Two-Brain Radio With Sean Woodland, Episode 11: Mekenzie Riley

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Sean: 00:02 – Hello everybody and welcome to another edition of Two-Brain Radio with Sean Woodland. On today’s episode I talk with four-time CrossFit Games athlete Mekenzie Riley. Two-Brain Radio is brought to you by Two-Brain Business, a proud partner of HSN Mentoring. If you’d like to learn how to implement an effective nutrition coaching program in your gym, don’t miss their business and nutrition mini-workshop and breakfast on August 3rd at the Sheraton in Madison, Wisconsin. It is free for gym owners. Breakfast is included but space is limited. Sign up now Mekenzie Riley is getting ready to make her fourth career appearance at the CrossFit Games and her third as an individual. She finished 11th overall in the worldwide Open to qualify this year. I talked with her about overcoming adversity. Mekenzie dealt with some pretty serious stuff when she was younger and she was able to overcome all of it, become a successful CrossFit Games athlete. We also talk about how she is preparing for the Games in Madison and what she would consider a successful season. Thanks for listening, everyone.

Sean: 01:12 – Mekenzie, thank you so much for joining me today, I know you’re super busy getting ready for the Games. How are you doing?

Mekenzie: 01:18 – I’m doing all right. Tell you what, I’m glad the Games are next week and not in like three weeks. I’m not sure I could make it.

Sean: 01:26 – Yeah. So you are getting set to return to the CrossFit Games as an individual. You are in California right now getting ready to do that. What is your training look like at this point of the season?

Mekenzie: 01:37 – Yeah, right now, honestly, well, personally for me, I’ve been traveling a little bit and just training with different friends so it’s a little more flexible in that sense where I have, you know, my solid amount of training, you know, four, five pieces of work a day, various obviously time domains and whatnot, but it’s not like I have to execute that 100%. If I’m with other people and they are like, hey, “we’re going to do this” and it’s still fitness and it’s still, you know, high-intensity functional movement, like I do that too. So it’s kind of a mixed bag right now. But definitely we’re still putting in the volume and that’s kinda what matters, volume and intensity. But you know, throwing up in the air sometimes and just doing what sounds fun that day with some people I enjoy, sometimes.

Sean: 02:33 – I know that in a week you can’t really get that much fitter. So what are your goals with what you’re trying to do with your training right now?

Mekenzie: 02:41 – Oh, right now. Oh geez. So like I said, it’s kind of that point where, I mean, I’ll be a hundred percent honest, like the past two years I’ve had the same experience for about a week out from leaving and it’s about time for like tapering down. And I just hit this almost physical and mental breaking point where that’s where that’s when I know I’m absolutely trained. I’ve trained hard because I’m starting to kind of hit that wall of training hard day in and day out. Your body’s broken down, you don’t feel awesome. But that’s why you start tapering and that’s when you’re like, yeah, I’m ready now, because if I have to keep going, it’s not pretty and it’s not enjoyable and it makes you start kind of having a bad attitude. So to be honest, that’s kind of where things are, but that’s where I get to. So yeah, within the next week, it starts to taper down. And yeah, just kind of starting to let the body kinda recover a little bit so that it’s actually ready to go. You can’t drive yourself into the ground all the way up until competition. So yeah, nervous system and all of that needs to be kind of taken care of as well. So that’s where we’re going in the next week and a half. Thank God.

Sean: 04:08 – I wanted to do talk to you about your ability to overcome adversity, especially earlier in your life. And you wrote a letter to your younger self that was published online. I read that, it was very emotional. And I’m curious, how did your struggles with body image begin?

Mekenzie: 04:28 – Yeah, I mean, that’s a great question. I don’t know if I can give you an exact answer. I can speculate a little bit because, you know, where does that come from? I mean, it’s everywhere. With a lot of girls and dudes, I think it’s very prevalent. So like we can all speculate. I mean, you know, media is a thing. Seeing a lot of stuff of what’s out there, you know, happy people, people that seem to appear happy and you know, really doing awesome in life and what they look like makes us feel like maybe that’s what we need to look like to be happy and awesome in life. I don’t know. But I think for me, I definitely remember having these experiences, I was, I want to say like, you know, like junior high, going into high school, maybe 14, 15 years old. I was an athlete my whole life. I swam competitively, very dedicated year-round at that young of an age. And I had a different physique than a lot of my friends who didn’t really play much sports at all to be honest. And I don’t know, I like to think that it had to do with appearance, but it could have been a lot of other things. Like they had, you know, the boyfriends and the boys chasing them, and I was always just like one of the dudes, not really on that level with the boys, and so I thought that it had something to do with how I looked. And so for me, that’s kind of what I was like, oh, they want a dainty, petite girl. And so for me, I remember having those feelings and that’s kind of what pushed me that direction with how I treated my body and what I did. But I mean, like I said, it could have been a number of other reasons, but that’s specifically at that age, you know, when you started to become interested in the other sex and I think that was a part of it for me. So yeah, that’s one thing that I know I can speak on for my reasons, but yeah, it turns out that’s not the best for athletic performance when you start caring about how you look too much.

Sean: 06:51 – Yeah, for sure. How were you able to overcome that?

Mekenzie: 06:55 – So I very vividly remember, well—honestly I had to two awakenings in my life, I would say. When I went through that time in my life I was around 14 and I remember I developed this horrible disordered eating, a little anorexia, bulimia all of those things wrapped up. Um, and there, there’s probably a good eight years where I struggled with those sorts of things. But when I was 14, I remember I, I lost like 30 pounds in one summer. I went from like 130 pounds, which is like probably a healthy normal like weight for like a 15 year old. But, um, I went down to like 105 pounds. I remember. And I had to go to the store and I hadn’t actually had to like compete while I was going through this and my mom, like I knew my mom was worried about me and I was like, I’m fine, I’m fine. I go to swim practice every day, like I can get through this. But I remember I literally like wanted to stop. Like my body felt like it was shutting down. It was an awful feeling. I felt so helpless and I can meet that scared me because I worked really, really hard to be an athlete and I’ve put my life into that. And when that became like threatened. That was something I was proud of and that was my identity and and when that happened that completely was like, whoa, whoa, we can’t have this. Like I’m going to get my shit together. So that helped me out of caring so much about the scale and being like a skinny little girl. Granted I got my eating together a little bit more, still struggled, like I said, for, I would say a better part of a decade with different ups and downs with, like restricting and all of those sorts of behaviors with my relationship with food all through college and up until, I mean, even literally up until I found CrossFit. I would say that was that was essentially what changed me to where I am now. I haven’t had any of those struggles since I’ve been competitive in CrossFit. Because again, like realizing my body is an amazing machine and like I’m proud of the work that I put in and what it does for me and I need to feed it appropriately to get the response I want out of it. Seeing that actually be how—like we can say it, but seeing it actually be true and letting it like be proven to myself from going through the experience of it. It’s 100%. Like I said, I haven’t had any of those sorts of tendencies since I started being competitive in CrossFit at the age of 25. So, yeah, I would say over five, six years, seven years now almost that I’ve been out of the woods with that, so essentially being like first and foremost an athlete and really proud and hardworking as far as my training and what I stand on every day. That’s how I worked through that and overcame that. I think at the end of the day, yeah.

Sean: 10:24 – Yeah. You mentioned that this is a much more prevalent problem than I think a lot of people would realize in both men and women. If there are people out there who, who know someone who might be struggling with this kind of issue, what are the things that they can do to help that person?

Mekenzie: 10:39 – That’s tough. So something that I observe, cause I’m also registered dietician and nutrition coach, which also came out of this. I went through so much struggles with food, but it’s ultimately like what I went into as a profession, which is kind of funny, but probably also not coincidence. But you can notice behaviors and people even when it doesn’t seem like, oh, they don’t have an issue. Like somebody who appears completely quote unquote like “normal” with food, but it’s all internal. You don’t know what people are struggling with and there are certain things that—you can’t help somebody who doesn’t even know that they have an issue or aren’t willing to be open about an issue. So I think the first step is getting people to really just be honest with themselves and get them to really do some searching with are you happy? Do you feel an internal struggle daily to like be proud or accept things? Are you like having anxiety or stress over things when it comes to like food and body image, and if it’s something that is truly, truly taking a toll on you and affecting how you treat your body or if you love and accept your body or if you treat it horribly and put it through a lot of like abuse essentially, you have to want to change before you can go through that. So like I said, for me it was realizing that what I worked hard for every day was becoming, you know, threatened. And to me that’s what motivated me. I don’t know. I hope it doesn’t get to that sort of point for people. But at the same time I think that it has to hit you hard somewhere. But definitely having to be honest with yourself, if that’s something you’re struggling with, before you can expect anybody to be able to help you. You know, like they say, you can’t help people that don’t want to help themselves or whatever the thing is. But, I mean obviously talking about it the first step in getting comfortable talking about it and being honest about it. But it is a very, very hard thing to want to change because it’s like a weird compulsive sort of feeling even though you know you have a problem and you want to fix it, but you can’t fix it. Cause something inside you won’t let you have that breakthrough. So it’s very complicated thing, and a lot of times it’s a—what I’ve learned, it’s obviously something—that’s not the issue. It’s something else somewhere and it’s coming out as a, you know, struggle with what it looks like, but it’s a little bit deeper. There’s something else going on somewhere. So yeah, it takes a lot of work to kind of dig into it, but you gotta be willing to just talk about it and be open and honest and be vulnerable. That’s step one. So I think that in a nutshell, what I just said, you have to want to let yourself become vulnerable and kind of get to know yourself a little more to figure out what’s going on inside you.

Sean: 14:17 – The sense that I got from reading your letter to your 15-year-old self, is that your mother was your hero. I hope I’m right about that, but what made her so special?

Mekenzie: 14:31 – It’s so wild, I had the wildest dream about her last night actually. So, I mean, so for the greater part of my life, my mom was essentially a single mother raising my sister and I, and just, it’s one of the things that as kid you don’t really realize it because you’re just being a kid and you don’t really know what it takes to be an adult in the world. But now that I’m an adult, I realize like how hard that had to have been. Like, I mean, just to be candid, I mean going through—I mean my father had a substance-abuse problem and then going through a divorce and you know, having to keep a happy face on in front of your kids and be strong and let them continue to live what they know as a normal life. I’m just imagining that for myself. I mean I have a husband I’m very happily married to, but just imagining having to go through something like that, not only for yourself personally but for your family. Cause she kept it all together. I knew very little about the struggles that were going on. I didn’t know the—you know, it’s hard to not let stuff show, and I really didn’t know like the bigger, deeper struggles that was going on in her life and having to deal with those sorts of, you know, like tragic, dramatic, horrible experiences that a person in a relationship, you know, can go through. So I think it’s just kind of knowing that she just took care of business. Like, you know, she didn’t let her feelings get in the way of holding it together. And like I said, for lack of a better term, like letting my sister and I continue to live what we knew as normal, whether that meant getting two or three jobs or you know, somehow like getting the money together to like let us continue to partake in all of—we played like every sport and every activity to where that shit adds up, you know, you don’t realize that. So, really just having her continue to just be supportive and somehow make the time. I mean, she’d drive me 40 minutes one way to swim practice like five days a week. Like after working a full-time job, it’s just like the sacrifices that you realize that she made, but you don’t realize that until you’re an adult and you realize how time management and like your days are making time for that sort of stuff. So yeah, just this amazing amount of sacrifice to provide. That’s really what it is. And just continuing to be a strong, like she she would work out, when we would work out, she would work out. Very active, you know, always there, always, like I said, taking us everywhere, being everywhere, just being supportive. Somehow made time for all of that stuff. And you know, didn’t let it show that she was dealing with a lot. Yeah, I don’t know how she did it. So that’s why.

Sean: 18:05 – Yeah. Then, you know, we talked about adversity, you know, you dealt with the body-image issue. Then you have to face the fact that you know, you lose your parents four years apart and in your 20s, and I can’t imagine what that does to somebody. How were you able to overcome, not only overcome it, but come out as better on the other side?

Mekenzie: 18:27 – You know, I honestly don’t know. And like I’m saying, like when you’re in it, you don’t realize–it’s awful, but once you get past it, it’s like you forget what it’s like to be in it. But absolutely, it’s like your whole world is completely like—sorry, I am like having a really hard time bringing it into words because, I haven’t blocked it out, but it’s one of those things where you can’t do anything about it, it’s nothing that you ever think you’re going to have to deal with. Even when you have time to prepare. My mom was super sick with cancer and it’s like, you know it’s coming. So it’s just what your life is after it is different. It’s never the same. And it doesn’t make it easier. Like I still miss her. And I mean my dad as well. So you just learn to adapt because you have to. I mean, I’m sad about it but like I can’t use that as an excuse to just give up on myself and my life. Because my mom made the sacrifices, like that’s what makes me want to continue to thrive, is knowing that she did all of that, for me to just like decide that I’m going to be sad and have an excuse to just stop trying or feel sorry for myself, like then what was all the good that she did for me, you know? So yeah, it’s horrible. I think about what my life would be like today if my parents were still married and together and alive, and I think about that and I’m just like, my life might be entirely different to where the things that I’ve accomplished and the path my life has taken, that might not be the case. Like maybe those things have somehow been part of how I’ve got to where I am. So in the moment, yeah, your life is—you just don’t know what’s going on. You’re super confused, melting down, my relationships— my poor husband, fiance at the time, a lot of like weird dynamics and weird stuff. And it’s just the grieving process. But I hundred percent know that as sad as it sounds, and—I could make it into like a really sad story. I could make it into a really awesome story. And for me, I just use that as, I want to make them proud and I want to make what they did for me and my life, like into something bigger and greater. So that’s kind of where I’m at with that.

Sean: 21:49 – You’re certainly I’m sure making them proud and achieving what you’ve wanted to through CrossFit. And that kind of brings us to the next part of this. So how did you get into CrossFit?

Mekenzie: 22:01 – How did I get into CrossFit. Honestly, well swimming for the majority of my life. I went from, I was 21 when I retired from swimming, so about the age of 25, and I was the champion of all group-fitness classes at the rec, I would do spin classes and Pilates and body pump and all of that stuff multiple times a day. And I was a Zumba instructor also as part of my pre-CrossFit life. And I hit a lot of that stuff. But it wasn’t like I was training for anything. I was just working out a lot. And I remember my teammate from college was like, Hey, you should try CrossFit. He explained it to me and I didn’t really understand how a seven-minute workout, was anything that was like a good workout when I was used to like two hours in the pool. But my husband, we were only engaged, we relocated to a different town and we were looking at gyms I saw a CrossFit gym popped up, and I was like oh, CrossFit, that’s what I heard about, that’s what my friend said. And so we went and checked it out and I liked it. Turns out he was right and I’m not sure we even thought about not going back. I think he’s like, once we were in it, we were like in it. And that was June of 2012, so yeah, I was 25. That was also my 25th birthday and that was also the same month that I lost my mom. So there was a lot of things that were overlapping at the time. And when that came into my life, I was just like, it was right at the time that I was obviously like going through massive tragic loss and adjustment. And I also believe that that wasn’t coincidence either. So, that’s when and how I got into CrossFit.

Sean: 24:22 – When did you figure out that, you know what, I’m actually really good at this.

Mekenzie: 24:27 – I was just telling this the story. Let’s see, back in 2012, I didn’t even know what the CrossFit Games were; I didn’t even know they were a thing, to be honest. And we didn’t even watch the Games that summer cause I didn’t even know it was happening. And then it was the next year that I learned that there was a competitive avenue of CrossFit and 2013 was my first Open and that was back when individual scores for Regionals, so like an individual qualifies out of your gym their score still contributed to the team score. So we took a team to Regionals. I’ve been to Regionals every year since I’ve been CrossFitting, technically. So, 2013, I went on part of a team. And I would say by then that was like the floodgate of like, oh shit competing—I feel like a badass and I want to do this. I remember I did literally like five out of six weekends in a row I did like a local competition of some sort. I was just like, I was in it and I like thought I was badass and I wanted to be like a competitive CrossFitter with like the numbers on my arm and like I thought I was so cool. So yeah, that’s when I like started really—that was like a year into it. Like you quickly get better at the beginning of your CrossFit career. So I remember just like making progress real quick and people being like, oh yeah, this might mean you have potential. You’re athletic, like you’re picking this up quick. And so, yeah, I didn’t ever think that I would be doing what I’m doing now, but I definitely was gonna try and get to be as good as I could be. So yeah, forget when it was my husband that said it to me, like I didn’t want to admit it to myself. I didn’t want to say like, oh I want to go to Regionals or oh I want to make the Games. Like that stuff took me a long time to be able to like, say out loud cause it’s, you know, if you don’t achieve it then you look like a failure. So I would just like do a lot of extra—like I would take class and then I would do extra or I’d like to go to the track. I’d be like trying to like do extra workouts but not seem like I was caring or wanting to like put in extra effort. But I was doing it and I just remember my husband was like, yeah, you’re good at this and you just need to be OK with like admitting that you want to try to be good at this, like, just do it. Just do it like you’re good at this, just do it. And I was like, all right, well I’m just gonna see what happens, I guess. So, yeah, it’s just like nervous taking that jump of saying you want to do something. But yeah. I just kind of like organically evolved.

Sean: 27:28 – You have now qualified for your fourth overall appearance at the CrossFit Games. What are the lessons that you’ve learned from competing in that setting in the past?

Mekenzie: 27:39 – Everybody’s different, so the things I say are going to maybe sound different than what others will say. But personally for me, I mean, first of all, like enjoy it. Like, yeah, like I’m going to break down and cry because I’m at a breaking point. Like we need to compete because I can’t do this anymore for the rest of the summer. I feel like I also in that same day that I might cry because I’m failing lifts, I also dry my eyes and I’m like shit man, this is an experience that people will never have. Like this is something that I am so grateful for it. So just like always remaining grateful and always just like even when it sucks, even when you know, like you’re on the other side of the world at a CrossFit competition and your flight gets delayed or like you’re uncomfortable because you know, in a different environment but you’re doing something awesome because you’ve afforded the opportunity to this crazy sport. Like just remain grateful and take advantage and embrace the experience. That’s just something from a non-competitive standpoint, that’s just something that I’ve learned is like always remain grateful and embracing the experience because this is something that like people can only hope to experience. Like it’s crazy. I’m very, very blessed, so I’m not taking it for granted. That also goes for being in a place you don’t want to be, or doing horrible in some events at the CrossFit Games or whatever. Like there’s always something to be grateful for to be in this position. Other than that, from a competitive standpoint, I would say personally for me, I will say I tend to do pretty well under pressure. And that I think that it was kind of like a competitor and not, but putting pressure on myself is not something that I do well with. So it might be a high-pressure situation, but if I just say, you know what, I’m just going to do it and not put an expectation on the situation or care too much about how I’m going to finish or what my plan is going to be or what the other person’s gonna do and where I should be at, what time on the clock or that sort of shit. The less of that that I do, the better I tend to do. So really just taking the pressure down and taking the expectation off the situation for me. I seem to thrive. So that’s something that I’ve personally come to really know about myself. There’s time to be confident, of course, but being too confident and sometimes just gotta be like you know what, let’s go do this workout. Those are I would say some of the bigger things that I’ve learned, that would be the two major ones. I would have to say.

Sean: 30:48 – This season has obviously been unusual for a ton of different reasons. How did the new structure affect the way that you train?

Mekenzie: 30:56 – Well, to be honest, I had this conversation with my coach at the beginning of the season knowing that, well, mostly the team season, just because of the structure of the Games, granted the whole season in general, like the Open was still at the same time. And I knew I’ve done well in the Open in the past, so nothing’s changed in like Open prep leading up to the Open. And it was more reflective from the Open where I would go because there wasn’t a Regional, you know, per se, depending on what happened or was I doing one or two Sanctionals, or what was actually gonna be—we didn’t really know the structure of what it was gonna be for me. So it’s kind of like get through the Open and then we’ll have to kind of reassess where we go from here. So lucky for me, I performed to my abilities and qualified out of the Open. So what happened from there was kind of not, not really make or break, it was like, hey, do you want to go do a Sanctional, do you not? You can afford to not, but maybe you want to, you know. So I went ahead and did one in May, which is around Regional time. So that was good timing to kind of stay with the flow of what I’m used to training for the past seasons. So I did do that, I went to Brazil and competed in May. But then, it was like when do you start Games training, because let me tell ya, like I just said, can’t start that too early or you will not make it to August. So we stuck with what we had done in the past, which was I kind of was nervous to trust only because I’m like, we have extra time, shouldn’t we be doing stuff to like take advantage of the weeks I have? And my coach is like, yeah, no, because you’ll never make it. Which she was right. So we waited and started the same week as we started the past few years. I was the third week in the Regional past year, so we started the same time and followed the same six weeks versus like eight or 10 or whatever some people have done. And that’s been, like I said, very, very comfortable because I know that, what I’ve always kind of followed, but knowing that the cut system that was only ever speculated about but now is 100% confirmed, it’s kind of like, OK, what might that be like? What sorts of things might we need to start really training in the event that that comes up as one of the major cutting criteria. So we’re training a little differently in regards to—granted, we never really know what the test will be. If it was a, like last year marathon row, who saw that coming? Nobody. We’re going to be prepared for that. Probably not, no one’s training their three-hour row. So we’re like we know something like that isn’t entirely crazy, you could run 150 people through. If it was like half- marathon run, like let’s make sure that if that came up, I’m not going to be like on my heels, oh shit, I should’ve worked on longer running, or heavy one-rep maxes, or stuff like that you could eliminate people with a simple test of very basic CrossFit, like a special modality like that. So we’ve made sure to touch on kind of specific niches a little more, but still just training classic CrossFit, of course. So yeah, I wouldn’t say it changed a whole bunch, but it was like hey, maybe we make a certain point to touch on something that could, you know, be an outlying type of test. But other than that, pretty much the same hat as the last couple years, but I’m OK with.

Sean: 34:56 – You’ve been around a lot of different athletes. I see, or I know you were recently in Cookeville, now you’re in Southern California. What are they saying about all the changes that have been made this year?

Mekenzie: 35:08 – I mean, honestly I think the attitude is kind of the some as far as competitors at least. Mostly, I mean I’ve been around veteran competitors who have obviously qualified in the former fashion, in the classic fashion that we know, that sort of setup. So I think the structure change in general, everybody was kind of not super excited about. I would venture to guess people that qualified in this new fashion with, you know, the backfilling, they probably love it. I don’t know, like the national champions are probably super stoked. It’s nice to have some more inclusion, but I think it’s just causing a lot of chaos and thinking of how this is actually going to be executed in Madison, so I think that anytime the conversation starts up, you can go with the, oh, what if, what if, what if, and then the anxiety sets in and then you’re just like it exhausts me to play those games. So I’m just like, whatever. Like I don’t even care, whatever. I’m just gonna show up and I’m gonna do what they say to do. We usually get into like the eye-rolling and like I don’t even know what’s going on. That tends to be how the conversation ends, in the circles that I get in. So I think that, yeah, we can talk about it, but only honestly gets you nowhere. You know? It’s like worrying and building anxiety. And so the conversations are similar. It’s like whatever. I mean, I think everybody, like I said for the most part that I talked to is on the same page. It’s just like, yeah, what the heck, how is this? Like I don’t even know what’s going on. And people ask me like, I get my family like asking me like, so what’s it’s gonna be like, how many days, and I’m like you guys, I don’t even know the rules anymore. I really don’t know what’s gonna happen, I wish I could tell you, but honestly, I don’t even know. Or they’re like, oh I heard a change, and now you can qualify, and then I have to like draw a fucking diagram for them to understand what’s going on. It’s not even fun to like explain anymore cause it’s just confusing and a cluster. But anyways, so yeah, I try and be positive and open-minded, but it’s a little bit exhausting to try and follow the whole changes.

Sean: 37:45 – There’s no doubt about that. I get questions all the time I don’t know how to answer. I know you’re super busy and you got to get back to some Games prep, so final question here for you, but what needs to happen for you to be able to look back on the season and say, you know what, that was a success for me.

Mekenzie: 38:01 – Oh, that’s a great question. Honestly comes back to kind of what I said where it’s like just taking a second to remain present and like being happy and recognizing the situation I’m in for what it is, no matter what the outcome is. Because at the end of the day, like it doesn’t matter if I—it might matter in the check that I might back, but like from like 10th place to 20th place like, you know, no one’s probably going to remember that. But you’re going to remember like the friends you make, the relationships you maintain down the road, the opportunities that come out of those sorts of things versus your placement or you know, how well you do on a leaderboard. I also think that it’s more about personal victory with, you know, what, like, I could blow up here or this is where I’m going to struggle in this workout, and making it through the workout and being like I freaking did that and I didn’t think I could. So taking the pressure off myself for how I’m going to come out of the weekend and taking the weekend for what it’s worth, and really just soaking in the experience and trying to have some fun and just perform and let just let myself perform, just let the hard work take care of itself without putting expectation on it. Maybe take a few risks here and there, but for the most part it’s doing what I know. Turning my brain off and letting myself flow. Having some fun. Why is it so hard to have some fun at that level? Like sometimes we forget that and it ruins it all. Like, you can’t have fun doing this then like, what are we doing? So constantly reminding ourselves, because it’s tough.

Sean: 40:07 – That’s a great way to approach things. Best of luck, Mekenzie, at the CrossFit Games. Thank you so much for taking the time to join me and good luck with your training. Don’t burn out before you get to Madison. All right.

Mekenzie: 40:18 – Don’t worry, we got it. We’re almost there.

Sean: 40:20 – All right. Thanks, Mackenzie. I appreciate it.

Sean: 40:24 – Big thanks to Mekenzie Riley for taking time out of a very busy training day to talk with me. If you want to follow her on social media, you can find her on Instagram. She is @itsKenzieRiley and that’s Kenzie, spelled K. E. N. Z. I. E. Nutrition coaching services can generate profit and take your business to the next level. To learn how to start or expand a nutrition program at your gym, have breakfast with Two-Brain Business founder Chris Cooper and Healthy Steps Nutrition founder Nicole Aucoin on August 3rd at the Sheraton in Madison, Wisconsin. Enjoy coffee, food and a free mini-workshop. This seminar is for gym owners only and space is going fast. You want to register now at Thanks again for listening, everybody. We’ll see you next time.

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Did you know gym owners can earn $100,000 a year with no more than 150 clients? We wrote a guide showing you exactly how.