Alex Wisch is a leading Performance Specialist who helps clients accomplish professional goals, improve physical performance, explore biohacking, develop stress management strategies, and achieve an optimal mindset for overall wellness. He has a background in behavioral psychology and prides himself on creativity and resourcefulness in addressing complex cases. Alex works with professional and Olympic-bound athletes to develop personalized winning strategies and collaborates with top industry leaders to optimize individual productivity and confidence. He has applied his teachings to overcome major depression, compete as a professional sailor, win an ultramarathon, and become a successful entrepreneur. Alex believes we create our own limits, but with the right support, no barrier is insurmountable.
How Overcoming Adversity Ignited Alex Wisch’s Career
This is a story of my past that explains the adversities I have gone through, adapted to, and learned from that made me the practitioner, entrepreneur and mental health activist I am today.
I was born with an innate desire to succeed. As an elementary school student, I was diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD, and bullied for being overweight. As the bullying continued in 6th grade I eventually developed anorexia. Therapy was unhelpful, so I got into weight lifting with my goal to rebuild my body in a healthy manner. These impediments only further fueled my drive to set and achieve exceptional goals. Starting as young as 7 years old, I used this tenacity to compete internationally in sailboat racing with my eyes on the Olympics. At the age of 18, I was one of the top sailors in North America, and placed 3rd in a double-handed sailboat race from Newport, RI to Bermuda. Additionally, I was one of the youngest individuals to take community and business leadership roles within my hometown. Looking into the future, I only saw one direction, and that was forward.
This drive for success continued into my college career, but it started to warp into unhealthy perfectionism. During my sophomore year at the University of Pennsylvania, while staying determined to reach my goals regardless of cost, I hit a breaking point. Having sacrificed my health and social life to achieve a 4.0 GPA, I now found myself burned out, deeply depressed, and developed suicidal thoughts. In spite of this internal reality, I continued pushing myself to compete in a collegiate national sailing event. Throughout the race, doing the one thing that always brought me tranquility and joy, all I could think about were ways to end my life. This is when I knew something had to change.
My world, once so goal-oriented and filled with success, started spiraling downward. This unforgiving darkness forced me to make the difficult decision to leave college. In addition, I had to step away from training, and thus my dream to sail in the Olympics. As time passed, so too did the opportunity of achieving my professional goal of becoming a doctor. My hopes of a future and having a family evaporated, and my days left me feeling as if I were stuck in quicksand. I isolated myself in my room for months. Fear of taking my own life led to multiple hospital self-admissions, which only gave way to being discharged to an array of unhelpful residential facilities. Rather than resolving my inner pain, I found myself addicted to anything that would ease the suffering. Desperate for some resolution to my internal torment, I turned to Electroconvulsive Therapy, praying it would shock the depression out of me. Over time, I was left with no choice but to go on disability, as this condition had left me debilitated and unable to work. I felt ashamed, alone, judged, and defeated.
Regardless of how much adversity I faced, I never gave up. I knew that each new day brought some small degree of hope. After seeking out top professionals, who either told me my condition would never improve or felt they had the magical diagnosis that if treated “properly” would offer hope, I knew the system was broken. Over a few years I was given diagnoses that included major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, borderline personality disorder, negative symptoms of schizoaffective disorder, autism, severe ADHD and other diagnosis, which were created mostly to make that practitioner feel competent within their profession field. With a broken system I knew I needed to look within myself for the answers I sought.
I found the grit to make changes in my life to break free of depression’s dark heavy chains and I began focusing on what was within my control. This involved incorporating fitness, nutrition, meditation, structure, community, and positive psychology into my daily routine. I turned to natural supplements to minimize prescription medication, utilized light therapy, and cut out caffeine, ADHD stimulants, and other chemicals. In addition, I developed a consistent sleep and wake schedule to prioritize proper recovery. I understood that prior to working on my psychological well-being, it was essential to optimize my biology, and my body’s own innate desire to function and heal itself.
Recognizing that a miracle would not happen overnight, I began focusing on marginal gains in the hope of my brain rewiring itself after months, and in some cases, years, of healthy habits. “I held on to my helm with a firm grip, pointed my boat in one direction, and never looked back.” Through much determination and sheer grit, my hope started to become reality.
Over the last several years, I have been free of living in a pitch-black, lonely world. I still battle aspects of depression, but they are manageable through my efforts to create purpose in helping others, take minimal medication, daily fitness, and welcome wellness, love, and hope into my life.
As an entrepreneur, a crucial catalyst in elevating my confidence and building successes was the decision to face my fear of failure that had become imprinted through the years. I decided to say yes to all professional and personal opportunities that crossed my path. I began to understand that nothing is a true failure as long as you learn from it, and that the most successful people have had moments of great victory and brutal defeat. Since overcoming the severity of my depression, I have competed professionally as an athlete, started multiple businesses, and helped countless people accomplish incredible goals. I have consulted on multi-million dollar deals, advised large companies, made successful angel investments, and I’ve had the pleasure of meeting amazing, inspirational individuals.
Most importantly, through my own personal journey, and my extensive research in understanding optimal wellness, sustainability, and both cognitive and physical elite performance, I have developed an intense passion and sense of purpose helping others. As the founder of Wisch Fit, a peak performance specialist and mentor, I have guided others in overcoming barriers through physical, mental, and professional growth. My mission is to help people realize that no goal is too big or outrageous, and that anything is ultimately possible with the right knowledge, tools, and support.
Moving into the future, I plan to continue to share my story of how I used and continue to implement fitness, optimal health, mindset, community, and support from others to not only overcome challenges of major depression, but to thrive in my personal and professional life. I am planning to grow as a mental health advocate in order to reduce the stigma of mental illness and instill hope in others that anyone can improve their situation. On a larger scale I want to help transform mental health care by highlighting the flaws I experienced and inhumane treatment I witnessed happening to others. In addition, I want to be an advocate for the many individuals who are currently suffering, are unable to speak-up, and don’t have the proper guidance to navigate our broken mental health system.
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