I got to spend a quick 20 minutes with Big Dawgs Coach Brian Foley. I’ve known Brian for 5 years now, and I know that he cares deeply about the success of each and every client, so much so that he’s told clients to move on when they have reached their zenith of experience in fitness and they are ready to move on. It takes a humble coach to do that with care. That’s who he is.
I talked to Brian a little bit about 2 main topics:
- How Brian helps athletes succeed
- How Brian would help any athlete going to the CrossFit Games this year now that they know that apx half of the field will be cut after event #1
**For context, CrossFit just announced that they would be significantly cutting the field of competitors after the first event.
I’ll dig into topic number 2 first because I believe it gives you great insight into Brian’s mind which helps to give wonderful context to how Brian helps his clients every day.
What Should A CrossFit Games Athlete Do Now That They Know That They May Get Cut And Sent Home After Event 1 Of The CrossFit Games?
First thing’s first. Good coaches and good athletes should know that they will always face unknown forks in the road when they compete at a CrossFit Competition. This shouldn’t be any difference. Knowing that, the athlete has to realize that what will “show up” for them in event 1 is all of the training and mental work that they have worked on throughout the entire year.
As an athlete, you can’t expect that something substantially different than what you’ve proven day in and day out in training will arise. Sure, you may PR, but you’re not going to increase your max weight snatch by 50% just because you really want to. No athlete at the Games level will do that.
Something that every athlete in the CrossFit Games field will have to do is put their best competitive foot forward regardless of what event comes out of the hopper. How do you put your best foot forward?
Your best competitive foot forward is the training that you’ve invested into the event. You will always be able to fall back on your training.
How Would You Help Your CrossFit Athlete(s) Be Most Prepared Today (a few weeks ahead of competition) To Walk Into The Stadium Where They May Get Cut In Event 1?
“I would solely take their focus and put it into the experience that they want to have on the field.” Brian knows that the athlete needs to know the truth about what they are facing in front of them. He wants to make sure that all of his athletes are clear on what they want to experience and “compete for” when they step on the field. If his athlete is likely to be cut, their version of compete will look different than an athlete who “should” move forward. Brian helps his athletes focus on the truths of where they sit so that they can then determine what “game” they are playing, what success looks like, and how they can best prepare for that
“There has to be fulfillment in the competitive moment. You’ve earned the right to compete on the stage, so focus on the moment and ensure that you know what experience you’ll be further earning on the field.”
How Do You Help Your Athlete Put Their Best Foot Forward If The Workout Turns Out To Be A Wheelhouse Workout?
Brian still wants to make sure that his athletes remember truth. They should be confident because they have proven that they are highly capable in this type of workout. However, he wants his athletes to see the realities that nothing is guaranteed. He works with his athletes to build massive confidence in the work they have proven they have put out throughout the year.
How Do You Help Your Athlete Put Their Best Foot Forward If The Workout Turns Out To Be A Bad Workout For Them?
In this situation, Brian still wants to ensure his athlete competes with themselves and the field. The specific goal may not be to win the workout, but there is a specific goal that the athlete intends to focus on and achieve so that they can walk off the field fulfilled and inspired to go back to training. Brian wants his athletes to be confident in the goal they are walking onto the field to accomplish; it goes back to their training. He wants them to do better than what they have done in training, but there is only so much “better” that can happen in the competitive moment, so Brian wants to make sure his athletes have the right goals setup before they walk out onto the field.
What I appreciate about Brian’s approach is that he’s always looking at the athlete’s overall experience within their fitness. One event is merely one event, and while it’s a big stage for an an event such as The CrossFit Games, it is one event within a career of events. And, when a workout just happens to come up snake eyes (bad), you can’t control that, but you can certainly compete as hard as you can and walk away with your head held high so that you can go home and remove all weaknesses for next year.
Who Is Brian Foley?
Brian Foley has been an online coach since 2014. He hired James Fitzgerald from OPT back in the day. He enjoyed the experience so much, that he decided that being a coach for OPT was where he wanted to go.
Back then, though, there was so much worse technology. We were sending people’s programs through either gmail directly or through Excel or Google Sheets.
Brian was originally geared to competitive fitness and has grown that as he’s continued to help people who are both coaches and athletes. The tie that binds all of Brian’s clients, though, is that they all want to learn and understand who they are and what they want to accomplish, and they all want to improve in their fitness to enjoy better lives out of the gym. Brian’s athletes want fulfillment through fitness.
How Does Brian Foley Help Somebody Get Better In Fitness:
Brian discussed that his biggest focus is to get to know his client right away and then building on that relationship over months and years. To get to know them, Brian carefully walks through a great onboarding of his clients first through their intake form, but then he really zones in during their client consultation. Brian wants to understand what they are projecting out to the world today and then intricately peel back the onion layers with the client quickly so that they become aware of how aligned they are or are not to their stated objectives.
Brian would rather help a client take the right step forward even if that means away from fitness than guide them down a path that isn’t going to continue to inspire them for the long-run.
One of the things I picked up about Brian is that he works his tail off to ensure that he is building the environment for his clients to open up about the truth. It’s in those crucial “crevices” that come out to the trained eye that help Brian help his clients understand their truths. It’s those truths that helps both Brian and the client take perpetual steps forward on and off of the gym floor. They have to ignite their own unique life force to achieve their real goals in life.
“They gotta ignite the life force!” - Brian Foley
Brian absolutely loves when he his clients get to the point where they can truly embody their fitness because it’s 100% aligned with their goals and priorities. Just watching his eyes (around the 5:15 mark of the video), you can clearly see how much this means to Brian and why he has had such success with so many clients/athletes. Within that, Brian made such an amazing comment. Brian said:
“Maybe everybody gets to the level that they’re supposed to get to” - Brian Foley
What Brian meant by that is that it’s only through your own investigation of your fitness and experience will you find the true top of the mountain.
What a fun conversation. Thanks Brian, and thanks to you for reading and watching!