036 – Justin Kavanaugh – Mindset Comes First

036 – Justin Kavanaugh – Mindset Comes First

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In this episode, Justin Kavanaugh, owner and head coach at the Sport and Speed Institute, shares why mindset comes first – even for athletes. Justin explains how the mind-body connection is integrated in his work and why his program taps into not just the body, but the mind and spirit. Elliot and Justin discuss why any successful person must be rooted in their passion, purpose and principles to be truly fulfilled. Listen in to hear some tips from Justin on how to get an advantage and perform at your best.

Time Stamped Show Notes

[01:00] – Introducing Justin, owner and head coach at the Sport and Speed Institute, a world-renowned speed training expert

  • 01:10 – His clients include NFL players and Olympic athletes and he places special emphasis on the mental aspect of speed and performance training

[01:45] – Justin’s journey

  • 02:20 – He started his career at the highest level; it was risky and required trust but now he works with professionals and Olympians of all ages

[03:00] – How the mind/body connection is integrated in his work

  • 03:45 – The body has the potential to do what it has never done before; speed is the turning on and off as quickly as possible, like a strobe light
  • 04:10 – Physiological change takes time; he taps into the mind first, then body, then spirit 
  • 04:37 – He approaches the mind by looking at M.I.C.: Mastery, Image (self), and Confidence, and everyone needs something that they’ve mastered 
  • 05:00 – We tend to be good at things we like and never try to master things we aren’t good at
  • 05:45 – The way you view yourself matters more than anything else and confidence comes from how other people view you
  • 06:15 – A mental shift can be instant; someone can get an edge by getting in your head

[08:15] – Justin’s process 

  • 08:20 – His company aggressively pursues excellence and they ensure their clients are the right fit from the start
  • 08:50 – Their gym is “selfish”; everyone has an individual goal and goes in to do their job
  • 09:20 – He assesses where they are and where they want to be, then reverse engineer the process
  • 10:10 – There can be a cost of doing business; some things are not the best on the body long-term, but get them where they need to be for their career now

[12:05] – On what they do with their athletes to develop them for sport and life 

  • 12:45 – They build resilience in athletes physically and mentally
  • 13:20 – Athletes need to understand why they’re doing what they do; they need passion, purpose, and principles

[15:20] – Some standout moments

  • 15:41 – He worked with Keenan Reynolds; he was doing shifts, in class, and was always on his feet
  • 16:40 – He had to do 15 hour days; he was able to see Justin Friday and had to be back by midnight on Sunday
  • 17:00 – He had an interview but his father got ill and went to the hospital; he dropped everything to be with his family
  • 17:40 – After getting no sleep for 3 days, he went to the Naval Academy pro day and performed in front of over 30 scouts; that was all mindset
  • 18:30 – He’s never made an excuse and gets the job done; he’s mentally tough and can flip on and off between different environments 

[21:00] – Some tips 

  • 21:20 – Make sure you move and play while still listening to your body; make sure you have full range of motion in your joints 
  • 21:50 – Posture affects your performance and your psychology; show up how you want to be seen in the world 
  • 24:00 – A coaches job is to shed light on the things you can’t see while you’re in the trenches and protect you from yourself
  • 24:42 – It’s all mindset; make sure you’re in the proper state, give your body an advantage with sleep, hydration, and proper nutrients

[25:20] – The Mentorship Mastermind Program

  • 25:30 – They want to be first-class in business but world-class as coaches; so they provide great service and still make a great living 
  • 26:35 – He gives coaches the systems and processes to work within so they can give the best coaching and care 
  • 28:20 – “If you do good things with great people, great things happen”

3 Key Points

  1. Training the mind comes first. 
  2. To excel you need passion, purpose, and principles. 
  3. The biggest power is being able to mentally turn on and off no matter the circumstance.


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