Ep 56 – Katrín Davíðsdóttir and Ben Bergeron on the Process of Creating a Champion

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“Katrin came on at the exact right time when I was switching my approach to a more 360 degree holistic approach for a coach. I started investing more into developing people, and the characteristics of a champion, than I did the work capacity, and the skills and drills of a champion. Not that those aren’t important, because I don’t care how mentally tough you are and how dedicated and how strong-willed you are, that person will not beat somebody that’s more talented. But if you take somebody that has incredible talent, and you put the right personal characteristics to that person, now were starting to develop the approach of a champion.” – Ben Bergeron

Katrin Davidsdottir is the reigning two-time Reebok CrossFit Games Champion (2015, 2016) from Reykjavik, Iceland. A former gymnast and track athlete, Katrin made her Games debut in 2012 at the age of 19 and has competed in the sport ever since. Her story is punctuated by a setback in 2014 when she failed to qualify for the Games, an experience which she now credits for her success as one of only two women ever to win back-to-back Games titles.

Ben Bergeron is the owner of CrossFit New England and has coached numerous CrossFit Games athletes including champions in 5 different categories (male and female individual, male and female masters, and team). He publishes programming for competitors for free through CompTrain which is followed by thousands of athletes around the world, and coaches Masters athletes through CompTrain Masters. Ben is well recognized in the CrossFit community for opening 3 successful affiliates (CrossFit New England and Tilt I and II), and he shares his best practices for affiliate excellence in seminars and immersion experiences for affiliate owners.

In this episode we discuss:

  • Ben’s background from ski bum to working in the corporate world in finance to fitness
  • Katrin’s background as a gymnast and track athlete and how she found CrossFit
  • What led Ben to open his affiliate and focus on training competitive athletes
  • How the culture of gender equality in Iceland cultivates strong, confident women
  • Katrin’s early days of CrossFit and training with her role model, Annie Thorisdottir
  • How not qualifying for the 2014 Games after a legless rope climb workout became a defining moment in Katrin’s career and impacted Ben’s approach to coaching
  • How Katrin living under the same roof with Ben’s family benefitted their coach-athlete relationship
  • The difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset
  • Katrin’s perception of the qualities that make Ben a great coach
  • Why Ben doesn’t believe in goals anymore but rather in maximizing the process
  • The importance of developing the characteristics necessary to stay dedicated to the process
  • One example of how they apply their mental approach on a difficult training day
  • Why you can’t have balance and be a world champion
  • The difference between priorities and balance in both Katrin and Ben’s life currently
  • A day in the life of Katrin and Ben
  • How they structure their training sessions and what Ben is looking for while coaching
  • Their approach to balance, discipline and happiness
  • How to nurture and cultivate synergistic relationships in your life
  • Three things both Ben and Katrin do on a regular basis that have the biggest positive impact on their health
  • One thing they struggle to implement that could have a big impact on their health
  • What a healthy life looks like to them

You can follow Katrin on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

You can follow Ben on his website and on Instagram and Facebook.


Related Episodes:

Ep 08 – Chris Hinshaw on Regaining Functionality and Endurance Coaching and Programming for the CrossFit Community

Ep 28 – James Hobart on Teaching, Competing, and the Real Purpose of CrossFit

Ep 29 – Dave Castro on Applying Lessons Learned as a SEAL, his Daily Routine, and Directing the CrossFit Games

Ep 35 – Coach Greg Glassman on CrossFit, Chronic Disease, and the “5 Buckets of Death”

Ep 49 – Ben Smith on Why He Trains and the Evolution of the CrossFit Games

If you like this episode, please subscribe to Pursuing Health on iTunes and give it a rating. I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below and on social media using the hashtag #PursuingHealth. I look forward to bringing you future episodes with inspiring individuals and ideas about health every other Tuesday.

Disclaimer: This podcast is meant to share the experiences of various individuals. It does not provide medical advice, and it is not a substitute for advice from your physician or health care professional.

Question: Have you ever been in a great coaching or mentoring relationship? Let me know what made it so great in the comments below.

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