Tim Noakes is a South African professor and is the Discovery Health Professor of Exercise and Sports Science at the University of Cape Town. He has run more than 70 marathons and ultramarathons, and is the author of the books Lore of Running, Challenging Beliefs, Waterlogged and Real Meal Revolution. He is a lifelong athlete and is rated an A1-scientist by the National Research Foundation. His research challenges scientific dogma.
My Focus Now | Is how can we make people healthier. That is my goal.
The Legacy I Want To Leave | Is that I taught people to challenge, to not just accept.
Best Advice I Have Ever Received | Never quit, that’s absolutely essential.
Ernest Shackleton Said | ‘Never for me the lowered banner. Never the last endeavour’.
My Life Motto | Give one hundred per cent in every interaction.
I Am Very Driven | I dislike dishonesty, I really dislike it and I dislike the way the public gets manipulated and used and given the wrong information, apparently as if it’s scientifically proven, and it’s not. Industry’s job is to make money and people just have no idea. The nutrition scam, and the cholesterol scam, they are two of the biggest scams the world has ever known.
A Defining Moment In My Life Was When | My dad said to me, “I never did anything good in life. I didn’t do anything good for people, so you need to do good.” So I kind of took that on board
I’ve Never Been Influenced By The Financial Outcome Of What I Do. | That’s hugely helpful, because I could then do things without worrying what the financial consequences of it would be.
I Trust My Gut | I see what I perceive to be the truth quickly and then I start pushing it. I back my instincts and I always have.
When People Criticise Me | I take it very seriously. I say ok fine, this is the criticism, is it true or is it false? And that makes you stronger.
I Learn From My Failings | I’ve published over five hundred scientific papers and every second paper is rejected. I’ve had more rejections than anyone, but you have to, because then you learn. You have to incorporate the criticisms and move forward.
I Look For Paradoxes. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got a thousand papers supporting your theory, if there’s one that doesn’t, that’s the most important paper. You have to go and read it and look at it and say why does this study not match all the other thousand studies?
The Facts Guide Me | I look at the evidence and the evidence guides me.
Sport Was Critical | Because that gave me the self-confidence to know that if I committed to something, I could do things that I never believed possible. Three years before I finished the Comrades Marathon in 1973, I couldn’t run three miles. Finishing the Comrades to me was utterly astonishing. It told me that we have all these hidden reserves.
Belief | Is the most important determinant of success. Look at the Ikeys’ finish at the Varsity Cup 2014. We taught them that there are no limits. You’ve got to go beyond extraordinary and you’ve got to believe beyond extraordinary. that’s all, it’s so simple.
Winning The Rugby World Cup With Jake White | Was huge relief because it validated what I’d been doing with him for four years, which I had been slated for (he was the only guy in South African rugby who believed me.)
The Difference With Great Sportsmen | Is not strength or fitness. It’s will. It’s the will to do it and you have to understand why you’re doing it. And that gives you the will to go on.
With the great sportsmen, it’s the will that makes them different. They just don’t believe they can get beaten. That’s the key. And when they do fail, it’s never their fault. On that day there was something else that they can’t explain and they utterly believe that. When you talk to a leader it’s always the same. I always use Oscar Chalufksy as an example. It doesn’t matter what condition he’s in, he’s going to win. It doesn’t matter! And most of the time he does win.
Coaching | Is to have more faith in the athlete than the athlete has in himself. Then they perform, then they achieve.
You Can Achieve Nothing Without A Team | We’re all incredibly ignorant and we have very few skills. Just get in the people who’ve got the skills that you need and encourage them to believe that they can be the best in the world and support them to do that. And then give them the freedom they need. Don’t try to hold them back and don’t look for reflected glory.
On Teamwork | You have to love each other. You have to bond. That’s the key in team events. You have to physically, actively love each other. And once you love each other you’ll all give one hundred per cent. And when that happens, then the extraordinary happens, or the beyond extraordinary happens.
Break Your Goal Into Smaller Goals | Although you have a long-term goal you must have small goals. what am I going to do today? You have to keep working at it everyday.
You’re The Servant Of The People | Who you’re trying to lead, that’s the key. And you have to provide the inspiration and the example to make it possible. You have to express your faith in people. We took relatively ordinary students and made them world class. Cause we just said, why can’t you be the best in the world?
The Meaning Of Life | To serve others. I believe that the universe has a purpose. Cause science teaches you that. Everything has a purpose. So the universe has a purpose, but I have no clue what that purpose is. I’ve never been that religious. It’s not that I’m irreligious, I do believe there is a bigger purpose, but I don’t know quite what that bigger purpose is.