Ep 90 – CrossFit Games GM Justin Bergh: The Man Behind the Magic

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“But I’m really happy that I had that experience of being at the Ranch and understanding culturally what that was.  And it wasn’t lost on me.  I think for a lot of people it was like, ‘Hey, this is fun and exciting,’ and for me, my whole background had been working in sport, in professional sport, and watching these little touring sports get big, watching big touring sports get organized, and going oh my gosh, this thing is…I mean, I used to joke, I was talking to Tony [Budding] a long time ago, and he was like ‘Hey the Games are gonna be really big, they’re gonna have a video display there.’  And I was like, man you guys are sitting on the top of a rocket going, ‘Hey, look at how high we are!’ and I was like, you haven’t even hit the ignition switch yet. I was like, once this starts taking off, it has unlimited potential.” – Justin Bergh

As the General Manager of the CrossFit Games, Justin Bergh is the man behind the scenes, overseeing details large and small to ensure everything comes together at just the right moment to create a phenomenal global fitness festival.  With the help of his CrossFit HQ team and over 800 volunteers, Justin plays an instrumental role in setting the stage to find and crown the Fittest Man and Woman on Earth each year.

A former aspiring major league baseball player, Justin suffered career ending injuries and used that challenge as an opportunity for growth.  After graduating from a sports management program, he found success working for a sports technology company, but ultimately took a leap of faith and opened his own affiliate, CrossFit Southside, in order to pursue his passion of helping others become more fit.

Now a prominent leader within CrossFit HQ, Justin has literally worked his way to the top.  After starting as an affiliate owner, Justin found his way to a role as an intern eventually a member and Flowmaster on the CrossFit Seminar Staff.  As the CrossFit Games grew, Justin was also able to draw on his sports management experience, leading him to his current role as General Manager of the Games.

I recently caught up with Justin to chat about his role as General Manager and to get a peek behind the curtains at what it takes to produce the most anticipated CrossFit event of the year.

In this episode we discuss:

  • What Justin’s day-to-day schedule is like as the CrossFit Games event approaches
  • His athletic background and how he found CrossFit
  • The lessons Justin learned from multiple injuries as he pursued a dream of playing professional baseball
  • The path to opening his own affiliate
  • How Justin came to be involved with CrossFit HQ and the CrossFit Games
  • The growth and evolution of the CrossFit Games
  • The challenges of planning a competition for a constantly varied sport
  • How fantastic it is that a broad awareness of CrossFit is spreading, especially in a world dominated by screens
  • The structure of the Games production team
  • The scope of the volunteer component of the Games
  • The rehearsal process for preparing for events
  • The role of the CrossFit Demo team
  • What it’s like to work with Dave Castro on creating the Games
  • The most challenging and rewarding parts of Justin’s job
  • His excitement to be presenting the Games in Madison
  • How the CrossFit Games team decides which companies to partner with
  • The process to ensure a fair competition by testing for banned substances
  • Justin’s daily routine
  • Three things he does on a regular basis that have the biggest positive impact on his health
  • One thing that Justin thinks would have a big impact on his health but he struggles to implement
  • What a healthy life looks like to him

You can follow Justin on Instagram and LinkedIn.

Links:

Related Episodes:
Ep 21 – Pat Sherwood on CrossFit, the Games and quality of life and longevity
Ep 27 – Adrian Bozman on teaching CrossFit, judging at the CrossFit Games, and garage gym training
Ep 29 – Dave Castro on applying lessons learned as a SEAL, his daily routine, and directing the CrossFit Games
Ep 62 – Becca Voigt: The Woman, The Myth, The Legend
Ep 65 – Rory McKernan: CrossFit Games Update Show Host
Ep 85 – Back on Track with Carleen Mathews
Ep 87 – Stacie Tovar: From Legendary Competitor to Thriving Coach

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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.