Pursuing Health
Julie Foucher-Urcuyo MD, MS + Dani Urcuyo, MD
Julie Foucher-Urcuyo MD, MS is a four-time CrossFit Games athlete, family medicine resident, and member of the CrossFit Level 1 Seminar Staff. Her passion lies in bridging the gap between fitness and medicine to empower individuals to live healthier, more fulfilling lives. Together with her husband family physician Dani Urcuyo, MD, she brings you weekly content on Tuesdays alternating between expert interviews and short, practical reviews on a range of health and fitness topics.
One of the most common questions we receive is about how to get started with functional medicine. Whether you are a health care practitioner looking to learn more about functional medicine and how to incorporate it into your practice, or a patient looking for an aligned health care practitioner, we hope to answer a lot of these questions in this episode of Pursuing Health Pearls.

Dr. Leonard Calabrese, is a rheumatologist, immunologist, and doctor of osteopathic medicine. He is the head of Cleveland Clinic's Section of Clinical Immunology and manages the Clinical Immunology Clinic. After graduating from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences, Dr. Calabrese completed his internal medical training at Cleveland Clinic, followed by a fellowship in rheumatic and immunologic disease. Over the course of his career, Dr. Calabrese has authored more than 300 publications and become an internationally recognized HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C researcher. He is also passionate about utilizing lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise, sleep and stress management to reduce inflammation, control disease, and bolster immunologic function. Based on growing scientific evidence that environment and behavior play a large role in immune function and gene expression, Dr. Calabrese is leading the charge in educating physicians and empowering patients so that they can feel confident in using wellness behaviors to help strengthen their immune function and improve their overall health and happiness. Dr. Calabrese and I recently sat down to chat about the basics of the immune system and what practices we can implement in our day-to-day lives to reduce inflammation and lower our risk of chronic disease.

Given that the coronavirus seems to be a major topic of conversation these days, we thought it would make for the perfect topic for our first edition of Pursuing Health Pearls. These are short, ideally 10-15 minute podcast episodes (although this one was a bit longer!) meant to offer succinct, high-yield info on common health concerns. You can listen to the episode in audio format, or you can read a more detailed write-up in the blog post below. In this article, well first shed some light on what coronavirus is, how it is transmitted, who is at highest risk, how we can decrease our risk, and what to do if you think you are infected. Then well talk some numbers about the scope of the outbreak and try to put it into context with other major public health concerns. Its important to note that our understanding of the coronavirus is evolving day by day. The information in this blog post and accompanying podcast are accurate as of this writing but will likely change with time. The information presented here has been gathered primarily from the CDC and WHO, and we recommend you use these as well as your state or local health department for the most up-to-date information as the outbreak continues to evolve.

Daniel Urcuyo is a board certified family physician and has completed his training with the Institute for Functional Medicine. He graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Microbiology and completed his medical school and residency training at the Cleveland Clinic. Dani is also a CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, co-founder of the TRAIN with Julie Foucher program, and a former CrossFit Games team competitor. Dani also happens to be my husband, the person that introduced me to CrossFit, and my business partner! We first met in college (over an episode of Greys Anatomy!), and as we progressed through our medical training, we both shared a frustration with the inability of the conventional medical system to address root causes of disease. After witnessing the power of lifestyle to improve overall health via our time in the CrossFit affiliate, we knew we wanted to practice a different kind of medicine: one that harnesses the power of lifestyle and is rooted in communities. In this episode, Im excited to give you a peek behind the curtain to learn more about Dani as we talk about how we met, answer listener questions, and make a big announcement about the improvements coming to Pursuing Health and our vision for the future!

Dr. Amy West is a Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation specialist, also known as a physiatrist. This little-known specialty treats a wide variety of medical conditions affecting the nervous and skeletal systems by focusing treatment on addressing root causes and restoring function. Dr. West is a graduate of Harvard Medical School, and she completed her residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. During her time in medical school, she also earned her Masters of Education with an emphasis on video technology and medical education. As a CrossFit Level 1 Trainer and active participant in the CrossFit Health movement, Dr. West sees many parallels between the medicine she practices in the clinic and the CrossFit methodology she sees practiced in affiliates. I was excited to chat with Dr. West at the Winter Classic to learn more about how physiatry can be used to bridge the gap from acute sickness to wellness, and to hear how she explains her pro-CrossFit viewpoint to critics in medicine.

As Director of the CrossFit Games and Co-Director of Training for CrossFit Inc, Dave Castro has witnessed the growth and evolution of CrossFit from a grassroots fitness movement to a worldwide professional sport. Dave served as a Navy SEAL from 1998-2010 and first caught wind of CrossFit in 2005 when he started following CrossFit.com to support his training. By 2006 he had begun training at the original CrossFit HQ affiliate in Santa Cruz, CA and was soon helping out at Level 1 seminars. The following year, he hosted the first ever CrossFit Games competition at his familys Ranch in Aromas, CA. Since that time, the CrossFit Games has grown exponentially into a professional sport under Daves direction. He has been there every step of the way, devising tests that select for the fittest man and woman on earth and programming events at all 13 editions of the Games. In his second visit to the podcast, Dave and I sat down at CrossFit HQ following an MDL1 Seminar. Our last show was in May of 2016, so we had a lot to catch up on! We talked about the positive changes hes witnessed as CrossFit transitions its focus to CrossFit Health, his reflections on the 2019 CrossFit Games, and why hes okay with not being everyones friend.

Kristi OConnell, formerly Kristi Eramo, has been passionate about fitness her entire life. A former collegiate swimmer and endurance athlete, she made her first appearance at a CrossFit Regionals competition in 2014, and by 2016 she placed first at the highly competitive Central East Regional. Following three CrossFit Games appearances as an individual between 2016 and 2018, Kristi placed 26th in the world in the 2019 CrossFit Open, qualifying for a spot at the 2019 CrossFit Games as an individual. Instead, she made the surprising choice to decline her invitation as part of an effort to be more present with her friends, family and her community at CrossFit Polaris. As fate would have it, an unexpected invitation to join Team Invictus X, had Kristi competing at the 2019 CrossFit Games after all, but this time as part of a team who prioritized FUN. The experience helped re-ignite Kristis passion for training, and also helped her to evolve her approach. These days, Kristi enjoys working out daily alongside her husband and her friend, Dan Bailey. Her training volume is much lower, and her focus is primarily on running her affiliate and making time to disconnect and be present with the ones she loves. I had the chance to catch up with Kristi and we chatted about the importance of connecting your training to your inner why, how her mindset and approach has shifted over the years, and what shes doing to make sure she continues to find joy in fitness.

When it comes to fitness and disease prevention, regular exercise is just one piece of the puzzle. Quality nutrition lays the foundation for better health, and yet its a component that is often overlooked by both fitness professionals and their clients. Nicole Aucoin is a Registered Dietician and the founder of Healthy Steps Nutrition, a consulting program run at hundreds of gyms and nutrition practices worldwide. In addition to empowering her own clients to make lifestyle changes through diet and exercise, she works to help gym owners share the importance of nutrition with their own members. Nicole is also the author of Nourish: Grow Your Nutrition Business From The Ground Up. Nicole is actively involved with CrossFit as a CrossFit Level 2 Trainer, co-owner of CrossFit HSN, member of the CrossFit Certification Board, regular contributor to the CrossFit Journal, and active supporter of the CrossFit Health movement. I had the chance to sit down with Nicole at the 2019 CrossFit Games. We chatted about the challenges of practicing dietetics in a clinical setting, why affiliate owners should prioritize consistent nutrition messaging as part of their program, and the methods Nicole uses with her own clients to facilitate accountability and long-term lifestyle changes.

Jeffrey Geller, MD, practices family medicine and integrative medicine and has been a pioneer in group medical visits. He is widely recognized as an innovator in the delivery of health care by creating and using an empowerment model for shared medical appointments. Dr. Geller began his work with groups in 1996 during his residency when he noticed that loneliness played a large role in his patients well-being. He has since completed research studies showing a relationship between loneliness and increased hospital visits, as well as identifying a link between loneliness, depression, and chronic illness. Dr. Geller has a particular passion for delivering care to underserved communities. By sharing his experiences and training others to deliver health care in a group setting, he hopes to provide efficient care in a financially sustainable way that eliminates barriers to health and provides services otherwise unavailable to many patients. I recently sat down with Dr. Geller to learn more about how loneliness plays a role in our health, how hes implemented group visits in his own practice, and the lessons hes learned along the way.

Five years ago, our family first gathered around the living room on Christmas, put on our favorite holiday movies, and took turns rowing until we reached a marathon 42,195 meters. Over the years, what started as a small way to stay active and spend time together during the holidays has grown into a worldwide fundraising event. Last year, we had teams from across the globe competing in support of a charity run by Danis family, Educar es Avanzar. This year, were choosing to raise money for Barbells for Boobs an incredible organization that works hard to improve the quality of life of those diagnosed with breast cancer. Breast cancer has hit our family in a big way over the past couple of years, with my Aunt Nancy currently in remission and Danis mom, Barbara, just recently diagnosed and beginning her treatment. We know personally how difficult it can be to navigate this process, and want to give back to an organization that is working hard to make it easier for so many. As a part of this initiative, I was excited to speak with Zionna Hanson, the founder of Barbells for Boobs. Zionnas life has also been greatly impacted by breast cancer: in 2009, her best friend was diagnosed at the age of 26. Zionna rallied the CrossFit community to support her friend, and from that small event, Barbells for Boobs was born. Over the past 10 years Zionna has guided Barbells for Boobs as it has grown into a global movement. What started as a nonprofit with a focus on funding mammograms has evolved into an organization dedicated to providing community and resources after diagnosis through fitness. Zionna and I caught up to chat about the challenges breast cancer patients face, what donors should look for in a nonprofit theyre choosing to support, and the importance of being open to opportunities for evolution, change and growth.

Nicole Christensen started CrossFit Roots out of her one-car garage in 2008. Since that time, she and her husband Eric have grown Roots into a 10,000 square foot facility with an accomplished team of full-time coaches and staff. She got her coaching start as a swim coach in the Northern Virginia Swim League. 10 years later when she found CrossFit, she knew that it combined her passion for coaching with her belief in a lifelong pursuit of fitness and health. In 2009 she was hired to the CrossFit Seminar Staff, and for more than ten years Nicole has traveled around the world to teach and coach the CrossFit Level 1 and Level 2 Certificate Courses. Nicole has an extensive competitive background and competed in five CrossFit Games Regionals, placing in the top ten four times. She is a well-known resource for women interested in continuing CrossFit throughout their pregnancies, drawing on her own personal experiences of training and competing while pregnant alongside her experiences coaching Roots athletes through own their pregnancies. Nicole and I had the opportunity to chat at the 2019 CrossFit Games, and our conversation ran the gamut. In part a, we talk about her background, how her education as city planner influences the processes and systems that have helped grow CrossFit Roots into a thriving affiliate, and why she loves the community aspect of CrossFit. In part b, we do a deep dive on best practices for training while pregnant, to how she maintains her fire and love for CrossFit after 11 years in the business.

Nicole Christensen started CrossFit Roots out of her one-car garage in 2008. Since that time, she and her husband Eric have grown Roots into a 10,000 square foot facility with an accomplished team of full-time coaches and staff. She got her coaching start as a swim coach in the Northern Virginia Swim League. 10 years later when she found CrossFit, she knew that it combined her passion for coaching with her belief in a lifelong pursuit of fitness and health. In 2009 she was hired to the CrossFit Seminar Staff, and for more than ten years Nicole has traveled around the world to teach and coach the CrossFit Level 1 and Level 2 Certificate Courses. Nicole has an extensive competitive background and competed in five CrossFit Games Regionals, placing in the top ten four times. She is a well-known resource for women interested in continuing CrossFit throughout their pregnancies, drawing on her own personal experiences of training and competing while pregnant alongside her experiences coaching Roots athletes through own their pregnancies. Nicole and I had the opportunity to chat at the 2019 CrossFit Games, and our conversation ran the gamut, from how her education as city planner influences the processes and systems that have helped grow CrossFit Roots into a thriving affiliate, to best practices for training while pregnant, to how she maintains her fire and love for CrossFit after 11 years in the business.

When it comes to helping seniors and other unlikely exercisers become active and functionally fit for a lifetime of health, Dustin Jones and Michele Mootz are leading the charge. As a home health physical therapist, Dustin Jones works to keep older adults resilient and independent at home. He is also the founder of Geros Health and the Geros Health podcast, where he connects thousands of clinicians to share information and education about caring for older adults. Michele Mootz is a true CrossFit original, getting her start in Santa Cruz back in 2004. An experienced physical therapist, she fell in love with CrossFit methodologies and ultimately left her formal work as a physical therapist to become a full-time coach. Michelle has worked on the CrossFit Seminar Staff member for 10 years, currently serving as a Flowmaster. Most recently she has taken over the CrossFit Heath program at CrossFit HQ where she works with older adults as well as those struggling with obesity and chronic disease in an effort to help them regain their health and independence. Michele, Dustin and I met up at a recent CFMDL1 seminar to share a discussion on how we can bridge the gap from the hospital to the affiliate. In this episode, we discuss the considerations that go along with working with these special populations, how affiliate owners can get start their own senior and special populations programs, and how healthcare providers can get involved with their local affiliates.

In the blink of an eye, Kevin Ogars life dramatically changed while weightlifting during a fitness competition. An erratic bounce of a barbell clipped him in the back, injuring his spinal cord and leaving him paralyzed from the waist down. At just 28, Kevin went from being an active CrossFit coach and aspiring Games competitor to being paraplegic and learning how to navigate life from a wheelchair. In the aftermath of the accident, Kevin was surrounded by love and support from the CrossFit community, and his passion for CrossFit helped him navigate through some dark times as he focused on getting back in the gym and to the community he loves. In the years since the accident, Kevin has not only become a prolific adaptive athlete, he has also dedicated himself to helping others use CrossFit for fitness and recovery. He travels the world teaching CrossFit Level 1 seminars and Adaptive Training Academy courses, runs his own affiliate, CrossFit Watchtower, volunteers with Craig Hospital to run a therapeutic recreation program, and is on the board of directors for The Reveille Project, a non-profit that provides tools to aid veterans as they adapt back to civilian life. I had the opportunity to catch up with Kevin at the 2019 CrossFit Games, and we chatted about his recovery process, how he adjusts his mindset when hes having a down day, and his passion for helping others push beyond their limits to achieve more than they ever thought possible.

Zoë Harcombe, Ph.D., is a researcher, author, blogger, and speaker in the fields of nutrition and health. Her particular area of expertise is public health dietary guidelines, especially dietary fat, nutrition and obesity. She has a BA in Economics and an MA in Mathematics from Cambridge University, and she earned her PhD in Public Health Nutrition from the University of the West of Scotland. Zoë is well known for her thorough examination of nutrition research studies and journal articles, and she advocates for the public to be educated in evidence-based dietary advice. After many years as a vegetarian, Zoë herself now follows a low carb, high fat diet and believes that eating real food, including animal protein, is the key to long term health. I had the opportunity to sit down with Zoë at the 2019 CrossFit Health Conference where she was presenting on the corruption plaguing current nutrition advice. We covered a wide range of topics including what prompted her to leave a successful human resources career to pursue her Ph.D. in public health nutrition, and how, as she completed her thesis, she learned that much of current public health dietary advice is not evidence-based. We also talked about what she believes research shows to be the best diet, why there is so much misinformation regarding nutrition out there, and what listeners can do to influence change in the current dietary guidelines.

Ian Wee, the Fittest Man in Singapore, is one of 236 athletes who qualified for the 2019 CrossFit Games by earning a National Champion title in the CrossFit Open. This feat is all the more impressive when you consider that hes also in the process of completing medical school, so his time spent training has been quite a bit less than many of his competitors. A student at the National University of Singapore Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, Ian has been participating in CrossFit off and on since 2013. Over the past six years, hes taken time away from the sport to focus on medical training and research (hes published over 50 papers), and to compete as a National Olympic Weightlifter for Team Singapore, where he's set national records in the snatch and total. With the announcement of the changes to the 2019 Games selection process, Ian re-committed himself to regular CrossFit training and found ways to squeeze in extra sessions while keeping up with his studies. His efforts paid off when he finished the Open in first place for his country, securing a berth to his rookie CrossFit Games. I had the pleasure of chatting with Ian the 2019 CrossFit Games, and it was fun to compare notes on what its like to be a medical student while training as an elite athlete. We talked about his experience representing his country at the Games, how he balances school with training, and what plans he has in store for the future.

Christy Phillips Adkins is an 8-time CrossFit Games athlete, competing as an individual seven times between 2009 and 2016, and once on team CrossFit Balance in 2017. Over the course of her career, she overcame both physical and psychological challenges, including narrowly missing the cutoff for the 2015 Games, and recovering from a torn biceps tendon in time to qualify in 2016. After retiring from competition to focus on starting a family, she quickly became pregnant with her now 15-month-old son, Bo, and has embraced what it means to train for longevity and health as a post-partum athlete. Lindy Barber is a former collegiate soccer player who began competing in CrossFit in 2012 after rehabbing a fractured vertebra in her back. She has competed at the CrossFit Games twice as an individual, and has had three podium finishes as a member of Team CrossFit Mayhem Freedom. In Lindys final season, she found herself losing some of her excitement for training as her back injury flared up and she knew that her body was asking for a break. She knew it was time to shift gears with her training to protect her long-term health and to preserve her joy for the sport. The 2019 season marks the first year that Lindy has not been training for the CrossFit Games, and it has been a huge transition for her to figure out what life looks like when not training 6-7 hours per day. I had the chance to sit down with Lindy and Christy during the 2019 CrossFit Games in Madison, WI for a live podcast recording at the Reebok tent. We shared stories about the life and fitness transitions all three of us have undergone over the last few years, and what it looks like to shift from training as a competitive athlete to training for health and longevity.

Dominic DAgostino, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology at the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine and a senior research scientist at the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition. With a diverse background in neuroscience, pharmacology, nutrition and physiology, Dom brings a unique perspective to the ketogenic diet. He believes it can be applied not just in treating medical conditions but also in contributing to overall health and optimizing human performance. The findings from his research on nutritional ketosis have been utilized by Navy SEALs and NASA, and he recently has been at the forefront of research involving the use of nutritional ketosis as a tool to treat cancer. I had the opportunity to sit down with Dom at the 2019 CrossFit Health Conference in Madison, where he presented on the emerging applications of ketosis. We talked about the basics of the ketogenic diet, how it can fit into the everyday persons lifestyle, and the exciting research hes conducting to learn more about using metabolic therapies in the treatment of cancer.

Josh Bridges is a 6-time CrossFit Games competitor who has been doing CrossFit since 2005. In addition to three first place finishes at the highly competitive California Regional, his top finishes at the CrossFit Games include second in 2011 and fourth in 2014. A former collegiate wrestler and U.S. Navy Seal, Josh has used the lessons hes learned along the way to cultivate his impressive work ethic and mental toughness. He is known and loved for his fiery presence on the competition floor, and for his mantra, "Pay the Man." I had the opportunity to sit down with Josh in front of a live audience at the 2019 Reebok CrossFit Games. We chatted about the tools hes using to speed his recovery from a recent knee surgery, his background as a Navy SEAL, what it means to Pay the Man, and his plans for returning to competition.

As the founder of a program that has revolutionized fitness, Greg Glassman is no stranger to controversy. Known to many as simply Coach, he grew up in southern California participating in gymnastics and complemented his training with modalities including weightlifting and cycling. When he later became a trainer, he was kicked out of several globo gyms for employing his unique style of constantly varied, high intensity functional movement before he finally opened the first CrossFit gym in Santa Cruz, CA in 1995. Shortly thereafter, CrossFit.com was created and Greg would post Workouts of the Day, or WODs for athletes from all over the world to complete. Beginning in 2003, CrossFit affiliates began to open and CrossFit experienced exponential growth -- today there are over 15,000 affiliates worldwide. During this period, we witnessed the rise of the CrossFit Games, the ultimate proving grounds for fitness which crowns the Fittest Man and Woman on Earth each year. Most recently, weve witnessed a significant shift in the qualification process for the Games and major changes at CrossFit HQ. Weve also witnessed incredible stories of transformation in the affiliates, with participants losing weight, gaining confidence, and ridding themselves of chronic disease. With the inception of CrossFit Health, CrossFit has turned it's focus towards fighting ever-increasing disease rates and medical costs while also networking CrossFit physicians and educating affiliate owners, coaches, and the general public in an effort to combat corrupted medical science and a tsunami of chronic disease. For his third visit to the podcast, Greg and I sat down just before the 2019 CrossFit Health conference and CrossFit Games in Madison, WI. We discussed the evolution of CrossFit and CrossFit Health, the implications of scientific misconduct in the medical field, and what he sees for the future of CrossFit.

Marcus Filly is a 6-time CrossFit Games athlete, a former medical school student, and the catalyst behind the functional bodybuilding movement. As the owner of Revival Strength, he is passionate about providing training programs to help his clients build strength and endurance without breaking down their bodies. However, Marcus wasn’t always so sure about his path. Following his collegiate athletic career, Marcus entered medical school to pursue what he thought was his intended purpose. Instead, he found that while he appreciated the knowledge and the discipline of his medical training, a voice inside kept telling him he was on the wrong track. After a lot of soul searching, Marcus decided to follow his heart and begin a career in fitness. In doing so, he found a new way to educate and empower people with the tools they need to begin their own pursuit of health and happiness. Marcus and I had a great conversation about the many parallels in our lives, from medical training to the demands of being a competitive athlete. In this episode, we discuss the importance of finding your true purpose, the distinction between functional bodybuilding and other styles of training, and why lifestyle stressors are a huge consideration when it comes to earning intensity in a workout.

Dr. Wayne Jonas is a practicing family physician, an expert in integrative health, and a widely published scientific investigator. In addition to his medical practice, he has served as President, CEO, and Executive Director for Samueli Integrative Health Programs, Director of the Office of Alternative Medicine at the National Institutes of Health, and Director of the Medical Research Fellowship at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. Dr. Jonas is a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the Medical Corps of the United States Army and a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians. Drawing on his experience from leading hundreds of research studies, Dr. Jonas authored the book How Healing Works, in which he explains the biology of healing and the science behind the discovery that 80 percent of healing occurs outside of our conventional medical care. His goal is to change the way doctors and patients approach healthcare—away from a disease treatment model to an integrative system that incorporates the best of evidence-based conventional, complementary and self-care approaches. Dr. Jonas’s advice can help us facilitate our own innate ability to heal after both minor and major medical incidents, change how we consume healthcare, and enable us to be more in control of our own health. I first read Dr. Jonas’s book during my own residency in family medicine, and his message really resonated with the way I aspire to practice in my career. I was excited to chat with him recently about the concept of integrative health and how research supports that taking care of the whole person-- mind, body, and spirit-- is imperative for long-term healing.

Neither Feeroozeh Saghafi nor Erin Vandendriessche started CrossFit with the intention of becoming competitors, but over the last several years, both women have slowly worked their way from beginners to up-and-coming Games athletes. Erin Vandendriessche is a former Baldwin Wallace University gymnast and two-time Central Regional athlete, making an appearance on the CTown CrossFit team in 2017, and an individual appearance in 2018. With the changes to the 2019 Games season, Erin made the surprising decision to opt out of the Open, and instead focused on competing at Sanctionals, most notably the Italian Showdown where she topped the podium and earned her ticket to the 2019 CrossFit Games. A former nurse and current nutrition coach, Erin trains out of her husband’s affiliate, Root 18 CrossFit in Medina, OH. Fee Saghafi is a former high school volleyball athlete who started CrossFit as a way to manage her weight and provide direction in the gym while she was in college. After two appearances at the Central Regional (on team CrossFit Mentality in 2017 and as an individual in 2018) she decided to dial in her training and her mindset and commit to her goal of becoming a Games competitor. She finished 24th in the 2019 Open, securing her rookie berth to the CrossFit Games. Fee attended John Carroll University where she earned a degree in Exercise Science and most recently graduated with her Master's in Business Administration. Fee coaches and trains alongside Scott Panchik at CrossFit Mentality in Mentor, OH. Through the years of competing alongside each other in local events, Fee and Erin have grown to become friends in addition to fellow competitors. While they earned their rookie spot at the Games through different avenues, both women have found that embracing a champion mindset has been an integral part of making the leap to becoming one of the best in the world. I caught up with Fee and Erin at CrossFit Mentality to chat about their evolution as athletes, and what tips, habits, and practices they used to qualify for their first CrossFit Games.

Dr. Maude Dull has been active throughout her life, but from middle school through medical training she struggled to maintain a healthy weight, peaking at 240 lbs. As a young doctor specializing in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics and working in fast-paced intensive care settings, she used martial arts and then CrossFit to provide an outlet for her stressful work schedule but found her weight wouldn’t budge. Wanting to reach her full potential as an athlete, she enlisted the help of a nutrition coach from Precision Nutrition who focused on changing her habits, and a performance coach who helped her shift her mindset. Maude was finally able to bring her weight to a healthy level, and along the way she learned valuable lessons about the importance of balance in all aspects of life. These days, Maude has pivoted away from adrenaline-seeking work and workouts, and instead enjoys moderation with a challenging job in a Step-Down Unit and workouts scaled to help her remain healthy long-term. I had the pleasure of meeting Maude at a recent CFMDL1 seminar, and was excited to catch up with her at San Francisco CrossFit to share her story of how she changed her habits to overcome obesity, why she made the shift from training for the Open to training for longevity, and what prompted her to join the CrossFit Health movement.

2009 CrossFit Games champion Tanya Wagner has competed in the sport as an individual, on a team, and most recently at the 2019 Rogue Invitational, as a Legend. Over the last ten years, she’s managed to strike a balance between competing, running her affiliate, commentating for the CrossFit Games, and raising her two children. Inspired by the original “CrossFit Girls,” Tanya was a competitor at the second annual CrossFit Games in 2008, where she would narrowly miss a first place victory to Caity Henniger, who has since helped to grow Rogue Fitness into what it is today alongside her husband, Bill. Tanya would come back in 2009 to stand atop the podium and inspire future generations of CrossFit Games athletes. I sat down with Tanya at the 2019 Rogue Invitational to learn more about what it’s like to be one of the original CrossFit champions, and to hear how her approach to training has evolved throughout the many changes in her life.

Dr. Valter Longo is a professor of Gerontology and Biological Sciences, and the Director of the Longevity Institute at the University of Southern California, and the Senior Group Leader of the IFOM Cancer Institute in Milan. His studies focus on the fundamental mechanisms of aging in simple organisms and mice, and how they can be translated to humans. After nearly 25 years of research alongside pioneering scientists, Dr. Longo has applied his extensive knowledge on aging, genetics, nutrition and disease to develop The Longevity Diet. He believes that by following a low-protein pescatarian eating plan combined with periods of a fasting-mimicking diet, one can improve their cellular rejuvenation, increase their resistance to diabetes and other metabolic disorders, and extend their healthy lifespan. I recently caught up with Dr. Longo to learn more about his Five Pillars of Longevity, and how his research has led him to believe that the key to increasing your “youth-span” lies in making long-term, sustainable changes to your nutrition.

Dr. Ken Rictor is the founder, owner and sole physician at Scotland Family Medicine, a Pennsylvania-based family medicine practice using the Direct Primary Care (DPC) model. Dr. Rictor graduated with honors from the University of Maryland Medical School in 1985 and completed his residency at the Washington Hospital in Washington, PA in 1988. Upon the completion of his residency, Dr. Rictor immediately opened his own private practice and enjoyed helping a broad scope of patients as a family physician. Over time, he witnessed the healthcare system making dramatic changes and the role family doctors becoming more limited, with many private practices being bought out by larger hospitals. As insurance contributed to increasing costs, Dr. Rictor fought to keep up with increasing paperwork and overhead, and decreasing time with patients. After 25 years of practice, he made the choice to convert to a Direct Primary Care model in an effort to enhance his patients' experience and reduce overall cost. Since making the switch, he’s noticed an improved relationship with his patients, and his patients have benefited from high-quality, affordable care. I sat down with Dr. Rictor after attending the Hint Summit in San Francisco to learn how he made the choice to switch to Direct Primary Care, the benefits he and his patients enjoy from this model of practice, and some of the commonalities he sees between CrossFit and DPC.

Kara Saunders is a seven-time CrossFit Games veteran with four top-10 finishes under her belt, including 2nd place in 2017 and 4th place in 2018. Growing up as an only child until the age of 13, she naturally found herself turning to sports for entertainment, her favorite being swimming. At 19, a personal trainer introduced her to CrossFit, and Kara’s raw talent, hard work, and discipline quickly led her to success in the sport. Not only is Kara a decorated Games athlete, in 2017, she also became an affiliate owner, opening the doors to CrossFit Kova, in Brisbane, Australia, where she resides with her husband Matt. These days, Kara is taking a different approach to her training- shortly after the 2018 Games, she became pregnant with her first child. We caught up to discuss what it’s like to make the transition from competitive athlete to expectant mother, the training and nutrition practices Kara is applying to foster a healthy pregnancy, and how Kara is drawing from her CrossFit Games experience to balance the stress of being a business owner and first-time mom.

In July 2017, Elizabeth Bradley, MD, stepped into her role as Medical Director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine. She brought with her a wealth of knowledge and experience as a dietitian, internist, and a certified Functional Medicine physician. Dr. Bradley earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees in nutrition from Cornell University and Tufts University, respectively. She started her career as a clinical dietitian at Massachusetts General Hospital, but after 6 years decided she wanted to pursue further training as a physician. She went on to earn her medical degree and complete residency training in Internal Medicine at Dartmouth. After years of practicing Internal Medicine, Dr. Bradley’s passion for nutrition led her to find Functional Medicine and ultimately brought her to the Cleveland Clinic to direct the nation's first academic Center for Functional Medicine. In her role as Medical Director, Dr. Bradley is able to support the advancement of Functional Medicine through research and education while helping patients achieve optimal health through a multi-faceted approach. She has truly come full circle and enjoys practicing as a physician that starts by using the premise that food is medicine. I recently sat down with Dr. Bradley to chat about all things Functional Medicine, from how her own career path led her to where she is today, how the Center for Functional Medicine has evolved over the past 5 years and it's role in bringing a Functional Medicine approach to the mainstream, and how interested practitioners and patients can become involved.

In this episode of Pursuing Health, I chat with two of my good friends and physical therapists, Matt Stevens, DPT and Ryan Summers, DPT, CSCS of Pure Physio. Matt and Ryan share the mindset that physical therapy plays an important role not just in rehab and recovery, but also in optimizing performance. Their approach focuses on one-on-one, individualized attention and includes both corrective exercises to address movement dysfunction and functional training to prevent reoccurring injuries. At their practice in Strongsville, OH, they work with a wide range of clients, from elite endurance and CrossFit Games athletes to weekend warriors. Matt, Ryan and I had a great conversation about the implications of life stressors on training readiness, the need to sometimes lower the intensity, and how everything from manual therapy to mindset can build a hedge against sickness.

From the day he was born, Stephen Douglas has faced more obstacles than the average person. Diagnosed at birth with a heart defect, Tetralogy of Fallot, Stephen underwent open heart surgery at just 7 months of age. Throughout his early childhood, his heart condition, combined with asthma, meant Stephen had to be cautious not to exert himself too much physically or participate in contact sports. At the age of 10, Stephen was dealt another challenge after his dentist found a cyst growing in his jaw. He was diagnosed with Gorlin syndrome, a genetic disorder that causes thousands of skin cancers, jaw cysts, and bone cysts. He underwent treatment for the condition, but the numerous painful procedures and surgeries led him into a deep depression which persisted through his teen years. Stephen stopped physical and social activity, gained weight, and his blood pressure increased. By the age of 20 he weighed 300 pounds. His doctor told him he needed to make a change. Inspired by athletes he saw while watching the CrossFit Games on television, Stephen began to make small changes which led to a cascade of events that helped him lose over 85 pounds. In the process, he was able to lower his blood pressure, experience relief from his asthma symptoms, forge new relationships, and get in the best shape of his life. I sat down with Stephen to learn more about what it’s like to deal with a scary medical diagnosis as a child and how he gained the tools he needed to make the transition from a sedentary lifestyle to a thriving one.

Twin brothers Saxon Panchik and Spencer Panchik, along with their older brother, Scott Panchik, are quickly becoming a something of a CrossFit dynasty. Growing up, all the Panchik kids were exceptionally active, playing football, basketball, wrestling and more, until a near-deadly childhood hiking accident landed both Saxon and Spencer in the hospital with multiple injuries. Unable to return to the contact sports they loved, Saxon and Spencer shifted their focus towards a new sport: CrossFit.

Nate Bergman, DO, MBA, is trained in internal medicine, geriatrics, and functional medicine and is passionate about using a multidimensional approach to prevent and reverse cognitive decline that emphasizes root causes including sleep, exercise, nutrition, and stress management. Dr. Bergman’s knowledge and experience with treating cognitive decline comes not only from his research and his time on staff at the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine; he also has first-hand experience. While completing his medical training, Dr. Bergman struggled with severe memory loss. With the support of his family and a functional medicine approach that addressed the root causes of his symptoms, he was able to overcome this challenge, and today believes his brain is functioning the best it ever has in his adult life. His personal experience served to further cement his drive to study and treat patients who suffer from cognitive decline. Today, Dr. Bergman continues to focus on brain health and the early prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease as the Chief Scientific Wellness Officer at the Kemper Center for Cognitive Health and Wellness. We recently sat down to talk about how he made the decision to pursue osteopathic and functional medicine, the impact of sleep and stress on brain health, and his hopes for the future of Alzheimer’s research.

Amanda Barnhart took the CrossFit world by surprise at the 2018 Central Regional where, as a virtually unknown athlete, she dominated the competition, winning three events and finishing third for the weekend. Her success was no accident: a lifelong athlete, Amanda grew up as a gymnast, volleyball player, and runner, and she swam Division 1 at Cleveland State University. Since starting CrossFit in 2013, she’s made four appearances at Regionals, twice on a team and twice as an individual. Amanda is also a practicing Doctor of Physical Therapy, and she works hard to balance time spent with patients and time spent training. She finds that lessons she’s learned in her own competitive athletic experience carry over to everyday athletes and vice versa. Leading up to the 2018 CrossFit Games, Amanda worked hard on her mindset to eliminate any doubt as to whether she belonged among such an elite caliber of athletes. She would finish a solid 15th in her rookie appearance and has been training all year with anticipation of performing even better in the 2019 season. I caught up with Amanda to chat about what has led to her success as a CrossFit Games athlete, what she learned in her 2018 season, and how she hopes to continue to blend her physical therapy and CrossFit careers.

Michael F. Roizen, MD, is an internist and anesthesiologist who is passionate about helping people choose to live younger and healthier lives. He is the Chief Wellness Officer at Cleveland Clinic, the co-founder of RealAge Inc, a five-time number one New York Times best-selling author, and the Chief Medical Consultant on the Dr. Oz Show. An accomplished lecturer, researcher, CEO, television personality and author, Dr. Roizen’s myriad achievements are too numerous to count. Dr. Roizen continues to practice internal medicine, using the RealAge metric to motivate his patients. He routinely sees patients who are in the midst of struggling with tobacco, heart, diabetic or arthritic problems and coaches them with simple (but persistent) lifestyle changes to be able to live, feel, look and be years younger. He really enjoys getting them to throw away their medications when they no longer need them, and teaches the role of food and other simple steps in reversing disease processes. I had the opportunity to work with Dr. Roizen during my medical school studies, and I was thrilled to catch up with him at his home to talk about the benefits he’s witnessed since Cleveland Clinic implemented an Employee Health Plan, the most important lifestyle factors we can change to improve our overall health and wellness, and his take on What to Eat When.

Jason Khalipa is a decorated CrossFit athlete, well-known for his 8 appearances at the CrossFit Games and multiple podium finishes, including the title of Fittest Man on Earth in 2008. For 7 years, Jason competed as an individual, and in 2015 he shifted his focus to team competition in order to spend more time with his family.

Joseph Janesz, PhD, is an Associate Staff and Director of the Outpatient Executive and Professional Program at Cleveland Clinic. He has been a Psychotherapist, Clinical Supervisor, lecturer, author and national Consultant for the past 30 years. Dr. Janesz completed his undergraduate work at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, and received his PhD degree from Kent State University in Kent, Ohio. His training includes couples and group therapy, performance enhancement and sports psychology, executive coaching and management and organizational consulting. He consults with a wide range of clients in the medical, legal, financial, sports and entertainment fields and has been a Consultant to the National Football League for the past 20 years and a key player in the first NFL Players Assistance Program -- the Cleveland Browns "Inner Circle Program." Dr. Janesz played an integral role in my own training as I prepared for the CrossFit Games. It was a pleasure to re-connect with him to learn more about his approach for helping individuals become their own personal best self and how anyone can have a Champion mindset. *Dr. Janesz’s Bio was adapted from clevelandclinic.org

Can you believe we’re at 100 episodes?! It’s been a slow and steady process over the past 3+ years, but consistency sure pays off! I want to thank all of you from the bottom of my heart for listening and continuing to support me through this shift in my career from CrossFit Games athlete, to medical student, and now soon-to-be family medicine physician. This podcast has been such a rewarding outlet for me to continue to highlight some amazing individuals in the world and share their stories and discoveries with all of you, in the hopes that their insights might positively impact your lives as well. I wanted to do something special to celebrate this milestone, and although we have had some INCREDIBLE guests on the show over the past 3 years, it just felt like this was the appropriate time to have a little more intimate conversation between me and YOU with a Q+A style episode

Dr. Axel Pflueger serves as the Medical Director of the Center of Comprehensive & Diagnostic Medicine in New York, NY and is a Clinical Instructor at New York University Langone Medical Center. He is a trained cardiac surgeon, board-certified internist, and board-certified nephrologist with a PhD in Pharmacology. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Nephrology and is a recognized international speaker on diabetes and kidney disease, and has an extensive research background in diabetes, kidney disease, vascular function, and oxidative stress.

At the 2015 CrossFit Games, Sydney Sullivan dominated the competition, winning 1st place in 5 out of 6 events in the Girls 14-15 Division, and was crowned the Fittest Teen on Earth. She was also struggling with a serious chronic disease: Type 2 juvenile autoimmune hepatitis. Diagnosed at age 12, Sydney managed her condition through a combination of healthy diet, CrossFit, and medical care. However, as the 2016 CrossFit Games drew closer, Sydney began losing weight and feeling fatigued as the symptoms of her illness worsened. That year, she would finish a highly respectable 6th place, but Sydney could feel her health declining. Caught in a catch-22 situation, her health markers were still far “too healthy” to be considered for a traditional deceased-donor liver transplant. At the suggestion of her doctor, her family began the process of finding a donor and a facility for a live-donor transplant. Ultimately, her brother, Tommy, was able to give 60% of his liver to Sydney, and together the two embarked on a slow path to recovery. Today, they work together at his affiliate, Koda Crossfit Tulsa where Sydney is a coach. I caught up with Sydney at the 2018 CrossFit Games to hear how she managed a chronic illness while being among the world’s fittest and the lessons she learned through her experience that she hopes to share with others.

Thomas Seyfried, PhD is a biochemical geneticist, scientist, and professor at Boston College. For more than 25 years he has taught and conducted research in the fields of neurochemistry, neurogenetics, and cancer. Through his extensive research, Thomas has found evidence that supports the hypothesis that cancer is a metabolic disease as opposed to the mainstream belief that it is genetic in origin. He believes that this fundamental misunderstanding has led to failed treatment and prevention strategies. In his groundbreaking text, Cancer as a Metabolic Disease, Thomas explains the mechanism behind cancer development and metastasis, and he shares the scientific and clinical studies that support this unconventional theory. I had the opportunity to chat with Dr. Seyfried at the 2018 CrossFit Health Conference in Madison, WI. In one of the most controversial episodes of Pursing Health yet, we discussed his research findings that point to metabolic therapies, including the ketogenic diet, as being an effective way to prevent, manage, and treat cancer.

As part of an innovative partnership, Kirby Medical Center and CrossFit KMC are working as a team to promote wellness for their employees, their patients, and their local Monticello, Illinois community. Together they are setting an example for how health care can focus on disease prevention rather than just disease treatment. Kirby Medical Center is a 16-bed acute care hospital and physician group that consistently scores in the top 5% of rural hospitals nationwide for patient satisfaction and employee engagement. They offer a wide variety of wellness services, including food and nutrition services, a wellness trail, and a range of exercise classes through CrossFit KMC. CrossFit KMC is one of the first CrossFit affiliates to open on a medical center campus. Open to both employees and the community, they play an instrumental role in helping Kirby Medical Center achieve its vision of making their community a healthier place to live. At the 2018 CrossFit Health Conference, I had the opportunity to sit down with Steve Tenhouse, Kirby Medical Center CEO and affiliate owner of CrossFit KMC, and Josh Newton, the Director of Health and Wellness at Kirby Medical Center and Head Coach of CrossFit KMC. I was excited to learn more about how their partnership began, the lessons they have learned along the way as they've built a successful employee wellness program, and how other affiliate owners can partner with local healthcare organizations to promote the shift from sick care to health care.

In 2017, EC stepped down from her position at CrossFit to focus on finishing her second master’s degree in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine. From there, she founded her company, OptimizeMe Nutrition, where she focuses on helping individuals understand nutrition physiology and it's day-to-day application. Her website provides educational resources and tools so that individuals may find their own ideal nutrition program. She is also the founder of the #800gChallenge, an inclusive eating plan that encourages participants to maximize their fruit and vegetable intake and encourages the consumption of whole, unprocessed foods. EC and I met up in Cleveland to chat about the importance of food quality and quantity, the tips she has to offer to the majority of the population for better nutrition, and to answer listener questions about trending nutrition topics.

Danica Patrick is an athlete, author, television personality, and former professional race car driver who made headlines as the first woman to achieve several landmark victories on the IndyCar circuit and NASCAR. Over the course of her career, she broke gender barriers and was a vocal proponent of pushing her limits to be the best. Despite her May 2018 retirement from racing, Danica shows no signs of slowing down. A long-time CrossFitter, she is shifting her focus to promoting health and wellness, starting with her recently published book Pretty Intense: The 90-Day Mind, Body and Food Plan that will absolutely Change your Life. Danica is also heavily involved with her wine business, Somnium Wine, and her clothing line, Warrior by Danica Patrick. I sat down with Danica at the 2018 CrossFit Games to chat about setting new goals after retirement, her experience as a trailblazer, and how she uses a holistic approach to constantly push herself to be her very best.

Gary Taubes is an investigative science and health journalist and co-founder of the non-profit Nutrition Science Initiative (NuSci.org). With a background in physics, Taubes brings a unique perspective to scientific journalism, and takes a special interest in investigating so-called “bad science.” Taubes is the author of several books, including The Case Against Sugar, Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It, and Good Calories, Bad Calories. He is also a contributor to publications such as the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, and has won numerous awards for his journalism. He lectures extensively about why we get fat, sharing his knowledge about the myths surrounding nutrition and how faulty research has led to poor food choices and an obesity epidemic. I caught up with Gary at the 2018 CrossFit Health Conference to talk about investigating bad science, nutrition misconceptions, and the importance of self-experimentation to determine which type of diet is healthiest for your body.

Bob Harper has an extensive background as fitness trainer and health expert, 3-time New York Times #1 Best Selling Author, and is perhaps best known for his role as the host of NBC’s The Biggest Loser. In February 2017, Bob suffered a shocking and near-fatal heart attack while exercising, and has since used his experience as a platform to educate others and to advocate for CPR training and AEDs. Following a slow, physician-supervised recovery process, Bob is back to doing CrossFit workouts with the community he loves. You can find him working out, taking black and white photos, or hanging out with his dogs, Karl and Vivian. For his second LIVE visit to the Pursuing Health podcast, Bob and I sat down at the 2018 CrossFit Games. We discussed how his experiences surrounding his heart attack have changed his life, and how he hopes his story can help others.

A former gymnast-turned sports psychiatrist, MaryEllen Eller, MD, works with athletes to optimize their performance through the development of athlete-specific mental skills training. Dr. Eller completed her undergraduate education at Andrews University in Michigan prior to attending Loma Linda University for both medical school and residency training in psychiatry. She enjoys specializing in high performance medicine and finds that the principles utilized to improve athletic performance can carry over into day-to-day life, helping individuals excel at work and at home. I recently caught up with Dr. Eller to talk about how athletes can use a positive mindset to improve their performance, the impact of perfectionism, and the importance of being intentional.

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.

Since starting CrossFit in 2012, Dave Hippensteel has dominated the CrossFit Masters scene, rising quickly from winning the 2013 Open in the 55-59 division to standing atop the podium as the Fittest Man on Earth in the 60+ age division at the 2016 and 2017 CrossFit Games. This year, Dave will make his sixth CrossFit Games appearance as he heads back to Madison to defend his title. An athlete from a young age, Dave has pursued a variety of sports, from football to track & field, motocross and triathlons. A proud father of 4, Dave’s love of fitness has rubbed off on his children- in fact, it was his daughter, Heather, who introduced him to CrossFit! As a full-time dentist running two practices while training as world-class athlete, Dave brings a unique perspective to the table. We recently sat down to chat about how his training as a Master's athlete differs from that of his younger competitors, what Dave is doing to protect his health and longevity in the sport, and what advice he has for his peers seeking lifelong health.

As a young medical student, Rebecca Blonsky was morbidly obese, weighing over 320 pounds at her heaviest. Growing up as an overweight child more interested in music and debate than athletics, Rebecca had long-struggled with her weight, but had never found the impetus to make a lasting change.

With more Games appearances under her belt than almost any other athlete, eight-time individual CrossFit Games competitor Stacie Tovar eloquently left her shoes on the floor and stepped away from competition at the 2017 CrossFit Games. A former collegiate volleyball player, Tovar was introduced to CrossFit by her now-husband in 2008, and by 2009 she was competing in her first Games and making big lifestyle changes to support her goal of becoming the Fittest on Earth. Throughout her career, she was celebrated for her drive, her tenacity, and for redefining Beauty Beyond Strength. Now enjoying the next phase of her career, Stacie has shifted her focus to owning and running her affiliate, CrossFit Omaha. She is actively working to improve corporate wellness, and she is a fitness expert for the Omaha World-Herald’s health and fitness website, Live Well Nebraska. I caught up with Stacie at the 2018 Central Regionals in Nashville, where she was coaching individual athlete Josiah Naig and Team CrossFit Omaha.

James Maskell has spent the past decade encouraging a shift away from conventional western medicine and toward a wellness-centered, functional medicine model. To that end, he created Functional Forum, the world’s largest integrative medicine conference. He’s also the founder of the Evolution of Medicine, a community e-commerce platform that provides highly curated and customized resources, tools, products, and services, making it easier and more affordable for conventional doctors to embark on a new way of delivering healthcare. James lectures internationally, and has been featured on TEDMED, Huffpost Live, TEDx and more, and contributor to Huffington Post, KevinMD, thedoctorblog and MindBodyGreen. He serves on the faculty of George Washington University’s Metabolic Medicine Institute. In his second visit to Pursuing Health, I was excited to talk with James about his most recent project, a health cooperative called kNew Health and his upcoming kNew Vision Tour, both of which are poised to fight chronic disease through prevention and by using functional & integrative medicine.

Three-time Games athlete and owner of CrossFit St. Helens, Carleen Mathews isn’t your typical CrossFit Games competitor. A former collegiate softball player, when Carleen’s athletic career came to a close she found herself struggling first with an eating disorder and then with alcohol and substance abuse. With the help of therapy, her family, and CrossFit, Carleen overcame her addictions and self-destructive habits to return to competition, this time in a new sport. Since 2012, she has steadily risen amongst the ranks, progressing from a Regionals athlete to a multi-year CrossFit Games competitor. In 2017, she won the West Regional, but suffered an injury that forced her to withdrawal from the CrossFit Games on the first day of competition. For 2018, she is back on track, with her sights set on a top finish at Regionals and another trip to Madison. I caught up with Carleen to learn about her journey from athlete to addiction and back, how her body image has changed since starting CrossFit, and her advice for helping others who may be suffering from an eating disorder or substance abuse.

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. He is also the author of the best-selling book, Chasing Excellence, a handbook on how to achieve greatness in your career, relationships, and life through mental toughness, character, and the process. I caught up with Ben to chat about his book and to learn more about how we can all take the principles he uses with his athletes and apply them to our everyday lives.

In this episode of Pursuing Health, I chat with physical therapist and pelvic floor health expert Julie Wiebe. Julie began her career focused on Sports Medicine, and through her own experiences and those of her patients, she identified a need for helping female athletes heal their bodies and maintain fitness before, during, and after pregnancy. Her mission is to revolutionize the way women recover from pregnancy and return to high levels of fitness. To that end, she has developed a unique and integrative approach to promoting women’s health. Her Diaphragm and Pelvic Floor Piston Science concepts apply to a variety of populations and have been successfully employed to help athletes overcome Diastasis Recti and Pelvic Floor Dysfunction. Julie has over twenty years of clinical experience in Sports Medicine and Women’s Health, is a published author, and an international lecturer. She maintains a clinical practice in Los Angeles, and also shares her approach to pelvic health recovery via online courses available through her website.

As a long-time CrossFitter and member of Valley CrossFit’s Regionals team, Lisa Ryan entered pregnancy in fantastic health. When she became pregnant with her first child shortly following Regionals, she continued to exercise with modifications as she “listened to her body” and followed the advice of her doctor and her coaches. Following her son’s birth, she slowly resumed working out, taking care to keep weights lighter at first and slowly rebuild her core. At 8 months post-partum, she found that she had lost all her baby weight and yet still had a hard, protruding stomach. After consulting with several doctors and getting no answers, with the help of a friend, she discovered she had diastasis recti, a separation of the abdominal wall. She began modifying her workouts and seeing a pelvic floor physical therapist, and with time, her separation decreased. During her second pregnancy, Lisa worked with a team of coaches and therapists to improve her breathing techniques and alignment, and to set up her pelvic floor and abdominals to work together and to be strong to support her pregnancy and recovery. Today, Lisa is still working to heal her diastasis recti, and she is on a mission to share her message with other moms and moms-to-be that pregnancy and postpartum recovery require specific training and rehabilitative protocols, and that the type of training you do during this time can have lasting effects.

Lindsey Valenzuela has been an athlete all her life and played collegiate volleyball at California Lutheran University. During that time, she began Olympic Weightlifting to train for volleyball and quickly fell in love with the barbell. After her collegiate career was over, she began competing in Olympic Weightlifting and then found CrossFit. She has since become a seasoned CrossFit Games athlete, competing in 4 CrossFit Games, finishing as high as 2nd place in 2013 and most recently finishing in 7th place in 2015. She also represented Team USA in the CrossFit Invitational in Berlin in 2013. Lindsey has coached at several affiliates in Southern California and in August of 2015 fulfilled her dream to open her own affiliate, Autumo CrossFit, with her business partner and former NFL player James Townsend. In 2016, Lindsey discovered she was pregnant and took the year away from competition. What followed was a difficult pregnancy, during which Lindsey developed preeclampsia, gained 90 pounds, spent 2 months on bedrest due to complications, and had a C-section delivery. Following the birth of her now nearly 2 year-old son, Arsenio, Jr., Lindsey slowly returned to training, focusing on healing her core and pelvic floor. With time and patience, she gradually built volume and intensity, ultimately returning to competition and placing an impressive 11th at the Callifornia Regional in 2017, less than one year after giving birth. With another year of training and recovery under her belt, Lindsey is poised to make another run at the CrossFit Games in 2018. Lindsey and I sat down after week one of the 2018 CrossFit Open to chat about her approach to training during and after her pregnancy, how her life has changed since starting a family, why it’s important to her to return to competition, and what she hopes other coaches and pregnant athletes can learn from her experiences.

Coach Greg Glassman, known to many as simply "Coach" grew up in southern California as a gymnast and he supplemented his training with modalities including weightlifting and cycling. When he began his career as a trainer in 1974, he brought innovation to the industry ultimately redefining fitness with CrossFit, otherwise known as constantly varied, high intensity, functional movement. He was kicked out of several globo gyms before finally opening the first CrossFit gym in Santa Cruz, CA in 1995. Shortly after, CrossFit.com was created where he posted Workouts of the Day, or “WODs.” Athletes from all over the world would complete these workouts and post their scores online. Beginning in 2003, CrossFit affiliate gyms began to open and CrossFit experienced exponential growth over the following decade such that there are currently more than 13,000 affiliates worldwide. During this period, we’ve also witnessed the growth of the CrossFit Games, the ultimate proving grounds for fitness which identifies the Fittest Man and Woman on Earth each year from a pool of hundreds of thousands of athletes across the globe. We’ve also witnessed incredible stories of transformation in the affiliates, with participants losing weight, gaining confidence, and ridding themselves of chronic disease. Coach is currently working to shift the public's perception of CrossFit from a fitness company to a health company with an elegant solution to the world's most vexing problem - chronic disease. For his second visit to the podcast, Greg and I sat down after the first Level 1 seminar held exclusively for CrossFit Physicians at the CrossFit Ranch in Aromas. We discussed the importance of networking CrossFit doctors, why CrossFit is about so much more than the Games, how he’s using the business of CrossFit to fund public health activism, and his vision for the future of CrossFit.

Samantha Briggs is a six-time CrossFit Games athlete. She earned the title of Fittest Woman on Earth in 2013 and has had five top ten finishes from 2011-2017. At 35, she is setting the standard for Masters Athletes and implementing smart training strategies to ensure her longevity in the sport. Sam comes from an athletic background, having played football (soccer) in England’s Northern Premier League, and competed in triathlons. A firefighter for 10 years, today Sam is a professional CrossFit Games athlete, known as “The Engine” for her indomitable work capacity. She has overcome multiple injuries, including a debilitating knee injury that forced her to take a year off from competition in 2012, time she used to focus on refining skills and improving her movement quality and weaknesses. I sat down with Sam at the 2018 Reebok Athlete Summit to chat about how she got started in CrossFit, how she turned an injury into a growth experience, and what’s in store for her in the coming years.

Dr. Perlmutter is a Board-Certified Neurologist and Fellow of the American College of Nutrition. He received his M.D. degree from the University of Miami School of Medicine where he was awarded the Leonard G. Rowntree Research Award. He has published in peer-reviewed scientific journals and is a frequent lecturer at symposia sponsored by such medical institutions as Columbia University, Scripps Institute, New York University, and Harvard University. He also serves as an Associate Professor at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

Austin Malleolo is a three-time winner of the Northeast Regional (2011-2013) and six-time CrossFit Games competitor, including individual finishes in the Top 10 in 2010 and 2012, and a 5th place finish as a member of Team Reebok CrossFit One in 2017. Austin got his start in the fitness industry as a personal trainer, and over time, has added an ever-growing list of achievements to his name, including becoming a CrossFit coach, earning his exercise science degree, excelling in his role as a flowmaster on the CrossFit HQ Seminar staff, becoming the head coach at Reebok CrossFit One and owner of Reebok CrossFit One Nation, and developing an online training program, The Ham Plan. Each year, Reebok brings together CrossFit Games athletes to introduce Reebok’s brand campaign, apparel and footwear for the upcoming year. It’s an opportunity for athletes to give feedback, train together, and spend time with each other in a relaxed environment. I was excited to sit down with Austin at this year’s Reebok Athlete Summit in the Bahamas to chat about how CrossFit has shaped the corporate culture of Reebok, how Austin’s experiences as a youth taught him the importance of personal responsibility and surrounding himself with the right kind of people, and why he is so driven to keep accomplishing more.

Adee Cazayoux has built a reputation as a nutrition expert, helping elite athletes such as Katrin Davidsdottir, Jessica Lucero, and Camille Leblanc-Bazinet dial in their nutrition to enhance athletic performance. She is the founder of Working Against Gravity, an online nutrition consulting program dedicated to helping athletes and everyday people change their body composition. Known as the “Barbell Gypsy,” Adee is an elite athlete in her own right, having earned a National medal in Olympic weightlifting. Adee’s passion for nutrition began at age 16 when she found herself overweight and struggling to participate in the sports she had once loved. With the help of her mother and a nutritionist, she learned how to track her macronutrients and discovered the power of eating properly. After college, she completed her Precision Nutrition Level 1, and more recently, has been studying to earn her Masters in Nutrition and Human Performance. I caught up with Adee at the 2017 CrossFit Games to talk about her nutrition philosophy, counting macros, how she came to own one of the most well-known nutrition businesses in the CrossFit world, and what tips she has to share with individuals looking to improve their diets.

In this episode of Pursuing Health, I chat with motivational speaker and best selling author Kyle Maynard. Kyle is an entrepreneur, an ESPY award-winning mixed martial arts athlete, a CrossFit box owner, and a photographer... and he has achieved all this despite being born with congenital amputation, a condition that has left him with arms that end at the elbows and legs that end near his knees. Throughout Kyle's childhood, doctors suggested to his family that he would never be able to live a normal life because of his physical condition. Luckily, his parents disregarded these opinions and instilled a can-do attitude in Kyle. In kindergarten, he opted to discontinue wearing prosthetics. By middle school, he was participating in football, and by high school, he was dominating on the wrestling mat. At the age of 19, Kyle authored a New York Times best selling autobiography, and was featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show and Larry King Live. During the CrossFit Sectionals in 2010, Kyle climbed Stone Mountain - an experience he credits with sparking his interesting in mountaineering. He went on to become the first quadruple amputee to reach the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Aconcagua without the aid of prosthetics. Kyle loves to inspire others to live a life of growth by overcoming challenges and adversity. He firmly believes that a positive mindset can make all the difference in achieving your goals. I recently caught up with Kyle to talk about how his childhood and how his family helped shape his belief that he can accomplish anything, how challenging himself and facing adversity has forced him to grow, and what he hopes others can learn from his success.

Brooke Wells is a three-time CrossFit Games athlete, making her first appearance after winning the Central Regional at just 19 years old. She is consistently one of the top 20 Fittest Women in the world, finishing 16th in 2015, 6th in 2016, and 14th in 2017. In addition to her full training schedule, Brooke also attends school at the University of Missouri where she is earning her business degree. Jessica Griffith is also a three-time CrossFit Games athlete, and made her rookie debut as an individual in 2017. She works full-time as an emergency room nurse at a Level I Trauma Center in St. Louis and enjoys how many people she’s able to help on a daily basis through her work. Jessica successfully balances her long work hours with a rigorous training schedule that helps prepare her for the challenges of competing at the Games. Brooke and Jessica were hallmates at the 2017 CrossFit Games and formed a fast friendship as they encouraged each other through the trials of cyclocross, swimming, an obstacle course, and more. I caught up with Brooke and Jess at the Rogue Winter Classic to chat about their evolution as CrossFit Games athletes, how they balance their training with school and work, and what tips, habits, and practices they use to be successful as they train for the 2018 CrossFit Games.

Olympic medalist Caroline Burckle is a highly decorated freestyle swimmer whose achievements include winning a bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and a gold medal at the 2007 Pan American Games. She swam for the University of Florida on an athletic scholarship, where she was awarded 2008 NCAA Swimmer of the Year. A two-time National Champion, Caroline also broke the oldest standing swimming record in the 500-yard freestyle. After her retirement from competitive swimming in 2010, Caroline went on to receive her Master’s Degree in Sports Psychology & Motor Behavior. Rebecca Soni, a breaststroke specialist also known as ‘Reb,’ holds 6 Olympic medals, three gold and three silver, spanning across two Olympics- the 2008 Beijing Games, and the 2012 London Games. She’s a former World Record Holder in the breaststroke, and is well known for her distinctive swimming technique. Rebecca has a B.S. in Communications from the University of Southern California, a certificate in Positive Psychology, and is also a certified Health Coach. Following their illustrious careers, Rebecca and Caroline both struggled with burnout and a loss of structure and routine. Eventually they joined together to found the RISE Elite Athletes program, where they use their unique blend of knowledge and experience to mentor young athletes in a variety of sports. I recently caught up with Caroline and Reb to talk about their Olympic experiences, how they processed their retirement from their swimming careers, and how they’re using positive psychology to set a future generation of athletes up for success.

In this episode of Pursuing Health, I chat with three-time CrossFit Games athlete and chiropractic medical student Patrick Vellner. In 2016, Pat made a big entrance to the Games individual competition scene, placing third and earning the title Rookie of the Year. In 2017, he returned to prove his podium finish was no fluke, and turned in a solid performance that had him walking away in fourth place. However, after the Games, it was discovered that the initial third place finisher, Ricky Gerard, had tested positive for performance enhancing drugs. Following Gerard’s disqualification, Pat Vellner was awarded his rightful place on the podium, in a bittersweet turn of events. Pat comes from a broad athletic background, including competing on a national level in gymnastics, and playing lacrosse and rugby. He’s currently studying to become a doctor of chiropractic in his home country of Canada, and balancing his course load with training for the 2018 CrossFit Games. I caught up with Pat to talk about receiving his Games medal at the CrossFit Invitational, the controversy of performance enhancing drugs in CrossFit, how he balances medical school and training for the Games, and what plans he has for the future.

In this episode of Pursuing Health, I sit down with the founder of the Sugar Free Revolution, Karen Thomson. Karen grew up in South Africa and battled addiction to multiple substances from an early age. She found help through an inpatient rehab center, but several years into recovery, she came to realize she still had one lingering addiction: sugar. Using knowledge from her own journey to recovery, Karen partnered with other rehabilitation professionals to develop a one-of-a-kind approach, treating sugar addiction with an inpatient program using the abstinence model. She paid special attention to the underlying issues leading to sugar and carbohydrate addiction, and identified the need for a support network for those trying to kick an addiction. She went on to write a book, Sugar Free: 8 Weeks to Freedom from Sugar and Carb Addiction, and also began sharing her message at conferences. It was at one of those conferences that she met CrossFit founder Greg Glassman, and they developed a friendship that resulted in the creation of the CrossFit Health Conference. Karen and her family recently moved to Palm Springs, CA, where she is focused on opening another rehabilitation clinic to help others recover from addiction and live their healthiest life. I caught up with Karen in Madison, WI, at the 2017 CrossFit Games to talk about how she made the choice to seek help, overcame her own addictions, and why she now uses her own experiences to help others do the same.

In this episode Pursuing Health, I sit down with USA Track & Field athlete Tiffeny Parker. Tiffeny competes on both the national and international stage in the heptathlon, and competed at the Olympic Trials in 2016. A volleyball player from a young age, Tiffeny got a late start in the heptathalon, but saw early success, placing 4th at Junior Nationals shortly after learning the sport. She went on to compete at the collegiate level while studying Business and Marketing at Azusa Pacific University. There, Tiffeny found an ideal training situation, and she developed ties with an elite community of athletes that she would continue to surrounded herself with even after graduation. Tiffeny has faced many odds on her road to success, including the unexpected passing of her mother, a major life event that she credits with giving her the drive to pursue athletics as a profession. She has also faced injury and athletic disappointment, but has learned to rely on her community and use a positive mindset to aid in unlocking her full potential. Tiffeny was introduced to the CrossFit world when Chris Hinshaw recruited her to help teach athlete Camille LeBlanc Bazinet how to hurdle during the 2015 CrossFit Games on 24 hours notice. She has worked many top athletes, including Katrin Davidsdottir, Mat Fraser, team CrossFit Mayhem Freedom, and more. She is currently training in Dallas, TX as she sets her sights on the 2018 IAAF World Championships. I caught up with Tiffeny in Cookeville, TN in the spring of 2017 to talk about her track career, how she became involved in the CrossFit world, and what wisdom she has to share from her experiences.

At just 20 years of age, John David Glaude weighed 360 pounds. After years of struggling with his weight, John was sure he was headed toward a future of significant morbidity, yet he didn't believe he was capable of changing his course. However, a series of events finally led up to what he describes as his "click moment:" the instant he decided he was going to change his lifestyle. John went on to lose 170 lbs and eventually competed in a bodybuilding competition before he found CrossFit. John has documented his journey on his YouTube channel titled "Obese to Beast" and he continues to serve as an inspiration and resource for others on their weight loss journeys.

Pat Barber found CrossFit while playing competitive high school volleyball, and was one of the few fortunate enough to train under Coach Greg Glassman at the original CrossFit gym. He began working for CrossFit as a video editor in those early days, and later as a trainer on the CrossFit Seminar Staff. Taz Barber also became a trainer on the CrossFit Seminar Staff after earning her BSc in Sports Science and BA in Psychology at the University of Auckland and opening the first ever CrossFit affiliate in New Zealand. Together, this power couple has had more than 10 CrossFit Games appearances, both as individuals and as members of various teams. They each served as the Head of Coaching Development at NC Fit prior to turning their full attention to running Warm Up and Workout together and raising their two young boys. I caught up with the Barbers at their home in Santa Cruz, CA to talk about their history, what drives them to do what they do, and some of the biggest lessons they've learned along the way (hint: many of them come from being parents!).

After finding early success as a young champion competitive freestyle skier, Brian Reap fell into to drugs and alcohol after an injury. Addiction had a strong grip on him for many years, and he eventually found himself in Federal prison facing a 5-10 year sentence. It was through CrossFit that Brian was given a second chance - he found his way out of prison with a new passion and purpose in life. Today, Brian is a CrossFit Level 1 Trainer and member of CrossFit Port Royal Sound. He is also a coach for Sobriety WOD, leading free workouts for others searching for sobriety. Brian's story is real, unique and gives a strong sense hope to others battling addiction.

Delos (Toby) Cosgrove, MD is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Cleveland Clinic, an $8 billion health care system. Under his leadership, Cleveland Clinic has consistently been the #2 hospital in America by the U.S. News & World Report. Dr. Cosgrove received his medical degree from the University of Virginia School of Medicine in Charlottesville and completed his clinical training at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston Children’s Hospital and Brook General Hospital in London. His undergraduate work was at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts. He was a surgeon in the U.S. Air Force and served in Da Nang, Republic of Vietnam, as the Chief of U.S. Air Force Casualty Staging Flight. For his service he was awarded the Bronze Star and the Republic of Vietnam Commendation Medal. Dr. Cosgrove joined the Cleveland Clinic in 1975 and was named Chairman of the Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular surgery in 1989. Under his leadership, Cleveland Clinic’s heart program was ranked No. 1 in America for 10 years in a row (U.S. News & World Report), a ranking it now holds for 22 consecutive years. He has published nearly 450 journal articles, book chapters, one book and 17 training and continuing medical education films. He performed more than 22,000 operations and earned an international reputation for expertise in all areas of cardiac surgery, especially valve repair. As an innovator, Dr. Cosgrove has 30 patents filed for developing medical and clinical products used in surgical environments. In 2014, Dr. Cosgrove authored “The Cleveland Clinic Way: Lessons in Excellence from One of the World’s Leading Health Care Organizations,” which takes an in-depth look at today’s healthcare system. It describes the eight trends shaping the future of medicine in this country to be more efficient, more effective and more affordable than it is today. The book acknowledges the challenges facing the industry but takes a “strongly optimistic” view of what lies ahead by illustrating how Cleveland Clinic is helping to shape the future of medicine by working toward one goal: putting patients first. Dr. Cosgrove is a sought-after speaker worldwide. He has addressed the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting at Davos, Switzerland, and the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, in Washington, D.C. He is regularly quoted and featured in national magazines and newspapers such as Time, Newsweek, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. He has appeared on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, NBC, CBS, “The Charlie Rose Show” on PBS, and other national media outlets. Dr. Cosgrove was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2013. He is also a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (2015) and Castle Connolly National Physician of the Year. Recent honors include the Deming Cup and Horatio Alger Award. He is a 2016 Fortune Businessperson of the Year (No. 14), and has topped Inside Business’s “Power 100” listing for Northeast Ohio. He is highly ranked among Modern Healthcare’s “100 most powerful people in healthcare” and “most powerful physician executives,” and is an inductee of the Cleveland Medical Hall of Fame. Dr. Cosgrove has been consulted by successive presidential administrations, serving on the Veterans Administration Commission on Care (2015) and the recent White House Strategic and Policy Forum. We sat down shortly after my graduation from the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine to discuss Dr. Cosgrove's background, his contributions to the Cleveland Clinic during his tenure as CEO, and his vision for the future of healthcare in America.

Rory McKernan is a well-known face of the Reebok CrossFit Games as the host of the Update Show as well as one-half of the infamous Ro vs. Boz CrossFit Games Open rivalry. We sat down to discuss his background and how he discovered CrossFit, how he became involved with CrossFit Headquarters as a member of the seminar staff and media department, and how CrossFit Media has evolved from its early videos to producing live coverage and top-rated documentaries of the Games each year.

Haley Adams is a 16-year-old Reebok CrossFit Games athlete from College Hill CrossFit in Greensboro, North Carolina. Haley has a strong gymnastics background and first found CrossFit in 2014. She qualified for and competed in the 2016 Reebok CrossFit Games where she placed 2nd in the 14-15 Teenage Girls division. Following this early success, Haley decided to begin homeschooling so she could commit herself to her training this year. Thus far in the 2017 season, she won the 16-17 Teenage Girl division in the Open and also qualifyed to the Atlantic Regional where she competed and finished in 14th. We caught up recently at Power Monkey Fitness Camp to discuss her approach to training and her goals for the 2017 season.

Sara Sigmundsdottir is a 24-year old Icelandic athlete who has finished in third place at the Reebok CrossFit Games for the past 2 years. Heading into the 2017 Games, she's taken the title for both the Reebok CrossFit Games Open and the Central Regional this season. She has also competed in several weightlifting competitions and broke several Icelandic national records at the 2017 WOW Reykjavik Games Olympic Weightlifting Championships. Sara started CrossFit in 2012 with very little competitive athletic background, growing up with a passion for music and art. After finding her way from bootcamp training to CrossFit, Sara made her competitive debut in 2013 and eventually made her way to the top of the podium at the Meridian Regional in 2015 and 2016. We caught up recently at CrossFit Mayhem, where she has been living and training this season for the 2017 CrossFit Games.

Since 2008, Becca Voigt has competed in the CrossFit Games every single year, an accomplishment no other athlete can claim. As a true veteran of the sport, Becca has grown and adapted to the ever-changing demands of competition over the past decade. She's consistently finished in the top half of the field, and earned a spot on the podium with a 3rd place finish in 2011. Becca was awarded the 2014 Spirit of the Games Award for her positive attitude and sportsmanship through competition. Becca resides in Toluca Lake, California where she trains and runs her affiliate, CrossFit Training Yard.

Ron Ortiz is a 6-time CrossFit Games Masters Athlete and two-time Champion (2013 Masters Men 45-49, 2016 Masters Men 50-54). At 51 years of age, he is currently competing in the 50-54 year-old category. A firefighter for the past 18 years, Ron discovered CrossFit in 2009. He has become a staple in the CrossFit Games Masters community, and he has also taken his training to the fire station, inspiring other first responders to change their lifestyle. He is husband of 24+ years and a father of three.

Chris Spealler is a seven-time CrossFit Games athlete, coach and owner of CrossFit Park City, long-time member of the CrossFit Seminar Staff, husband, and father of two. Chris discovered CrossFit and his passion for competing in the sport following his collegiate Division 1 wrestling career. He has competed in CrossFit since 2007, collecting two Southwest Regional titles, three Top 10 CrossFit Games finishes (2007, 2008, 2010), and winning the Spirit of the Games award in 2010. After the Games in 2014, Chris has made the decision to retire from competition and instead "train for life," but with the introduction of the Masters 35-39 age group category he will once again find himself on the big stage in 2017. Chris holds a love for the outdoors, mainly skiing and mountain biking, and he has been using his newfound free time to enjoy these hobbies and more time with his family.

Annie Sakamoto is a mother of two children, four-time CrossFit Games athlete, owner of CrossFit Santa Cruz Central and one of members of the original CrossFit gym in Santa Cruz, CA. She began her CrossFit journey in 2004 when she was introduced to Greg Glassman and since then has trained, competed, and coached, bringing a veteran perspective to the ever-changing Sport of Fitness. She has competed in the team, individual, and masters divisions of the CrossFit Games and was awarded the "Sprit of the Games" in 2011. She is known as one of the original Nasty Girls alongside Nicole Carroll and Eva T., who paved the way for future generations of CrossFit women by performing muscle ups in the named workout. She's also one of the few women to have a workout named after her with the classic couplet of double unders and sit-ups known as "Annie." In her spare time, Annie enjoys surfing and spending time with her family in Santa Cruz.

You may know Nicole Carroll from her most recent role providing tips for the workouts each week of the CrossFit Games Open, or as CrossFit's Director of Training and Certification. She also happens to be one of the early members of Greg Glassman's original CrossFit gym in Santa Cruz, CA. She helped to pave the way for generations of CrossFit females to come by performing muscle ups in a video of a workout called Nasty Girls alongside Annie Sakamoto and Eva T, and the workout called Nicole that you've probably done before - that was named after her. Since that time, Nicole has been a leader in the development of the CrossFit Training and Certification department and the preservation CrossFit's core mission and culture even as the movement has grown tremendously over the past several years.

Known as "Iceland Annie," Annie Thorisdottir is a two-time Fittest Woman on Earth (2011-2012) and seven-time Reebok CrossFit Games veteran. With a background of gymnastics, pole vaulting, and boot camp, Annie made her Games debut in 2009 at 19 years of age. With very little prior CrossFit experience, she learned the snatch during the competition and performed her first muscle-up during the last event. Despite this, her raw talent was apparent and she finished in the top 10 in five of eight events. Since then, Annie has been a staple in our sport and she is known to train hard and always compete with a smile. She has battled injuries including a severe back injury that kept her out of the 2013 CrossFit Games, and heat stroke that forced her to withdraw in 2015. She owns CrossFit Reykjavik in Reykjavik, Iceland where she lives and trains for the majority of the year. Fred Aegidius is Annie's long-time boyfriend and a two-time Reebok CrossFit Games athlete from Copenhagen, Denmark, competing in 2012 and 2013. He has a background in European Handball and American Football and holds an engineering degree in biotechnology from the Danish Technological University. He currently lives and trains with Annie in Reykjavik and is making another run at the individual CrossFit Games competition in 2017.

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. 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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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 roughy 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 in January 2017 before sitting down to record this podcast.

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 all of 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.

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.

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.

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. 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.

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.

Dan Bailey is a 5-time CrossFit Games competitor, never finishing outside the top 10 at the Games, finishing 4th at the 2015 CrossFit Games and 7th at the 2016 California Regionals. Dan has a background as a collegiate sprinter at Ohio University where he obtained degrees in Education and Strength and Conditioning. In this episode I catch up with Dan who most recently moved back to Columbus, Ohio from San Diego, and is currently training for the 2017 CrossFit Games Season.

In this episode I catch up with Brigid Titgemeier, functional dietitian nutritionist at the Center for Functional Medicine and nutrition blogger at BeingBrigid.com. Brigid received her undergraduate degree from Miami University of Ohio in Dietetics and her master’s of science in Public Health Nutrition from Case Western Reserve University. She has also contributed to numerous articles in the mainstream media on health and nutrition topics in publications such as the US News and World Report and Huffington Post. Previously, we sat down in episode 22 of Pursuing Health to discuss her personal story and what ignited her passion for helping others achieve optimal health through nutrition. In this episode, we team up to talk about our top 5 tips for nutrition success that will last well into the New Year. We also talk about our HealthySelf Reset, a free 4-week nutrition program that starts January 16th and includes whole foods recipes that are gluten, dairy, and added sugar free as well as shopping lists, meal plans, and workouts to help you start 2017 on the right foot.

Jason Wachob is the Founder and CEO of mindbodygreen and the author of WELLTH: How I Learned to Build a Life, Not a Resume. mindbodygreen is the leading independent media brand dedicated to wellness with 10 million unique monthly visitors. By highlighting the mental, physical, spiritual, emotional and environmental pillars of wellness, mindbodygreen seeks to achieve the best life for all of us, one person at a time. Jason received his BA in history from Columbia University where he played varsity basketball. He has also been featured in The New York Times, Entrepreneur, Inc., Fast Company, Goop, and Vogue.

In this episode we meet Danielle Walker, blogger and New York Times Best Selling author of the cookbook Against All Grain. After being diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, an autoimmune disease, when she was 22 years old, Danielle suffered for years to balance her symptoms with the side effects of her medications, often landing herself in the hospital. She realized that she needed to take matters into her own hands and started to make some dietary changes including removing grains, lactose, and legumes from her diet. As her symptoms started to improve and she started to wean from some medications, she began a blog to help others who were suffering from similar ailments continue to enjoy food. With her acquired culinary skills, love for food, and an equal love for journalism, she has become a source of hope for others suffering from all types of diseases or allergies. Danielle has become an inspiration and much-appreciated resource not only for her journey in autoimmune disease and perseverance in shifting the medical system's method of approaching patients, but for her delicious and creative recipes as well. I had been following Danielle for some time before we finally met at the MindBodyGreen Revitalize 2016 summit where she shared some of her story. She was incredibly genuine and willing to share details of her life that most people would like to keep private, because she's seen how sharing her own struggles can help others who are suffering. In this episode we discuss some of those struggles and how she has overcome them as well as her new holiday cookbook, Celebrations.

Graham Holmberg, 2010 Fittest Man on Earth and six-time CrossFit Games athlete, along with his wife Savanna have built a positive, healthy and faithful community at their affiliate CrossFit Hilliard - Eleventh Element in Ohio. While owning and coaching at their affiliate, they've also navigated the delicate balance of competitive training for him, nutrition coaching and training while pregnant for her, and raising two children with one more on the way. The mission of their affiliate is "To positively impact the lives of as many people as possible and use CrossFit as a platform." By coupling CrossFit's 10 general physical skills with spirituality – what Graham and Savanna have termed the ‘eleventh element - the Holmberg's continue to build a community strong in body and mind. I sat down with Graham and Savanna after visiting their affiliate for an International Justice Mission - Reps for Rescue fundraiser to talk about how their lives have evolved over the past 6 years, the evolution of their affiliate, and how they balance their many roles.

This week we learn about David Mendenhall, a 47 year old husband, father, middle-school teacher and relatively recent, but rabid, CrossFit convert. A lifelong downhill skier and outdoor enthusiast, his adult training and fitness exploits prior to finding CrossFit in 2013 involved years dedicated to the martial arts, a personal yoga practice, distance running, triathlon competition, and semi-“extreme” cycling stints. After hanging up his cycling helmet in the fall of 2012 for an indefinite hiatus, his wife introduced him to Beau Teal at CrossFit Burlington.

Diane Sanfilippo is the owner and founder of Balanced Bites, a certified Nutrition Consultant, and two-time New York Times bestselling author of Practical Paleo, The 21-Day Sugar Detox and co-author of Mediterranean Paleo Cooking. Diane holds a B.S. from Syracuse University and is certified in holistic nutrition from Bauman College, holistic lifestyle coaching from the CHEK Institute, and Poliquin BioSignature Modulation. She writes for her popular health blog and is co-host of the top-rated weekly health podcast, “The Balanced Bites Podcast.” Diane lives in San Francisco with her husband, Scott, and two fur kids. I first met Diane a couple years ago when we spoke about health and fitness for NBA media professionals at NBA All-Star Weekend. I've enjoyed using her Practical Paleo book and was excited to catch up with her more about her background, nutrition challenges, and Paleo for the average CrossFit athlete.

Oliver Amdrup and Julius Heslet met in the gym, and it wasn't long before they realized they both shared a passion for nutrition and specifically, fish oil. The pair decided to turn their collective passion and vision into reality by co-founding Pure Pharma in 2009. Over the past 7 years, Pure Pharma has grown into a global company and has served as one of my personal sponsors since early 2013. I am consistently impressed by their dedication to helping individuals maximize their health in the most natural way possible and producing the highest-quality, scientifically-proven supplements to help with this when needed. Oliver, Julius, and I sat down to talk about the importance of micronutrients and how to get more from your diet, how to assess your supplement requirements and chose high-quality products, and their journey with Pure Pharma over the past 7 years.

Steph Hammerman was born 3 months premature and has been defying the odds of what it looks like to live with cerebral palsy ever since. With a background in hand cycling, she started CrossFit in 2012 and it wasn't long before she became the first female adaptive athlete to earn her CrossFit Level 1 Trainer certificate and began coaching. I watched Steph compete for the first time in 2013, and since then she has worked to advocate for opportunities for adaptive athletes to compete at large events including the first ever adaptive athlete division at Wodapalooza in 2015. A few months ago, Steph was diagnosed with lymphoma and is currently living in New York while she undergoes chemotherapy treatments. I caught up with Steph to discuss her journey and how her positive outlook and refusal to take "no" for an answer have led her to become such a great example for others, as well as how she continues to adapt and approach her current battle with cancer.

In this episode, I sit down with Olympic gold medal winning gymnast and youngest member of the Magnificant Seven, Dominique Moceanu. Dominique was born to Romanian immigrants and after showing promise as a gymnast from a young age her family moved to Houston, TX so that she could train with renowned coaches Béla and Márta Károlyi. She went on to have an incredible career ultimately achieving her dream of becoming an Olympic champion in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta with her team. Despite her success, she endured tremendous instability and abuse in both her training and home environments throughout her career. She eventually sought emancipation from her parents to recover lost earnings from her career as an elite gymnast, and it wasn't until her relationship with her now-husband Dr. Mike Canales developed that she started to process the mistreatment she had endured and begin the path to healing. Another surprise came in 2007 with the discovery of her long-lost sister Jen Bricker who was born with no legs and who her father had given up for adoption after her birth. Today, Dominique lives in Cleveland with her husband Mike and their two children Carmen and Vincent. She reconciled with her father prior to his passing, and she works to catalyze change in gymnastics so that future generations will experience a training environment that is both safe and healthy. I was lucky to work with Dominique and Mike on my gymnastics and get to know both of them while training for the 2014 CrossFit Games, and I spoke with Mike in Episode 2 of Pursuing Health shortly after he repaired the torn Achilles tendon I sustained at the 2015 CrossFit Games Regionals. I've heard various aspects of Dominique's story from her over the past few years and read her memoir, and each time I am blown away by the strength and resilience she displayed from such a young age. I was so excited to finally sit down with her to share some of her story with you, and also to hear her shed some light on the recent 2016 Olympics and how gymnastics has evolved over the past 20-plus years from her vantage point.

In this episode, I sit down with Olympic gold medal winning gymnast and youngest member of the Magnificant Seven, Dominique Moceanu. Dominique was born to Romanian immigrants and after showing promise as a gymnast from a young age her family moved to Houston, TX so that she could train with renowned coaches Béla and Márta Károlyi. She went on to have an incredible career ultimately achieving her dream of becoming an Olympic champion in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta with her team. Despite her success, she endured tremendous instability and abuse in both her training and home environments throughout her career. She eventually sought emancipation from her parents to recover lost earnings from her career as an elite gymnast, and it wasn't until her relationship with her now-husband Dr. Mike Canales developed that she started to process the mistreatment she had endured and begin the path to healing. Another surprise came in 2007 with the discovery of her long-lost sister Jen Bricker who was born with no legs and who her father had given up for adoption after her birth. Today, Dominique lives in Cleveland with her husband Mike and their two children Carmen and Vincent. She reconciled with her father prior to his passing, and she works to catalyze change in gymnastics so that future generations will experience a training environment that is both safe and healthy. I was lucky to work with Dominique and Mike on my gymnastics and get to know both of them while training for the 2014 CrossFit Games, and I spoke with Mike in Episode 2 of Pursuing Health shortly after he repaired the torn Achilles tendon I sustained at the 2015 CrossFit Games Regionals. I've heard various aspects of Dominique's story from her over the past few years and read her memoir, and each time I am blown away by the strength and resilience she displayed from such a young age. I was so excited to finally sit down with her to share some of her story with you, and also to hear her shed some light on the recent 2016 Olympics and how gymnastics has evolved over the past 20-plus years from her vantage point.

Beginning his career as a trainer in 1974, Coach Greg Glassman redefined fitness with CrossFit, otherwise known as constantly varied, high intensity, functional movement. After being kicked out of several globo gyms he finally opened the first CrossFit gym in Santa Cruz, CA in 1995. Currently there are more than 12,000 affiliates worldwide, and we've witnessed the exponential growth of the CrossFit Games, the ultimate proving grounds for fitness which identifies the Fittest Man and Woman on Earth each year from a pool of hundreds of thousands of athletes across the globe. We've also witnessed incredible stories of transformation in the affiliates, with participants losing weight, gaining confidence, and ridding themselves of chronic disease. I recently sat down with Coach to discuss the role of CrossFit and the affiliates in health, his new model "The 5 Buckets of Death," and how he is working to address the burden of chronic disease in the United States and the world.

Sal Masekela is a well-known action sports commentator, journalist, and musician, perhaps best known for his work on NBC’s Red Bull Signature Series, ESPN’s Summer and Winter X Games, E!’s Daily 10, and most recently VICELAND's VICE World of Sports. Sal's CrossFit journey began in the fall of 2010 and our paths finally crossed on May 30th, 2015 - the day that both of us tore our left Achilles tendons. We connected over social media and used one another for support, inspiration, and motivation throughout the recovery process. Over a year later, we met up at Sal's home box, Deuce Gym, for a WOD and then sat down to reflect on our intertwining Achilles journeys, CrossFit, and life.

Bob Harper has an extensive background as a personal trainer and is perhaps best known for his role on NBC's The Biggest Loser. He has been a part of the show since its first season in 2004 as a trainer and has recently transitioned into the role of host. He found CrossFit in 2011 and hasn't looked back since - he incorporates CrossFit workouts on the show and has been intimately involved in the CrossFit community. We sat down at the 2016 Reebok CrossFit Games to discuss the impact of CrossFit on him personally as well as his career as a trainer. We also answered questions from our live audience.

On this episode I sit down with Pete Servold, owner of the paleo meal delivery company Pete’s Paleo. I've been using Pete's Paleo meals for about 6 months now and have been blown away by their quality and convenience, but even more so though I have been blown away by Pete’s personal story and his commitment to empowering people to eat local, real, fresh, and delicious food. Pete has extensive culinary training and experience, attending Le Cordon Bleu and working at Restaurant Eugene where he experienced the true meaning of farm to table and fine dining. It wasn’t until the restaurant industry took its toll on Pete's health that he decided to join his local CrossFit affiliate. There he found Paleo while participating in a 30 day challenge, and it wasn't long before Pete's Paleo was born. I was excited to sit down with Pete to talk about everything from his background, to the principles Pete’s Paleo lives by, to his advice for getting the most out of your local CSA, and of course, BACON. You can learn more about Pete and Pete's Paleo at www.petespaleo.com.

Robert Porter was a swimmer growing up and active through high school and college. As the years passed, he became more sedentary, and with his job as an insurance broker he ate a majority of his meals at restaurants. His weight slowly crept … Continued

Nadia Johnston just completed her first year studying psychology at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, but several years ago her life looked very different. Since the age of 16 she has struggled with eating disorders and depression, at one point nearly taking her own life. With the support of her family and friends, she began the long road to recovery which in 2013 led her to CrossFit. She got started in her friend's garage gym and today she just trains with the loving and supportive community at CrossFit Pro1 Montreal and this year she participated in her first Open. I was fascinated with Nadia's story and I am so appreciative that she had the courage to open up and share her experience here on Pursuing Health. In this episode, we discuss: -How her struggle with eating disorders began at age 16 -How this started to impact her academic performance and led her to come forward to her parents -Her journey to seek help and start the process of recovery -Her struggle with depression and functioning in school and work after high school -What brought her to the point of wanting to end her life -How support from her family and friends helped her to ultimately progress down the road to recovery -Her introduction to CrossFit and how it helped to change her body image and relationship with food -Different methods of treatment she used -How measuring her food still acts as a trigger for her eating disordered thoughts -How her experience inspired her current study of psychology at McGill University and future plans to become a physician -Three things she 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 her health -What a healthy life looks like to her 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. 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.

Dave Castro knew he wanted to become a Navy SEAL before graduating from high school, and it wasn't long after that he enlisted in the Navy, graduated from BUD/S and began his service as a SEAL from 1998-2010. Around 2005, he first caught wind of CrossFit and started following CrossFit.com to support his training. By 2006 he had begun training at the original CrossFit HQ affiliate in Santa Cruz, CA and was soon helping out at Level 1 seminars. The following year, he hosted the first ever CrossFit Games competition at his family’s Ranch in Aromas, CA. Since that time, the CrossFit Games competition has grown exponentially into a professional sport under Dave’s direction, and this year marks the 10th season of competition in CrossFit Games history. Now Dave serves as the Director of the CrossFit Games and Co-Director of Training alongside Nicole Carroll. I was excited to sit down with Dave to discuss what drives him, how he continues to use his SEAL training today, and his approach to programming and directing the Games. In this episode, we discuss: -His thoughts on the 2016 Regional Competition -His approach to programming events for various levels of CrossFit Games competition -How he uses inspiration from art, music, literature, and other sports to inspire CrossFit Games events -His daily routine -His experience dropping in to every affiliate in San Diego county this year -His current training regimen -What inspired him to become a Navy SEAL -How he applies lessons and skills learned as a SEAL to his position as a leader within CrossFit -How he found closure as a SEAL and transitioned out of the military and into his full time role with CrossFit HQ -What drives him to make the CrossFit Games competition the best it can possibly be -Three things he does on a regular basis that have the biggest positive impact on his health -The books he's read most recently -One thing he struggles to implement that could have a big impact on his health -How he distinguishes health from performance -What a healthy life looks like to him Please SUBSCRIBE and RATE on iTunes, and share your feedback in the comments or using #JFHealth. If you or someone you know has an inspiring story about using lifestyle to overcome disease, please share by emailing info@juliefoucher.com. We will continue to feature stories like this in the future!

James Hobart found CrossFit in 2007, and over the past decade he has served the CrossFit community through a variety of different roles. James joined CrossFit's Seminar Staff in 2010 while at Suffolk Law School and graduated with his JD shortly thereafter in 2011. After working for Reebok's Fitness and Training team from 2011-2013 during the early years of the CrossFit partnership, James took a full-time role on Seminar Staff and has since traveled the world teaching CrossFit and meeting the community. In the midst of these responsibilities, James has also developed into one of the top CrossFit Games athletes in the world, competing at the Games as an individual in 2009, 2010, and 2014 and on both the CrossFit New England and CrossFit Mayhem Freedom affiliate teams, winning the Affiliate Cup with each. James is notorious for training with some of the best CrossFit Games athletes including Austin Malleolo, Spencer Hendel, and Rich Froning. I was excited to sit down with James in the midst of the 2016 CrossFit Games Regional season to hear his perspective on teaching and competing in CrossFit and his relentless drive to make himself and those around him better. In this episode, we discuss: -How he found CrossFit -His transition from using CrossFit for personal health while in law school to making it into a full-time career -His experience teaching CrossFit seminars all over the world and the lessons he’s learned from that role -His evolution as a competitor both individually and on two separate winning teams at the CrossFit Games -His recent CrossFit Journal article on training volume and what inspired him to write it -Watching his mom start CrossFit at age 54 -His best advice for introducing CrossFit to a friend or family member -His best advice to someone who is just starting CrossFit -How and why he seeks out training partners such as Austin Malleolo and Rich Froning -Three things he 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 his health -What a healthy life looks like to him Please SUBSCRIBE and RATE on iTunes, and share your feedback in the comments or using #JFHealth. If you or someone you know has an inspiring story about using lifestyle to overcome disease, please share by emailing info@juliefoucher.com. We 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

Adrian Bozman, known to many as "Boz," has been a staple figure in the CrossFit community for nearly the past decade. Coming from a well-rounded fitness background that even included circus training, CrossFit was a natural transition. After attending his Level 1 Seminar, Boz started helping out the seminar staff and eventually found himself traveling the world teaching the philosophy and methodology of CrossFit as a Seminar Staff Flowmaster. Boz is also well-known as Head Judge of The CrossFit Games and has played a large role in the development of the standards and judging of this still very young and evolving sport. I was excited to sit down with Boz to find out more about his background, experiences, and perspectives from his very unique vantage point within the CrossFit community. In this episode, we discuss: -How he found CrossFit and eventually his role as a flowmaster on seminar staff -What he loves about teaching and the Level 1 Seminar -How he evolved into the role of Head Judge at the CrossFit Games -How the judging has evolved at the CrossFit Games and how he addresses controversy in judging -His recent “Ro vs. Boz” win in the 2016 Open and how that experience has evolved over the years -What he loves most about training in his garage gym -The essential equipment to start with for building a garage gym -His background before starting CrossFit -Three things he 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 his health -What a healthy life looks like to him Please SUBSCRIBE and RATE on iTunes, and share your feedback in the comments or using #JFHealth. If you or someone you know has an inspiring story about using lifestyle to overcome disease, please share by emailing info@juliefoucher.com. We 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

James is the creator of Functional Forum, the world’s largest integrative medicine conference which meets live in New York and in meet up groups around the world each month, as well as the Evolution of Medicine podcast. He lectures internationally, and has been featured on TEDMED, Huffpost Live, TEDx and more, and is a contributor to Huffington Post, KevinMD, thedoctorblog and MindBodyGreen. He also serves on the faculty of George Washington University’s Metabolic Medicine Institute. I couldn't wait to talk to James, because he is truly leading the charge in bringing functional and integrative medicine to forefront of chronic disease prevention and treatment. In this episode, we discuss: -His background in health economics and investment banking -How he became involved in functional and integrative medicine -How and why he started the Functional Forum -His vision for 100,000 micropractices -The synergy between CrossFit affiliates and functional medicine -The impact of community on health -The most surprising thing he's learned since starting this work -The slow uptake of research findings into clinical practice in medicine -Three things he 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 his health -What a healthy life looks like to him Please SUBSCRIBE and RATE on iTunes, and share your feedback in the comments or using #JFHealth. If you or someone you know has an inspiring story about using lifestyle to overcome disease, please share by emailing info@juliefoucher.com. We 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.

In this episode, I sit down with 6-time CrossFit Games athlete Christy Adkins. Christy has competed in the CrossFit Games every year from 2009-2014 finishing as high as 6th place. In the 2015 season she narrowly missed her 7th trip to the Games, placing 6th in the Atlantic Regional. You may have heard her previously on Episode 6 of Pursuing Health with the ladies of the 2015 CrossFit Games Demo Team. After moving to to San Diego for her training in 2015 Christy is now back home in Virginia preparing for the 2016 season in an effort to qualify for her 7th CrossFit Games. Coming into this season, she’s had to overcome some enormous physical and psychological challenges with a torn bicep that required surgery. We caught up during a recent visit to Airrosti Rehab Centers Headquarters to talk about the impact of her injury, her rehab course, and her future plans to combine her experiences as a CrossFit trainer and a nurse to prevent disease. Please SUBSCRIBE and RATE on iTunes, and share your feedback in the comments or using #JFHealth. If you or someone you know has an inspiring story about using lifestyle to overcome disease, please share by emailing info@juliefoucher.com. We 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

In this episode, I visit the Airrosti Rehab Centers headquarters in San Antonio, TX and speak with two of the first Airrosti doctors, Dr. Jason Garrett and Dr. Ty Nickleberry. I’ve gotten to know Airrosti over the past few years as they have provided services for athletes at the CrossFit Regional and Games competitions, and I’ve been fortunate to partner with them as a sponsored athlete for the past year. What I like most about Airrosti is that they are using evidence-based therapy for soft tissue injury, standardizing it’s delivery, and making it widely available and accessible to patients and providers. In our current health care system, we don’t often have great solutions for aches and pains other than medications or surgery. Rather than simply masking pain Airrosti helps to identify its root cause and provide effective treatment. They have tracked their outcomes from over 1 million patient visits to show timely resolution of pain and injuries with significant savings of unnecessary surgeries and procedures as well as cost. Airrosti was founded in 2004 by Sean Tipton with Ty Nickleberry as the first provider. Since then, Airrosti quickly expanded across the state of Texas and began to partner with local primary care physicians. In 2015, Airrosti's partnership with CrossFit began as they were named the head of Athlete Services for the CrossFit Games. In the fall of 2015, they have well over 150 practices spanning across Texas, Virginia, Ohio, Illinois, and Washington and reached a milestone of 1 million patient visits. Airrosti has even been voted one of the "Best Places to Work" in San Antonio multiple years in a row and one of the fastest growing companies in the US by Inc. Magazine. Drs. Garett and Nickleberry both graduated form Texas Chiropractic College. They came on as two of the first Airrosti doctors and helped to develop multiple practices and the training programs for new providers. Dr. Garrett now serves as the managing Vice President for Clinical Development at Airrosti where he trains new providers and educates physicians from family practitioners to orthopedic surgeons about Airrosti’s role. Dr. Nickleberry currently serves as the Vice President of Clinical Operations and Director of Provider Recruitment at Airrosti. We sat down to discuss what brought them to Airrosti, how the company has grown over the years, the role Airrosti plays in the greater health care system, it's evidence-based methodology and outcomes, Airrosti’s relationship with CrossFit, and their best advice for preventing and treating soft-tissue injuries whether you are a competitive athlete or training for health and longevity. Please SUBSCRIBE and RATE on iTunes, and share your feedback in the comments or using #JFHealth. If you or someone you know has an inspiring story about using lifestyle to overcome disease, please share by emailing info@juliefoucher.com. We 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

In episode 23 of Pursuing Health, I sit down with CrossFit Games athlete Lindsey Valenzuela. With a background in collegiate volleyball and Olympic Weightlifting, Lindsey has become a seasoned CrossFit Games competitor, competing in 4 CrossFit Games and placing as high as 2nd place in 2013. This fall, she opened her affiliate Autumo CrossFit and announced she'd be taking the 2016 season off to have a baby. We sit down to catch up on her crazy year of transition, how she is approaching her pregnancy, and her plans for competing in the future. Please SUBSCRIBE and RATE on iTunes, and share your feedback in the comments or using #JFHealth. If you or someone you know has an inspiring story about using lifestyle to overcome disease, please share by emailing info@juliefoucher.com. 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

In episode 22 of Pursuing Health, I sit down with Brigid Titgemeier, registered dietitian nutritionist at the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine. We discuss how her passion for nutrition began as a teenager, her experience studying dietetics, how her approach now differs from a more traditional approach, and how she interprets some common nutrition controversies. We talk about the role of nutrition in a functional medicine appointment at Cleveland Clinic, as well as her most basic nutrition advice for anyone to follow and some tips for practical implementation. Please SUBSCRIBE and RATE on iTunes, and share your feedback in the comments or using #JFHealth. If you or someone you know has an inspiring story about using lifestyle to overcome disease, please share by emailing info@juliefoucher.com. 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

In this episode, I sit down with host of the CrossFit Games Update Show, Pat Sherwood. A former Navy SEAL, Pat has been deeply involved in CrossFit for over 10 years. We discuss his start in CrossFit, what he learned from traveling the world teaching over 180 CrossFit Seminars, and his eventual transition to working on the Update Show. He also provides advice for individuals interested in starting CrossFit and those who want to start competing. We discuss the role the CrossFit Games plays in the grand scheme of CrossFit and CrossFit for overall health, longevity, and quality of life. He remarks on his experience modifying workouts after a shoulder injury, and his current approach to training and nutrition. There are few people who have experienced and understand the CrossFit community as well as Pat, and I was ecstatic to sit down with him and pick his brain for a few minutes on this episode. Please SUBSCRIBE and RATE on iTunes, and share your feedback in the comments or using #JFHealth. If you or someone you know has an inspiring story about using lifestyle to overcome disease, please share by emailing info@juliefoucher.com. We 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

In episode 20 of Pursuing Health, I answer questions submitted to me by listeners. I address topics including my current daily schedule and life as a medical student on rotations, the process of applying to medical school and residency and how it relates to CrossFit, preventing and recovering from injury, making progress in CrossFit, and my approach for the Open and advice for first-time participants. Please SUBSCRIBE and RATE on iTunes, and share your feedback in the comments or using #JFHealth. If you or someone you know has an inspiring story about using lifestyle to overcome disease, please share by emailing info@juliefoucher.com. We 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

In this episode, I sit down with Michelle Mitchell, a Cleveland-based accountant, mom, and member of The Bar CrossFit in Eastlake, OH. Michelle shares her incredible story about how exercise and CrossFit have changed her life after a struggle with fibromyalgia syndrome that spanned nearly two decades. She discusses the onset of her symptoms at age 16, a 14-year, painful struggle to find a diagnosis, and her eventual full recovery with exercise. Her story is truly inspiring and she shares take-aways that we can all learn from and apply to our own lives and struggles. Please SUBSCRIBE and RATE on iTunes, and share your feedback in the comments or using #JFHealth. If you or someone you know has an inspiring story about using lifestyle to overcome disease, please share by emailing info@juliefoucher.com. We 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.

In this episode, I sit down with 4-time CrossFit Games competitor Scott Panchik and his father Dave to discuss their affiliate, CrossFit Mentality. Scott, along with his siblings, has always been very active and played football at the University of Mount Union where he studied Health and Physical Education. There he was on two National Championship-winning teams and earned Academic All-American honors. He then went on to teach health and physical education at Mentor High School where he also ran the school’s strength and conditioning program and coached wrestling and football. It was during this time that his father Dave introduced him to CrossFit and he began training for the CrossFit Games. He placed 4th at the Games in 2012 and 2013, 5th in 2014, and took 6th place in 2015 despite battling a serious foot injury. A couple of years ago, Dave made the decision to retire from teaching Elementary School and move from Pittsburgh, PA to Mentor, Ohio with the rest of the family to open a CrossFit affiliate with Scott. Since that time the Panchik family has been working together to build CrossFit Mentality into a thriving and successful affiliate. In this episode we discuss the Panchiks' background in athletics, their introduction to CrossFit, and their experience running their affiliate, CrossFit Mentality. We also discuss our recent foot injuries, how Scott's injury impacted him at the 2015 CrossFit Games, and what we have all learned through the recovery process. Please SUBSCRIBE and RATE on iTunes, and share your feedback in the comments or using #JFHealth. If you or someone you know has an inspiring story about using lifestyle to overcome disease, please share by emailing info@juliefoucher.com. We 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.

In this episode, I sit down with Juliet and Kelly Starrett to discuss their non-profit organization, Stand Up Kids. Kelly and Juliet founded San Francisco CrossFit in 2005. While Juliet worked as an attorney and ran the business, Kelly coached and ran his physical therapy practice there. Kelly developed the CrossFit Movement and Mobility course and began teaching all over the world. Together, they founded MobilityWOD.com as a way to make this education more accessible. Kelly has consulted and worked with the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, professional soccer, major university athletic programs, and elite military groups. His book, Becoming A Supple Leopard, was published in 2013 and become a New York Times and Wall Street Journal Bestseller, and his second book Ready to Run released in 2014 also made the New York Times Bestseller list. Juliet and Kelly have two young girls, Georgia and Caroline, and after observing the kids at their Elementary School, they created and launched StandUpKids.org, a non-profit and educational platform with a goal of bringing standing desks to all public school children in the US. In this episode they discuss their motivation for starting Stand Up Kids, some of the data around the impact standing can have, and some tips that parents can use at home to help prevent their kids from developing poor habits early on. Please SUBSCRIBE and RATE on iTunes, and share your feedback in the comments or using #JFHealth. If you or someone you know has an inspiring story about using lifestyle to overcome disease, please share by emailing info@juliefoucher.com. We 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.

In his 20's Pete Katz was an active, healthy guy - he competed in triathlons, was a vegetarian, and at one point even ran a health food store. A knee injury, a demanding job, and family life eventually took over and he found himself overweight and with a growing list of diagnoses and medications. The threat of having to take an injectable medication for his type 2 diabetes was the last straw, and Pete made dramatic lifestyle changes by starting a Paleo diet and joining a local CrossFit affiliate. I first met Pete in his primary care physician Dr. Isaacson's office as a second year medical student at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine. In this episode of Pursuing Health, Pete, Dr. Isaacson, and I sit down to discuss Pete's journey back to health. We discuss his background and initial health decline, his frustration with various diet and exercise programs that were short lived, and why he has found Paleo and CrossFit to work so well for him. We also talk about the dramatic improvements in his health and quality of life that have resulted from these lifestyle changes. Please SUBSCRIBE and RATE on iTunes, and share your feedback in the comments or using #JFHealth. If you or someone you know has an inspiring story about using lifestyle to overcome disease, please share by emailing info@juliefoucher.com. We 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.