The Missing Link

I’m sure you’ve got a great training program you’re following.

You probably also have a good grip on your food intake, even if you’re not SUPER dedicated to tracking your food, you’re still probably humming along at what I like to call 80/20.

Where 80% of the time you’re doing the right things, and 20% of the time you’re enjoying the “finer things”.

Perhaps your also like me, and you love testing yourself out in competition.

You love having a goal in mind.

You love putting your training to the test and figuring out how to optimize yourself from where you are now, to where you want to be when it’s “go time”.

You know what I’ve figured out though?

It’s that all your training …

All your food prep …

All your stretching and mobility don’t mean JACK SQUAT unless you take care of THIS ONE THING.

BUT, before I get into that, I want to share a pretty revealing story that gives you some context to what I’m about to reveal (and makes me a little vulnerable, too).

So, let’s hop in the Delorean and Flashback to November 2012.

I didn’t have a lot of competitive Crossfit experience under my belt yet, but our team had qualified and competed at the first, inaugural CrossFit Regionals competition in Chicago, IL earlier that year.

So, I figured it was time to find competitions that could challenge me on the level that Regionals did.

My wish was granted, when I was invited to attend the first ever Outlaw Open.

For those who have never heard of it (it no longer exists), it was the brainchild of Rudy Nielsen, a once well-respected and known CF coach.

The guy had some harsh ways about coaching, and his personality was kinda narcissistic …

But if you could get over that, his training methodology was first of its kind.

He was one of the first who introduced barbell cycling to the CF community, which changed the way WODs were programmed all the way from the home gym to competitions across the country.

Anyways …

The reason I was so excited to be a part of this competition is that it gave me a chance to compete again the best of the best (remember, this is 2012 … the game has changed QUITE a bit since then!).

We’re talking:

  • Katie Hogan
  • Kristin Clever
  • Rebecca Voigt
  • Elizabeth Akinwale
  • Lindsey Valenzuela
  • Jessica Estrada
  • Becky Conzelman (RIP)

That’s also the first time I met Kevin Ogar … before we all knew him from his catastrophic injury just a few short years later.

Side note: He was the nicest guy then, and he’s still the nicest guy now.

As an added bonus, the competition took part on the same weekend as the USAW Nationals, so I got to meet Kendrick Ferris and Sarah Robles, both decorated Olympic lifters!

It was also in Palm Springs, CA, so you can imagine the weather was DIVINE!

Sure heck of a lot better than Omaha, NE!

Ok, so are you starting to see why this was _going_ to be such an awesome event?

Well, let me break it to you.

The event was freaking terrible.

One of the worst weekends of my life.

In fact, I haven’t even told anyone the dirty details about it until now.

It was just too embarrassing.

But, you have to know these things.

If you really want to avoid the crash and burn that I experienced …

You’ve got to know the mistake I made, and how you can learn from it.

Before I get into the dirty details, let me tell you about my preparation leading up to the competition.

I trained 2x, 5 times a week and I was firing on all cylinders in my controlled environment.

(I want you to remember the word “controlled” here in this context, I’ll come back to it soon …)

I was hitting all my recovery marks …

Eating my macros …

I was SURE that I was going to beat the pants off these ladies and finally show the world who Katie Danger was.

As I write this, I realize how silly it was to focus only on “beating my competition”.

It was getting closer to competition day and my coach asked me how I felt.

There was no hesitation when I said it …

“I’m going to fucking crush these girls”.

My confidence sounds really stupid now, but I suppose we’ve all been in situations where we’ve been overconfident before.

So it’s gameday … err, game weekend in this case, since the competition was a 2-day event, both Saturday and Sunday.

I remember getting arriving at the venue that Saturday and it was hoppin’!

I saw my first “celebrity Crossfitter” in Kristin Clever when I was checking in and wanted to bad to get her autograph, but I was too shy!

Side note: She was a lot shorter than I imagined too … LOL.

Another side note: Although the weekend didn’t turn out like I planned (which you’ll read about soon) I did learn a lot about hand stand pushups from Kristin … which could actually be a whole other story itself!

Ok, back to pre-competition …

I got checked in, got my fancy athlete pass and then scoped out the area …

But more importantly, scoped out my competition.

I’ll never forget that moment.

It still haunts me.

When my mind turned on me.

All the thoughts started flooding my head …

“These girls might be a lot better than me.”

“What if I didn’t win?”

“What if I failed?”

“What if I bonked?”

What if lose and no one likes me?” <— yes, this was a real thought I had!

WHAT IF … (insert every awful thing, ever, here).

Once again, looking back, I see the error of my ways.

And here’s the big secret.

The secret you’ve been waiting for …

You can train.

You can eat right.

You can sleep well.

You can do literally EVERYTHING (else) right …

But if you ignore this ONE THING, you’ll never reach your potential as an athlete.


After check-in, my coach and I got back to our hotel.

We discussed a few things and how to prepare for the workouts, but I didn’t share with him my building insecurities about the competition I was going to face.

Truth be told, even at Regionals in May of that year (2012), I still hadn’t faced anyone quite like what these ladies were capable of.

Back home I was a big fish in a little pond.

The North Central Region was just simply not as stacked as the other regions in the US at that time.

Here I was a small fish in a small pond with a lot of sharks swimming about.


I tried as best I could to sleep that night but that didn’t go as planned either.

I tossed and turned all night and tried to visualized positive results and doing everything just like I’d trained …

But, instead, my head was flooded with negativity.

I had NO CONTROL over my mind.

It was running rampant and its as going to take me to cleaners before it was all said and done.

I must have gotten some sleep that night because I woke up to my alarm …


Enough time to stretch, mobilize, eat a bit of pre-competition food, take my supplements and get to the arena!

Here we go!

It was gameday!

Before I tell you about the epic beatdowns – plural – that were about to come …

Let me tell you that I didn’t quit.

I persevered throughout the weekend, by the hair on my chin chin chin …

And I didn’t quit.

So that’s something … right?

The first event was upon me and I was standing at the starting line with Kris Clever to my right and Katie Hogan to my left.

Dave Castro was the MC for the day, too.

He even said my name when I walked out onto the competition floor!

(serious fan girl moment!)

The workout was a heavy front squat at 160# and muscle up ladder.

Let me state, for the record, a muscle up for me at that time of my life was 50/50.

(Hindsight is also 50/50 … this was another highlight of my lack of preparation!)

Somedays I had ‘em.

Some days I didn’t.

Well, today I didn’t have ‘em.

And it led to frustrating, embarrassing performance in front of the peers that I looked up to.

The peers that I believed I could hang with.

I finished last on that workout …

Well, to be honest, I didn’t even finish the workout because I couldn’t complete the ladder.

So, it was a DNF.

Did. Not. Finish.

This event was also live-streamed to our entire gym, and I had hoped that maybe no one was watching so they wouldn’t think I’m a complete and utter fraud of an athlete.

I really thought I should just quit.

I placed so much of my value and worth as an athlete on my physical abilities, and I crashed and burned hard.

None of the events after that, or even on Sunday went as planned.

I finished last or near last for the three workouts on Saturday …

Somehow, someway …

I was able to find the will to continue and dig as deep as I had known at that point, to muster up some effort to show I wasn’t going to just lay down and quit.

I suppose at that point I had realized that I wasn’t going to win, and now I should just have fun with the experience and learn something.

I found myself observing the other women athletes …

What did they have that I didn’t?
We were all skilled.
We had all passed and completed prior tests of fitness before this competition.

Why was I sucking so hard?

After the conclusion of the competition, I finished 23rd out of 27 women.

Could have been worse, I guess.

But, I knew I was capable of better.

What on earth could I do different?

You ever heard that saying “get woke”?

Well, this was my “a-wokening”.

I just didn’t know it yet …

I’m a disciplined athlete.

I’m a committed athlete.

I’ll eat whatever I need to eat to reach my goals.
I’ll train however long it takes to reach my goals.
I’ll sleep.

I’ll recover.

I’ll spend money on tools and professionals to help my by body perform.

I wrote all this stuff down after the competition.

Everything I was doing that I thought was contributing to success …

  • Food
  • Water
  • Sleep
  • Training Plan
  • Competition schedule
  • Equipment
  • Recovery: Chiro, Massage, Mobility

My coach even reviewed all my “wins” and he agreed … it seemed I had all the pieces.

But there was obviously something missing.

And obviously it was a big component of the picture, because I could do all the following things right, and still end up with a total bust of a performance.

Unfortunately, at the time, my coach was also not equipped with the “a-ha” moment that I was about to experience.

I guess that a word of advice too …

Step #1 – Get yourself a coach who knows this stuff, too. 🙂

If you don’t, you’ll find yourself wallowing in your own insecurities and second-guessing yourself when it’s “gameday”.

That stuff …

Is called mindset.

Or, what I call “being a woke athlete”.

If you type “woke” into Urban Dictionary (totally legit!) you’ll learn that it means being aware of what’s going on behind the scenes.

If you’ve ever seen The Matrix … it’s like taking the blue pill.

It’s the development of an awareness AND PRACTICE of using the mind as your largest asset.

As an athlete, I wish I always would have had the skills of a woke athlete.

It would have saved me lots of trouble …

But, now, I’m sharing that secret with you.

You’ve got to be a Woke Athlete.

In fact, I wrote an entire article about it here.

But, the gist of it is this:

Optimal training is like a Venn diagram.

You know, one of those circle charts that shows you where the sweet spots are when everything lines up perfectly.

Being a woke athlete combines your composure, your purpose (virtuosity) and your integrity (overcoming obstacles) so you can harness your MIND to produce exceptional, expected results.

You can do everything right …


If your mindset sucks …

If the negativity in your mind prevails …

Then you don’t have a plan.

There is NO PLAN without a plan to manage your mind.

No mind plan = preparing to fail.

This might be the most profound, yet underutilized, training stimulus there is.

Everyone is out there working on their strength, their power, their speed …

Very few have even considered working on their mindset and making it a part of their training plan.

Even fewer are actively working on their mindset.

It took me a lot of heartache and pain to recognize this “new” training tool.

It took me years to reflect, experience and develop a plan to train my mindset.

It doesn’t have to be that way for you.

I want this to be easier for you than it was for me.

I want you to reap the rewards of your training, fully.


And I want you to enjoy all of your training, every single day.

Being a woke athlete isn’t about winning or losing though.

So, if you believe you gotta win everything to validate your worth …

Then this isn’t for you.

But if you know there’s more …

Know that there’s something missing from your training …

And you’re ready to take the next step …

Then my guide “Becoming A Woke Athlete 101” is going to take you from:

Proficient to exceptional.

Floundering to functional.

Frivolous to focused.

Empty to empowered.

The truth is this …

Exceptional people get exceptional results.

Don’t leave any loose ends.

Tie them all up.

Heck, make them into bows if you want to.

The point is, becoming a woke athlete is the last piece to your puzzle.

It’s the piece that everyone forgets about and says “good enough”.

The funny thing is, though, without this piece …

You’re just another athlete, grinding away at all the things you can grind away at, hoping for an exceptional result.



Results begin and end with your mindset.

Forge an elite mindset.

As a Woke Athlete …

You’ll never have another bad workout again.

You’ll crush all your PRs.

You’ll always compete at your potential.

Because you’ll always be in control of the outcome and results!


Sounds awesome, right?

You’re right, it is awesome!

And I’ll give it to you, but I need something from you.

A little tit for tat …

When you get done reading what I’m about to share, let me know how it helps you take your very next WOD to the next level.

Fair enough, right!? 🙂

Are you ready to level up?

[—> Grab your FREE copy of “Becoming A Woke Athlete 101” now.]
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– Coach Katie Danger