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Chasing Excellence: A Story About Building the World's Fittest Athletes

4.41  ·  Rating details ·  3,439 ratings  ·  231 reviews
CrossFit trainer Ben Bergeron has helped build the world’s fittest athletes, but he’s not like other coaches. He believes that greatness is not for the elite few; that winning is a result, not a goal; and that character, not talent, is what makes a true champion. His powerful philosophy can help anyone excel at all aspects of life.

Using the dramatic competition between t
Kindle Edition, 204 pages
Published July 19th 2017 by Lioncrest Publishing (first published July 17th 2017)
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Average rating 4.41  · 
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 ·  3,439 ratings  ·  231 reviews

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Hannah Farrow
Aug 14, 2017 rated it liked it
I'm a huge fan of CrossFit and its athletes, so it was insightful to read about Katrin and the behind the scenes of the Games.

The writing, however, was filled with a lot of unneeded metaphors and similes that distracted me from the bulk of the book. There also wasn't anything new in the book, as in I didn't read anything I haven't read or heard before. It's a reminder book told through Bergeron's coaching eyes, which again is good, but not great.
Aug 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
Can't say I absolutely loved this book as it's heavily focused on Katrín Davidsdóttir (for obvious reasos, as Ben is her coach) and she's not my favorite athlete, but I really enjoyed reading about her training and Ben's style of coaching. I'd highly recommend it, especially if you're feeling motivated to train as the CrossFit Games are happening (and it's free on Kindle Unlimited, so it's really easy to get hold of). ...more
Alex Devero
Sep 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book offers a great insight into what makes an elite athlete. It uses the example of CrossFit athletes Katrín Davíðsdóttir, Mat Fraser and Cole Sager and CrossFit Games 2016 to show how can one build a mindset of excellence and mental toughness. The author outlines 12 principles that lead to achieving this result. These principles are commitment, grit, positivity, embracing adversity, confidence, maximizing minutes, focusing on the process, taking control, turning the page, humility, compet ...more
Feb 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 out of 5

Simple, entertaining, insightful, extremely motivating. In other words, excellent!

It also helps that I'm a CrossFit fan myself and have already watched Fittest on Earth: A Decade of Fitness (2017), a movie about the 2016 Reebok CrossFit Games, which are covered in this book, so I really appreciated a peek behind the scenes.

However, as Ben Bergeron would agree himself, excellent does not mean perfect. In case of his philosophy outlined in Chasing Excellence, I kind of missed some bala
Ron S
The power of positive thinking for Crossfitters.
Andrew Frezza
Jul 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of the best!

Ben is the real deal! I have spent some time with Ben over the last couple years, and excellence is not just something he teaches, but the way he lives his own life every day. This book is an amazing insight into what it takes to be a champion in any field, and is especially interesting if you're a CrossFitter or a coach of any sport. It's a fast read and the stories of the CrossFit Games make this both entertaining and informative. Some may look at the simplicity of Ben's advic
Jan 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very interesting- I didn’t even know there were CrossFit games. But it’s crazy what these people can do! This book shows what it takes to be a champion- hint: it’s not just talent. “Success is a decision, not a gift”. The book shares many good points on what it takes to be excellent and they can be applied in any area, not just CrossFit. I really liked the chapters on the “the process” and “control”. The book also made me question if I want to be truly excellent at something and dedicate my whol ...more
Matt Boutte
Oct 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
The book Chasing Excellence: A Story About Building the World’s Fittest Athletes by Ben Bergeron and Lioncrest Publishing is about coaching elite CrossFit Games athletes, including Katrin Davidsdottir and Mat Fraser, to be some of the fittest human beings in the world. If you’re interested in CrossFit or just human physicality and performance, you’ll find this book to be compelling and motivational. If you think this is about CrossFit though, you’ve missed the meat of Bergeron’s book.

Chasing Exc
Dec 12, 2020 rated it liked it
Ben Bergeron gives us a short and motivating look into the preparation needed to get to and win the CrossFit games. He primarily follows the rise of Katrín Davíðsdóttir, but also talks a bit about Mathew Fraser.

To most athletes, there's nothing particularly surprising in Bergeron's advice. Train hard. Commit yourself to your sport. Be humble. Train for the worst. Fill up your grit tank.

The whole book stinks of CrossFit elitism as Bergerson tells over and over again how CrossFit is the toughest s
Marcus Andrew Buenviaje
Oct 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Super good book, it really talks about mindset you need to succeed. Breaks down what makes his athletes different from other athletes, and the journey it took for them to get there. Really good book if you follow CrossFit (I do) and still a good read that makes you think about your goals if you don't.

5 stars but again I'm bias because I've been doing CrossFit for years and my whole family is into it.
The story of the 2016 CrossFit Games is one of my favorites. I've rewatched the documentary and interviews countless times. To hear it from the perspective of Ben Bergeron was even better. Whereas the book is centered around the games, you don't necessarily need to be a fangirl to understand the principles he discusses. If you're a fan of the Chasing Excellence podcasts, you'll notice similar themes and messages throughout the book. Overall, it was a really fast read and a great refresher. I lov ...more
Alex Adkins
Jan 22, 2019 rated it it was ok
I believe a more appropriate title of this novel would be simply a recap of Katrin and Ben's relationship throughout the 2016 CrossFit Games. I somewhat buy into the dogma of critiquing a book for what it is and having listened to Bergeron's podcasts, this novel falls incredibly short. Time after time, Bergeron is able to elucidate on research providing every single why to his motives of "chasing excellence". Nonetheless, barely any is present in this book saturated with anecdotes of Katrin's ma ...more
helpful - do good work! Now I just need to identify what that means in the context of librarianship.

Side note - I hope they put the Crossfit games back on Youtube instead of all the boring commentary, I just want to watch fit ladies lifting heavy things and being fit. *sigh*
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Book of all books on motivation and getting things done. Haven’t read a better one yet and will stick with this one. Must read if you want to get better at anything.
Sarah Winfrey
Feb 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 Not actually a book about CrossFit, for the record. I mean, it is but it isn’t. I loved a lot of his points, had questions about a few, and mostly wanted to get to know the man.
Lisa Webb
Apr 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Dec 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
A Very focused read on having a the mindset of a champion. Ben Bergeron does an extremely quick detailed study of what occurs in the mind of 2 amazing aesthetes over the course of their 4 day at the CrossFit games. Embracing the process and chasing every minute of every day with excellence is the key to this mindset. He goes example through example of how these principles are applied.

My example is is he has his athletes list every possible obstacle that could happen at the Games...they came up w
Jamie Mattison
Jan 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing

Really appreciate the way Ben breaks down excellence into simple (not easy) steps. Highly recommend to anyone wanting to get on the right track in their mental game.
Jan 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
might be a bit too focused on CrossFit for some people, but it does use it somewhat effectively as a metaphor on how to get on the right mindset to face adversity and achieve excellence
Eduardo Santos
Sep 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"Vision without action is a dream. Action without vision is a nightmare." - This is a book that doesn't have anything groundbeaking or new, but which inspires you to take action. Everyone can attain excellence by commiting to daily habits that slowly build your character as you face hardships and setbacks. Your determination to keep going will be a catalyst for action on it's own as you endure, independently of the outcomes or results. After all, you're competing against yourself and no one else ...more
Christine Nogueira
Dec 26, 2017 rated it liked it
I felt like Ben, the author, gave some great insight into mindset techniques that he uses with his athletes during training that can be applied to life in general as well. That being said, I also felt like it was a little simple, and focused too heavily on the play by play of the games for Katrin for my taste. I enjoyed it overall but it isn’t one of my top books in this genre.
Avinesh Kumar
Sep 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle, 2018
What a great read! For me as an athlete, it is like being coached as you read every chapter. The things you want to hear from a coach day to day, when you are having doubts, or when participating in any event. Though Ben runs the CrossFit games as backdrop, but everything he says, applies to anyone in any field who is trying to become his best version.
Luke Campbell
Aug 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Bergeron accomplishes his goal of defining what sets his athletes apart from the others. Through chasing excellence in the smallest details, he instills in his athletes a mindset of professionalism and stoicism which bleeds over into their performance. It's not a new concept, but it bears repeating and hasn't been expressed in the vein of CrossFit. As an athlete, I found the book inspiring as reading about the training methods of the greats always will be; and though the lessons expand beyond th ...more
Jeroen Vantroyen
Feb 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Great motivational read!
I guess, being a (amateur) crossfitter myself, having seen the 2014/2015/2016 Games and knowing the athletes Ben trains and speaks of, puts me closer to the subject matter as a reader.

Crossfitters, sports athletes and just leisure sporters alike will find this rekindling possibly lost motivation. Even if not, an interesting look behind the scenes.
Jamie Pent
Aug 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I devoured this!

Everything here is applicable to anyone's life-not just elite athletes! I don't think I've ever highlighted a book so much. I will definitely read it again!
Aug 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great read - not just for high level athletes but anyone who aspires to be the best version of themselves and achieve excellence in their field.
Josette Angela
Sep 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Incredible perspective on excellence and leadership, and you don't have to know a thing about CrossFit to learn from what Ben has to say! ...more
Helen Hunt
Feb 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
If you’re into the world of CrossFit and just becoming better overall whether in sports or business or family this is a book for you!
Page 23 "We can condition our resolve for excellence or weakness, for resiliency or rigidity. At our best, mental toughness can fill the gaps that our talent and our practice have left open."

Page 30 "Ask yourself where you are now and where you want to be instead. Ask yourself what you're willing to do to get there. Then make a plan to get there."

Page 30 "Think of it this way: If you were a robot, and things like sleep, relaxation, stress, relationships, desires, and temptations were not a facto
Feb 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Chasing Excellence is the somewhat self-congratulatory story of how Ben Bergeron coached Katrin Davidsdottir and Mathew Fraser to winning the Crossfit Games. I had already seen the documentary about this competition, so I was very familiar with was Bergeron was describing.

I was expecting a more general book on, well, chasing excellence and athletic achievement, but the book focused heavily on the 2016 championships. Bergeron gives himself a great deal of credit for his athletes' wins, and in fa
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