10 Minute Toughness

March 28, 2014

Happy Friday! For today’s Friday Rest Day Book review we’ll review 10-Minute Toughness(2009) by Jason Selk, 208 pages.


This book is divided into 3 “Phases.” Phase 1 (chapters 1-5) is The Mental Workout, where Selk walks you through the steps necessary for his mental workout. Phase 2 (chapters 6-9) is focused on goal setting. The last phase (chapters 9-11) is focused on solutions and having a positive outlook.

Let’s dive right in: His steps for the 10-Minute Toughness workout are (1) take a Centering Breath (2) the Performance Statement (3) the Personal Highlight Reel (visualization), (4) the Identity Statement, and (5) another Centering Breath. You go through this particular routine, which takes about 10 minutes, anytime you feel a need for mental strength, but particularly before an event or during a difficult portion of the event.

Honestly, there is nothing new or revolutionary here. Selk primarily draws on classic Cognitive-Behavioral techniques, but he does a clear and accurate job at describing them. But the primary benefit of this book is that he boils these techniques down into a nice friendly format. I find that it is often not hard for people to understand Cognitive Behavioral principles, but it can be hard to know when and how to apply them in the real-world. And the 10-mintue format gives you a structured way to apply the skills during your sport by basically giving you a cookie cutter approach to follow that helps you with this.

It’s also nice because this is a small book, and a quick read. Obviously though, if you were to use it, actually working through the book and setting up all the steps for you will take you some time. But what is nice about this book is that he includes many worksheets to guide you through setting up these steps. He also gives examples of completed worksheets so you have even more direction, which is important in a workbook you may be doing without any guidance.

What I most loved and hated was that he included so many stories and examples*. At times they’re engaging, and it’s fun to read about other sports. It’s also nice to see how these techniques could be applied to many different sports. But it also gets a bit repetitive and a small portion of the time it feels like he’s either name dropping or trying to prove to you how awesome he is by the number of athletes he’s worked with. And it just simply could be organized better. Some of the chapters just have too many sections and don’t seem cohesive enough.

Overall though, like I said, it’s a good book to help you understand and apply these skills, and I do recommend it.

*Look for an example from an Ironman World Champion on page 33!


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