March 30, 2021

23: Protecting the Mind with Joe Rinaldi

23: Protecting the Mind with Joe Rinaldi

Dr. Joe Rinaldi is a wealth of knowledge and I’m very excited to get his take on recovery, perspective of sport, and having a champion mindset. Joe has had his share of challenges when it comes to sports as he was diagnosed with Best Disease at age 10. Best Disease is a genetic condition that causes progressive degeneration of the macula and deterioration of central sight over time. If you are a fan of powerfully motivating stories to help you put perspective in your life you have to check out his blog at joerinaldi.blog and listen to the rest of this episode. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

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Joe Rinaldi:

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Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joerinaldi.blog

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Email: jase@scienceofsportsrecovery.com

 

Transcript

Joe Rinaldi.mp3: Audio automatically transcribed by Sonix

Joe Rinaldi.mp3: this mp3 audio file was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the best speech-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors.

Jase Kraft:
You're listening to the Science of Sports Recovery podcast, I'm your host, Jase Kraft, and today you're chatting with Dr. Joe Rinaldi. Joe is a wealth of knowledge, and I'm very excited to get his take on recovery for perspective of sport and having a champion mindset. Joe has had his share of challenges when it comes to sports as he was diagnosed with best disease at age 10. Best disease is a genetic condition that causes progressive degeneration of the macula and deterioration of central sight over time. Basically, he's been slowly losing his eyesight. So if you are a fan of powerfully motivating stories to help you put perspective in your life, you have to check out his blog at Joe Rinaldi DOT blog and listen to the rest of this episode, obviously, as you will not be disappointed with that, Joe.

Jase Kraft:
Welcome to the show.

You're listening to the Science of Sports Recovery podcast, each week we explore how to recover more efficiently from training so you can work out harder and realize your full potential. This is the Science of Sports Recovery podcast.

Jase Kraft:
Hey, Joe, welcome to the show.

Joe Rinaldi:
Hey, Jase, thank you so much for having me here, man. It's it's Saturday morning and there's no better way to start the weekend than with a good conversation.

Jase Kraft:
Yeah, it was one of those nights that I woke up multiple times during the night.

Joe Rinaldi:
And I don't miss my life like like before. But are you are you an early riser? I am. I'm always out there anyways.

Jase Kraft:
And but for whatever reason, even like when I have an event that maybe at 9:00 or 10:00 in the morning, I still freak out the night before. So I don't oversleep and whatever. It's one of my kryptonite.

Joe Rinaldi:
Yeah, I'm, I'm the same way, man. Like, I don't have nightmares often, but when I do have nightmares, it's always that I'm missing like a really important test.

Jase Kraft:
And I hate that feeling. Yeah. Yeah. Even when I was done with school I still had those like late for class type dreams. Well, let's get into like, why athletics are important to you, because obviously that's where you started. Then you've had some some struggles with losing your sight with that. And then now obviously a dedicated career in physical therapy. So like, why does sport why is that a theme in your life?

Joe Rinaldi:
Yeah, I mean, I guess to give a little bit of background, I played I played sports my entire life, so I'm twenty six right now. And to take it back to childhood baseball is my first love. Played baseball growing up. My dad played baseball in college. He coached my brother and I and I loved the sport. And as you alluded to, I started to lose my sight as a child and started getting hit in the face with a lot of baseballs and decided it was probably best to move on to a sport that didn't require so much hand eye coordination, so shifted to football, played football all throughout elementary school, middle school, high school a year in college. I also did track and field in high school. So threw javelin pole vaulted and athletics really is a big part of who I am. And the lessons I've learned, particularly on the football field, have carried over into everything else in life. And so I think for me, athletics is so important because I've learned so many life skills while playing sports, whether it was discipline or the value of work ethic or how to be a good teammate or how how to just be a good citizen. I learned all of those things first through sport, and they carried over into everything else that I did. So I think more than just the physical nature of sport, it was the mental and just like just life lessons that I learned for sure.

Jase Kraft:
Did you know you were learning them while you were learning them for it's like now, like retrospective like, man, I'm glad I did that because now I'm this type of person.

Joe Rinaldi:
It's such a great question, I think as I got older, I started to realize more and more what I was learning in the moment, but as a child, I had no idea. I mean, there's this story that I've actually never told, and it's kind of funny, but it was elementary school football so I was maybe like 10 or 11. And the coach was late to practice. And so me and my teammates were in our pads, helmets, shoulder pads, and one kid picked up a rock and he threw it at someone else. And that kid picked up a rock and threw it at someone else. And we started having this rock fight and we were just throwing rocks at each other. And someone someone threw a rock and it hit a car and it dented the side of a car. And that happened like right as the coach was pulling into the parking lot and he kind of gathered what had happened and nobody really knew who threw the rock. But me having just like I have this like, strong sense of, like, moral rightness. And I just stepped forward and I said I could have been me like, I don't know.

Joe Rinaldi:
So he sat us down and he gave us a long, hard speech and he made us run laps for the whole practice. I mean, it was brutal. But before he made us run, he said he pulled me up in front of everybody. He nicknamed me Joe Rocks Rinaldi. And he said, we win as a team, we lose as a team. We have fun as a team and we get in trouble as a team. And and I'll never forget that. And we ran laps and I literally bawled my eyes out because I just felt so bad. And my teammates patting me on the shoulder on the helmet like, it's OK, Joe, like we're in this together. And I didn't realize it at the time. But years later, I realized it was just a lesson in ownership and accountability and just what it means to be part of a team. You win together, you lose together, you have fun together and you get in trouble together. And so, like lessons like that, I didn't realize until well after the fact, you know.

Jase Kraft:
Yeah, yeah. That's that's a great story about like this community. And I think in America we have such individualistic culture that we forget about, like the people right and left of us. It's like, what can I do for me?

Jase Kraft:
Even in sports science sometimes, especially when you get into like track and field and these endurance sports or tennis or that, it's like really just one person. Like, how do you foster that community like that? You just told in that story into a sport like track and field or tennis when it really is like you against the competition?

Joe Rinaldi:
Yeah, I think, like, you know, one of the best things that I learned from track and field in particular, you know, we had this coach and he was this he was probably in his 60s when he was coaching us. And he he was still booking it. I mean, he was running like, you know, five miles at like six minute pace with the team. And every every practice he'd sit the entire team down like one hundred two hundred kids in the middle of the field. And he would call out one kid and he'd make that kid stand up and come to the middle of the circle that we're all sitting in. And he would ask one question. It was the same question every single time. And he would say, what is our one rule? And that kid would always answer, be a good citizen. And what that meant was if if one of your teammates fell down, even if they were a runner and you were a thrower, you picked that person up. And if there's a piece of trash on the ground, like you pick it up. If someone needs help putting away equipment and that's not your job, you still step in and you help them out. And so it was really interesting because even though we all had these separate tasks and goals, we still functioned as a team and as a community. And our job was just to be a good citizen. And I don't know the answer, like how we foster that more in society. But I think getting kids is at a young age, involved in sport with great coaches who can instill those kind of values. And along with great parenting, I think that kind of sets the foundation for for a better society.

Jase Kraft:
For sure. Yeah, definitely, it starts with the upbringing and then that leads into good adults who was you're like most notable coach growing up or it's a good now, that's a great question.

Joe Rinaldi:
Like I'm tempted to say, my dad, he coached me all throughout youth sports. And he was just I mean, I admire my dad and a lot of ways and just full of integrity, great work ethic. But but I think I'll put him aside because he's my role model for a lot of reasons. But my high school football coach, Coach Disano, he was just like this really caring, empathetic guy who also just knew how to command a room and knew how to inspire people and knew how to get people to do their jobs. And it was just it's like really incredible mix of like one second he was getting on you for not doing something to the to the standard or the potential that he knew you could do it. And so at the same time, while you were getting maybe sometimes even yelled at, you just felt loved and cared about and you knew that he was giving you this feedback because he cared about you. And and so working with him for four years throughout high school, he taught me so much about work work ethic and discipline. And so he really stands out as a great coach in my mind.

Jase Kraft:
How do you yell at somebody and still foster like you care about them, you know that.

Joe Rinaldi:
That's such a great question, but, you know, I just have these memories of specifically I was a sophomore and it was my first time I got into a varsity game and I was on the punt team and my job, I was the up back. So I was the guy who, like, you know, told everybody who they were, blocking and whatnot. And and so we punted the ball and I sprinted down the field. I was so excited. It was my first high school varsity game and the ball was bouncing and rolling slowly toward the end zone. And so you want to touch it before it goes in the end zone so you can down it at like the one yard line. And I was coming in full steam and I dove on the ball and knocked it into the end zone. So it was a touchback. And so it was definitely it was a mistake. And I screwed up and I had my head down and I jogged to the sideline and he was screaming at me. And then at the end of it, he just pulled me close to him and like kind of cradled my helmet and patted me on the head. And he said, shake it off. It's OK, let's get it next time. And like, I don't know, is that, like, sense of like he was almost giving me a hug and after he was like, got out the frustration, like he just told me, it's all right, let's shake it off and we'll get it next time you feel. Yeah. And you feel OK about it.

Jase Kraft:
Yeah. Yeah. That's a good, good example. And I know like with coaching it can kind of you can lean to two extremes. Sometimes you have a coach that like you do nothing wrong, everything's positive. And then you start to never believe that coach because like OK, really was I just ran like thirty seconds off my PR or I just pushed the football into the end zone. Like that wasn't good, you know, but then you get the other side of that everything is like not good enough and then you never get that. Yeah. Like comfort in that they they see potential in you. So I think that is a good mix there. So how was like we we talked just briefly on you losing your eyesight and stuff, and you mentioned you got hit by a lot of baseballs growing up. Like what? Like talk us through, just kind of what that is like, what it feels like or what like you're losing your eyesight. Is it just getting blurry? Is it life times or you just can't see anything and then it comes back or how does that work?

Joe Rinaldi:
Yeah, I could all start practical and then go into the more big picture. But when I was ten years old, I just woke up one morning from a normal night asleep and just couldn't see out of my right eye. And it definitely, you know, there's a whole slew of emotions that hit you really hard when that happens, especially when it comes out of nowhere. And so my parents and I, I figured it out. We saw a bunch of different doctors and specialists and I was diagnosed with this thing called best disease. So best disease is another word for juvenile onset macular degeneration. And for those of you who have no idea what I just said, the macula is responsible for your central vision. And so your macula and best disease starts to deteriorate at a young age. And so you start to lose your central vision. So for me, when I look out of just my right eye at this moment, I have a big black spot in the middle of my field of vision, takes up maybe 30 to 40 percent. And I feel the vision. So if I'm trying, reading is is impossible. I can't look at a small object because as soon as I move my eye to look at it, it disappears in that black spot. And so that's my right eye. And so my right eye is more affected than my left and my left eye is somewhat affected.

Joe Rinaldi:
Similar thing. It's just to a much smaller degree. And so with both eyes open, I can compensate, I can read, I can drive, I can see things and do things. My depth perception is pretty off. So catching small objects like a baseball or someone tosses me something that's tough and the disease is progressive. And so what will happen is the way without getting too much into the nitty gritty of it, I have fluid and sometimes it's blood. Sometimes it's other fluid will accumulate behind my retina and it's not supposed to be there. And so the cells back there get irritated and if it hangs out there too long, the cells die and then they don't work anymore. And I lose part of my my sight. But there are treatments that can stop the progression when those episodes happen. But whenever I get a treatment, things kind of calm back down. But they never get to where they were before the episode. So things are constantly getting worse and the treatments help to slow things to an extent. And unfortunately, right now there's no cure. There are things that are being developed there, you know, stem cell research and gene therapy and other things. But as it stands right now, there's nothing I can really do about it. And for all my childhood. That was really tough. I think I spent a lot of my childhood not expressing outwardly to other people how I felt because I didn't first of all, I don't think I really knew how I felt.

Joe Rinaldi:
I couldn't articulate it, but I also didn't think people would understand. And so I kind of just went through my childhood feeling sorry for myself, feeling really sad, feeling like I wasn't in control of things. And there was just a lot of uncertainty. And that was really hard for me to deal with. So I lacked a lot of confidence as a child. And, you know, throughout middle school and even high school a little bit, I started to come into my own in high school and things somewhat stabilized with my sight. And, you know, I was able to function pretty well, get good grades in school, play sports, have friends. And, you know, I tried not to think too much about it. I really tried to avoid thinking about it as much as I could. I went to college. Things were somewhat OK until I started playing football. My freshman year at Bucknell University started noticing that when I was getting hit or tackling people, I would get up and my my field of sight would be a little off. And so I went to the doctor and the doctor said, hey, listen, like you should not be getting hit in the face or hit in the head. So I had to stop playing football at that point.

Jase Kraft:
Yeah. So you mentioned like you've struggled with confidence, which is totally understandable, you don't you don't seem like you do now. Was that like a switch that was like, OK, I'm just going to, you know, not not not be confident or I'm going to be confident? Or was it like gradual over time that you're starting to build, like, on things to now get to where you are?

Joe Rinaldi:
That's a great, great question. It was it happened really slowly over a long period of time and then all at once and to explain that a little bit more in depth. I think it would make sense to understand that right before I went to graduate school for physical therapy a few weeks before school, I actually lost a large portion of my sight. And the timing was really rough because it made me second guess and doubt whether or not I should pursue school, whether or not I should move to a different city. I should take out student loans and tackle this this big task just right after losing a big chunk of sight to put a lot of doubt and self doubt. And so those weeks leading up to school were really, really tough. But I decided to go anyway. And that first year of graduate school, living in the city of Philadelphia away from my family, was hands down the darkest, hardest, heaviest year of my life.

Joe Rinaldi:
And, you know, unlike everything else in life, I I couldn't try harder and make myself feel better, like it was with sports, with school, with relationships. I could just put in more effort and things would get better. There was a correlation and I would wake up every morning for that first year of school and tell myself, this is going to be a good day. And no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't shake that dark, heavy, sad feeling. And and so I went through that whole first year of school on the outside, looking fine to other people, you know, got good grades, made friends did. Well, yeah. On the inside, I was falling apart and I felt so alone. And it wasn't until I met my wife and met my wife in school the first year.

Joe Rinaldi:
But it was until the end of the first year that we started to spend time together. And when I started spending time with her, I started thinking less about how I was feeling and I gradually started to feel better. And so I started to gain more confidence. And then I shared my first blog ever, which was about losing my eyesight. And it was a really vulnerable moment. And I put it out there and the response was incredible.

Joe Rinaldi:
Family, friends, people who I hadn't even talked to in ten years reached out to me and said, that's so inspiring or I'm supporting you, or even like, hey, I feel really alone and dark right now. And your words really helped me. Thank you. And so I started to gain a little bit more confidence in being vulnerable. And so things started to slowly build. And, you know, to make even more sense of this story, I need to talk a little bit about my faith, which, you know, I grew up in the Catholic Church. Growing up, I always knew that God was real. I believed in God, but I didn't know how to get closer to him. So I feel like my faith had kind of stalled out or I was at a plateau. And that first year in school when I was in that dark place, I thought, how could if there's a God, how could he let anybody feel this way? And I stopped. I stopped chasing God. I stopped pursuing a relationship and I started spending time with this girl. I chased her instead. And little did I know that she is a person of really strong faith. And as we hung out more, she invited me to church and I went to church with her. It was a Christian nondenominational church. And I went with her because, of course, I'm not going to turn down spending time with the girl that I had a crush on. And so I stood next to her in church and it was like in in this moment, the music was playing, people were singing.

Joe Rinaldi:
And I just felt this overwhelming sense of like God's presence. And it was almost as if he was saying, hey, I know you didn't feel like I was there with you and you stopped chasing me, but I was always there with you and I never stopped chasing you. And right now you're right where you're supposed to be with the person you're supposed to be with and I'm with you. And it was in that moment that all of that gradual change. It shifted and it flipped. And I started to believe that everything was happening for a reason. And there's this incredible quote that kind of defines my life up to this point by Christine Cain. And she says, Sometimes when you're in a dark place, it feels like you've been buried, but you've actually been planted. And it was in that moment that I realized I had been planted. All of the struggle of the hardship, all the uncertainty in my life had led me up to that point. And that woman that woman is now my wife. And it's been since that point, which is about, let's say, three and a half, four years ago, where everything switched my eyesight. It went from an absolute burden to an absolute blessing, and I truly, truly believe that everything's happening for a reason. I'm so grateful for the fact that I'm losing my sight. And I know that's such a crazy statement, but that's where I sit today.

Jase Kraft:
Yeah, that it's you we hear like these overnight success stories, you know, in business, which are never true, they're they're like 20 years in the making or 12 years in the making. And that's just what I kept thinking of when you were telling your your confidence story.

Jase Kraft:
Like I had to put in the work back here. But then this one moment kind of brought all that work together. And then now it's like an overnight success. Exactly. Yeah. So you said you want to fly away from your family. I would imagine that your your parents struggled with that or were they supportive?

Joe Rinaldi:
They were very supportive of me, I think the thing that they struggled with was hearing me on the phone every single night crying for that first year and not feeling like they could make a huge difference because they tried everything and I knew they were there for me. But I think for them it was just this feeling of, well, he's got to figure this out and I'm not sure how much we can help. We could just be there. But yeah, so they were there for me big time, but I needed to figure it out for myself.

Jase Kraft:
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Jase Kraft:
Again That's the red state dot com slash j a. S e. The link will also be in the show notes. Now back to the show.

Jase Kraft:
If somebody was in your situation like. I don't think we as a society, we teach people how to interact with somebody who is hurting or like I think there's so there's such this barrier of like, oh, you feel this way. I don't know what to say. And then we try to say things that we think will make you feel better, like, you know, everything happens for a reason or what have you. And most of the time that doesn't help any because it's so internal. Like you have to you have to go through the struggle yourself, I believe, and kind of reconcile that with yourself.

Jase Kraft:
But from the outside, like, what would you say is the best way to comfort or support somebody who's just really going through a rough time, whether it be something like a disease or a huge injury or anything like that.

Jase Kraft:
How do you comfort people?

Joe Rinaldi:
Yeah, as simple as it is, and I think I've definitely noticed this more and more throughout my career practicing as a physical therapist, but I think it's just being there and it sounds ambiguous and it sounds passive and it sounds too simple. But I think sometimes people just need to know that you're there, understand that you're listening and know that you are you care about them and that you love them and that you're going to stand by their side no matter what. And sometimes it just looks like checking in with somebody once in a while and sending an encouraging text and letting them know that you're thinking about them. Because I think at the heart of what I was struggling with, at least, was that I felt alone and I felt like nobody could relate or nobody understood what I was going through. And that feeling of being alone is just it's terrifying because, you know, at the end of the day, I think, like, human connection is is one of the most important needs, like the most important, like hands down. Right. Like loneliness. There's research on this. Loneliness kills more people than many diseases. And so I just think letting people know that they're not alone and just being there and maybe that means physically being there, maybe that means, again, just emotionally being there and checking in with people.

Joe Rinaldi:
But I'd love to tell this short story that kind of it lays the foundation for a lot of what I do. And so when I was in middle school, there was a speaker that came in to talk to us. And I don't remember his name. I don't really remember what the talk was about in its entirety. But I remember this one story that he told and it stuck with me. It sticks with me to this day. So it's a true story. And there was this man a few years back or a while ago now who committed suicide by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. And when the police did their investigation, they found a note on his nightstand table and the note said something to the effect of, you know, I'm alone in this world. Nobody cares about me. Tomorrow morning at rush hour, I'm going to walk one mile to the Golden Gate Bridge and take my life. If one person smiles at me, I won't do it. And I get the chills every single time I tell that story or I think about it or write about it. Because this man presumably walked past thousands and thousands of people at rush hour on a weekday to take his life. And not one person even just looked up and made eye contact with him and shot him.

Joe Rinaldi:
Even the slightest smile and little did anybody else know. But that smile could have deterred him from taking his own life. And so I think, like, right when people are hurting and we know about it, be there for them. But I think we also have to be aware that how we carry ourselves and how we're there for complete strangers sometimes, even if it's just a smile or a genuine compliment, or holding the door like that can alter the path of a life. And, you know, it might not be every person that walks past you where that's the case, but maybe it's one out of a hundred. Maybe it's one out of a thousand. Maybe it's one out of a million. But if you can smile, if you can make I can't be friendly, do nice things. You never know what you know. You can save a life and you have no idea. Like, I just personally want to live my life in a way where every single person I come across is in some way, shape or form touched in a positive way. Because I, I just after hearing that story and knowing the impact that even a smile could have, I can't let myself not try not try to be a light for someone else.

Joe Rinaldi:
For sure, I mean, the positivity has such an impact. It's like they planted the seed that God can grow into somebody. And I, I noticed this, like, take it to like a sport application. So in high school, I was like, no, my senior year I had the second fastest mile in South Dakota during that year. And but I was in the smallest class and I was competing like with the largest class at state when I was like I really stood out because I was seconds ahead of everybody in multiple events. I don't say that to brag, but I say that because, like, when you when you're at that point and like an athlete, like people look up to you. Whether it's right or wrong, people do.

Jase Kraft:
But then you have that opportunity to really impact people's lives that by honestly just paying attention to them like I kid you not I had people like after after high school, I came back to some of the same meets in college just because I stayed in town and ran and we had some joint meet and I had high school kids that were seniors come up to me and say, you know, when you are a senior, you kicking everybody. But I was just a freshman and I was way back in eighth place. But you paid attention to me afterwards and talked and you said this to me and it really made an impact on my career.

Jase Kraft:
And I don't remember talking to them at all at that afterwards. But like in the moment, I was paying attention to them. And it has an impact. And I think that's like just from the kind of the more of what we've talked about, from just paying attention to somebody who's hurting to pay attention to strangers, because you never know what kind of impact that will have on them, you know, years down the road.

Joe Rinaldi:
Yeah, so, oh, that's such a great story and it's definitely so true, like you never know who's watching and to that effect, right?

Joe Rinaldi:
One of the best lessons I've ever learned from sport has just been integrity and how to live a life full of integrity. And so in high school, we watched film for football. You know, we pick apart things that we could do better or film about the other team. But in college, we watched film on every thing, every single practice. We watched every single minute of every single game practice anything you can think of. And it was all on film. And so if you were walking on the field and not giving your best effort, you'd be called out for it and the whole team would see it and and you'd be held accountable. If you made a mistake, the whole team would see it and you'd be held accountable. And then when I stopped playing football, I realized like, hey, I don't have that accountability anymore. So what if I just lived my life like it was on film? Because you never know who's watching. And so I kind of have that like that got that mentality in my mind that every single thing that I do like I have no idea who's seeing that, who's listening to it, who's being affected by it. And so it kind of comes back to this overarching theme for me at least, that life is bigger than me. And everything that I do has the potential to make this world a better place to touch somebody in a really meaningful way. So I try to use that ideology to guide everything and give my best effort even when I don't feel like it, because I know it could it could really change someone's life.

Jase Kraft:
Yeah, that's great. What if everything was on film? That's great. So I want to I want to get into the like, taking care of the mind in athletics. And you have a pretty unique perspective on this just based on your history. So why do you think you like from a recovery standpoint, from an athletic performance standpoint? Like why is it important to take care of the mind when all sport is talked about the body?

Joe Rinaldi:
Yeah, yeah, I think you hit the nail on the head like sport focuses a lot on the body and we're starting to focus more in the mind. And there are plenty of great people out there who are working on helping people shift their mindset around sport and while they're performing and centered on athletics. But I think too often we neglect like what's happening outside the sport, what's happening outside of athletics with the mind, because we talk a lot about and you specifically too like you talk to a lot of people who talk about bodily recovery and rest outside of athletics so we can perform better in athletics.

Joe Rinaldi:
But I think too often we forget that, like the mind needs rest to the mind needs variety, the mind needs to recover and recharge. And so I think especially for high level athletes and people who are really focused on their sport, it's tempting and easy to spend all of your waking hours thinking about that sport or that endeavor and how you can get better at it. But I think just like you need to recharge your phone or recharge an electric piece of electronic or electronic device, rather, we have to recharge our minds. And I think sometimes that means stepping away from sport mentally and doing things that are completely different. And so for me, I spend all of my waking hours, you know, coaching people online, treating patients in the clinic physically my own fitness and athletic endeavors. And so all of those things are body movement, exercise focused. And so for me, writing and reading and spending time with my wife where I'm not thinking about those things helps me recharge. So when I go back to them, I feel fresh and rejuvenated and energized. And I think too often we don't think about that in the world of athletics.

Jase Kraft:
Mm hmm. What like what would happen if you didn't recharge?

Joe Rinaldi:
I honestly, I think like anything else, like I think we get tired, I think I think our our effort would suffer in in the athletic endeavor itself eventually because we would feel burnt out. I mean, if you think about it in terms of work, right, if somebody sits at a desk and does say you do accounting and you could do it for eight hours a day and then you go home and you don't think about accounting, you play with your kids and you do exercise and you do things that are different. You can come back fresh and recharged. But the same thing goes for sport or athletics or exercise. If you do that 24/7, just like if you were to do accounting from 8:00 in the morning to eight at night and go to bed and do it over again, you'd probably lose some of your passion for it and lose some of your drive. Because I think as human beings, we need variety, just like you can't eat, you can't eat peanut butter sandwiches. I mean, if I could, I would I would eat peanut butter sandwiches for every single meal, every single day. I'm I'm not going to deny. But my body would come. I would fall apart.

Jase Kraft:
You know, you can't just eat the same thing every day for every meal, you know? So I'm just thinking back to my high school self when when you were talking about that and they'll inevitably somebody listening to be like Joe, that's all great. But I just love my sport so much that I can't stop thinking about it. I don't want to stop thinking about it like it's my life. I love it. It's all I want to do for the rest of my life. Do you think it's still important for that person? That was me in high school. Do you think it's important for them to still, like, consciously step away from their sport every day?

Joe Rinaldi:
The answer is one hundred percent, yes. The second part to that answer is convincing someone of that in that mindset, because I have been there as well. It's really, really difficult. And again, like, I don't think I don't think they're absolutes in life. Like, I don't think you could ever say always or never. And I think I just contradicted myself because I said, you can never say always or never. But, you know, there see right there, there are seasons. And so maybe for somebody it makes sense where for three months out of the year they eat, sleep and breathe their sport. And that's OK. And they can get away with it. And that's that's fine. But I think for long term sustainable success, you have to have an alternate strategy where you are introducing variability into what you're thinking about as well as into what you're doing. So I would say, like it's OK to do that maybe for a season of life or a season of sport, but for the long term, that's not sustainable. And the the truth is, some people might not realize that until they feel it, until it actually starts to work in reverse and and they're burnt out and they're tired and they're losing their passion.

Jase Kraft:
Yeah, and that was that was my story, like I through high school, I was all gung ho and I was waking up at 4:00 in the morning getting a workout and going to school, going to basketball practice, running after basketball practice, going to bed at eight to make sure I had my eight hours of sleep and then doing it every day. And then I would fine through high school, I had a lot of success through high school, through the first few years of college.

Jase Kraft:
But then as soon as I started to not improve, I didn't have that like dopamine hit or whatever of PRing. I started to then go back, like, why like why am I doing this?

Jase Kraft:
Like, I've put so much in my life into this and now I'm training so hard, but I'm not improving. And then then that led to other things. And there are some things that if you're if you listen to this podcast enough, you probably heard me talk about it.

Jase Kraft:
But there's external factors that were keeping me from improving. But overall, like, I just I had to find at that point something outside of running, which happened to be entrepreneurship and relationships. But it was like it was a difficult transition for me because up to my life, like I just everything I did was like, how does this affect my running basically?

Joe Rinaldi:
Yeah, yeah, I was the same way growing up high school, college, even even a little bit into graduate school. And, you know, not this isn't I don't mean this intend this to be a sad anecdote, but so my wife's grandfather just passed away last week and he was 90 and he's got tons of grandchildren and great grandchildren. And we were at his funeral. And there's something about being at a funeral and just the emotional heaviness that makes you realize, like, how that person touched you and affected you, even if it was only for a brief period of time. And it makes you it gives you a new perspective that I hope will I will be able to carry with me for the long term, because my temptation, whether it was sport, whether it was academics or now, whether it's work and entrepreneurship, in my career, I have a tendency to go all in and I am just laser focused on that thing. And I think my biggest one of my biggest fears in life is getting to the end and realizing that I worked so hard and so much that I neglected the things that were really, really important. And I realized, especially this week, after having been at the funeral, that one of the most important things in life, if not the most important, are the relationships you have with the people who are closest to you. And I just. Yeah, and it's so whether it's athletics or work or whatever it is, like, I am just always pursuing I'm trying to pursue better that balance because I don't want to do great things in the business world or great things in the world of athletics or endurance sports and then die and have the people closest to me feel like they weren't close to me because I was never there. And so that's a hard balance. It's like kind of balancing ambition and things that feel urgent with things that are really important but might not bring that like feeling of productivity or satisfaction in the short term. So it's it's a balance, man. It's a tough balance.

Jase Kraft:
Yeah, there's there's something you just said there, but like, right at the end, you mentioned productivity versus things that are important, like relationships.

Jase Kraft:
And I like it just so happened last night, I was actually talking with one of my friends and I sat and I felt like I've done nothing today because I had like my to do list of some things like podcasts, editing, reach out to this person, get this email in and those kinds of things that I had to do. And I had like two things off the list and I had like seven more to go. I was like eight o'clock at night. I was like, but then I look back on my day and it's packed with meetings like from eight to five. I was like, well, no wonder today I didn't get any of this other stuff done, but it's like I was building relationship capital, you know? And yeah, I think that's important.

Jase Kraft:
But it's hard to quantify so that it doesn't get, you know, the things that get measured like in Peru. But we don't quantify or measure our time with relationships. And but I think, like, it doesn't necessarily matter the time. We sometimes we think like time with equals like better. But I think and maybe you could relate with this, but it's the deeper you go and you can go deep, quick with somebody and rather than like shallow long term, how would you say like that is for you.

Joe Rinaldi:
Yeah, I, I relate to everything you said so much and I'm a big quote guy and I have a quote that popped into my head from Albert Einstein. I think he said not everything that counts can be counted and not everything that can be counted counts. And I use that a lot to guide my physical therapy practice, my coaching practice, because I think a lot of times we get caught up in the things that get measured, but sometimes those things are not the most important things. And I agree with you 100 percent. I think you can get really deep, really quick, or you can stay shallow for a long time, or you can there's all these things in between. But I think that depth and quality and the meaningfulness of relationships are one of one of, if not the most important things in life. And, you know, you touch someone's life. You never know the ripple effects that that's going to have and how that other person will now touch other lives because of the way that you touch them. So I think investing in people, it could be messy, it could feel unproductive, it could be really hard, and it could sap a lot of your energy. But I think at the end of the day, that's that's the most important.

Jase Kraft:
Mm hmm. Mm hmm. So do you think that, like, relationships is one of the the best ways to have out, like put your sport aside to kind of recharge is to have relationships that aren't always talking about your sport.

Joe Rinaldi:
Yeah, for me, that's the case, I don't know, that's the best way for everybody and it's probably, you know, there's no one best way for everybody, but I think for a lot of people, that's a really great option. And I can tell you personally right now, I spend probably upwards of 80 or or more hours a week working probably closer to 90 or 100. And my time with my wife is really the time where I recharge the most because we don't talk about those things. We have different interests and we just have this shared relationship where I could go and just feel like I could be vulnerable, I could be open. I know that I'm being heard. I know that I'm being listened to and we can just have fun and do things that have don't really in any way, shape or form to my other endeavors. And then that just genuinely recharges me. So I think relationships are a great way.

Jase Kraft:
I totally agree. I think you need a relationship. I might be I might be putting out a dangerous blanket statement here, but I think you need a relationship that's outside of of your sport that doesn't have like they're not always going to be like. Not saying not care about what you do, but like not really understand the sport itself, so they don't really know, like the achievements or failures that you have. I think that the reason I think that's important is because then it gives you perspective that you're a sport like not everybody in the world cares about. And because if you get into going back to, like, not being able to just do your sport. Twenty four, seven, three, sixty five for really long term, I think the only way you could do that is if you're in a culture that that's all you knew and that was the way of life and there wasn't any outside like you kind of like live in a bubble. But then that can be dangerous because then that becomes your life instead of like you, the person, because as you know, especially as as being Christians, there's more to life than just sport. It can be a part of you, but you, the person you are more complex than just winning medals and achievements and that kind of stuff. So, yeah, but I agree.

Joe Rinaldi:
I agree big time with that. I was just going to add that. Yeah. I think for us and anybody else out there who's listening, who also shares similar faith like failures for me, failures or setbacks or disappointments or struggle get a lot easier to deal with when you have the perspective that it's bigger than just us. Everything's happening for a reason. And that also like at the end of the day, the most important thing can't be taken away from us. And so by that I just mean our relationship with God and just like our identity in our faith, like if that's that's you know, if that's underlying everything you do, no matter what happens here on Earth, no matter how many times you fall short or what happens like that is always there to catch you at the bottom. And I think that's a really powerful thing.

Jase Kraft:
Yeah, and in a way, I think about this, I'd be curious to see how you think about this, but like my like my true self, my true identity isn't my body. It's not my mind. It's like the spirit if to put language to it. But it's some people think your spirit is like your thought life or and then that controls your brain and your body and that kind of stuff. But I feel like I have this this like, true spirit that's living in this body. And then and then you can kind of separate than from my body is able to do this. But that doesn't mean that I'm less than somebody else because we're the same in spirit as far as potential and that kind of stuff. We're just given different bodies. But I'm curious to see how your perspective on that.

Joe Rinaldi:
Yeah, I actually I agree with that. I think I probably don't I don't know if I think as abstractly about it. I think maybe I'm I think more often, like I don't like titles necessarily because I think I'm like doctor physical therapy or performance coach. Those are all great things and whatnot. But I think, like, I am afraid of wrapping my identity up in those things. And I've had an issue in the past and probably still have this underlying, like, tie to my body because I'm really physical person in nature. Like, I love lifting weights. I love feeling strong. I love running. I love I love feeling capable physically. So I think my it's funny, like, I could lose my eyesight and I'm at peace with that. But if I lost my ability to move, I think I would struggle immensely with that. But so yeah, I identify more as like I'm Joe Renaldi, the person. I'm a child of God and I have the spirit inside of me that is like at my core, the most important things. I agree with you on that for sure. Yeah.

Jase Kraft:
Cool, so how how would you know we're going to, like, wrap up here, but I want you to to tell athletes if you could tell them one thing and leave them with one thing that might be going through, like a big injury or big setback or even best disease. Like what would you tell them from just the life you live, your experience, like what you want them to take away?

Joe Rinaldi:
I've got this one. I it's going to sound so this message, depending on when it finds you, who and who you all are as the listener, like it might not sit well with you because you might not want to hear it. But at the end of the day, struggle, whether that is physical struggle, mental struggle, emotional struggle, that is the stimulus for strength. Every adversity and hardship, no matter how hard it is in this moment, is an opportunity to grow and get better. And everything in life is happening for you on purpose, with purpose, if you choose to see it that way. And so what I would say if you just tore your ACL and your seasons over or you just lost a loved one or you just ended your athletic career. Right. Like this moment of struggle and uncertainty and potentially doubt and frustration, whatever other tough emotions you're dealing with, this moment is preparing you for what's next. And you have to embrace that and just take it one step at a time, just as a runner. I'm sure just you could relate to this, but when things get hard, you just have to focus on that next step over and over and over again. Just keep doing the next right thing in each successive moment. You just keep going, keep put, put one foot in front of the other and trust that this is going to make you stronger because it will in the end.

Jase Kraft:
And yeah, you got to be more like short short sighted in the in the moment. Like if you're in the middle of a 5K, it doesn't do any good to think about the end, like the next hundred percent. Well, people need more Joe Rinaldi in their life to have an Instagram account at Joe Rinaldi, dot DPT and a blog, Joe Rinaldi, dot blog. Is there any where else people can find you, connect with you, reach out to you or where are you most active?

Joe Rinaldi:
Yeah, I'm most active on Instagram, so that's a great way. And if you find me on Instagram, you'll be able to find a way to everything else that I do, my writing, the podcast, everything else. So definitely reach out. I respond to everybody and I would absolutely love to connect with anybody and I mean that.

Jase Kraft:
Cool, thanks so much for being on the show, Joe.

Joe Rinaldi:
Yeah, thank you so much, Jase. It was my pleasure.

Jase Kraft:
All right, episode's over. If you found value in this episode, please consider giving us a review on iTunes and if you haven't already yet subscribed, do so now. So you don't miss any important topics in the coming week. And if you have any questions or suggestions for the show, please send them my way. I am most responsive on Instagram.

Jase Kraft:
That's at Jae Cheese. J. A. E. Cheese.

Jase Kraft:
Like the food. Or email me directly at Jase J. A. S. E. at Science of Sports Recovery dot com.

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Dr. Joe Rinaldi

Physical Therapist, Author

Joe is a wealth of knowledge and I’m very excited to get his take on recovery, perspective of sport, and having a champion mindset. Joe has had his share of challenges when it comes to sports as he was diagnosed with Best Disease at age 10. Best Disease is a genetic condition that causes progressive degeneration of the macula and deterioration of central sight over time. If you are a fan of powerfully motivating stories to help you put perspective in your life you have to check out his blog at joerinaldi.blog and listen to his episode. I promise you won’t be disappointed.