Jess & BJ Gumkowski of YogiTriathlete: The Abundance Mindset, Facing Failures, and Why You Need Presence For Performance

March 6, 2019


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We are joined by two rockstars of the endurance sports community, Jess & BJ Gumkowski, who are the triathlon & lifestyle coaching team of YogiTriathlete. Jess & BJ are experts in all types of endurance disciplines (from ultra to Ironman) as well as mindfulness and meditation for athletes. They host the YogiTriathlete podcast, as well as host monthly retreats for athletes in San Diego, which entail a 3-day immersion into the “awake and ready life,” and are co-creators of the m21 revolution online mediation and mindfulness community.

Today they join Tawnee on this episode of Endurance Planet to talk about how to ride the high vibe:

  • Sharing stories of life on the road:
    • Jess & BJ left their “perfect-on-paper” life to enter the unknown, start fresh, and build new roots.
    • They lived out of a Honda Fit for 6 months as they traveled from the East Coast and to the West Coast, where they settled in San Diego. They kept their adventure open-ended and didn’t know exactly where they’d end up, and found so many lessons along the way.
    • They lived out of their car and mostly slept in a tent every night for months. They also didn’t even have a fridge or cooler, and had to shop daily for food.
  • Practicing minimalism: The idea of letting go of “stuff” and leaving things behind, and then realizing that you are ok (and even happier) without most that stuff.
  • How to stop acquiring more, even as a triathlete who has lots of gear, and prioritizing what’s important.
  • Get hyperfocused with less to perform better.
  • That 6 months of travel for them were terrifying and transformative, and when things felt overwhelming, just come back to the breath.
  • Following your calling even when no one else believes in it.
  • Starting YogiTriathlete from scratch, and holding onto belief even when times were tough.
  • The abundance mindset:
    • Starts with self-worth.
    • Avoid the “lackful mindset,” e.g. I don’t have enough time, I can’t do that,I’m not good enough, I don’t have enough, etc.
    • Move forward from feelings of fear by feeling the abundance around you (e.g. nature around you not monetary).
    • Abundance is not just a bank account, it’s a vibrational set point.
    • That abundance is you.
  • Tools to counteract the lackful mindset:
    • Don’t try to just squash thoughts.
    • Allow what comes up to come up.
    • Gain neutrality.
    • Focus awareness on breath.
    • This can be uncomfortable but it’s needed!
    • Be neutral with negativity, don’t judge.
    • What we resist persists.
    • Non-judgement.
  • Moving toward presence is tied into performance
  • Feel your intervals, see the pain, and learn how to tolerate it.
  • How the lackful mindset can keep us from getting to the races and goals we want.
  • It’s ok to fail, see that point at which you fail, don’t fear it — failure is how we then can learn to break through.
  • BJ shares his personal story on how he hit a low point in life only to then adopt mindfulness/mediation, and how it literally saved his life.
  • How BJ is setting the right mindset for Kona qualification, and getting faster at Ironman into his 40s.
  • Finding our identity, and not being identified by sport.
  • Character traits that lead us into needing meditation and “level up.”
  • Immersion into the “awake and ready life.”
  • Jess shares when meditation clicked for her in 2010 and the baby steps she took into that world, trying a little of everything along the way.
  • Meditation 101 for athletes — it starts with the breath.
  • Identifying what type of meditation will be a good fit for an athlete.
  • Paying attention to your breath while training, and not manipulating it nor the commentary of what’s happening (just the breath)!
  • Why swimming is so good for a transition into mindfulness meditation.
  • Present moment awareness is key for peak performance.
  • But sometimes we just need to let things go to not fuel the fire.
  • Stop fueling the fire by understanding: you are not your thoughts!
  • Don’t indulge the fears, that is only fueling the fire.
  • The art of detaching.
  • “I am not my body, I am not my thought, I am not my mind.”
  • BJ shares: How do you keep goals but also detach from numbers and results. (Hint: don’t be attached.)
  • Why it’s best that athletes practice neutrality.
  • Frame your mindset and vocabulary to work for you and manifest the abundance in your life — e.g. “I get to!”
  • You are worth it.


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