Mindset for CrossFit Champions.

chasing excellence mindset champion

“Chasing Excellence,” by Ben Bergeron is an excellent read on what it takes to be a CrossFit champion and what it takes to build the mindset of a CrossFit Champion.

CrossFit by itself is challenging

Anybody that has done CrossFit knows that it is challenging. Most people that have done CrossFit would argue that it is one of the more challenging types of working out there is. The high intensity in a CrossFit workout is directly related to the results you receive from a CrossFit workout.

Competing in CrossFit takes it to another level

Competing in CrossFit takes working out to another level and requires a specific type of mindset. A mindset that won’t cave under the pain and burning feeling you get when doing maximal reps of thrusters or burpees. Most of the book talks about the mindset of his athletes and how he has helped improve them.

Ben has a pyramid in the book that he calls the hierarchy of development of an athlete. The foundation of his pyramid is the person. Which then has the Process above the person. Above the process is Ability. And finally at the top of the pyramid is Strategy. He believes the mistake most people make is only focusing on the top two, Ability and Strategy.

Hierarchy of development of an athlete

The Person

I love how Ben talks about developing the character of the athlete first. If you can develop the character of the athlete then the working out, and the will to push will take care of itself. I’m currently working on this skill as a coach, and I believe this is what separates the great coaches from the good coaches. If your athletes have great character, then you don’t have to babysit them and make sure they are giving their best effort into what they are doing. If anything you may have to reign them in.

He lists a set of attitudes and attributes that are paramount to a person’s success:

…discipline, commitment, passion, confidence, persistence, resiliency, competitiveness, coachability, growth-mindedness, humility, hunger, dedication, tenacity, and grit.

“Chasing Excellence” by Ben Bergeron

Ben then goes on to say how being a champion or being at the top level of your chosen endeavor isn’t for everyone. Why? Because it’s hard work. And most people aren’t willing to put in the work necessary to get there.

In his book, he illustrates a graph that you could apply to any profession. Think of it as an upside down “U.” On the far left is Complacency. At the top of the arch is Competence. And then the far right has Excellence. Complacency is the complete opposite of Excellence. He says the majority of people will fall into the middle of Competency. Meaning people want to be good at what they do, but when faced with making the difficult decisions of working harder or longer, they will give up and say they are good enough.

To be the best at what you do you need to make sure you are doing everything you can to move you in the direction of excellence. And when stuff gets hard, you keep your head down and keep moving.


Once the person has been addressed, then you can focus on the process. When he refers to the process he is talking about focusing on the things you do every minute of every day. Not the long term or short term goals. You have to fall in love with the process. If you take care of all those little decisions you have every day the results will come on their own.

It is maximizing your minutes of every day by doing deliberate practice, which is different than regular practice. Deliberate practice is hard and involves mental strain. Going through the motions and getting work done for the sake of getting it done won’t take you to the next level. It is the difference between being world-class and being good.

Ability and Strategy

If you have taken care of the first two foundational pieces, then Ability and Strategy will be taken care of. With a solid foundation beginning with the person and then moving through the process, you will know what your abilities are and what your strategy needs to be to complete the task at hand.

In CrossFit, your Ability references your strength and conditioning. What your strong points are and what skills or fitness components need work. If you have gone through the process, then you will know where these chinks in the armor are, and hopefully, you have addressed them. You can then adjust your strategy for a particular workout based on all the experiences you have had leading up to that workout or event.

The strategy needs to be personal. What works for one person may not work for another. If you have been deliberate about practice and evaluating yourself you will know where your strengths and weaknesses are and what you need to do to complete the task at hand.

Chasing Excellence is a great quick read. You can tell that Ben has thought deeply on what qualities are necessary for people to perform their best. He references many other authors that touch on the subject of developing talent and mindset.

If your a CrossFit athlete than this is a must read. It doesn’t matter if you have dreams of going to the games or not. You will learn something. If you are interested in being a better leader, coach, parent, or even a better person, than this book will teach you a thing or two.

Buy the book on Amazon here.

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Also, make sure to check out my Top 5 Mindset Books.


Author: jpbolwahnn

JP is a Former Navy SEAL coaching professionals to their highest quality of life through health and mental performance.

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