Josh Bridges: Mental Toughness, Dave Castro, and His Competition Future

Josh Bridges is a multi-time CrossFit Games athlete and podium finisher who’s also had a remarkable career as a Navy SEAL. (And before Josh’s CrossFit Games days, Dave Castro was actually one of his military instructors.) Josh joins us to talk about his time in the SEALs, comparing mental toughness in the military to CrossFit, his favorite athletes to train with, and the massive changes in the CrossFit Games structure and season. We also discuss Josh’s recovery from injuries and his competition future in 2020 and beyond.

In this episode of The BarBend Podcast, guest Josh Bridges and host David Thomas Tao discuss:

  • Josh’s response to Kill Cliff’s “Josh Bridges Will Not Quit” (embedded below!) (2:30)
  • Josh’s relationship with Dave Castro during their time in the Navy SEALs (3:35)
  • What Dave Castro was like as a SEAL instructor (5:05)
  • Mentality in CrossFit versus mentality in Navy SEAL training run (7:47)
  • The relationship between CrossFit and the military community (9:30)
  • The hardest working athletes in CrossFit (12:30)
  • How top CrossFit athletes form teams and organize training together (15:50)
  • Josh’s thoughts on Regionals vs. Sanctionals (18:00)
  • When and where Josh may compete in the 2020 CrossFit Games Season (19:35)
  • Training after knee and elbow surgery (21:50)
  • Adapting training based on age and experience (24:08)
  • Josh’s favorite recovery tactics (26:30)
  • The hardest CrossFit Games workout (30:20)
  • What Josh would change about the CrossFit Games structure (34:40)
  • The new events Josh would like to see (36:15)

Relevant links and further reading:

Transcription

Josh BridgesJosh Bridges

Even in the teams in the military you want to win anything that you can win at. When it came to ruck runs a lot of guys like myself, I wanted to win it. It really wasn’t a race but it was.

You always felt like you had something to prove and I feel that’s how CrossFit is typically. Anything in a competitive, you always trying to prove yourself no matter what phase of your career that you’re in.

The military is no different. You’re always trying to prove yourself. When it came to those I always wanted to be at the front. Any sort of physical challenge I always thought was a great challenge. I would put in the mindset like “I’m going to go out and I’m going to give this everything I got until my legs fall off.”

David TaoDavid Tao

Welcome to the “BarBend Podcast” where we talk to the smartest athletes, coaches, and minds from around the world of strength. I’m your host David Thomas Tao and this podcast is presented by barbend.com.

Today, I’m talking to multi-time CrossFit Games athlete Josh Bridges. As many folks know, Josh isn’t just an athlete. He’s a Navy SEAL and entrepreneur who actually trained for the CrossFit Games while on active duty. Joshua’s relationship with CrossFit goes way back.

He’s been doing CrossFit workout since 2005 and Dave Castro was actually one of his instructors in the military long before Josh’s CrossFit Games career took off. Josh joins us to talk about his history with the Games, mental toughness, and comparing grueling military training to CrossFit workouts.

We also discussed his comeback from a few recent injuries and his competition plans over the next few years. Also, I just want to say, we’re incredibly thankful that you listened to this podcast. If you haven’t already, be sure to leave a rating and review of the BarBend Podcast in your app of choice.

Every month, we give away a box full of BarBend swag to one of our listeners who leaves a rating and review.

Josh Bridges, thanks so much for joining us today. One thing I want to ask you when we kick off here we released on the BarBend YouTube channel a few weeks ago a video that Kill Cliff did about you and a little bit of your background and really your life. What did you think about that the first time you saw the final cut of that video?

Josh BridgesJosh Bridges

Man, I was really, really happy with how it turned out. I thought they did an awesome job and I hadn’t seen any of the footage from Castro or Rich talking. It was really cool to hear those guys have such kind words and things to say and how they put so many things. It was really cool. It was really humbling. I was really happy with how it turned out.

David TaoDavid Tao

Were you worried they were going to have not nice things to say about you? That’s the real question.

Josh BridgesJosh Bridges

[laughs] I don’t know. You never know, right? You don’t know how sometimes people’s perspectives of things of you or whatever can be completely different than what you think. You just never know, but it was awesome to hear.

I was just really thankful. I was actually thankful that those guys took the time out to actually do it because they didn’t have to do that.

David TaoDavid Tao

One thing that I was sort of aware of, but I think a lot of people might not have been aware of. This is a big point of feedback we got on the video. Was your background with Dave and how long you’ve known each other and the relationship and the working relationship you had even before the CrossFit Games days.

For those who might not know, give us a little background as to your relationship with Dave Castro when you first met him because I think a lot of people don’t know that story.

Josh BridgesJosh Bridges

I met Dave, he was an SQT instructor. Which SQT is the second phase of your training to become a SEAL. You start with BUD/S basic underwater demolition SEAL training for six months and then you go into SQT, which is SEAL Qualification Training.

You have different instructors of different phases of your training. Dave was part of the SQT cadre. I met him in 2007, is when I met Dave. I’ve been doing CrossFit since ’05. I knew of Dave just from the videos and stuff like that but I watched him at .com stuff.

Actually getting to meet him at person, at first I was like, “I know this, you know, I’ve seen this guy before and…” I didn’t know him obviously at all but had been doing CrossFit already for two years and whatever. It was really cool. Dave let us through some of the nastiest ruck runs in SQT.

It was out in the mountains and those days were just brutal. He was a great instructor. He was definitely on the side where… [laughs] he wasn’t the nice instructor. I guess I’ll just put it that way. [laughs]

David TaoDavid Tao

[laughs] That’s saying something because I think going into that sort of training, no one’s expecting to have…anyone be warm and fuzzy. You know what I mean? And to say he was like on the bottom rung of that.

Then saying something because going into that training, no one’s expecting anyone to be warm and fuzzy. To say, he was like on the bottom rung of that.

Josh BridgesJosh Bridges

Yeah. It is what it is. They have to have that role. There are certain instructors that play that. You have your nice instructors who aren’t always nice but they’re nicer. Then you have your middle of the road, guys that you don’t really say a lot. Then you have your guys who are just brutal.

The guys that are brutal are the guys that you remember the most and guys that appreciate the most because they made you earn it. For a lot of guys, it makes you feel more accomplished when you earn something instead of just like, “Oh, this guy, he took it easy on us.” I don’t want him to take it easy on us. I appreciate Dave.

David TaoDavid Tao

How does Dave Castro…I won’t make this whole podcast about Dave Castro. I promise you that, but I got to ask.

How does Dave Castro, the SEAL instructor, compared to Dave Castro, the Game’s director? Especially when it comes to programming workouts.

Josh BridgesJosh Bridges

Dave Castro is a really nice guy in the CrossFit.

That’s how I look at it. He’s a nice guy. I like Dave. He’s a good dude, but he’s very different as a SEAL instructor. In both things, he’s very methodical on what he does. He’s very intelligent. He doesn’t do anything just maliciously. He has intention with everything that he does.

The way a lot of SEALs I feel are that they’re very into certain things. When it comes to those, they love it and they have the passion for it, and they do it with all of their heart. I feel Dave has done that with the CrossFit community. He takes a lot of heat but he does a really great job.

If you’ve ever tried to program for anything other than just yourself, it is not an easy thing to do. What Dave’s put into CrossFit and what he’s created, it’s really impressive. Dave, as a SEAL instructor, as an SQT instructor, was the same way.

He really helped out when it came to shooting. He was a shooting instructor and [indecipherable 07:35] tactics. He had passion there too. You could see it in all the drills that we did. He really passed on the knowledge that he had, which was great.

David TaoDavid Tao

How does your mentality when you’re heading into maybe a tough CrossFit workout or heading into the competition for a tough workout at the game’s level?

How does that mentality compare to the mentality you had to have going into some of these brutal sounds, like just disgusting rucks that Dave put you through during training back in 2007, 2008?

Josh BridgesJosh Bridges

It was pretty similar. Even in teams in the military, you want to win, and anything that you can win at. When it came to ruck runs, a lot of guys, like myself, I wanted to win it. It really wasn’t a race, but it was. You went out and you always felt like you had something to prove, and I feel that’s how CrossFit is.

Anything in competitive, you’re always trying to prove yourself no matter what phase of your career that you’re in. The military is no different. You’re always trying to prove yourself. When it came to those, I always wanted to be at the front.

Any physical challenge, I always thought was a great challenge. I would just put in the mindset, I’m going to go out and I’m going to give everything I got until my legs fall off kind of thing.

David TaoDavid Tao

We’ve seen a lot of carryovers, and I think you’re a big part of this. I think Dave is probably a big part of this, between the CrossFit world and the military world. There are a lot of companies that co-exist.

A lot of veterans-founded companies in the CrossFit space. A lot of veterans competing in CrossFit and doing CrossFit. Obviously, a lot of it has to do with people like you, people like Dave.

If you didn’t exist, if Dave didn’t exist, if the CrossFit Games director didn’t have this close military tie, do you think there would still be that relationship or that popularity of CrossFit methodology among service members?

Josh BridgesJosh Bridges

Yeah, definitely. Obviously, I think Dave and I, Dave obviously having the most part, me just being an athlete, whatever. Bringing that community and Dave bringing it to the SEAL community, showing those guys how much it helps.

It might not be as popular but I think it would still be popular. Once you find something like that, you realize how much it transitions over into your job. Military, law enforcement, firefighter, anything where you have a physical demand for your profession.

CrossFit is the standard. If you show me a methodology that’s going to put you in better functional fitness, I can’t wait to see it and I will definitely gladly give it a shot, but I don’t think it’s going to happen for a long time if it ever happens.

I think that at some point, the community would still have found CrossFit, I just don’t know if it would be as popular due to the fact that there is some big military people involved in the management side of CrossFit.

David TaoDavid Tao

When it comes to mentality, because this is something I’ve heard you talk about a lot in videos and interviews, your mentality as far as approaching workouts and approaching the work and putting in the work, paying the man is something that is very closely associated with your name.

Who else in the CrossFit space do you look to as a good example of someone who’s got that strong mental game in both training and competition?

Josh BridgesJosh Bridges

It’s easy to say, obviously, Rich Froning, Matt Fraser, those guys are freaks. All the guys at the top, super easy to say. You just look at a guy like Jason Khalipa too, another one, he’s so big. I think Rich is obviously the greatest CrossFitter of all time.

I think Matt Fraser’s right there at his heels, but what Rich has done with the team coming after the CrossFit, it’s really hard to say anybody other than Rich is the best. Matt Fraser by no means [laughs] is not right there number two. The Rich/Matt debate is great. Then you got, women’s side, Tia.

I’ve worked out with her from 2017 I think is when she started coming down to San Diego before the Games. Yeah, I think it was 2016, 2017. Man, when she came into the room…She came over to my house, we’re in the garage we’re working out, and this girl wouldn’t stop and always pushing and pushing the weight.

I’m like, “Wait a minute, this is what I’m supposed to do. I’m supposed to be the one out here pushing.” She’s like, “No, let’s do the 200-pound sandbag instead of the 250.” I’m like, “Whoa, hold on, take it easy.” There’s a lot of really hardworking athletes out there, I think all of them are. But Rich, Matt, Tia, those names always come to mind.

That’s just my experience, the people that I’ve trained with. That’s all I really know. The people that I’ve never trained with, I can’t really tell you because I’m sure there are hundreds more that work just as hard.

 

David TaoDavid Tao

For all the athletes out there, you just got to train with Josh Bridges to make this list. 

You got to come to him, you got to go to San Diego to make this list.

Josh BridgesJosh Bridges

Exactly. I’m like a hermit, I don’t leave the house very often. [laughs]

David TaoDavid Tao

You’re like Yoda, you’re becoming Yoda. You train Jedis, right? That’s what you do.

Josh BridgesJosh Bridges

Hey, if that’s what it takes, I’ll do it.

David TaoDavid Tao

It wouldn’t be bad to be the Yoda of functional fitness, that’d be fun. Who surprised you the most as far as people you have trained with? Who surprised you the most? It could be for good or bad.

 

Josh BridgesJosh Bridges

Good question. Surprised in what way? I don’t know, that’s a tough question.

David TaoDavid Tao

Purposely so, it was purposely tough. [laughs]

Josh BridgesJosh Bridges

I’m trying to think, over the years. So many people. Going out to Rich’s barn and stuff, the number of the people coming through Cookeville, Tennessee, is insane, and it’s really hard to [laughs] …You get to work out with everyone. I think watching Tia train. In 2015, which I wasn’t at the Games that year, but I remember looking and being like, “Who is Tia Toomey?”

She’s taking second place. The commentators weren’t even talking about her. [laughs] This girl’s in second place and all of a sudden it was like second place in 16, barely losing to Katrin. I was shocked to see how hard she went. Another thing that actually I was shocked at, I remember doing the team series when there was still a team series, and Katrin was on our team.

This is when Katrin, after she’d won the second time.

David TaoDavid Tao

Who was on your team, just to paint the picture there?

Josh BridgesJosh Bridges

It was me, Rich, Annie Thorisdottir, and Katrin.

David TaoDavid Tao

Pretty good team.

Josh BridgesJosh Bridges

Solid team, right? Everyone had won the Games except for me on the team, so I was like, “All right, this is cool, I’ll be the water boy, whatever.”

It was crazy to see how hard Katrin went, because I’d never trained with her before. Man, she went hard. I was impressed and she was super humble and asking questions and I’m like, “You’re a two-times Games champ, what are you asking me any questions about anything for?” That was really impressive to see.

David TaoDavid Tao

How do those teams form? I know the team series is no longer a thing, but now super teams are allowed in the Games, you don’t have to live and train together and log your location every single day of the year like it used to be and move your family to go be on a team, necessarily. How do these teams come together?

I think everyone’s always wondering who’s the mastermind forming these teams and orchestrating everything? Is it just a text thread with your friends and you’re like, “Should we do this?”

Josh BridgesJosh Bridges

[laughs] Pretty much. At the Games, all the athletes start to become friends and you’re back there for a week at a time, basically hanging out with these people and you become friends. For those rogue teams, though, basically Caity would help form them.

David TaoDavid Tao

This is Caity Henniger?

Josh BridgesJosh Bridges

Yeah, sorry, Caity Henniger, yeah. Caity Henniger would help form those. It would be like, I would text Rich…I was on a team with Dan the first year, it was me, Dan, Kamil, and Lauren Fisher. Me and Dan were like, “Hey, you want to be on the team?” and he’s like “Yeah.” Then Caity put the girls together with us. They were like, “You want to be on a team with Lauren and Kamil?”

We’re like, “Yeah, sure.” The next year, me and Rich were the two guys and Caity’s like, “Do you want to be with these two people?” I think the second year it was me, Rich, Sam Briggs, and Margaux Alvarez. The third year, it was me, Rich, Annie, and Katrin. I’m sure Caity would find the two girls and then the two guys and then we’d come together.

Those were fun times, I really miss that…whatever you want to call it…event.

David TaoDavid Tao

That era, that era of team competition.

Josh BridgesJosh Bridges

Yeah.

David TaoDavid Tao

We’ve seen CrossFit competition evolve. Regionals are a thing of the past now, now you have Sanctionals. The open’s still around, but it just feels a little different than it used to. Is there anything else that you miss about that era of CrossFit competition, call it 2013-2017? Anything else you miss?

Josh BridgesJosh Bridges

To be honest, I was really shocked at how well I like the Sanctional now. Looking at the season and how much more it has an advantage to the athlete, due to the fact that you don’t have to be healthy on your weekend.

You don’t have to have it lined up just perfectly. You can pick and choose where you want to go. It’s really great for the athlete.

I do miss the Regional. I do miss the old structure of the Open, the Regional Week Games. Knowing who your competition is, really. Towards the end, the competition was getting insane. I would’ve stayed at the ’18 Regional in California. I think it was called the West. I think it was 17 previous individual game athletes on the men’s side where you’re like, there’s only five spots. There are 17 prior Games athletes here.

It’s like 12 people who went to the Games before are not going to go this year. That was really cool. I just like that aspect where it’s like, “OK, you know you’re part of the country, you’re going to competing against these people, and it is what it is.” I understand the Sanctional, why I went to, but I do miss that. I thought that was really cool.

David TaoDavid Tao

This is something that we had a few people ask after we posted that video. Someone ask you now, what are your goals for CrossFit competition moving forward and what are your plans for call it next three years as far as competing?

Josh BridgesJosh Bridges

I can’t give you a three-year plan because I don’t have one.

David TaoDavid Tao

I’ll take around 18-month plan.

Josh BridgesJosh Bridges

Right now I’ll just get my body healthy and I had two surgeries this year, I had knee surgery and elbow surgery. My plan is still to compete. I’m not retired by any means. How I compete, we’ll see. I’m going to do the rogue legends this year. I know that for sure. I’m going to possibly do the West Coast Classic which is in late March I believe, but it’s here in Del Mar.

I got an invite to that and I was like, “Yeah, I’ll accept it.” I can’t tell you if I’m going to be ready for it or not because I’m only six weeks out of an elbow surgery. I still am really good, but I don’t want to go out there and look stupid. If I feel ready and I feel capable like I can come out here and compete, I’ll do it.

That’s my six-month plan, I guess right now, are those two events. Then after that, we’ll see. Obviously, that probably leads me if I can meet, if maybe June, July, I can get a Sanctional in, possibly I’ll do it if I haven’t qualified yet. If I qualify out of the West Coast Classic then, that’ll be it until the Games [laughs] obviously for me.

I’m not one of these young guys who’s going to do 5 or 10 Sanctional events. There’s no way, my body just couldn’t handle it.

David TaoDavid Tao

Yeah. They’re like 20, 21 or 22 Sanctional events you got to do. You got to do them all Josh.

Josh BridgesJosh Bridges

Right. No kidding. That’s crazy. I’m looking at some of these guys, I’m like, “What? That’s insane but good for them.” You know, like, “Hey, I miss it.” If I was 24 right now, I would probably do the same thing, so I get it.

Right now, that’s it. I’m not looking too much far past this year. We’ll see how it plays out and I’ll have to adjust and make decisions for next year after that.

David TaoDavid Tao

What’s training been like for you after these surgeries? You had the knee surgery and the elbow surgery was more recent, right?

Josh BridgesJosh Bridges

Yeah, the elbow surgery was six weeks ago. Knee surgery was really…it was a pretty dramatic surgery, is called a high tibial osteotomy. It’s where they literally break your leg and realign your knee joint because my knee joint wasn’t aligned and they put nine screws in it.

I was literally non-weight-bearing for six weeks. I was on crutches for six weeks. It was awful. Slowly, once that started to come around it was like, “OK, now I can do my elbow.” I can’t do these surgeries at the same time or I’m literally going to turn into a fat turd. [laughs]

David TaoDavid Tao

You can. If you can’t put weight on your leg and you can’t crutch around, you’re just like…

Josh BridgesJosh Bridges

Oh my God, I can’t do this. I had to wait until I started feeling really good with my knee and then I did my elbow surgery.

It’s been a little bit of a frustrating year but I also knew it was coming and so I was prepared mentally for it. Yeah, my leg, my knee is feeling amazing. I’m running, I’m squatting, really, no pain, starting to work back up in weight, getting it strong again.

The elbow is kind of lingering. It wasn’t like a super-invasive surgery. It was just a scope where they cleaned out bone spurs and loose fragments in my elbow. The last two years, I’ve had some super-limited range of motion, flexion and extension.

I had to get that stuff removed because I just couldn’t snatch or jerk over or do any heavy weight with it or my elbow would just collapse. It was just like I couldn’t get to that lockout. I would just like you strap on me. I had to, I think I got to get this fixed or I’m not going to be able to compete anymore.

I still am pretty like I haven’t gotten to where I want to be yet, but it’s not like I can’t do a lot with it. I just can’t snatch heavier jerk heavy yet, everything else like I can bench, I can do handstand push-ups, I can do pull-ups.

David TaoDavid Tao

You can bench, why would you want to do anything else? You’re good.

Josh BridgesJosh Bridges

Right. [laughs] Bench and squat, nice way to call it a day.

David TaoDavid Tao

How is your…

Josh BridgesJosh Bridges

Go ahead. I’m sorry.

David TaoDavid Tao

I was just going to say, how is your approach to training changed? I don’t want to say so much with age because that’s a question that I think everyone adapts differently, but with your training age? Because you’ve been doing CrossFit now since 2005. You’ve been competing since 20…

Josh BridgesJosh Bridges

11.

David TaoDavid Tao

2011. You have a lot, almost a decade of competition under your belt with different breaks for service and things like that. When I talk to athletes who have been competing for roughly that long because we do have CrossFitters who’ve been competing that long and they all have different answers.

They’re like, well, I have to do this differently, I have to do this differently but no one’s approaching training the same. Surgeries and injuries notwithstanding, how has your approach to training changed with this volume you’ve accumulated over the years?

Josh BridgesJosh Bridges

 I think that you just have to obviously, I feel like I’m always learning. I’m always testing new forms of recovery, adjusting training volume, adjusting how I’m training, intensity levels. I think that if you are still training the same way that you were 10 years ago, like, I wouldn’t be in the squad anymore.

 

David TaoDavid Tao

 I can’t wait to be the person who were asked this question, they were like same thing I used to do.

Josh BridgesJosh Bridges

Yeah, same thing. Nothing’s changed. No. I think it’s just you have to train smarter. Like when you start to get older and you start to have wear and tear on the body, you start to realize that’s OK, like risk versus reward when it comes to training.

Like, is this training going to help me or am I putting myself more at risk of injury or just even just like, yeah, something like a small nagging injury that will keep me from doing something if I do it this way or could I adjust this either volume, weight, whatever or maybe like, OK, my hands are a little sore, I’m not going to deadlift today.

Where, like back in the day, I’d be like, “Oh, my hands are a little sore, I should probably deadlift even heavier.” Just not being very smart about it, but so yeah, just trying to train smarter, I guess. It’s really been one thing I’ve changed. I wouldn’t say like I’ve made drastic adjustments. I’ve made more adjustments in recovery I think than anything else.

 

David TaoDavid Tao

What are some of the recovery techniques or methodologies that you used today that maybe you wish you had started using in 2011 or even before?

Josh BridgesJosh Bridges

Oh man, my cold tub. I used my cold tub just about every day. I do saunas every night. When I finally got my sauna, gosh, I was just like, why didn’t I buy this five years ago? [laughs] I was like, what is the matter with you? I always wanted one because I love the sauna, but I was like, “It’s not worth the investment.”

Now I’m like, “You’re an idiot.” It was totally worth the investment.

David TaoDavid Tao

What is… 

Go ahead. Yes, sir.

Josh BridgesJosh Bridges

I’ll just say other things I’ve done. I’ve done like hyperbaric chambers trying to get all the oxygen to help recovery, I don’t know. I don’t know if there’s actually much to it or not, but I know that I definitely felt better when I used it.

David TaoDavid Tao

Some of these recovery techniques like using a sauna, sometimes it just feel good. As more research goes into them, you can quantify how much they might help recovery, but sometimes you just want to sit in a sauna for 15 minutes at the end of the day. It’s nice to sweat it out.

Josh BridgesJosh Bridges

It feels amazing. I’ll say what though, I do the sauna like 200 degrees.

David TaoDavid Tao

It’s very hot.

Josh BridgesJosh Bridges

It’s insane, I smoke meat on my Traeger at 225, something in my head is like, “I cook meat at this close to this temperature”.

 

David TaoDavid Tao

Water boils at 212 Josh. I’m not sure if anyone ever told you this.

Josh BridgesJosh Bridges

This is insane, but there’s been some major research done on it. There’s a couple doctors that I follow this one Dr. Rhonda Patrick. She’s super intelligent as all the longevity doctors out there and I basically like life hackers, whatever you want to call them, but man, some of the research that we’re doing on the sauna is insane, and so I’ve been doing it. I’ll tell you what, I feel great.

 

David TaoDavid Tao

All right, just make sure…don’t take it up one degree every time until you hit 212. I don’t want you to boil yourself.

 

Josh BridgesJosh Bridges

I can’t if it’s 200 in there, it’s not a relaxing time, let me tell you that. I’m sitting in there and I’m just like, “I just want to get out, I don’t want to be here anymore”. I’d rather sit in my cold tub, I have set it at around 34, 36 degrees.

I sit in that cold tub, sometimes four minutes at a time, neck deep. I would rather sit in the cold tub at 36 degrees for 4 minutes, than being in the sauna at 200 degrees for 20. That’s what I’d normally sit in.

David TaoDavid Tao

I’m going to invent a new variable, it’s going to be called the Bridges’ coefficient. It takes the temperatures that you do these things at, and it brings them somewhere close back to the medium. Like knocks 20 degrees off or adds 10 degrees, that’s going to be my new formula.

Josh BridgesJosh Bridges

Yeah, I like to go all the way when I do things.

David TaoDavid Tao

Looking back at over, well over a decade. I said at a decade, but it’s 2019. I keep thinking is 2015 is about probably 2020. Looking back at a decade and a half of CrossFit, but also in your military training.

You talked about some of these brutal ruck runs. We’ve seen you attack and finish first in some brutal workouts at the CrossFit Games. Are there any workouts that stick out in your mind, is like this is the hardest workout I’ve done, particularly on the CrossFit side?

Josh BridgesJosh Bridges

In the competitions?

David TaoDavid Tao

Yeah.

Josh BridgesJosh Bridges

Man, some of the toughest workouts, either of those long rows are really brutal. The half marathons and the marathon row, are both pretty brutal.

David TaoDavid Tao

Was the marathon twice as brutal as the half marathon or does it get to a point where you’re like, it can’t get much worse so it can’t double?

Josh BridgesJosh Bridges

I actually think the half marathon was worse, because you didn’t have any time…nobody did anything like that back, nobody. I had sat on a row prior to that for an hour once. I guarantee it wasn’t rowing anywhere near as hard as that row during that half marathon, the half marathon was worse. I think the marathon was really bad.

I didn’t take enough electrolytes and I definitely had some cramping during it. I would love to redo that, but it was brutal. That was probably one of the hardest workouts I remember.

I remember the 23rd team, when the first time they had the pig, the green pig on the field, where you ran two laps around the stadium. Then you came in you flipped the pig, length in the football field. You carry the log over to the other stadium and then you dragged the huge sled. That workout was pretty brutal.

David TaoDavid Tao

I think Jason Khalipa won that workout or finished toward the top, I think?

Josh BridgesJosh Bridges

Yes. It’s either Jason or Rich. I can’t remember who won it. I want to say it might have been Rich, but you could be right could be Jason. Either way.

David TaoDavid Tao

They’re both like…body weight matters in that workout. Flipping a pig. I’ve never flipped the pig, but I flipped a lot of tires. It’s a lot harder when I’m at a lighter body weight, because you have less mass.

Josh BridgesJosh Bridges

Very true. It was more so height on that because the length of that thing was so long. That when taller guys got it up just a little bit higher, because when they dead lifted it up, it was up higher. It was a little bit easier to pop it up and over, where I was…it was barely off the ground when I stood up with it.

Four inches off the ground I was like, “this isn’t anywhere near.” Oh man, that thing was brutal. That was one of the tougher workouts that I can remember, trying to think of any other. The triple three. The year that we did the triple threes at the Games, it was so hot and I remember running around for three miles. I was like, I’ve never felt so hot and overheated on a three-mile run before where was the 3k row 300 double-under three-mile run that was nasty.

David TaoDavid Tao

That workout really hobbled a lot of people like Rich had to basically walking across the finish line. A few athletes got injured. I know at least one athlete, I won’t name names, tore an abdominal muscle on the double-unders, from that. Just because of the heat the conditions coming off the road, it was a brutal one.

 

Josh BridgesJosh Bridges

It was a brutal workout. I remember thinking this is a shitty workout. It’s really tough workout, but it’s not like crazy. The heat and the way that we were running the lap, it felt like we were constantly running uphill. It’s like that old wives’ tale, like “I used to walk school uphill both ways.” That’s what it felt like, it felt like we were always going uphill on that run.

David TaoDavid Tao

What if anything, do you think is going to need to change about competitive CrossFit over the next few years? We’ve seen more changes in the past year and a half than in the 5 years before that maybe even the 10 years before that. What do you think still needs to change about the sport or would you like to see change about the sport.

Josh BridgesJosh Bridges

It kind of went back to its infancy stage again, due to the fact that the changes have been so drastic. They had it dialed in so well, in ’17 and ’18. ’16 was probably the most dialed in season I believe, because it was the last year at Carson.

Carson ran so smoothly. It was insane. I’ve never been in Games where everything…In the back, everything on the floor, everything ran insanely smooth.

’17 was a new year at Madison so the Games were a little rough. When it came to logistics back behind the scene, with athletes. I felt like it was it was a little crazy. We’re getting crowd way too early, things like that.

’18 they’re starting to figure it out a little bit, but still tough .The only way I see needs to change maybe is how they make the cuts, if they’re going to do the cuts. Other than that there might be have to put some regulations on these Sanctionals, how it’s handled.

The Sanctional events get complete control, which is great for those events. What you could see is people getting workouts in advance. Is it illegal to hold a Sanctional event and be in it? You know what I mean? I don’t know, I have no idea.

I don’t know if that rule book is out there or not but like little things. I don’t think anything crazy, anything major. They could dial in those cuts and they could help how it looks.

David TaoDavid Tao

One last question I’ll ask about the competition, the CrossFit competition front. Is there anything, could be a movement, could be some test of fitness or capacity that you haven’t seen at the Games that you would like to see?

An example that I hear from people or have heard from people numerous times is a shooting event, or an archery event or something like that. People bring up like, “Well, is that testing fitness?” I’ve heard people get into arguments about that. What if…

Josh BridgesJosh Bridges

Yes, we have.

David TaoDavid Tao

What — if anything — do you think could be contested at the Games we haven’t seen yet that would be a good test of fitness and capacity?

Josh BridgesJosh Bridges

I think the shooting event at the Rogue event was awesome. I thought it was cool. Anybody who wants to dispute that it’s not testing fitness…It’s an Olympic sport. Not saying that defines what sport is because it’s in the Olympics — because there’s other things that are a little ridiculous — but testing accuracy at a high heart rate and how fast you can recover, I think is a phenomenal tester for any fitness test.

Shooting definitely does that. You’re controlling your breathing. You’re controlling your trigger finger. You’re looking at something and taking a shot. I think it is testing fitness and it’s a great test. Seeing that in the Games would be cool.

I always wanted to see a ruck run, and they finally did it last year. That was cool. Dave did that because that was something Dave did. I was like, “Oh man, this is awesome.”

David TaoDavid Tao

It probably wasn’t as miserable as some of those you went on with him back in 2007.

Josh BridgesJosh Bridges

I bet that was pretty miserable though. That looked bad. Especially the adding the weight aspect of it was crazy. I was like, “Oh, this is…” They did a good job of it. They came up with a great plan as usual.

I’m trying to think of anything else. A Marathon run…

…like testing…What’s the longest run they ever did? I think in ’12, the one in Pendleton. That hill run was 10k. Is that the longest? I bet that’s the longest run of the Games.

David TaoDavid Tao

I don’t know off the top of my head actually. I mean the ruck run was pretty long. It was probably…it was up there. It was long…

Josh BridgesJosh Bridges

It was 5k. It’s three miles. I think testing something crazy long. You don’t really…like, what have we seen that super long other than the marathon row? Do we have any other four-hour events? Ever?

I don’t think so. I mean…try it. Pendleton was like getting two and a half, three hours. That’s really about it. You haven’t really seen anything crazy long other than the row. 100-mile bike, that’d be crazy. That would be cool to see.

David TaoDavid Tao

Well, Josh it’s been an absolute pleasure getting to know you a little bit better. I’m looking forward to what’s to come for you even though it seems like your competition schedules depending on some other factors. What’s the best way for folks to keep up to date with your training and competitions moving forward, and the other stuff you’re doing including good dudes, coffee, some of the entrepreneurial stuff you’re doing in the fitness space as well?

Josh BridgesJosh Bridges

For sure, yeah. Instagram is always a super easy way @bridgesj3, the YouTube channel just type in “Josh Bridges.” We have a YouTube channel that we typically drop two videos a week showing training and mindset and things like that. I would say those are probably the two best. Then you have gooddudescoffee.com, if you want to get some good coffee.

David TaoDavid Tao

[laughs] Awesome, appreciate it. Josh, thanks for your time.

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