Dr. Greg Wells

Move Better

Move Better

Dr. Greg Wells Podcast #76: A keynote - "How to Live to 120" at The Titan Summit

September, 5th 2017

Hi podcast universe!!! I’m back from vacation and ready to take on the rest of 2017. To kickstart the fall I’m sharing a small part of my presentation at the Titan Summit last year on How to Live to 120.

This is a different format so let me know what you think @drgregwells on social!

Enjoy the presentation!

If you’re interested in getting a copy of my new book The Ripple Effect you can get it here!

If you found this information interesting and helpful please consider signing up for our monthly newsletter with health and performance tips, articles, videos and other insights.

I’m on twitter, Linked In and Facebook.

Also please subscribe to this podcast in iTunes!

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BBP #75: 11x Ironman Champ Lisa Bentley on pursuing dreams and championship mental skills

August, 15th 2017

Welcome back! This week I had the chance to interview 11 time Ironman Champion Lisa Bentley. Here’s a little more about Lisa!

Lisa Bentley raced for 20 years as a professional triathlete. In the course of her career, she has won 11 IRONMAN races, 11 IRONMAN 70.3 races (1/2 IRONMAN), several top 5 finishes at the IRONMAN World Championships, represented Canada on multiple National Teams and at the Pan American Games and was ranked top 5 in the world for a decade. She competed at the highest level despite having Cystic Fibrosis – a genetic lung disease resulting in chronic infections and limited lung capacity. Her CF was very controllable for much of her career and ironically, Lisa saw it as a blessing, which fuelled her passion for sport and excellence. In Lisa’s words, “every time I raced, I knew that my race served a higher purpose to give families hope that their children with CF could achieve similar things in life. And sport kept my lungs healthy so it was a double blessing!”

Since she retired from professional sport, Lisa has been running marathons, doing motivational speaking, television commentary (CTV Olympic marathon running and swim coverage, CBC Triathlon coverage, Sportsnet Ironman coverage), coaching and sales and marketing work with Ironman triathlon. Lisa was inducted into the Etobicoke Sports Hall of Fame in 2012 and to the Triathlon Canada Hall of Fame in 2014.

Lisa has an honors degree from the University of Waterloo in Math and Computer Science and a Bachelors of Education from the University of Western Ontario. She taught high school for 7 years prior to pursuing sport full time in 1999 and now uses those teaching skills to coach and mentor athletes in pursuit of their goals in sport.

You can learn more about Lisa on twitter at https://twitter.com/lisabentley and on her website: http://www.lisabentley.com/ 

This was one of my favourite interviews – I hope you agree!

Enjoy the conversation!

If you’re interested in getting a copy of my new book The Ripple Effect you can get it here!

If you found this information interesting and helpful please consider signing up for our monthly newsletter with health and performance tips, articles, videos and other insights.

I’m on twitter, Linked In and Facebook.

Also please subscribe to this podcast in iTunes!

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3 ways leaders can inspire peak performance in their teams

August, 13th 2017

In the spotlight: Dr. Greg WellsAuthor, “The Ripple Effect: Eat, Sleep, Move and Think Better”

 

One of the biggest challenges corporate leaders face every day is balancing what’s good for the team with what works best for individual employees.

After all, not everyone thinks the same way—even top performers. Their motivations differ, as do their work processes. Some are collaborators, others work best alone. Some are procrastinators, others thrive on a deadline. Some love a bustling work environment, others put on headphones to block out the buzz.

But leaders can make it a goal to help all those diverse personalities find the “highest-performing version” of themselves, says Dr. Greg Wells, author of The Ripple Effect: Eat, Sleep, Move and Think Better.

“There are general changes you can enact in the workplace that can speak to the very specific needs of every member of your team,” says Wells, a scientist who specializes in extreme human physiology and has spent 15 years working with Olympic athletes. He suggests:

Encourage breaks

This isn’t about running out for a quick cigarette. Quite the opposite. Wells says office breaks can have a healthy bent—anything from providing an hour of tai chi instruction to offering a tranquil garden setting for quiet reflection. “Make sure you take some time to break the stress cycle and allow people to rest, recover and regenerate,” he says. “Doing this not only will help them perform better in the moment, but it also recharges the body and brain to stay healthy over the long-term.”

Walking is especially powerful as it has been shown to improve creativity. Exercise in nature, such as going for a walk in the park has been shown to improve problem solving. Creativity and problem solving are essential for success in today’s work environment so moving breaks can be very helpful for you and your teams.

Remove distractions

Being mindful is key to success in any discipline, be it music, sports, drama, or business. “Yet we live in the age of distraction,” Wells says. Emails, social media, text messages and YouTube compete for our attention, not to mention the job we’re supposed to be doing. “Athletes who are able to stay on task despite pressure and distractions perform to their potential,” he says. “Those who fail to ignore the distractions make mistakes or don’t perform to expectations.”

Your team can start by turning off the electronic noise for an hour at a time. Or try “single-tasking”: Ask them to choose their most important task to work on first and to perform that task as exclusively as possible. Wells says he’s a huge fan of Robin Sharma’s 90 : 90: 1 principle—for 90 days, take the first 90 minutes of each day to work on your life’s most important work. Try that tactic out and you’ll be amazed and the exponential gains you make in your life and career, he says.

Focus on “micro-improvements”

Wells says one of the best approaches he’s seen for turning good into great is focusing on “1 percent gains.” “What sets elite athletes apart from the pack is a commitment to being just a little bit better each day,” he says. “A 1 percent change might not seem like much, but small improvements in the way you live each day will amplify your life.”

One percent of your day is 15 minutes, and 15 minutes of exercise can reduce your risk of breast and colon cancer from 24-40 percent. The micro changes add up over time and can have a powerful effect on your health and performance.

Of course, workers are notoriously averse to change—whether they’re in an office, a factory or behind the counter at a fast-food restaurant. But with positivity and patience, Wells’ believes his suggestions should be an easy sell.

“Each employee will benefit in his or her own way,” he says. “But the end result will be a more engaged and more productive group.”

Greg WellsDr. Greg Wells is an authority on high performance and human physiology. Dr. Wells is an Assistant Professor of Kinesiology at the University of Toronto where he studies elite sport performance. He also serves as an Associate Scientist of Translational Medicine at The Hospital for Sick Children, where he leads the Exercise Medicine Research Program.

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12 Ways to Boost Your Energy Levels

August, 4th 2017

If you, like many others, are struggling with your energy levels, here are twelve things you need to know to better understand and improve your energy levels.

1. Sleep restores energy.

While you’re asleep, a lot is going on in your body to recover, restore, and rebuild it. Sleep is a highly active metabolic process that helps optimize our brain structure, repair damaged cells in the body, and restore energy levels.

2. Increase body temperature to increase energy.

If you want to increase your alertness and concentration at a time of the day when you normally feel sluggish, increase your body temperature by doing five to ten minutes of light cardiorespiratory exercise, such as a brisk walk.

3. Take it outside for a few.

Walking in nature improves measures of revitalization, self-esteem, energy, and pleasure, and it decreases frustration, worry, confusion, depression, tension, and tiredness far more than light activity indoors does. So take your walk outside.

4. Add some exercise.

When you exercise at an intensity that is high enough to cause your body some physiological stress, the body will adapt and improve. You will get stronger, faster, and fitter. You’ll also get smarter and happier. You will have more energy.

5. Eat high-fiber foods.

High fiber foods take longer to digest, provoke less of an insulin response, and leave us feeling satiated with nice, even energy levels. Go for complex, slow-digesting carbohydrates packed full of nutrients and fiber to ensure a consistent supply of mental energy.

6. Stay hydrated.

No water, no energy. You know that sluggish feeling you get in the afternoon? For most people, the afternoon crash is caused by dehydration. So do yourself a favor. Give yourself more energy by drinking some water. Tired? Drink some water.

7. Eat protein at every meal.

It’s a good idea to eat protein at every meal. High-protein foods can help you maintain your attention and focus.

8. Practice yoga or tai chi.

Yoga and tai chi decrease stress and anxiety, increase energy, and boost the immune system. They also give you more stamina—needed in stressful times—and improve the quality of your sleep.

9. Trying single-tasking.

The concept behind single-tasking is that you start with the most important task—not the most urgent one—and work on it exclusively until it is either complete or you are out of time. By managing how you spend your mental energy, you help ensure that you excel at whatever you do.

10. Low energy levels are usually between 1 and 4 p.m.

This three-hour span is the time of day most people have their afternoon crash, and their energy levels are the lowest.

11. Keep a log to learn more.

When are you at your best mentally? When do you feel most energetic or lethargic? To figure this out, keep a daily log, and note your energy levels each hour throughout the day.

12. Design your day around your energy levels.

Once you know when you have the least and most amounts of energy, you can craft your ideal day. Align your tasks and schedule to take advantage of your high mental and physical energy times. You’ll perform better, and you’ll also be much healthier.

If you’re interested in getting a copy of my new book The Ripple Effect you can get it here!

If you found this information interesting and helpful please consider signing up for our monthly newsletter with health and performance tips, articles, videos and other insights.

I’m on twitter, Linked In and Facebook.

Also please subscribe to this podcast in iTunes!

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My Approach to Healthy Training

July, 27th 2017

My mission in life is to solve a billion person problem. I want to help the people who struggle with sleep. People who are inactive. People with chronic diseases like cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. And people with mental illnesses. Ultimately when I do this, it will make the world a better place for my kids.

To help make this happen, I want to share with you my approach to healthy training. Basically – this is my weekly plan and the 4 types of fitness training I try to get in each week. Unless you’re training for the Olympics in a one sport, this can also serve as your training plan. I hope it helps you in a huge way.

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Canadian Running Magazine: Five pieces of recovery wisdom to allow runners over-40 to bounce back faster

July, 12th 2017

This article originally appeared in Canadian Running Magazine at www.runningmagazine.ca.

The way you manage day-to-day stress impacts your recovery…

July 10, 2017 | By Sinead Mulhern

When the weather is nice, many runners are motivated to kick it into high gear. There’s no shortage of physical activities to enjoy in the summer sunshine (think trail running, hiking, kayaking, swimming…). Beautiful days beg for runners to lace up and run their city or town’s best routes. But keeping a schedule full of vigorous activity only works if runners give equal thought to active recovery. If you’re somewhere in the 40-plus age group, recovery is even more important. If those aches and pains– or perhaps even an injury– have been getting you down, we have a wise guide that’ll have you bouncing back in no time. Take this advice from our experts and age will no longer be a limiting factor.

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Canadian Running Magazine: Tips to nail your training even if you think your fastest days are history

July, 12th 2017

This article originally appeared in Canadian Running Magazine at www.runningmagazine.ca.

This summer, follow these four key concepts from experts to increase your chances at reaching your goals

June 13, 2017 | By Tim Huebsch

If you listen to your body and take the right approach, you can certainly run fast over 40. Whether that means hitting new paces in your next race or just getting to the next fitness point, that’s up to your own discretion.

We spoke with Megan Kuikman, a registered dietitian, sports nutritionist and a 2:47 marathon runner to get some ideas for over-40 athletes on how to enhance the benefits of your next training block. We paired her advice with that of Dr. Greg Wells–scientist, broadcaster, author, coach and athlete. Kevin O’Connor, one of Canada’s top masters runners, also chats about how he resets after a big race in the story’s featured video below. Need some advice? We walk you through it.

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Dr. Greg's Blog: How Healthy Is Your Thought Life?

June, 28th 2017

It’s really hard to live a high-performance life when high stress is a daily reality. Chronic stress damages your body, threatens your mental health, puts strain on relationships, and takes the joy out of life.

Your thoughts have strong influence over stress levels. What you choose to think about, or not think about, dictates how your body and mind react to everyday life.

So how can we reduce the ongoing flow of damaging stress—and even find peace in our thought life? The key is to break up stressful times with periods of rest, recovery, and regeneration. The good news is that anyone can learn techniques that can counter the damage of the stress response.

Make sure that each day you take some time to break the stress cycle and rest, recover, and regenerate. Doing this not only helps you find peace in the moment but also recharges your body and brain to stay healthy over the long term.

Here are 7 proven techniques that can help you have a healthy thought life and recover from chronic stress:

1. Move your body
Rhythmic, repeated motion is particularly soothing to the mind and body. A long walk, cycling, swimming, or running will all work, but any kind of movement will relieve tension, improve circulation, and clear your mind.

2. Get into nature
Go outside! Head to the garden, the park, or the woods to lower your blood pressure, strengthen your immune system, reduce tension and depression, and boost your mood. It’s stunning how good it is for your health to be in nature. Leave the cell phone and earbuds at home.

3. Practice yoga or Tai Chi
Like nature therapy, yoga and Tai Chi decrease stress and anxiety, increase energy, and boost the immune system. They also give you more stamina—needed in stressful times—and improve the quality of your sleep.

4. Have perspective
Don’t be so quick to conclude that you “can’t handle” a stressful situation. This is truly a mind-over-matter opportunity. Believing that you are strong and resourceful actually makes you stronger and more resourceful. Don’t give in to negative self-talk about not having what it takes to manage life.

5. Change the nature of your response
Research indicates that taking an active, problem-solving approach to life’s challenges relieves stress and can transform it into something positive. If you withdraw, deny the problem, or spend all your time venting, you’ll feel helpless. Instead, be determined to make a change, put effort into it, and plan for better results.

6. Practice slow, deep breathing
Start applying the power of deep breathing each day. It will make a huge difference. Start small by taking three deep breaths each time you sit down at your desk—in the morning, after breaks, after lunch, and so on. It will help you become more patient, calm, and relaxed.

7. Block time for single-tasking.
Each day this week, schedule time in your calendar for focusing exclusively on one task. This task should be something that is very important to you. Doing several things at once might make it seem as if you are working hard, but it’s an illusion. Your body and mind are not designed to work that way and it causes extra stress.

I hope this article was helpful!

If you’re interested in getting a copy of my new book The Ripple Effect you can get it here!

If you found this information interesting and helpful please consider signing up for our monthly newsletter with health and performance tips, articles, videos and other insights.

I’m on twitter, Linked In and Facebook.

Also please subscribe to my podcast in iTunes!

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Dr. Greg Wells Podcast #67: Health and Fitness Legend Paul Chek

June, 20th 2017

Welcome back podcast universe! This week I had the chance to chat with one of my greatest influences Paul Chek. Paul is a legend in the health and fitness space and we went really deep in this conversation. We talked about healthy nutrition, fitness and the pillars of living a great life. Here’s a little more about Paul.

Paul is a holistic health practitioner who has transformed the lives of countless individuals by developing practical and effective methods for addressing all aspects of well-being. His approach to treatment and education is driven by his “system of systems” philosophy: that the body is a fully integrated unit of physical, hormonal, emotional and spiritual components.

He is the founder of Corrective Holistic Exercise Kinesiology (C.H.E.K) Institute, which helps healthcare professionals advance their careers through a holistic approach to health, fitness and well-being. He is also the creator of the PPS Success Mastery Program. This self-mastery program teaches individuals to reach their true potential by transforming their destructive habits and learning to take control of their personal, professional and spiritual life.

Check out Paul’s blog http://www.paulcheksblog.com and follow him on twitter @PaulChek

Enjoy the conversation!

If you’re interested in getting a copy of my new book The Ripple Effect you can get it here!

If you found this information interesting and helpful please consider signing up for our monthly newsletter with health and performance tips, articles, videos and other insights.

I’m on twitter, Linked In and Facebook.

Also please subscribe to this podcast in iTunes!

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How to Feel More Alert

June, 15th 2017

Decreased alertness is a huge hindrance to thinking and, ultimately, performing at a high level. There are many factors that can help you feel more (or less) alert. These six ways to feel more alert are changes you can easily make to your life, starting today!

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Canadian Running: Six training hacks for masters athletes to crush spring workouts

May, 30th 2017

This article originally appeared in Canadian Running Magazine

Don’t let your age work against you. Here are some tips for the over-40 runner.

May 26, 2017 | By Sinead Mulhern

Kevin Smith remembers the moment when he realized that his training needed to change. His story is similar to many. He’s a lifelong runner, but right around his fortieth birthday, he realized that the nagging injuries he had been experiencing more and more into his late thirties weren’t going to go away if he didn’t adjust his training. “I used to be a high level runner in my twenties,” Smith explains. “Once in my thirties and through my thirties, the injuries came more often and they were more severe.” He had an epiphany. Smith realized he needed to be strategic not just about the window spent training, but also during the hours away from workouts.

Currently, Smith is the head coach of Marathon Dynamics running club in Toronto. As such, he regularly works with masters athletes. We consulted with him and well-respected physiologist Dr. Greg Wells to find out how runners over 40 can make real improvements during their sweat sessions. If you’re in this age category, take any of these tips to make a real break-through in your training.

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Cut your risk of cancer up to 40%

April, 18th 2017

According to the National Cancer Institute, approximately 39.6% of men and women will be diagnosed with cancer at some point during their lifetimes. The reality of cancer is upsetting, but there is hope. You can cut your cancer risk in half by committing to four important areas.  No magic pills, insane amount of money, or all-consuming regimen.  And, the best news is, you will not only lower your risk of cancer, but also improve your overall health and change your life for the positive.

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The Globe and Mail: Greg Wells on how ‘microchanges’ can make a major difference

April, 4th 2017

Toronto physiologist Greg Wells’s new book, The Ripple Effect, makes lofty promises, pledging that we can Sleep Better, Eat Better, Move Better, Think Better. A superachiever himself (Ironman, PhD, researcher at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Kids and professor at the University of Toronto), Wells nevertheless tempers those assertions by sticking to a simple message in the book, in stores April 4. It’s okay to dream big, but start small. Peppered with “1 per cent tips,” Wells advocates staying focused on micro-improvements (using spices, not sauces, to cut calories; walking 15 minutes a day to potentially lower risk of breast and colon cancer 24 to 40 per cent). “Microchanges are sustainable forever,” he says. “When they add up over time, it’s like compound interest for your body and mind.”

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CTV The Social: How simple lifestyle changes can transform your health for life

April, 4th 2017

You know those days when you don’t get enough sleep, so you decide to skip the gym and then you end up eating nothing but garbage for the rest of the day? We’ve all been there. Greg Wells, author of The Ripple Effect, says there are ways we can make small changes to our sleeping, eating, exercising and thinking habits that can transform our health for life.

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The incredible supporters of our research: The Fighting Eagle Memorial Tournament

March, 26th 2017

I am honoured to be partnering again with the Fighting Eagle Memorial Tournament to support our Exercise Medicine Research Program at the Hospital for Sick Children. Here’s a little bit about the research program:

Scientific evidence has linked physical activity and nutrition to a wide array of physical and mental health benefits. Unfortunately, despite this evidence, millions of people in Canada and the World remain essentially sedentary. The problem of sedentary behaviour and its negative impact on health is also a challenge for children with chronic diseases that cause exercise intolerance. The inability to exercise then compounds the impact of the disease itself and can worsen outcomes before during and after the disease runs its course.

The benefit of our research is that new interventions are being created that focus on using physical activity and exercise to improve health in children with chronic diseases. We aim to develop the concept of exercise as medicine and implement this throughout the health care system and the world to first save then improve lives.

The donations and support help us to

– Hire and train researchers and other professionals
– Cover research operating costs (i.e. MRI time, exercise testing)
– Purchase new research equipment

The Fighting Eagle Memorial Tournament is held annually to honour the memory of Alex Shapiro. Check out his story on TSN:

Registration for the 2017 tournament is now open! The 4th annual Alex Shapiro Fighting Eagle Memorial Tournament will be on the last weekend in June 23-25.

Come be a part of an unbelievable weekend of hockey, community spirit, fundraising and most of all, in memory of Alex. This is open to 2001/2002 GTHL/NYHL players.

This year our goal is $30,000 but we hope to raise even more and you can help us reach our goal. Your generosity and contributions will make a difference to SickKids and their patients. The funds raised will go to Dr. Greg Wells’ research into the benefits of physical activity for cancer patients while undergoing treatment.

Play ’til the whistle blows!

To learn more about the tournament, to participate, or to support in any way check out the Tournament website.

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Rio 2016: The Science of Michael Phelps

August, 10th 2016

This information first appeared in my book Superbodies: Peak Performance Secrets from the World’s Best Athletes.

Michael Phelps is obviously an incredible athlete, but the adaptations of his body may be even more amazing than his performance. His arm span is 2.03 metres wide, longer than average, giving him a greater distance per stroke. This means he has to take fewer strokes than his competitors, which increases his efficiency and saves energy during races. Height and arm length (unlike waist size) are characteristics that are largely determined by genes, but Michael’s commitment to training has had a powerful long-term effect on his body that is not genetic. Most swimmers at the international level will have a lung capacity that can be as much as two times the amount of a normal person’s lungs. No one has published lung-testing data from Michael Phelps yet, but I’d be willing to bet that his lung capacity is beyond limits even for swimmers. So is Michael a product of genetic talent or consistent training over an extended period of time?

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Rio 2016: The Science of Usain Bolt's Speed - Part 2

August, 10th 2016

This information first appeared in my book Superbodies: Peak Performance Secrets from the World’s Best Athletes.

Here is part 2 of my post on the Science of Usain Bolt!

With the Olympics in Rio underway I thought it would be cool to explore some of the physiology of the most legendary athletes. Usain Bolt certainly fits into this category. He’s aiming for 3 gold medals in 3 consecutive Olympics. Now, while you might normally think that his performance is powered by his muscles (and it is), there is one deeper level of physiology we can explore that will help you to appreciate how incredible his performances are. Let’s take a look at the what happens to the nervous system during the 100 m dash.

Let’s look at Usain Bolt’s world record 9.58-second 100-metre dash. Exploring “the start” is fascinating when we consider the lighting storm of electrical activity involved. There are  two critical stages of the run itself: the acceleration phase and the speed maintenance phase and that is what we will be exploring in this post.

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Rio 2016: The Science of Usain Bolt's Speed - Part 1

August, 8th 2016

This information first appeared in my book Superbodies: Peak Performance Secrets from the World’s Best Athletes.

With the Olympics in Rio underway I thought it would be cool to explore some of the physiology of the most legendary athletes. Usain Bolt certainly fits into this category. He’s aiming for 3 gold medals in 3 consecutive Olympics. Now, while you might normally think that his performance is powered by his muscles (and it is), there is one deeper level of physiology we can explore that will help you to appreciate how incredible his performances are. Let’s take a look at the what happens to the nervous system during the 100 m dash.

Let’s look at Usain Bolt’s world record 9.58-second 100-metre dash. Exploring “the start” is fascinating when we consider the lighting storm of electrical activity involved. There are three steps to the start: the “On Your Mark,” “Get Set” and “Go” steps. Let’s take a look at each of these steps.

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Toronto Star: Ice swimmers defy death for the thrill

August, 3rd 2016

Read article at Toronto Star.com

Ryan Stramrood’s “ice mile’” in sub-zero water off Antarctica set the standard for ice swimming.

As he swam against the current in Antarctica’s Southern Ocean among leopard seals and icebergs, Ryan Stramrood’s body went numb.

He looked down, pulling his arms one stroke at a time through the -1 C water, and he thought about how clear the ocean was that day.

“You don’t want to see very far down. It can be quite eerie,” he said.

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Redbull.com: The Learning Curve Episode 3

July, 25th 2016

On this week’s episode of The Learning Curve, we find Drew Bezanson putting in time at the Joyride 150 bike park warehouse, near Toronto, in Canada. With the mercy of a foam pit, Drew hucks his way to perfection as he prepares for competitive action.

Using the foam pit is key because of how fast I have to learn this stuff. If I was going to do it the old-fashioned way, on a regular jump, we probably wouldn’t be filming right now!

Drew Bezanson

The Learning Curve 3

 

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