Two-Brain Radio: Chase Ingraham

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Sean: 00:00 – Hello everybody and welcome to another edition of Two-Brain Radio with Sean Woodland. On today’s edition I talk with former Games athlete and current CrossFit broadcaster Chase Ingraham. First, are you a stressed business owner who’s working too much and still struggling to make a profit? If you want to grow your venture and reach the next level Two-Brain Business is here to help you with a free 60-minute call. It’s not a sales pitch, just an opportunity for you to get real, actionable advice from an expert who’s built a successful business. For one-on-one guidance on how to take your business to the next level, you can book your Free Help call today at Chase Ingraham has been involved in CrossFit since 2008. He currently owns CrossFit Dig D in Dallas, Texas. He competed at the Games in 2010 as an individual and has also been to the Regionals five times. Chase was a member of the CrossFit Games media team and most recently served as an analyst alongside yours truly on the Rogue Iron game in Madison, Wisconsin for the 2019 Reebok CrossFit Games. We talk about how he got into the broadcast side of the sport, growing up as the son of two very high-level athletes and some of his most memorable performances as an individual athlete. Thanks for listening everybody.

Sean: 01:21 – Chase Ingraham, how you doing, man?

Chase: 01:25 – I’m great. Great. I got that. Post-Games honeymoon depression, but other than that, everything is fantastic.

Sean: 01:34 – Yeah. You’re coming off the broadcast. You and I got to work together on the Rogue Iron Game. Let’s go back. I should know the answer to this and I actually don’t, but how did you get involved in the broadcast side of CrossFit?

Chase: 01:45 – So from the very beginning or this weekend?

Sean: 01:48 – From the very beginning.

Chase: 01:49 – From the very beginning, it was 2012 and I had made the Games in 10, I had just missed the Games and 11, thanks to an unfortunate workout that shall not be named, although it probably will later. And I had to have shoulder surgery. Particularly just due to some previous cross-injuries that I’d sustained and I was looking for kind of a purpose that off season. Part of that was I coached and put together a team in 2010 a team in 2011 and another one in 2012, and you guys were having the Update Show— actually you weren’t, Rory was, I hadn’t met you yet. And a buddy of mine, I was talking to him and he goes, why don’t you submit a Update Show segment called “how to pick and choose teams for the CrossFit Games.” I was like, oh, that’s a great idea., And the only person I knew at the time was actually Dave Re, photographer. Local, then became local to you guys and is now re-local to us back here in Texas. So I emailed him my idea and he said he would forward it on, and three days later I get a call from Rory McKernan asking if I have any broadcast experience. And I said, no—

Sean: 03:20 – Does what I sent you count?

Chase: 03:23 – And he said “Would you like some?” I said, “Absolutely.” And kind of the rest is history, is that we all came together for that Central East Regional and went from there. And that’s really how it started with this. I think it’s funny is that after that happened, I’ve never been afraid to ask for something I’m willing to work for ever again. And every time I see Dave Re, I shake his hand and I thank him because the only reason why I got to do say what we did last weekend was because of him.

Sean: 03:56 – Well, I think you had something to do with that as well.

Chase: 04:02 – Yeah. I mean we work hard, but sometimes you gotta take advantage of the opportunities that you’re given.

Sean: 04:09 – What were the kind of the first lessons that you learned when you got into that side of things?

Chase: 04:16 – That I was horrible at broadcasting. But the reality is it’s just so much harder than you can imagine. Of how the process of broadcasting goes because you know, a lot of times when you’re just—if the broadcast is doing its job correctly, you don’t even know that they’re there. It feels like the inner voice in your head, dialoguing what’s currently happening. And for me, I just kinda thought like how many times when we sat around and had a beer and watched the game and kind of talked about it, that seems really easy to do, but that’s actually not the case. And so learning how to do a very, very difficult job and then with the added pressure of, I knew the importance of the position right from the bat. Partly because, you know, at the time I was still very competitive. I knew the athletes that were doing it. I knew what it took to get there. I knew that their story was very important. So that was very personal to me and to be in a position to bring that to either strangers of the sport or super fans of the sport, I knew that role was very important. So the added pressure to that was also very challenging.

Sean: 05:41 – When did it click for you?

Chase: 05:46 – I don’t want to say it’s ever clicked, but I think it was—you know what, it was actually in, I want to say the Meridian Regional in 2015 where I went overseas for the first time, and I do mean like first time to Europe ever, and I was with Mads Jacobsen, who can speak nine languages fluently and could say every athlete’s name, say it in the dialect in which it’s supposed to be said. And then he knew everybody. This guy was pulling out stats of the judges judging the athletes, it was incredible. And I felt a tremendous, like more pressure than I’d ever had in my entire broadcasting career to do things the right way, like say the names the right way, give the opinions the right way. And I was doing play-by-play at the time. And about a day and a half in, I’m just butchering these names, trying to say them the right way. Like it was embarrassing. Like if you go back and listen to that, I mean I was like trying to keep pace with Mads and then I was like, I can’t do this. Like, I’m focusing so much on trying to do this kind of the way you do it and the right way, that I’m screwing this up. And he goes, “Hey, you have an American accent, right?” “Yeah.” “OK. So how do you feel when these Europeans or Swedes or South Africans say your name in their accent?” “I think it’s cool.” He goes, “Exactly.”

Sean: 07:32 – Mads has a way about making you feel good about yourself.

Chase: 07:35 – Yeah. And it was such a weird, weird thing to make all of it click, but I was like, it transformed into be yourself, enjoy what you’re doing and just give the people what’s in front of them. I think right when that happened, I immediately got comfortable in my own skin and I started having fun. And I feel like that translated to the to 2015 Games. Where I was, instead of trying to be a broadcaster, which I didn’t know how to do, cause I’d only been doing it for three years, is that I just was myself, and I found out that being myself and just doing the job correctly was good enough. And if it wasn’t, then I was OK with that. So that’s when it all kind of clicked,

Sean: 08:19 – You’ve lived on both sides. Play by play and you’ve done the analyst work and the color commentary work. How does your experience as a coach help you as an analyst?

Chase: 08:32 – Oh man. I’ll tell you right off the bat, when we originally met in 2012 and they wanted me to do play by play, it was like for the teams, for the first two heats. We had so many people, we were getting such small roles—

Sean: 08:45 – 30 announcers—

Chase: 08:46 – And I’m looking around and this wasn’t meant to be like cocky, but it was like, I am not in the right role for this job. I shouldn’t be in the driver’s seat of what’s going on. I know more about what’s happening behind the scenes and CrossFit stuff than anybody here, and that’s how I felt. It wasn’t a slight to anybody else. It’s ’cause I’ve lived it as a competitor. I’ve lived it as a coach. I’ve lived it as a coach in an affiliate and I just knew all of that nuances in between that it felt like the little details of why something is happening is getting missed. So I think just being so immersed in it from the bottom up has really given me a good perspective as an analyst because I’ve seen it, I’ve thought—listen, I sucked at CrossFit before I got good at CrossFit and then I sucked at coaching before I could coach. And then I sucked—you know, it’s like you got to suck at something before you get good at something. I saw this play on words where it was like you need to—oh gosh, what was it—like you have to suck more to suck less to have success, something like that. I was like, oh yeah, that makes a lot of sense. But I think from the analyst side is that I had the fortunate position to be in it from every level in terms of athlete, coach and affiliate owner towards the end, but also be in it at every level of success, you know, the worst to find successes in the sport, I feel like has given me a good breadth of kind of analytical cash, so to speak, to kind of play off of.

Sean: 10:43 – What do you enjoy most about the whole broadcasting experience?

Chase: 10:49 – That’s a long answer. It’s a good answer. But I love being in a position to share my love and passion of CrossFit and the sport with people that are watching the broadcast. So for me, it’s a matter of I have so much fun doing it. I love it so much and I feel like I’m in a very unique and special position to be able to bring that to people watching it. Like, oh, this looks cool. I’m like, let me tell you how cool this is. I want you to hear how cool this is that you start to feel that. It’s like we can’t be in the Coliseum when it’s happening, but I want you to feel it. I want you to understand the magnitude of the situation and how special this is. And I take that so personally that, I mean, people may have found this before that I get really wrapped up into the call. While it’s happening, it’s like I’m having like emotional and sometimes like visceral, responses—

Sean: 12:05 – But that’s a good thing, that’s definitely a good thing.

Chase: 12:08 – And so what I want people to be able to see is the authenticity of the sport, I want it to be mirrored and mimicked by the authenticity of my call.

Sean: 12:19 – You’re certainly doing a good job of it.

Chase: 12:21 – Thank you.

Sean: 12:21 – I mean you’ve been to Regionals, you’ve been to, I mean, you’ve done Open announcements, you’ve done Games, you know, you’ve done desk stuff. What are your best memories from your experience on the broadcast side?

Chase: 12:34 – You know, it really has nothing to do with the broadcast itself. I think, you know, this last year really kind of put that into perspective is that, you know, I think you can attest to this too, is that when we were told that there was not going to be a broadcast anymore or the media department is being disbanded, the first thing I thought about was not, oh, I don’t have a job anymore or I don’t get to do that thing that I enjoy doing. It was, I don’t get to see the people and work with the people that I have as close to a personal relationship as family as you can get without sharing the same last name. And I truly do feel like that just because everybody behind the scenes and you know, people say this, like cared so much about what they did and were so willing to look so hard for the same reason. That’s what really made the coverage what it was. And it wasn’t like, you know, the six guys that got to talk in a mic. We had the easiest job. But it was just everybody there. And when we all said goodbye in 2018 usually it’s like, hey, great seeing you again, love you, see you in maybe February or May or back here in a year. And that is what I ,was the most sad about thinking I would never get to do that again with the people I really do care about. And that’s kind of my favorite part of it is that, you know, working with a like-minded group of people for the same thing is very rare and that is something that we shared as a group.

Sean: 14:29 – You come from a pretty athletic family. Let’s start with your parents. What are the backgrounds in sports for both your mother and your father?

Chase: 14:39 – So I’ll start with Dad because Mom’s gonna out-shine him. My dad was a multiple sport athlete in high school. College, he was a starting linebacker with the University of Arizona and he got drafted and tinkered around the Philadelphia Eagles and 49ers for a couple of years until he got hurt. A career-ending knee injury, and just you know, growing up, when I look at my dad, like he was a superhero. He looked like a superhero, he was as big as a superhero. Like my dad, you know, my dad is my real-world hero. Like trying to be like him has kind of been the cornerstone of what drives me to do the things that I do. And then my mom swam in college, also at the University of Arizona, played club water polo for the men’s team because they didn’t have a club women’s team. Made Olympic trials. And then recently, my mom still swims to this day, she runs a masters program in San Antonio. They have over 350 athletes now, and she recently went to, I believe it was Masters World and she just aged 60-plus and won seven gold medals and set five new records.

Sean: 16:25 – Wow.

Chase: 16:26 – So my mom is still considered the best athlete in the family.

Sean: 16:32 – That’s crazy, man.

Chase: 16:32 – And is still collecting hardware. So that, you know, not a lot to live up to. My younger brother, who is my bigger brother cause he’s 6’10 and I’m 6’2, was the All-American football player, a wide receiver for Purdue University.

Sean: 16:51 – Boiler up.

Chase: 16:52 – Oh yeah. A freak athlete. Could play any sport. Like my brother Kyle is by far the most athletically gifted person in the family. And he’s been like that ever since he was little. And then my younger brother I got to swim with in college, which was super cool. He’s the youngest, Colton, and you know, we got to swim together at SMU for a year, which was really neat. I had a super senior year due to a medical issue my junior year. So that was really neat to be able to play and compete with my youngest brother cause we never got to as kids. And you know, he was—he ended up being faster than me in college. So I’m actually the worst one in the entire family.

Sean: 17:43 – Which is crazy.

Chase: 17:45 – We put a little bow on it. So there’s absolutely no pressure whatsoever to perform in sports in my family at all.

Sean: 17:53 – Well that was my next question. How did growing up in that environment kind of shape you as a person?

Chase: 17:59 – It was awesome. My dad, so this is true story, is that we moved a lot when I was little, not like a military family, my Dad just kept getting, you know, promotions and then we’d move. So from, I would say 5 to 10, we moved every year. So, you know, move before kindergarten, went to kindergarten, moved for first, second, third grade, always moving, always the new kid. And when I was—you know, kids are mean. And they’re not nice to the new kid. And so I think it was, gosh, I was young, and I was getting picked on in school. I think it was like first grade, and I came home crying to my dad, and you know, he’s like, “Well, what’s the matter?” “It’s like, well, the kids are picking on me because I’m new and they’re making fun of this and that.” And I was like, “what are you going to do for me?” And my dad goes, “Nothing.” I’m like, “What do you mean? Like you’re my dad?” “He goes, “Yeah. I’ll tell you what I would do, and I’ll show you how to, you know, stick up for yourself and I’ll support you in whatever it is you do, as long as it’s done the right way.” And you know, my dad gave me some advice that probably most kids wouldn’t get. But he forced me to face that head on. And this was young. And so I did. And a few trips to the principal’s office later, he goes, “I’m proud of you for sticking up for yourself. Let’s reel back the combativeness a little bit.” But you know, that was the last time—that was the first time my dad put me in a position to succeed or fail. The other times were middle school, high school, I was like one of the smaller kids in my class, I was slow, I was weak, and I was trying out for football teams and basketball teams and you know, my dad just went, he was very honest. He was like, “Listen, the only way you’re going to make these teams is if you practice harder than all of them. That’s your only chance.” And it was really cut and dry like that. And so I was like, OK. Well that’s kind of where it started. It’s like, you know, you put in the work and you’ll get results. You won’t get results all the time, but at least you can hang your hat on the chance you gave yourself. So that was the household that I lived in. And having younger brothers all fairly close, and we got to live in a neighborhood that had kids all the same age and everybody came to our house to, you know, play basketball in the front yard or throw the football around, play baseball in the cul-de-sac. It was just the way we were raised. But it wasn’t forced. It was you have an option. And I think that’s kind of the difference between some, like maybe like hard knocks hands on sports dads and sports moms is that we were never forced to anything. We were given the choice and they made it really easy because they said, it’s like you want this to happen, this is what you need to do. I was like, OK, well I really want this to happen so I’m going to do that.

Chase: 21:30 – That’s cool that at that age you were able to absorb those lessons. Do you remember what your dad told you in first grade? What the advice he gave you was?

Chase: 21:39 – Yeah.

Sean: 21:39 – Is it something that cannot be repeated?

Chase: 21:43 – No, I mean I’ll tell it to you right now, he goes, “The next kid that comes up to you to pick on you, just punch him in the face as hard as you can, one time. Then he’ll never do it again.” And he was right. I did it. And as soon as I found that out that, you know, it’s not always going to work and sometimes it didn’t. But it was more of a lesson of stick up for yourself when others won’t for you and stick up for others they can’t stick up for themselves. And that’s kinda how it happened.

Sean: 22:28 – You mentioned trying out for different sports, you’ve had a lot of success as a swimmer. What was it about that sport that drew you to it?

Chase: 22:38 – Truthfully, it was by default. Cause I really, really, really, really wanted to grow up and be a football player like my dad. That was my number-one sports dream. And so middle school, like I said, I was small, I was slow. They have like A teams and B teams in all the sports. I was always on the B team and I was like the last one to get picked, but I made the roster. So that was really neat. That was special to me. And then in high school I was a freshman and I was 5’2, 125, trying to play tight end.

Sean: 23:11 – I can’t picture you at that size, it’s just impossible.

Chase: 23:16 – Well, and you know, now I tell people that story, it’s like I’m 6’2, 215, so a foot shorter and 90 pounds lighter. And I was just getting tossed around like a rag doll, it wasn’t really working. And my mom came up to me, she’s like, “Hey listen,”—cause I wanted to play a physical sport. And she’s like, “Water polo season’s coming up.” I had done like summer league swims. I don’t know if you guys ever had that in your neighborhoods where it’s like a six-week swim team, neighborhood vs. neighborhood. So I’d done that when I was like 12. So I was probably 15 at the time. And she’s like, here’s water polo. I’m like. “I don’t even know what water polo is, Mom,” and she—we had a pool, she goes, “I’ll show you what water polo is.” So she gets in her suit, I get my suit, she throws a basketball into the pool, she goes, get in, and we get in. And my mom proceeds to drown me, for like 30 minutes. Like try to get the ball or you try not to let me take the ball. And my mom kicked my ass for 30 minutes in the pool. And I was like, this is awesome. And so I went to the swim team and they had a water polo season. And the benefit there was I knew how to swim, but I wasn’t good at it and I didn’t have a lot of stamina. But for water polo, you don’t need to really be a fast swimmer. You need to be capable in the water. And then you have to have hand-eye coordination. You have to be able to see the field, you have to understand place, you have to use people’s strengths against them and be very strategic. And I could throw a ball hard, better than swimmers could. Swimmers are like, you throw a ball at a swimmer and it might as well be like a Rubik’s cube that has a detonation clock on it. They’re like oh, what do I do?! And I picked it up and by the end of the year, we actually won state my freshman year, I was the only sub in a team that had 11 seniors on it. I was like, this is my sport. And I wanted to swim to get better at water polo. And then by the time I was senior, you know, we won state twice, I was an All-American, I was really good at water polo. But then I was like I want to see how much better I can get swimming. And so I kinda took that into college and that’s just kinda how I fell into it. So it was happenstance and circumstance and instead of the push from my dad, I was getting the push from my mom and it was cool. So I got a lot of coaching and support from both my parents and I kind of found my way into swimming.

Sean: 26:19 – We’ll be back with more from Chase Ingraham after this.

Chris: 26:24 – Hey guys, it’s Chris Cooper. If you’ve ever run out of money, you know that it affects every single corner of your life, all of your relationships, your business, even your self-worth. And so when I found a mentor in 2009, I said, I want to share this gift with everyone. Since then, I’ve been building and refining and improving a mentorship practice that we now call Two-Brain Business. We break our mentorship into several stages. The first stage is the Incubator, which is a 12-week sprint to get your foundation built, to get you started on retention and employee programs and finding the best staff, putting them in the best roles, training them up to be successful and then recruiting more clients. It’s an amazing program. It is the culmination of over a decade of work. It’s also the sum of best practices from over 800 gyms around the world. These aren’t just my ideas anymore. What we do is track with data what’s working for whom and when and we test new ideas against that data to say, is this actually better? Then when ideas have proven themselves conclusively, then we put it in our Incubator or Growth or Tinker programs. I just wrote “Founder, Farmer, Tinker, Thief” to define who should be doing what in what stage of entrepreneurship, but no matter where you are, the Incubator is your first 12-weeks sprint to get as far as possible in your business. We’re a mentorship practice for one reason: Mentorship is what works. We work with gym owners for one reason: because you have the potential to change the world with us. And I hope you do.

Sean: 27:55 – How did you find CrossFit?

Chase: 27:59 – I found CrossFit in 2008, and this was two years removed from college swimming. And I was trying to find my way, like every athlete does after they graduate, you know, who am I and how do I train, ’cause I’ve had a coach since I was four. I’ve been told what to do and how to train and it was really easy. It’s like do this and then I’ll go, OK, and I’ll do that as hard as I can, and I was just trying to find my way. And I ran into a college teammate of mine, his name is Justin Smith, and it’d been two years since I’d seen him. And in college he was an amazing swimmer. But the weird thing about swimmers is that they all look different and you know, some swimmers are just kinda soft, and Justin was one of those guys. And then I’d seen him two years later and he was not soft. Justin was in shape. And at the time I was trying to find something more athletic because I was tired of being like skinny fat or fat fat. And you know, it kind of circled back. It’s like I wanted to look like my dad did when I was younger. I wanted to look like an athlete. I know it’s there in my body somewhere. And he looked like that. I go, “Where are you training and what are you doing?” He’s like, “I’m doing CrossFit.” “Well, I’m coming with you tomorrow.” And he goes, “OK.” So we show up at six o’clock to CrossFit El Centro, and I came the next day just like I said, and it was Fran.

Sean: 29:35 – Oh no.

Chase: 29:37 – I mean I didn’t know at the time. And we show up and they write the workout on the board. And I did the classic rookie CrossFit mistake, and I went, “That’s it?” And so you’re looking at 21, 15, 9 thrusters at 95 and pull-ups. And I was really good at pull-ups at the time when we were in swimming, and even post-that, pull-ups to me were strict. If you kipped, you were cheating. So, you know, the coach is explaining it and he’s like it’s a front squat. And I was like, I’ve never broke parallel in my life, let alone holding a bar in the front-rack position. And squat and then press overhead. I was like, OK, I can do that. Then he goes, “Then you got pull-ups.” I started doing strict—”Oh no, no, no, no, you want to kip.” I was like, “You mean cheat?” And he goes, “Yeah, whatever, cheat.” This is the best! And so I start kipping right away. And to this day we’re friends now, his name’s Spencer Nixon. He owns CrossFit El Centro. He goes, “I had never been more happy in my life to have a brand-new athlete walk in and just start kipping on the cue of ‘just cheat.'” I was like, “You’re welcome? I don’t know what that means.” And so we’re getting set and I could do 95 but it was hard. And so he told me to scale to 75, to which I obliged, and went 21 unbroken, 21 unbroken, and then proceeded to set myself on fire afterward. And I experienced a level of intensity that I had never been prepared for in something so short, it blew my mind. And so I did what every competitive guy would do is that I never came back to the gym for three months. And was like, I need to get in shape before I come to CrossFit. And so it’s kind of funny that, you know, when you get new people in, it’s like, what are the things they always say like, well, I’m not in shape enough to do this, or they do it once and it’s hard, they get scared and you know, the perspective that I have is like “Look, I know, I was that guy and I’m telling you, having experienced that is that’s not the case.” And so that was kinda how it all started. So I started just like anybody else did, terrified and afraid and at the same time oddly drawn to it.

Sean: 32:19 – So two years later, you’re at the CrossFit Games in 2010. So what was that experience like for you?

Chase: 32:25 – Very brief. You’d have thought I’d have been the national champion out of Dallas, Texas, that’s how brief it was. But it was amazing. And the whole lead up to it is that when I started CrossFit, I had never heard of the CrossFit Games. I just saw a buddy. And then while I was doing it in 2009, I went to watch Regionals and I’m behind the fence. I go, I will be here next year. And then people started talking about the CrossFit Games, like what is the CrossFit Games? And I didn’t even watch them or I just kind of heard about them in 2009 when they happened and they were like, this person won. I was like, OK, cool. And leading up to it, it was, let’s see, I still hadn’t done a CrossFit competition until about October, 2009, where my buddy signed me up to a competition without me knowing about it. Cause I’d only been doing it for maybe six, no, eight months. And I didn’t want to do one because I wasn’t ready. Well, they signed me up, we went and did it. I ended up winning it. And so the funny part about that competition is that’s the competition that birthed Captain America. And so in this event I was winning, which I had in my head, had no business winning. We’re going into the final event, and I was holding two T-shirts in my hands before the final, and one T shirt was my gym’s T-shirt and the other T-shirt with my favorite Captain America T-shirt, that was really just like the Captain America bust, you know, where it looked like I had more muscle than I really did. And I made a conscious decision, I looked at my gym shirt and I said, you can compete with this shirt and if you lose, no one will care. But if you put this Captain America shirt on, you better freaking win because you can’t just show up and be that guy and make a fool out of yourself. So I’m sitting in the locker room looking at two shirts, you know, red pill, blue pill, and I was like, you know what, I’m going for it. And I put the Captain America shirt on, I win the final event by four minutes.

Sean: 34:55 – Wow.

Chase: 34:57 – And this is a small event, it’s Houston, Texas, it was actually called Oktoberfest. I don’t even know if they have one. And they had a, you know, at the time, CrossFit’s media was all outsourced. And this company was there and the program or the event director, you know, “third place, second place, and in first place Captain America.” They didn’t even say my name, said Captain America. That media outlet was there, watched it happen, logged it, and then posted it from there. And that’s how it started. So fast forward to 2010 we had Sectionals and ours was in Tulsa, Oklahoma. And I went out there, wore the same shirt, proceeded to win every single event. And the CrossFit media guy that was there covering it was Heber Cannon. Short hair. Just a young lad with a small camera and he was making—he made a little short film on me at Sectionals, which was really cool. And that’s when I started feeling a little bit of pressure. I was like, man, this might be able to happen. So we’re moving into Regionals in May and I call my dad, I said, “Hey, I might have an opportunity to qualify for the CrossFit Games.” And he’s like, “OK.” I was like, “Do you guys want to come watch?” He goes, “Tell you what. If you make it to the Games then we’ll come watch.” I’m like, “OK.”

Sean: 36:55 – Thanks, dad.

Chase: 36:59 – Thanks, dad, thanks for the support. Love you. And I ended up getting third, qualified for the 2010 Games. And for me that was how special it was to qualify. Now it was a lot different back then. Not like it is now. It’s way bigger now. I liken it to, in 2010, everyone was just working out and I was the only one competing. It was like I could dissect the workouts and I knew how to attack and this was like competition and everyone else was just like working out really hard. But you know, I made it, I was super proud of it. For me in high school I was voted most likely to go the Olympics, and so this was kind of that full-circle moment for me. And my most proud moment was Event 1, under the lights, it was Amanda. So they moved to Carson. My dad was in the stands and he got to see a short highlight film of me and hear my name called out and see me walk out on the big stage for the first time. I’m not getting choked up, my throat’s dry. But the best part was the next day was my dad’s birthday. And we are lining up for Super Helen and they’re like, “Say your name and what gym you’re from.” And I said my name and I wished my dad happy.

Sean: 38:51 – That’s cool, man.

Chase: 38:53 – And so like for me I was really proud of myself and that’s OK to be proud of yourself. I was proud of myself for the hard work I did. But at the same time I felt like I finally got to show my mom and dad that I was a part of their club. It was this weird bonding moment with my parents who that, you know, I always wanted to make my parents proud and like make it to the highest level that they wanted for me. They never forced it upon me, they just, you know, like parents want the best for their kids. And I felt like I got to do that for my parents. So for me that was the most special part of the Games. That actually had nothing to do with the Games themselves because in reality I did four events and I got cut on the second day. So my Games, you know, I don’t put CrossFit Games athlete on my bio, on my profiles. I’m not referred to that on the broadcast because it was more personal than it was professional.

Sean: 39:55 – You mentioned being—you talked about you were able to, you know, break down events and know how to attack them. So there’s two things that—and we’ll kind of make this sort of the back or the end of the interview ’cause I love these stories. The first one, I will never forget your performance in the 100s Regional workout. This is in 2013 in the South Central Regional, and I had the pleasure of being able to call it. What stands out to you about that event?

Chase: 40:29 – For me, 2013 was coming back from shoulder surgery. It was a year process. It was a long process. It was a lot harder than I thought it was and it was a fear of I didn’t think I’d ever be the same athlete as I was before, after. There’s just not that confidence. You know, it’s really funny, when that event got announced, I was with our team and I go, guys, check out this kick-ass team event. And they went, “No, that is your event.” My jaw just dropped, because it was a hundred wall-ball shots, 100 chest-to-bar pull-ups, 100 pistols and a hundred dumbbells snatches at 70 pounds. And at the time that was really heavy.

Sean: 41:25 – Oh yeah. Still is.

Chase: 41:28 – And I was just floored that that was my event. So I practiced it. And I got capped. I think the time cap was 25 minutes. And I didn’t even get through the first 30 snatches when I practiced the event. But for me there’s something special about being on the competition floor, watching people go before me and then turning that into a game plan. And so I was in—well actually I was coming in first place after the first day, which was totally unexpected. So I got to be in the last heat, and we’re in the last heat of both the men and the women. So I’m watching this go and I had a med-ball strategy and I’m watching people go like, no, no, that needs to change. I think I’ll just do 10. And then watching them do pull-ups and seeing people rip off too big of sets and then watching the time and then watching pistols. And so what I did was just kind of watched this all take place. And you know, some athletes say it’s like focus on myself, I’m not aware of people. Like I’m the complete opposite. I was like, I am analyzing everything around me and I’m modifying my pace and my exertion based off that. And so when I was in it, I got to the wall balls. I was probably like one of the last ones off the wall. But it wasn’t about the wall balls. I knew that. But when a lot of people make the mistake is like buying time early, before they get to the hard stuff is their game plan. And it should be actually the opposite. What you need to do is you need to conserve energy early to save it for the hard stuff. And mine was the pull-ups. A hundred chest-to-bar pull-ups when I’m coming off shoulder reconstruction was too much for me. And so I knew that I had to be very, very careful game planning that. And so I just stuck to my plan. I did three sets of 10 and then after that I’ll go, I’m gonna do an unbroken set of chest-to-bar until it gets hard. And then I’ll do singles until I get to the next set of 10 and then I’ll rest. And then I found myself in like third. And when I got the pistols, for some reason they felt so good and I was just vibing up the crowd and I was watching the guys around, I’m like, oh my gosh, I am getting a lead. But then I’m looking at my competitors and I know that you know, Aja Barto is going to beat—this guy’s a mammoth. He’s gonna beast to that dumbbell. Like, here’s what I need to do. I’m going to lead right now. I’m going to push the pistols and make everybody chase me, because I knew that the guys behind me were all stronger than me cause that dumbbell was tough. That if I forced them to try to run me down, that they’d be too tired to finish the event. And so for the first 60 pistols I pushed him. I was going to do 10, so I decided to do 20, and I look at the clock rest 10 seconds and then go again.

Sean: 44:54 – I remember that.

Chase: 44:55 – One time, it was like after 40, the red hat is standing right in front of the clock. And I’m trying to like wave her off.

Sean: 45:03 – I remember that, too.

Chase: 45:04 – And, you know, I was waving people off the clock before Mat Fraser was, I’m just gonna throw that out there. And so then that was my game plan. So I was trying to figure it out. And then when I got to the pistols, it’s like get out early, make them chase you down, and then punish them at the end. And that’s kinda how it unfolded. And it all worked out in that event and I took first place and it was very special. Very special.

Sean: 45:35 – Yeah. It’s still one of the, as far as strategy goes and execution, it’s still one of the best performances I’ve ever seen. If people want to go watch it, I think it is still on YouTube. It was a 2013 South Central Regional, and I can’t remember what number event it was, but yeah, check it out. And then the other story—.

Chase: 45:50 – Event number 4.

Sean: 45:50 – Four, OK. The other story I wanted you to tell, this goes back to the Open and I think it was 2015 it was the thruster bar-facing burpee one. And you were in Scotts Valley. And I don’t want to give away the end, but you had a plan and then you executed it and just, I would love for you to tell the story of you going through that Open workout.

Chase: 46:13 – So when I’m— this is after the champions all got together, what was it, Rich, Sam, Annie, Jason and Graham?

Sean: 46:22 – I think so.

Chase: 46:22 – And so we were going to, after—this was San Francisco.

Sean: 46:26 – Was this 2014 or—I can’t, I think it was maybe 2013.

Chase: 46:31 – It was 2014. And the plan was to watch that and then go to Scotts Valley and learn how to be a better broadcaster. A little broadcast boot camp. But we were going to do the Open workout because there was a—gosh, when did they do them at the time? Friday?

Sean: 46:55 – No, we did them on Thursday nights. Live announcements were on Thursday nights. We would usually hit it the Friday or Monday.

Chase: 47:01 – Yeah. All right. All right. We’re going to do the Open workout at lunch. And so when I first get a workout, I close my eyes. I would say three, two, one go. And I start my wristwatch. And I go through the whole workout from start to finish. And then I stop my watch and see what the time frame is or how many reps I got within a certain time frame. And then I have that as a base number. And then look at how long reps should take. And you know, thrusters take this long and burpees take this long. From start to finish, I believe it went 21 down to three thrusters and bar-facing burpees, descending every three. And so I wrote out on a sheet of paper, you know, I’m going to go 12 9, 11 7, my burpees will be this slow and these are the rests I’m gonna take. And I wrote, you know, 12 reps should take this long, rest five seconds, and then nine reps take this long, rest 10 seconds, then slow 21 burpees should take this long. And I wrote it all out, rest breaks, transitions, paces. And at the end I wrote a time and then circled it. And so we go and do this workout. And I’m going, I’m going, I’m going and going and going. And I finished my last burpee over the bar, collapse, I think Bill Grundler was my judge.

Sean: 48:25 – Yep, Bill was the judge.

Chase: 48:27 – And I yell at him, I was like, go look at my piece of paper over there. And he picks up the sheet of paper and it said, I think it was like 9:12. And I got a 9:21. And I was laughing cause it was I guessed the exact time on paper that the pace that I—

Sean: 48:51 – I remember I walked into the gym, I think when you were done and Bill’s just laughing, he says, “You’ve got to look at this.” I said, “what?” He goes, “Look what Chase got.” And he goes, “Look what he wrote down.” I said, there’s no way. Yeah, that’s incredible.

Chase: 49:01 – It was cool. I was like, OK, maybe I kind of got it figured out, at least for myself a little bit.

Sean: 49:09 – Final question. You know, you own CrossFit Big D, a really successful affiliate in Dallas. What’s kinda the future look like for you there in the next five years?

Chase: 49:21 – In the next five years? I would love—you know, we just had our six-year anniversary, while we were at the Games. Which is crazy to think about six years ago. And then for me looking forward to it is that I just want to make sure that I can keep opening the doors to people that want to be there, like people knocking on the doors to come in. And a lot of times with a gym, you know, obviously getting members to run an affiliate to have a life is the end goal. But taking care of the people that we currently have is my number-one focus and my number-one goal. Giving people a place to come before work, after work, between jobs, during, I don’t know, stressful times in their lives or, is that I want to create, and I think I have, a place that will give people the best hour of their day, a place that they want to come to and never leave. And a place where they feel comfortable to be themselves. Physically, socially, emotionally, and if I can keep doing that, whether it’s 5, 10, 15, 20 years from now, then to me that’s a big success in the evolution of the gym. So numbers-wise, monetary wise, you know, I drive my wife crazy to hear that it’s not my number-one priority. I tell people all the time, it’s like, I think I’m a really good coach, but I’m the world’s worst businessman. But for me it’s more than numbers on a spreadsheet and an end goal, even though obviously we can’t do that without that. But it’s the intangible things that people hold on to the most dearly are the ones that I focus on the most.

Sean: 51:28 – That’s great, man. Well, listen, thank you so much for doing this, Chase. I really appreciate it.

New Speaker: 51:32 – Yeah man, thank you.

Sean: 51:33 – And best of luck moving forward. I hope I get to see you soon. We can get back on the broadcast desk again. That was a lot of fun.

Chase: 51:41 – I think the overall consensus was that was just the beginning of a new future.

Sean: 51:45 – I hope so, man.

Chase: 51:48 – Me too.

Sean: 51:49 – All right. Take care. Appreciate it. All my best to your family, my friend.

Chase: 51:53 – Thank you. You as well.

Sean: 51:56 – Big thanks to Chase Ingraham for taking the time to talk with me. If you want to follow him on social media, you can. He is on Instagram. You can find him at @chase_ingraham. As an entrepreneur, it can be hard to know where to start. And that’s where “Founder, Farmer, Tinker, Thief” by Chris Cooper comes in. As a reader and gym owner, Sean Rider says, quote, “If you are thinking about starting a business, just started a business or have had a business open for a while, this book is a must-read to show you the path to the successful life”. End quote. “Founder, Farmer, Tinker, Thief” is on Amazon now. Thank you so much for listening. We’ll see you next time.

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