and in this toolbox. So I would get to a point where I would be able to keep putting one foot in front of the other, get to the bottom of the mountain and when something else happened or I felt ill, I vomited, I need to go to the bathroom, I needed to have a nap. you know, I fell over all these things and I was like, okay, what can I control? Being self-aware of how I feel and what do I need? One of my key fundamentals and being present in what I'm trying to achieve and knowing why I'm, I'm, I'm there in the first place. And the flip side with this was I had no other option because it was either get myself down or get a helicopter And, you know, helicopters are way too expensive so I just have to figure out a way.

Luke (42m 1s):

So it's being able to have these tools. However, these tools only come from you spending time prior to the adversity, prior to the trauma, prior to the adventure. You go on and sharpening them. So it's understanding what they are, how to use them, and then practicing, practicing and practicing them before you need them. So when you do need them, you can go like, boom, here's a toolbox. Okay, what's gonna work? Does this one work? No. Does that one work? No. Does this one work? Oh yes, that's helped me take that next step. And that's how I've been able to continually achieve these big Ultra Endurance goals. I think it's also helped me move past my mental health issues that I went through as well. Cuz that was always installed with me of of, of using different procedures and protocols to help me move forward in life.

Luke (42m 48s):

And now this is what I, this is what I speak about on stage to audiences from different industries in the corporate world to conferences and stuff like that, to athletic teams, to professional clubs and just trying to share my knowledge as, as, as you do in, in what your line of work is, is paying it forward. To use your phrase, I have these skills, these experience and I just want other people to, to use them to help them be the best that they can be.

Brian (43m 14s):

Yeah. So you talk about these tools and starting meditation at an early age and that's something that you've been practicing, like you said, for what, 30 years? What do you recommend someone doing if they wanna start, you know, utilizing meditation and being present and things like that into their lives.

Luke (43m 36s):

Carve out a time in a day and dedicate that to your meditation time. I think that's, that is the first step. Don't just say, yeah, I'm gonna meditate five times a day and we meditate for 20 minutes or whatever. Actually put it in your diary. It's a non-negotiable, right? Now, I will just be like whenever, if you know that you've got this five minute break between finishing work and, and picking the kids up from school and you walk to your car at the office and you drive 20 minutes, but you've got a bit of a buffer, boom, when you go into the car, that's when it starts. That's your meditation time. Make a time daily that you can actually stop and allow yourself a chance to be present to dedicating a time to it.

Luke (44m 22s):

And I like, and I like to tell people who are asking that same question is don't start with hark And now, you know, start with a minute, start with a minute. Just set your phone, Tyler, throw it next to you and just sit there and focus on one thing, whether it's your breath, whether it's a sound, whether it's a smell, but just try and use one sense and focus on one thing. And that is, that is my advice. Like I don't really know if there's a whole lot of science involved in that. Like I, I, I've read a little bit on neuroscience and on meditation, you know, I've read all those different studies. We know they're helpful, but what I've just prescribed, I just feel like it's a great place to start and then figure out what works.

Luke (45m 4s):

Focusing on your breath. If you're like, wow, this is really cool, I get lost in that minute goes no time, I'm five minutes Now, I can focus on my breath and I just feel really calm afterwards. Fantastic. You found what works for you. Sometimes I've had people who have gone like, I just like to focus on one sound and it can zone me out or a smell. I can smell something. Can I just focus on that? And, and I found that being really helpful. And even moving. Sometimes I will, I will just go for a walk and just try and not feel or think of anything and I'll let the thoughts come and I'll let them go, but I'll just do it while I'm moving. So I think it's, it's finding what works for you, but at the same time, breaking it down to just start with like a minute a day and then going from there and when you know, sort of what works for you.

Luke (45m 51s):

But it's about initially dedicating that time to just start and do it consistently.

Brian (45m 57s):

Yeah, I love that cuz it is something you have to practice. It doesn't like just me, I, I meditate. I, I don't, I'm not like, I try to be consistent. There are days I miss, but like I'll usually do like 10 minutes or whatever it is in the morning and it, it definitely takes time. But, but it's like anything else, it's a crap that you have to sort of just practice. And is this something that you c continue to do pretty much on a daily basis or for yourself?

Luke (46m 24s):

I, I would love to say, yeah, I meditate every day, but the reality is I don't, you know, I'm human. I, I forget I'm, I'm lazy sometimes I couldn't be bothered. Like I know that's the most ridiculous thing to say. I couldn't be bothered to sit still and focus on my breath. I couldn't bother sit there and have no thoughts. Okay. And so it's so silly saying it, but I'm human, like, and I'm not, and I'm not perfect by any means. And I, I talk about, I've got all these tools and I've been practicing mental strength and meditation for all this now at times. But I'm like, I'm, I'm not perfect and, and I don't do this every day. Like I do it most days and it might only be for a couple of minutes, it might be five times, one minute where I will stop and I don't these days I don't need to dedicate a time because I will always make time.

Luke (47m 11s):

If I realize I'm into the afternoon and I feel a bit, I just need a minute, then I'm like, okay, well I, I need to just turn my phone off or I need to set a timer on my phone, throw it to the other side of the room and just be still and be present and, and do that meditation process. Whether it's five minutes, whether it's one minute, whether it's 20 minutes, half an hour, hour, whatever. So I am like that. I do probably, if I had to say on average, I would say four to five times a week, like four to five days a week, I would say some, some weeks it's every day, you know, depending on my situation and travel a lot. And sometimes I just forget because everything changes. My schedule changes and they're all excuses. I completely understand that.

Luke (47m 52s):

But I'm not trying to paint a perfect picture of that. No, I do this and I'm, you know, I've been doing it for so long, you know, I'm, I'm amazing at it. I'm not, I'm human like everyone else. Just like I have negative thoughts when I'm deal dealt with, dealing with adversity. Yeah. Am I always less negative? No, I have negative thoughts. I think detrimental things. But what I like, what I realized is because I've done all this work in the past, because I've sharpened all these tools, because I've spent probably years practicing, focusing, developing, curating all these things to help me be who I am today from a mental strength, from a mindfulness perspective.

Luke (48m 34s):

When I have negative thoughts when they come into my head or when I don't spend create time to meditate, I catch myself really quick. Instead of letting that negative thought spiral for a minute, three minutes, five minutes a day, a week, a year, and go down a really, really deep hole, I'll catch it within a minute, within 30 seconds and go, whoa, where's that coming from? Okay, let's understand that. Why is, why am I thinking that? Is there any truth to it? Where did I get to this point? Okay. And then all of a sudden that that, that, that reverse to use my gear stick analogy from being less negative, I'm going backwards, I'm having negative thoughts, but instead of flooring it, as soon as I feel the car moving backwards, I'm like, whoa, whoa, whoa, put the foot on the brake but still in reverse.

Luke (49m 26s):

Put the foot on the brake. Let's figure out what's going on here. And then that, that allows me to then move from being negative, having a negative thought, but not acting on it. And then taking the steps forward to be less negative and then be positive out of it. So unlike everyone else, I still have negative thoughts and have, you know, detrimental thoughts and stuff like that and don't meditate from days on end. But I catch myself pretty quick because of all the work I've done and the principles and the processes that I've implement implemented into my life. And I continue to pr practice on a daily basis as well.

Brian (49m 56s):

Yeah, I love that. And I'm, I'm big into like trying to stay present. It, it's not always that easy. I, I'm a big, I'm a big golfer, And, you know, it's you don't want, yeah, you don't want to, yeah. That you don't wanna get ahead of yourself. You don't wanna think about what just happened. And, and so I think, you know, having, like you said, tools in the toolbox can help you in sport, but also just in life when things are chaotic, it's like being able to focus on your breath and just say present. Easier said than done. But the more you do it on your own, whether it's five, 10 minutes, whatever it is, you can apply that to other areas and it, you can pay pay dividends.

Luke (50m 35s):

Yeah, a hundred percent. And the catch phrase I use for myself is respond, don't react. Yeah. And for me the difference is reacting is taking action or not taking action. Whether it's verb, verbally, physically, emotionally, without thinking that's reacting, re responding or, or to have a response is to create space between the stimulus and the action. Like Victor Frankl mentioned in his book, search for being, search for meaning is be able to create space. So you can think that's the difference between reacting and responding.

Luke (51m 16s):

Having an ability to stop and think before you take action, whether it's physically, mentally, emotionally, or that action you take might be not taking an action, right? Not allowed, not acting on a, on an emotion. Not saying that thing, not doing that thing. That could be the correct response. But if you just react and do it without thinking, then they can be detrimental. So my calculator always respond, don't react. And I do that by doing my best to be present and thinking about what I should or shouldn't be doing in that next moment.

Brian (51m 51s):

Well, Luke, this is great. We could probably go on and on for, for a long time, but we're, what's, what's next up for you? I know you're doing a lot of speaking in what's on your, your agenda for the next year or so?

Luke (52m 3s):

Yeah, next year or so is my calendar's getting booked up with speaking gigs, which is, which is great. I'm, I'm letting that play out cause I'm enjoying speaking more and more often around the world and, and hosting different events and speaking at conferences and, and just delivering my, my, my talk, my message is my, my story as well, which is, which is pretty cool. You've got a snippet of it. So I'm letting that play out. I am working through an injury at the moment and I'm just one of those random ones. I can't really put my finger on it, but I'm still training, but I'm not putting anything big in the calendar. Cause I know my next 12, well my next nine, nine months is, is pretty busy.

Luke (52m 44s):

But as I said before, I, I've got some, some big things in the pipeline that I'm starting to have conversations with. Cause obviously these things take time to organize. Like, you know, I'm talking, I'm doing potentially doing something that's a month long, so it takes a lot more than just one month to organize it, so, right. you know, sometimes these things take years and I'm in the process of doing that and then writing out my training plan for, to, to make sure I'm, I'm fit for that. So I'm in that process. But yeah, so that's what's, what's what's happening with me. And yeah, I'm, I've sort of committed to sitting down and, and starting at writing another book. I've co-authored a couple other books as well as my own autobiography Chasing Extreme.

Luke (53m 26s):

So yeah, so I want to, and it's basically gonna be filled with all these principles and processes that I, that I use and the stories that have created them. So it's not just a sort of a step-by-step book and, or, or these are all the things that I use. It's, it's actually got stories behind them. And so I enjoy writing. So I, I've committed to some time each Each week, I each month to start that process. I've got loads of notes, but just formulating into that, so, you know, hopefully in the next year or two I'll have some sort of first draft and see where we go with that.

Brian (53m 59s):

Wow, that's, that's exciting. And, and what about, actually, I, I'll forget to ask this last question. So I wanted to ask it is, what one tip would you give an individual that wanted to get their body back to what it once was like 10, 15 years ago and yeah, what one tip would you give that individual?

Luke (54m 20s):


Brian (54m 23s):

I know it's a big one.

Luke (54m 25s):

That is a big question. Why is one tip get their body back 10, 15 years ago?

Luke (54m 32s):


Luke (54m 35s):

I would say be kind to yourself because you are not the same person you were 10 to 15 years ago. Yeah. I think that's probably the biggest thing. I, I heard a quote, I need to actually spend some time and dig it up to figure out who initially said it. I've seen many people claim it, but the quote was something like a, a man who views his life at 40 the same as when he was 20 has wasted 20 years. And I think that is, that sort of sticks with what I, what I said as a, as a tip is be kind to yourself because you're not the same person you were 10, 15 years ago.

Luke (55m 19s):

So give yourself a break if you miss a session, if you eat a piece of chocolate cake, if you whatever, you know, if you can't hit those targets or less steps or, or running or playing squash or playing tennis, you can't do it as much as you used to be kind to yourself because you're actually doing something. So I think that's really important to not beat yourself up if you are actually taking steps forward. That's my one tip.

Brian (55m 44s):

I like that. I like that. I completely agree. Because definitely like the way I train now is a lot different than the way I trained when I was in my twenties and you know, to sort of, and it and

Luke (55m 55s):

It should be right and

Brian (55m 56s):

We should be. It should be. Yeah.

Luke (55m 58s):

Cause you know, would any of us really wanna be doing all the same stuff we were doing in our twenties?

Brian (56m 3s):

No, not really.

Luke (56m 7s):


Brian (56m 7s):

Oh, well this is great Luke. I appreciate it. Where's the best place for people to find you?

Luke (56m 12s):

Yeah, I'm really easy to find online. Yeah, you can go to Luke Tyburski dot com. All my social media is Luke Tyburski. You can type my name into Amazon and you'll see my documentary, you'll see my documentaries. There's two on there. You'll see my book. Yeah, just my name's. There's not a lot of us out there. There's a few, but not a lot of us. But I'm pretty much at the top of all the searches. So social media, Luke bursky.com, it's all there. Reach out. And I do all my own social media, so if you've got a question, if you've got a thought, if you just wanna say hi, do reach out. I'm really easy to get a hold of. And yeah, I'll reply to you and, and let me know what you learned from this conversation with Brian and I as well.

Luke (56m 53s):

I'd love to hear one thing that you've learned from this conversation as well.

Brian (56m 56s):

Love that. Well, I will put Links in the show notes. And Luke, thanks so much for coming on and sharing all this.

Luke (57m 4s):

My pleasure, Brian. It's been a blast. Thank you for having me on.

Brian (57m 9s):

Thanks for listening to the GETLEAN EAN podcast. I understand there are millions of other Podcasts out there, and you've chosen to listen to mine and I appreciate that. Check out the show notes at Brian Gryn dot com for everything that was mentioned in this episode. Feel free to subscribe to the podcast and share it with a friend or family member that's looking to get their body back to what it once was. Thanks again, and have a great day.

Luke Tyburski

Luke is a highly driven individual, who follows his mantra “live life everyday.

Starting out life as a footballer, but four years ago, he sustained multiple injuries, which ended his career, and triggered his ongoing battle with depression. Luke discovered a lifeline through going on physically demanding adventures; The Endurance Adventurer was born.

To just highlight his journey, firstly, Luke completed the Marathon des Sables, followed by living with some elite Nepalese ultra runners and their families in rural Nepal, before completing The Mount Everest Ultra.

Continually wanting to learn new skills, Luke cycled over 400 kilometres in a day to the UK’s South West coastline, to simply learn how to surf the following day.

Always looking for adventure, Luke found himself running for survival through a Chinese forest when he ran out of food and water with a plane to catch. In 2014 Luke became a triathlete by crossing the finishing line of Double Brutal Extreme Triathlon after 35 hours in this 465-kilometre race through the hills of Snowdonia national Park.

In November 2015, Luke completed the world’s first, self-created, Ultimate Triathlon. This 2000km in 12-day swim, cycle, and run from Morocco to Monaco tested Luke both physically and mentally to his limits and beyond!

Luke is also a real food cook, and is regularly booked to speak about his endeavours, inspiring others to live their own lives every single day while getting out of their comfort zones as much as possible.


wanna talk to brian?

Schedule a free 15 min consultation