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.

Links:

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.


Ep 55 – Lindy Barber on Overcoming a Life-Changing Injury and Finding Her Flow on Team CrossFit Mayhem

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‘I don’t think the girl who didn’t break her back would have qualified [to the CrossFit Games]. Because, she hadn’t been through the same kind of mental and emotional struggle. Because CrossFit, if you have ever competed, or even competed in your own CrossFit gym; it’s a struggle. You are doing stuff every single day that you are terrible at; and it’s no different for Games athletes. It’s a hard thing to constantly constantly keep putting yourself through…mentally taxing, emotionally taxing because you’re doing stuff all the time that you are bad at.’ – Lindy Barber

Lindy Barber is a former collegiate soccer player turned CrossFit Games athlete. She’s participated in the Reebok CrossFit Games twice as an individual (2013, 2015) and most recently on the two-time defending championship team, CrossFit Mayhem Freedom. Lindy currently trains at CrossFit Mayhem with Rich Froning and the rest of her team. She thrives in the team environment and loves setting goals and overcoming the mental challenges found in competition. She is known within the community for her comeback after a significant back injury and is passionate about promoting awareness of and helping people improve core and back strength in and outside of the fitness world.

In this episode we discuss:

  • Growing up in Louisville, Kentucky and playing seven sports
  • Lindy’s focus on soccer at the high school and collegiate level at the University of Dayton
  • Her decision to step away from collegiate soccer
  • How Lindy found CrossFit
  • Competing with Julie in some early local competitions
  • The 2011 Reebok CrossFit Open and her life-changing back injury
  • The perfect storm of 3 spinal conditions: scoliosis, spina bifida and spondylolisthesis
  • Rebuilding and determining what ultimately makes her happy
  • Returning to competition in 2012 and her experience at the 2012 Regionals
  • Qualifying for the 2013 Reebok CrossFit Games
  • Reassessing after a difficult 2014 season and making changes in 2015
  • How she joined team CrossFit Mayhem Freedom and training for the 2016 season
  • The benefits of team vs. individual CrossFit Games competition
  • Three things Lindy does on a regular basis that have the biggest positive impact on her health
  • One thing she struggles to implement that could have a big impact on Lindy’s health
  • What a healthy life looks like to her
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At a local competition with Lindy in 2010

 

You can follow Lindy on her website Lindy Barber.com, and on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Links:

Related Episodes:

Ep 21 – Pat Sherwood on CrossFit, the Games and Quality of Life and Longevity

Ep 01 – Rich Froning on Competition, Shifting Priorities and Discovering His Purpose

Ep 18 – Scott Panchik and His Father on Running and Affiliate, Competition, and Recovering From Injury

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.


Ep 54 – Neal Maddox: From Football to Forty

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“Everyone says I’m a lock for whatever. I’m not a lock for anything. I have to put my head down and I have to work. I know how hard I am working and I know there are people out there working harder. But I know I have to earn every single opportunity to be able to be on that stage. Then, once I am on that stage, I have to earn every opportunity to be able to make that podium. Nothing is a lock in life. Nothing is guaranteed. I am not guaranteed tomorrow. All I know is I have to execute what I can today, execute what I can tomorrow, and make sure I am a better version of myself each and every day that I go out.” – Neal Maddox

Neal Maddox has an extensive background in health and fitness as both an athlete and a coach. He played multiple sports growing up and played Division II football at Linfield College where he graduated with a degree in Exercise Science. He had a stint with the San Jose Sabercats and worked as a personal trainer before finding CrossFit in 2009. He was quickly drawn to the sport and the community, and today he is the owner and head coach at CrossFit X-treme Athletics and has competed in the CrossFit Games six times. After a year away from competition in 2016 due to injury, 2017 marks his return in the newly formed 35-39 year-old Master’s category. With his 40th birthday quickly approaching, he’s one of the oldest in this competitive group, yet has already made a statement early in the season by finishing 4th in the category in the Open.

I sat down with Neal earlier this year at the Reebok Athlete Summit in the Bahamas to discuss everything from the evolution of his CrossFit Games career and his approach this season to his little-known passions for training clients with disabilities and animal rights.

In this episode we discuss:

  • Growing up with motivation and inspiration to pursue a professional football career
  • Football and its related injuries
  • How he built a foundation of body weight movements at a young age
  • Working as a personal trainer and training clients with disabilities
  • His introduction to CrossFit with Linda, “The Three Bars of Death”
  • Volunteering at the 2009 CrossFit Games and his promise to Dave Castro to compete in 2010
  • The evolution of his competitive career from 2010-2015
  • A game-changing injury he sustained while competing in 2015
  • His decision to take a year away from competition in 2016
  • Competing as a Master’s athlete and how his goals and approach have evolved
  • Balancing gym ownership with his own training
  • Three things Neal does on a regular basis that have the biggest positive impact on his health
  • One thing he struggles to implement that could have a big impact on Neal’s health
  • What a healthy life looks like to him

You can follow Neal at his website, and on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter

Links:

Related Episodes:

05 – Men of the 2015 CrossFit Games Demo Team – Matt Chan, Paul Tremblay, and Zach Forrest

18 – Scott Panchik and his father on running an affiliate, competition, and recovering from injury

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

21 – Pat Sherwood on CrossFit, the Games and quality of life and longevity

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.


Ep 53 – Amelia Boone on achievement and growing through obstacles

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I reached a point about a year and a half ago where I said ‘Do I really enjoy this? Is the pressure getting to me?’ It was actually the injury and being forced to take a step back, where I was able to reframe my relationship with it and have gratitude for just being able to be out there.” Amelia Boone

Amelia Boone is a full-time corporate attorney and one of the world’s most decorated obstacle racers. Since the sport’s inception five years ago, she’s amassed more than 30 victories and 50 podiums. Some of her career highlights include:

  • 3x winner of the World’s Toughest Mudder (2012, 2014, 2015)
  • Spartan Race World Champion 2013
  • Spartan Race Points Series Champion (2013 & 2015)
  • 3x Death Race Finisher (Winter 2012, Summer 2012, Summer 2013)

I’ve admired Amelia’s drive and success in balancing her athletic and legal careers, and I’ve looked to her as an inspiration for my own journey competing the the CrossFit Games while in medical school. I was so glad to finally have the opportunity to sit down and get to know Amelia near her home in the San Francisco Bay area – we had a lot to talk about!

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In this episode we discuss:

  • Amelia growing up as a ‘jack of all trades’ and team sport athlete
  • Her prior experience with long distance running and one and only half marathon
  • Entering, training for, and participating in her first Tough Mudder in 2010
  • The history of obstacle racing including Tough Mudder and Spartan Racing
  • The utility of CrossFit training for obstacle racing
  • How she trained creatively while living in urban Chicago
  • Balancing life as an attorney while training and racing
  • Gaining perspective through an injury and spending the 2016 race season on the sidelines
  • Mental vs physical toughness
  • Her approach to rehab and recovery after being on crutches for 4 months
  • Her new approach to training and rest days
  • Three things Amelia does on a regular basis that have the biggest positive impact on her health
  • One thing she struggles to implement that could have a big impact on Amelia’s health
  • What a healthy life looks like to her

You can follow Amelia at her website and on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.

Links:

Related Episodes:

40 – CrossFit to Prepare for, and Recover From, Total Knee Replacement with David Mendenhall

34 – Sal Masekela on His Achilles Rupture, Growing From Setbacks, and CrossFit Family

33 – Bob Harper on CrossFit, The Biggest Loser, and Prioritizing Health

02b – Dr. Michael Canales on my Achilles injury and pursuing excellence

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.


52b – Tia-Clair Toomey on realizing her CrossFit and Olympic dreams and finding confidence

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“It was still so hard to admit that I wanted to win, because I was scared of failure. I was so scared to say I want to win the CrossFit Games and I don’t do it. It’s just a horrible feeling. It makes you very vulnerable.” – Tia-Clair Toomey

At 23 years of age, Tia-Clair Toomey (Tia) is quite the accomplished athlete. Hailing from the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, Australia, Tia burst on the CrossFit Games scene earning the title of 2nd Fittest Woman on Earth in both 2015 and 2016. She also quickly established herself as one of Australia’s best Olympic Weightlifters, earning the country’s only female weightlifting spot to the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics. This also makes her the only athlete to compete in both the CrossFit Games and the Olympics in the same year. She currently resides in Gladstone, Queensland, Australia where she owns and runs CrossFit Gladstone alongside her coach and fiancé, Shane Orr. We caught up recently at Chris Hinshaw’s annual training camp in Cookeville, TN to discuss her background and the whirlwind that has been the past few years of her life.

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In Cookeville, TN

In Part B of this episode, we discuss:

  • Training and qualifying for both the 2016 CrossFit Games the 2016 Rio Olympics
  • Losing her grandfather just before her engagement and qualifying for the Rio Olympics
  • The difference in her reaction to placing 2nd in 2015 and placing 2nd in 2016 at the CrossFit Games
  • Learning about herself through competition
  • Her plans for the 2017 CrossFit Games season
  • Future Olympic Weightlifting plans including the 2018 Commonwealth Games
  • Three things Tia does on a regular basis that have the biggest impact on her health
  • One thing Tia struggles to implement that could have a big impact on her health
  • What a healthy life looks like to her

You can follow Tia at her website, on InstagramTwitterFacebook and at her affiliate CrossFit Gladstone.

Links:

Related Episodes:

50 – A Healthy Life

48 – Jen Widerstrom: Health, Habits and Why You Are Enough

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

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: When has a fear of failure held you back in your own life? Has there been a time when allowing yourself to be vulnerable has paid off for you?


52a – Tia-Clair Toomey on realizing her CrossFit and Olympic dreams and finding confidence

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“If it wasn’t for CrossFit I would have never picked up on the weight training. At the time I thought, why not do both? What if one thing doesn’t work out? I would have another thing to fall back on. If it wasn’t for weightlifting I would have never gotten to Regionals or performed what I needed to in the [CrossFit Games] Open.” – Tia-Clair Toomey

At 23 years of age, Tia-Clair Toomey (Tia) is quite the accomplished athlete. Hailing from the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, Australia, Tia burst on the CrossFit Games scene earning the title of 2nd Fittest Woman on Earth in both 2015 and 2016. She also quickly established herself as one of Australia’s best Olympic Weightlifters, earning the country’s only female weightlifting spot to the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics. This also makes her the only athlete to compete in both the CrossFit Games and the Olympics in the same year. She currently resides in Gladstone, Queensland, Australia where she owns and runs CrossFit Gladstone alongside her coach and fiancé, Shane Orr. We caught up recently at Chris Hinshaw’s annual training camp in Cookeville, TN to discuss her background and the whirlwind that has been the past few years of her life.

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Recording with Tia in Cookeville, TN

In Part A of this episode, we discuss:

  • Tia’s background growing up on a sugar cane farm
  • Participating in sports including running, swimming, and netball in her youth
  • Her passion for competing in the Olympics from a young age
  • The beginning of her motivation and study to become a midwife
  • Letting go of her Olympic Track and Field dreams
  • Moving with her boyfriend Shane to a new city where she would eventually find CrossFit
  • Her rocky start with CrossFit and using it to train for running again
  • Being asked to join her gym’s team for a local competition and igniting her desire to compete
  • Competing in her first CrossFit Games Open in 2013 shortly after starting CrossFit
  • Her first experience competing as an individual at the 2014 CrossFit Games Regionals
  • Finding an Olympic Weightlifting coach and setting the goal of competing in both the CrossFit Games and the Rio Olympics in 2016
  • Spectating at the 2014 CrossFit Games
  • Qualifying for and competing in the 2015 CrossFit Games where she placed 2nd in her rookie year

You can follow Tia at her website, on InstagramTwitterFacebook and at her affiliate CrossFit Gladstone.

Links:

Related Episodes:

01 – Rich Froning on Competition, Shifting Priorities and Discovering His Purpose

06 – 2015 CrossFit Games Demo Team – Christy Adkins, Jennifer Smith, and Talayna Fortunato

14 – Camille Leblanc-Bazinet on Moving Forward, Engineering and Body Image

47 – Coffee Talk with Katrin, Jen and Kelley at the Reebok Athlete Summit

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: When did you set a goal for yourself that seemed just out of reach? How did you get there?


51 – Dick Costolo on Taking Risks and Finding Fitness

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“Every time in my life, every time I have taken a risk – a big risk that wouldn’t make any sense for what you would do if you wanted to go and be the CEO of a big company –  every time I had done that, it paid off. It ended up being immensely helpful.” – Dick Costolo

Dick is currently the CEO of Chorus, a digital platform that is coming soon to re-imagine the path to personal fitness. He served previously as CEO of Twitter from 2010-2015, during which time the company grew from roughly 300 to 4,000 employees and revenue grew from nothing to $2B per year. Before his time at Twitter, Dick was CEO of FeedBurner which sold to Google in June of 2007. He was also an advisor on Season 3 of HBO’s Silicon Valley. Today, Dick lives with his family in Marin, California. We caught up for a quick workout at CrossFit Marin before sitting down to record this podcast.

In this episode we discuss:

  • Growing up in Michigan
  • His decision to pursue stand-up comedy after completing his undergraduate degree in Computer Science.
  • Dick’s exercise background from couch to the Chicago Marathon and finally discovering CrossFit
  • Introducing CrossFit to employees at Twitter
  • How the resiliency and camaraderie of CrossFit translates to the corporate world
  • Dick’s 2013 commencement speech at the University of Michigan
  • His decision to leave Twitter and spend more time with his daughter and family
  • What led him to start his current company, Chorus
  • Digital fitness platforms and accountability
  • How his day-to-day life has changed going from the corporate to start-up
  • Dick’s daily schedule
  • Intermittent Fasting
  • Three things Dick does on a regular basis that have the biggest positive impact on his health
  • One thing he struggles to implement that could have a big impact on Dick’s health
  • What a healthy life looks like to him

You can follow Dick at chorus.fitInstagram and Twitter.

Links:

Related Episodes:

17 – Juliet & Kelly Starrett on Standing Desks and Movements for Kids

07 – Dr. Mark Hyman on Functional Medicine, the Future and Community

43 – Jason Wachob: Founder and CEO of mindbodygreen and Inspiration to Live Your Best Life

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 #JFHealth. 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: What is one risk you’ve taken that has paid off in unexpected ways in your own life? Let me know in the comments below!


50 – A Healthy Life

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Well here we are – I can’t believe we’ve already made it to the 50th episode of Pursuing Health! First of all, I want to say a HUGE thank you to all of you for listening. We are only getting started, and I can’t wait to see how the podcast evolves over the next 50 episodes.

To celebrate, I’ve put together a compilation of some of my favorite answers to the last question I typically ask my guests on the podcast, which is “What does a healthy life look like to you?”

We’ve heard such a wide range of amazing answers to this question and I unfortunately could only share a few of them here. Nonetheless, I hope you enjoy listening and thinking about your own answer to this question.

On this episode, we’ll feature answers to this question from a number of Pursuing Health guests including:

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 #JFHealth. 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: What does a healthy life look like to YOU? Let me know in the comments below.


49 – Ben Smith on why he trains and the evolution of The CrossFit Games

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Attention! This week I’ve put together a brief survey to better understand who YOU are and what you’d most like to hear more of on Pursuing Health. If you could take a few moments to complete this voluntary and anonymous SURVEY, I would greatly appreciate it! After completing the survey, you can enter a drawing for a package from my sponsors including a new pair of Reebok Nanos.

“I go into the gym and now I have a group of people that I train with. I have my brothers, I have my family, I have this community around me. That’s what it is really all about. You have to enjoy it, you have to be a good person, you have to take care of people around you, and treat people well.” – Ben Smith

Ben was an avid baseball player growing up and was introduced to CrossFit during his senior in High School in 2008. As a self-instructed athlete, he has had eight appearances at the CrossFit Games, finishing on the podium four times and finally winning the title of “Fittest Man on Earth” in 2015. Ben Smith has a degree in mechanical engineering from Old Dominion University and is the founder and co-owner of his affiliate CrossFit Krypton where he also serves as lead programmer and coach. His personal philosophy is that through hard work and dedication anything is possible. We sat down at the 2017 Reebok Athlete Summit to catch up on his life and career as a CrossFit Games athlete.

In this episode we discuss:

  • Ben’s background playing sports from his youth through college
  • How he found CrossFit
  • Owning and running his affiliate, CrossFit Krypton
  • The CrossFit Games from 2009 to now
  • What motivates him to train year after year
  • How his training and goals changed after winning the Games in 2015
  • The benefits of playing other sports
  • A typical day in Ben’s life
  • Three things Ben does on a regular basis that have the biggest positive impact on his health
  • One thing he struggles to implement that could have a big impact on Ben’s health
  • What a healthy life looks like to him

You can follow Ben at CrossFit Krypton or on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook. You can also check out his training program The Ben Smith Blueprint on Beyond The Whiteboard.

Related Episodes: 

01 – Rich Froning on Competition, Shifting Priorities and Discovering His Purpose

05 – Men of the 2015 CrossFit Games Demo Team – Matt Chan, Paul Tremblay, and Zach Forrest

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

41 – Graham and Savanna Holmberg: From Fittest Man, to Faith and Family

47 – Coffee Talk with Katrin, Jen, and Kelley at the Reebok Athlete Summit

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.


48 – Jen Widerstrom: Health, Habits and Why You Are Enough

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“This is why I love fitness and health. It does not live in the gym. What we do, what we take on mentally in a workout that scares us translates in our lives. It translates in our courage out there.” – Jen Widerstrom

Jen grew up outside of Chicago and competed in gymnastics growing up. She then transitioned to track and field and competed in throws for the University of Kansas. From there, she started fitness modeling and eventually fell in love with training others. She appeared on American Gladiators in 2008 and she has been a trainer on NBC’s The Biggest Loser since 2015. She’s also been doing CrossFit since 2012 and made appearances on the CrossFit Horsepower Regional team in 2013 and 2014. We caught up for a workout at CrossFit Horsepower while I was in town recently and although this was only the second time I’ve been around Jen in person, she is incredibly down to earth, genuine and easy to get to know as I’m sure you’ll hear in this episode.

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In this episode we discuss:

  • Her childhood growing up outside of Chicago, and being a college athlete at the University of Kansas
  • Her introduction into CrossFit
  • Training for health versus training for fitness and competition
  • Losing her identity after college athletics and her path to eventually finding her passion and purpose
  • Why it took her three tries before being hired for The Biggest Loser
  • Why she loves coaching and training others
  • The impetus behind her new book, Diet Right For Your Personality Type
  • How different personality types approach behavior change
  • What Jen and Julie’s personality types are
  • Three things Jen does on a regular basis that have the biggest positive impact on her health
  • One thing she struggles to implement that could have a big impact on Jen’s health
  • What a healthy life looks like to her
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        Post-workout at CrossFit Horsepower

You can follow Jen at her website or on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, or Snapchat at @JenWiderstrom.

Links:

Related Episodes:

43 – Jason Wachob: Founder and CEO of mindbodygreen and Inspiration To Live Your Best Life

33 – Bob Harper on CrossFit, The Biggest Loser, and Prioritizing Health

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

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 #JFHealth. 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.


47 – Coffee Talk with Katrin, Jen, and Kelley at the Reebok Athlete Summit

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Each year, Reebok brings together CrossFit Games athletes at an annual summit. During this time, athletes are introduced to Reebok’s brand campaign, apparel and footwear for the upcoming year. They are able to provide feedback, get to know the Reebok team, and train and spend time with one another in a relaxed environment.

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This year on the final morning in the Bahamas, I sat down to chat with 3 other female CrossFit Games athletes over the sunrise and morning coffee to discuss our experience at the Summit and more in this BONUS episode of Pursuing Health.

  • Katrin Davidsdottir is the 2-time reigning Fittest Woman on Earth, winning the CrossFit Games in both 2015 and 2016. An Iceland native, she currently lives and trains in Natick, MA at CrossFit New England. Follow Katrin this season on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
  • Jennifer Smith competed with CrossFit Maximus in the CrossFit Games team competition twice before qualifying as an individual in 2013 and 2016. She currently lives in Lexington, KY and works as a trainer at CrossFit Maximus. Follow her this season on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
  • Kelley Jackson competed as an individual at the CrossFit Games in 2014 and 2015 and represented CrossFit 417 in the team competition in 2016. She lives in St. Louis, MO and is the head coach at CrossFit Gambit. Follow Kelley this season on Instagram, and Facebook.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • Reflections on the Reebok Athlete Summit
  • The new Masters division and competition goals
  • Plans after leaving the Summit
  • Thoughts on the CrossFit Games’ move to Madison
  • Their favorite competition moments

Related Episodes:

If you like this episode, please subscribe to Pursuing Health on iTunes and give it a rating! I’d love to hear all of your feedback in the comments below and on social media using the hashtag #JFHealth. I look forward to bringing you future episodes with inspiring individuals and ideas about health every other Tuesday. Don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter above so you never miss out on another episode.

If you or someone you know has an inspiring story about using lifestyle to overcome disease, please share by emailing info@juliefoucher.com. I will continue to feature stories like this in the future.

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.


46 – Living and training with Type 1 Diabetes with Brendan Snyder

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“You can’t really start making strides forward until you start telling yourself that maybe [having Type 1 Diabetes] makes you stronger, or maybe you wouldn’t be the person you are [without it]. Looking back on 13 years of diabetes, I don’t think I would be physically where I am, or mentally where I am if I wasn’t diagnosed. So, in a weird roundabout way, I appreciate the fact that I got it.” – Brendan Synder

When Brendan was 11 years old, he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. From trying to live like a regular teenager, to balancing Type 1 while playing college rugby, and his current pursuit of qualifying for the CrossFit Games regionals, Brendan provides a snapshot into the challenges of daily life and training with Type 1 Diabetes. Brendan received his BSN from Keene State College where he was also the captain of the rugby team. Brendan began his CrossFit journey at Feral Fitness in Saratoga Spring, NY. He currently lives in Memphis, TN where he works as an RN on the medical specialty unit at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital and trains at CrossFit Hit and Run.

In this episode we discuss:

  • Defining Type 1 vs. Type 2 diabetes mellitus
  • How Brendan was first diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T2DM) while out of the US on a family vacation
  • His first impressions of the diagnosis and his attempts to maintain a normal life as a teenager
  • Exercising with T1DM through his teen years, college rugby, and current CrossFit training
  • His experience training in a garage gym, affiliates, and the impact of the CrossFit community
  • Moving to Memphis, TN and transitioning to adult life
  • His experience working as a night shift pediatric nurse at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital
  • Using his personal experience to help patients with T1DM and their families
  • The evolution of Brendan’s approach to nutrition from his teen years, through college, as an adult and now working with a nutrition coach
  • His current training schedule and competitive CrossFit goals
  • Three things Brendan does on a regular basis that have the biggest positive impact on his health
  • One thing he struggles to implement that could have a big impact on Brendan’s health
  • What a healthy life looks like to him

You can follow Brendan’s journey and connect with him on Instagram.

Related Episodes:

16 – Pete Katz and his physician on using CrossFit and Paleo to overcome chronic disease

37 – Steph Hammerman on overcoming obstacles, teaching CrossFit, and crushing cancer

40 – CrossFit to prepare for and recover from total knee replacements with David Mendenhall

19 – Michelle Mitchell on her experience with exercise and CrossFit for fibromyalgia syndrome

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 #JFHealth. I look forward to bringing you future episodes with inspiring individuals and ideas about health every other Tuesday.

If you or someone you know has an inspiring story about using lifestyle to overcome disease, please share by emailing info@juliefoucher.com. I will continue to feature stories like this in the future.

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.