Our story

20 years of rethinking life

Our philosophy originates in the life’s work of Dr Aki Hintsa, who discovered that sustainable high performance is built on a balanced life. This approach has expanded and taken shape over the course of two decades, through the efforts of our multidisciplinary team of experts. Read the amazing story that begins in the African plains and winds through the Formula 1 paddocks and on to the highest levels of business.
How it all started

The lessons from Ethiopia

In the early 1990s, Dr Aki Hintsa, a specialist in orthopaedic and trauma surgery, was working as a doctor in a poverty-stricken and war-torn Ethiopia. Having long worked as a physician to the Finnish Olympic team, Dr Hintsa was excited by the chance to observe the training routines of elite Ethiopian distance runners. He became intrigued not only by their dominance of this demanding sport but also by the state of life balance they had achieved. The individual who ultimately opened Dr Hintsa’s eyes was Haile Gebrselassie.

Haile’s life was integrated with all elements in his environment geared towards supporting his goals and running ambitions. Dr Hintsa realised that optimal performance derives from a healthy, balanced life. The fulcrum of that balance lies in knowing your identity and core motivations. Taking care of your wellbeing, allows you to function at your full potential. Inspired, Dr Hintsa drew a circle and on the outer layer, he placed the following six elements: physical activity, nutrition, recovery, biomechanics, mental energy and general health. Then in the middle of the circle, he wrote the word “Core”. It represents identity, goals, and control. This model would come to define the entire Hintsa philosophy.

Formula 1 performance

Test laboratory for the philosophy

Soon thereafter, the Hintsa philosophy made its impact in a most unlikely arena – Formula 1. When Mika Häkkinen invited Dr Hintsa to assist him and his family in their pursuit of the 1998 World Drivers’ Championship, Aki didn’t even believe that Formula 1 was a valid sporting contest, such was the stark divergence with the running culture he had studied so closely. In winning two World Championships with Mika in 1998 and 1999, he transformed this view and proceeded over nearly two decades to create one of the great untold stories in a sport where very few stories remain untold.

Dr Hintsa used to call Formula 1 “the most fascinating laboratory” for the Hintsa philosophy. Following Mika Häkkinen’s success, fellow Finn Kimi Räikkönen followed by young superstars Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel shone as Aki’s quiet influence underpinned their approach to racing. Lewis Hamilton’s recent victory in 2018 turned out to be the 13th World Drivers’ Championship for a Hintsa-affiliated driver.

From paddocks to board rooms

Companies racing to learn from champions

Realising that the challenges faced by Formula 1 drivers are special, but not unique, Dr Hintsa’s team started seeing more and more demand from business leaders for their human high-performance coaching services. According to Dr Hintsa’s observations, top athletes and business leaders tackle similar challenges in their work. Constant travelling, lack of exercise and sleep, highly stressful decisions, and total devotion to work can easily consume one’s mental and physical reserves. Several business people began turning to Dr Hintsa and his team for help. The coaching services they developed have been used by executives, entrepreneurs, as well as politicians.

Nowadays, Hintsa Performance is a world leader in human high performance coaching with more than 100 employees and offices spanning from the United Kingdom to Switzerland and from Finland to Norway. Clients from Formula 1 champions and Fortune 500 CEOs to executive teams and knowledge workers worldwide, trust our performance coaches and specialists to help them succeed. The mission started by the Finnish doctor over 20 years ago still continues: to bring better life and better performance for all.

Our publications

The stories behind
our methods

Our books include deeply researched content, fascinating stories and practical tips to enhance your health, wellbeing and performance.

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