Why This Professional Skydiver Does Yoga After Every Single Workout

Photo: Luanne Horting

For most of us, sky diving sounds absolutely terrifying.

But for Jeff Provenzano, it's not exactly the biggest deal—it's his job. Provenzano is a professional sky diver, which means he's flying through the air multiple times per week.

When Provenzano stopped by the mbg office, we were all pretty in awe of him. After all, the guy is super confident jumping out of planes and can basically land anywhere.

Before he left, we decided to ask him a few questions to learn more about how he sky-dives with so much grace and confidence.

Here's what he had to say.

To mentally prepare for a jump, he makes sure he's physically prepared.

When I have a huge jump coming up, I train, train again, and then train some more.

First, you could say I reverse engineer it, break it down into simpler parts then train each part individually. Then I piece all the individual steps back together. Training each part of the jump allows me to do the simple things really well. Having 22 years and 17,000 jumps of experience under my belt helps, but training specifically for a big jump is always standard procedure.

Training builds the added confidence I need to stay calm during high-intensity jumps.

He's all about downward dog.

I think Bruce Lee said it best: "Empty your mind and be formless. Shapeless, like water.” And I mean, Bruce Lee rules, so of course I do both yoga and meditation to achieve this mental state.

I have a yoga routine I do at the end of every workout. I use it as a way to stretch, cool down, and balance my mind and body after more strenuous exercises. I also regularly practice visualization techniques for my work. A clear and calm mind improves my performance during otherwise stressful and demanding jumps. Practicing meditation and visualization allows me to become efficient at getting my head in "the zone" before a jump.

I always start by visualizing a positive performance, then break down and visualize each particular set of tasks needed for a jump in three speeds: Fast, slow, and real-time.

Visualizing everything in hyperspeed helps me understand the flow of the jump. Visualizing again in slow motion allows me to see further details and work out any potential hiccups. Real-time prepares me for the actual jump by visualizing everything as realistically as possible.

Being relaxed and positive is the most important thing, and ultimately all this helps me chill and have a clear mind—like water. Thanks, Bruce Lee!

Photo: Luanne Horting

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By the way, sky diving is actually pretty physically demanding.

In my case, sky diving is demanding. Opening shock from a parachute alone is something that your body needs to be prepared to handle.

Dealing with it once or twice isn't a big deal, but multiple times a day for most days of the year is hard on anybody. Keeping fit is crucial. I typically train six to seven days per week, and I love mixing things up. I practice a variety of different activities to stay fit.

With whatever I'm doing I like to have a balance. For example, I ran 14 miles this morning. Tomorrow I'll focus on strength training (a back and shoulder day), followed by yoga. Later in the week I may do CrossFit, swim, or hike. When it comes to flying, the lower the body fat percentage, the better I fly.

Training is a huge part of my life. I work hard and eat clean. Staying fit keeps me strong, agile and feeling good in the air and in life.

He's all about mantras.

I have a few mantras I live by, actually, that I use whenever I need to tell myself to keep my mind where it needs to be. I tell myself to breathe. I tell myself that quitting is not an option. Don't give up. Do whatever it takes. Crush everything!

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