Ep 157 – Be Kind, Work Hard with Cole Sager

Ep 157 – Be Kind, Work Hard with Cole Sager

When you think of the CrossFit community, you think of people who are going to the gym to challenge themselves, to be better than they were the day before, and that is such a cool part of the community, and it’s what I fell in love with.
- Cole Sager


6-time CrossFit Games athlete Cole Sager wants to be known as the kindest person you'll ever meet, and in doing so, he hopes to motivate others to be the kindest, hardest-working version of themselves.

Growing up in a small town in Washington, Cole played sports throughout his youth and aspired to be an NFL player.  In 2009 he joined the Washington University Huskies as an invited walk-on, and was one of only a handful of true freshmen to play.  At the end of his freshman year, he was awarded the Scout Special Teams Player of The Year award, an honor that would change the trajectory of his life.  The honor was awarded based on hard work, and receiving it ignited Cole's drive to always be the hardest worker on the field.

As Cole neared graduation, his goals shifted from playing professional football to becoming a professional CrossFit athlete. Within months of his first CrossFit workout he qualified for Regionals, and just one year after that he established himself a serious contender when he placed first at the 2014 North West Regional and 17th in his rookie appearance at the CrossFit Games.

Eventually, Cole took a leap of faith, resigned from his job as a loan originator, and began training full-time in his home garage gym.  With the support of his wife, Genasee, and his coach, Ben Bergeron, he has built a reputation as one of CrossFit's most consistent athletes.  Career highlights so far include placing 5th at the 2016 CrossFit Games, 2nd at the 2019 Fittest in Cape Town sanctional, and 3rd at the 2019 Rogue Invitational, but according to Cole, one of his biggest achievements was winning the Spirit of the Games award in 2017, an honor that recognized all the hard work he puts into developing his character.

I was excited to catch up with Cole to learn more about what drives the intensity behind his training, the qualities he values in himself and others, and why he believes developing character leads to athletic excellence.

In this episode we discuss:

  • How Cole is approaching the 2020 CrossFit Games
  • How he stays focused on his goals in the face of doubt
  • Cole’s collegiate football career
  • Letting go of NFL aspirations and falling in love with CrossFit
  • Cole’s experience of getting to his first CrossFit Games
  • How he started working with Ben Bergeron as a coach
  • The qualities of a good coach
  • How Cole has developed as a person over the course of his CrossFit career
  • How he stays driven to train even on days he doesn’t feel like it
  • The importance of accepting help from others to hold yourself accountable
  • How Cole’s wife, Genasee, is a vital part of his team
  • A typical day for Cole and Genasee
  • Three things Cole does on a regular basis that have the biggest positive impact on his health
  • One thing he thinks could have a big impact on his health, but he has a hard time implementing
  • What a healthy life looks like to Cole

You can follow Cole on his website and on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.


Related episodes:

Ep 54 - Neal Maddox: From Football to Forty

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

Ep 76 - Working Against Gravity with Adee Cazayoux

Ep 84 - Chasing Excellence with Ben Bergeron

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 for general information only, and does not provide medical advice. We recommend that you seek assistance from your personal physician for any health conditions or concerns.

This post was originally published on August 18, 2020.

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