How NFL Pro Adam Gotsis Optimizes His Mind & Body For Peak Performance

You have to put the work in and realize how you differ from other people. If you put the time and work in, then it pays off. Sometimes you have to separate yourself from those that don’t have the same mindset to focus. When you put the time and effort in the results will be there. When the cameras are not on you, still put in an equal amount of effort. Give it all you have or don’t do it.

As a part of our series about “How Athletes Optimize Their Mind & Body For Peak Performance”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Adam Gotsis.

Pro NFL player (Denver Broncos) Adam Gotsis, understands the mind and body impact your day to day life. Starting as a grassroots player, Gotsis dedicated time and effort to ensure he secured a position on an NFL team during the 2016 NFL Draft.

“From the time you roll out of bed, until the end of the day your mind a body must be able to withstand whatever you encounter.” — Adam Gotsis

In 2010, after surpassing a team-high of 12.5 sacks, he earned league MVP honor. Additionally while in high school, he represented the Australian Nation American Football Team during the IFAF World Championship (2011). Gotsis attended Georgia Tech University, and of course, had to assimilate to the western culture; leaving his family in Australia. While playing at Georgia Tech Gotsis was named to the All ACC second team by media and coaches. Drafted by the Denver Broncos in 2016, Gotsis became the highest Australian born rafted player in NFL history.

Gotsis uses daily affirmations like “control what you can control” and “stay present” to reach his full potential while on the playing field. Even after suffering injuries on the field, his mindset is “never give up,’ “do your best”, “give it all you got.” He’s consistent with workouts, rehabilitation, and recovery; knowing these tools will allow him to remain a high performer on the playing field.

Gotsis is serious about getting eight hours of sleep, meal prepping, ingesting clean supplements, and eating healthy throughout the week. Furthermore, he always reminds himself to be grateful for the now. His tenacity and constant dedication afforded him the ability to experience peak performances over and over again, even in the face of adversity.

Off the field, Green & Gold Unite was established in 2019 by Gotsis to assist communities affected by the bushfires in Australia. In Jan 2020, Gotsis raised 25k in two weeks by gaining support from other NFL players and NFL clubs, to help restore and revive Australian communities/families during this crisis.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! It is a great honor. Our readers would love to learn more about your personal background. Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

I grew up in Melbourne Australia. I have three sisters and one brother. My parents have been married since I was born and are still together. I grew up in a house full of seven people. We are a tight-knit family. Our family has always been close to one another and relied on one another. My grandma lives across the street and my aunt lives next door. My siblings and I played sports growing up and we’ve always been a die-hard sports family. My siblings and I are second generation Australians. My grandparents moved to Australia from Greece, so my parents are first-generation Australians.

What or who inspired you to pursue your career as a high-level professional athlete? We’d love to hear the story.

Growing up, I always loved watching Australian Rules and didn’t watch American football until I was fifteen. Guys like Wayne Carey and Seth Rocha were my heroes.

None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?

My mother has given me the most support and encouragement throughout my football career (from an early age until now). I wouldn’t be where I am today without her! She’s always been committed taking me to my games and staying, not just dropping me off. She’s my biggest supporter! Regardless of the distance, she’d always make sure I was present to play the game. I’m grateful that she has always been truly invested in my teams and has a great passion for the game of football. It’s a great feeling knowing she’s watching me perform on the field. My love for sports started with my mother. When she’s watching me play, there’s always a smile on her face. Every time I go out there, I perform at a high level to make her proud.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your sports career? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?

My first day on the field in college. I tripped over bags during lineup and didn’t know anyone. I think I was nervous… I was so embarrassed, but I told myself “let it go, laugh at it”. Dwelling on the embarrassment wasn’t going to change the fact that it happened. Later a few other guys did the same thing. When I think about how nervous I was on my first day it’s pretty funny. Going forward, I made sure to be clean and not trip over the bags.

Adam Gotsis

What advice would you give to a young person who aspires to follow in your footsteps and emulate your career?

You have to put the work in and realize how you differ from other people. If you put the time and work in, then it pays off. Sometimes you have to separate yourself from those that don’t have the same mindset to focus. When you put the time and effort in the results will be there. When the cameras are not on you, still put in an equal amount of effort. Give it all you have or don’t do it.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

Currently, I’m working on launching a youth development program. In this program, we will teach youth leadership, ethic, and life skills. I must convey that it’s only one path they can take. They cannot take two paths and must make good choices to be successful. I also want to focus more on advocating for mental health, especially concerning athletes. We face a great amount of pressure when performing. We want to win and sometimes it’s out of our control. I would like to create a space where athletes can openly discuss their struggles and build a strong support group.

OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. As an athlete, you often face high stakes situations that involve a lot of pressure. Most of us tend to wither in the face of such pressure and stress. Can you share with our readers 3 or 4 strategies that you use to optimize your mind for peak performance before high pressure, high-stress situations?

Some of the strategies that I used to optimize my mind for pink performance before the high-stress situation is preparing. Preparation is huge, yes, I know it sounds simple but if you don’t use an in-depth preparation you can set yourself up for failure. I also use meditation to find inner peace when in high stressful situations. I can bring myself back to zero. It’s important to keep your head up and not get too down. Maintaining a balance is very important, not getting too high or too low. I often check myself to make sure I’m at a state of equilibrium. I try not to spend too much or too little time in my head. I replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts through self-talk. Mindset determines your performance. I make sure before every performance/game I have a clear state of mind. Time management is important for me as well, I only spend time on important things. There’s no time to waste.

Do you use any special or particular breathing techniques to help optimize yourself?

Breathing in and out through my nose helps me to optimize myself before, during, and after performing. I use these breathing strategies to help me recover quicker and control my heart rate.

Do you have a special technique to develop a strong focus, and clear away distractions?

A special technique for developing strong focus and clear way distractions is to lie down flat on your back looking upward and meditate. Finding a place for negative thoughts by setting them aside. Understanding what I have control over and what I don’t have control over. This helps me steer clear from distractions.

How about your body? Can you share a few strategies that you use to optimize your body for peak performance?

Rest is first and far most important for me. I have to get eight hours of sleep or I just don’t feel right. Making sure I’m eating healthy and getting all of my supplements and nutrients is important. Working out and recovering is equally important! I meal prep and plan my weeks for workouts etc. If I work out, I replenish those nutrients I just burned. It’s all about being good to yourself.

These ideas are excellent, but for most of us for them to become integrated into our lives and put them to use, we have to turn them into habits and make them become ‘second nature’. Has this been true in your life? How have habits played a role in your success?

First, habits don’t happen overnight. Staying the course and dedicating time and effort is what makes a habit a habit. You have to consistently do whatever it is you are trying to accomplish. Even when it seems it’s not working; you can’t give up on it. You have to take care of your body, it’s your job. To perform and live a good life you have to do the work and get the most out of your life. You only have one body and one life.

Can you share some of the strategies you have used to turn the ideas above into habits? What is the best way to develop great habits for optimal performance? How can one stop bad habits?

Writing down your goals, what it’s going to take to reach those goals, and reading them often has helped me in the long run. Of course, you want to remain logical when writing down the goals. Think about what’s most important and what you can control. Setting an alarm to make sure you wake up and go to bed when you are supposed to. Grocery shopping and meal prepping have helped tremendously. Regularly visiting the doctor for checkups to know what your body needs most. (vitamins/supplements). Working out frequently and recovering also. Being aware of your health and how you feel is important. Paying attention to what your body is telling you is pertinent. You have to know yourself.

As a high-performance athlete, you likely experience times when things are in a state of Flow. Flow has been described as a pleasurable mental state that occurs when you do something that you are skilled at, that is challenging, and that is meaningful. Can you share some ideas from your experience about how we can achieve a mental state of Flow more often in our lives?

When you conquer challenges it’s one of the greatest feelings in the world. Especially if there was ever some doubt in your mind. I understand that all greatness takes time and I practice patience. I try to remain conscious about the steps I’m taking to overcome challenges and I find meaning in everything I do. Preparation is key to staying in the flow. Mindset allows you to move forward even if there’s a challenge. I find meaning because regardless I’ve learned a lesson from it. It feels great when I’m making improvements, and everything is getting better… But it does take time to see the results. I would just say, remain hopeful and believe in your abilities. Honestly, you can do whatever you want to do with the right mindset.

Do you have any meditation practices that you use to help you in your life? We’d love to hear about it.

I use Transcendental Meditation; I set goals and work towards those goals and visualize I’m already there. I release negative thoughts and bring in positive energy with these meditations. In my mind, I see a map as to where I am and where I need to be. I then come up with strategies to get there.

Many of us are limited by our self-talk, or by negative mind chatter, such as regrets, and feelings of inferiority. Do you have any suggestions about how to “change the channel” of our thoughts? What is the best way to change our thoughts?

The best way I think you can change your way of thinking is to first understand what you can control. You should not waste your precious time on things you can’t control. All of the chatter and noise you have to tune it out with positive self- talk and affirmations. Things that have happened in the past, it’s over you can’t change it. Looking forward to the future and focusing on the present is another smart tactic. Whatever you tell yourself is what happens.

Ok, we are nearly done. You are by all accounts a very successful person. How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

I’m very humbled to have made it this far. I’ve worked had to get where I am. I’ve done several things to bring goodness into our world. From visiting children in hospitals, supporting organizations, to most recently starting an auction/fundraiser (raised $25k) to assist families in Australia during the bush fires. It’s just a great feeling to know I have enough to help someone else.

Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?

My life quote is one that I made up during college. It helped me get to where I am today. “Everything you want is there, you just got to want to do it.” I truly believe everything is right in front of you. Opportunities are everywhere, you have to want them and sacrifice to get them. I sacrificed relationships, sleep, and more to get where I am today. I encourage anyone to do the same if it’s something you want. In the end, you’ll know you gave it your all.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them.

I would like to meet Lebron James, I think everything he does on and off the court is remarkable. His story is great and inspires people all over the world, a true athlete. Andrew Bogut is someone else I’d like to chat with. His journey is one of resilience and I have mad respect for that guy. I’d talk to him about how he’s progressed from sports to life now over the years and what’s it’s been like living in the U.S. away from family.

Thank you for your time.

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