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The “What I’ve Learned” Podcast: Lindsey Vonn On Rest, Recovery and Mental Well-being

“You can't always push yourself to the maximum and expect to continue to succeed — you need that time to recharge.”

In the “What I’ve Learned” podcast, Arianna Huffington sits down with people she loves and admires, in fields from music and technology to sports and business, to explore the lessons they’ve learned over the extraordinary past year about themselves, their lives, and what they truly value. 

This week, Olympic gold medalist Lindsey Vonn, considered the greatest female ski racer of all time, on why recovery and mental strength are just as important off the slopes. 

On re-establishing her relationship to working out:

“After I retired, I was burned out on working out. Honestly, I’ve been working out my whole life, and I just wanted to break. But I realized that I get so much more mental stability and happiness from working out than I ever thought. And so as I got back into the gym, especially during the pandemic, and was able to really focus on it, I was so much happier. If I could start my day in the gym, or even just biking at home, I always felt a million times better and it really made me a lot happier. I’m happy that I realized that, and I’m able to use it to my advantage now.”

On the importance of rest and recovery to performance:

“My dad was always one that preached rest and recovery, you know, it’s just as important to rest as it is to work hard. You can’t always push yourself to the maximum and expect to continue to succeed. You need that time to recharge, and I think this time in the pandemic has really given people that time to really recharge and recover. You’re able to have a different perspective on life. And, as athletes, we have that perspective because our whole lives have revolved around how we perform at our best. And recovery is one of the most important parts of that.”

On her decision not to retouch photos of herself on social media:

“Honestly, it’s taken me a long time to get here. When I won the Olympics in 2010, it was when Facebook was exploding, and I started to do red carpets and events and things like that. And I was constantly comparing my body type to everyone else at events with actresses that are half my size, and I was like, I don’t fit in here — what’s wrong with me? It took me a long time to get to the point where I can say there’s nothing wrong with me. I am the way I am. I love the way I am. I like sharing my life on social media because I really feel like I have a connection to my fans, but I don’t take what they say seriously. It’s just living my life. I’m happy with who I am and it saddens me how teens and people in general try to be someone that they’re not on social media. And I just embrace it, and use it to share my life and share who I am.”

To hear more from Lindsey, listen to her full episode of “What I’ve Learned,” available wherever you get your podcasts. 

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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