What Got You There with Sean DeLaney – Josh Bridges: Navy SEAL Turned CrossFit Superstar

Check out the What Got You There Episode Page & Show Notes

Key Takeaways

  • Josh takes an ice bath every morning in a large chest freezer while doing the following breathing exercise:
    • 10 second breaths (4 seconds in, 1-2 second hold, and then 4-5 seconds out) – for a total of 20 cycles
    • The water temperature is ~35 °F
  • Josh makes his bed immediately after waking up
    • “It’s not about making your bed, it’s about starting your day off right”
    • What’s the logic to this? – Right off the bat, you accomplish your first task of the day
  • Here’s what one of Josh’s mentors in the Navy SEALS told him, which stuck with him to this day:
    • “No matter what it is that you’re doing, the one thing these instructors can’t do is stop time. Whatever it is that you’re doing, no matter how bad it hurts, no matter how bad it sucks, it’s going to come to an end. You can either push through it, and realize that it’s going to come to an end, and still be here at the back end of it, or you can quit midway, and then you have to live with that for the rest of your life.”
  • “I think I just love what I do. I love going out and testing myself every day, whether it be in the gym, on a run, anything in life really, even being a dad. I love it. Once you find something you love, and really enjoy doing, it’s easy to continue to do it forever.

Intro

What did Josh’s morning look like today? (2:57)

  • (This episode was recorded at 10am on a Thursday)
  • He woke up, got the kids (8 and 6 year old boys) ready for school, and then took an ice bath (which he’s been doing EVERY morning for the past 6-7 months)
    • The ice bath involves 4 minutes of deep breathing in a cold tub (at about 35 °F), with water up to his neck
    • Josh says it’s like his morning meditation, and as an added bonus, it helps with immunity and inflammation
    • “It helps me get the day started right. I get to walk outside and conquer a fear right off the bat, and also get to clear my mind.”
  • After the ice bath, he had breakfast, and made himself coffee
    • What kind of coffee? – Just black (this morning’s cup was with a pour over)
    • He prefers single origin beans, ground with a Hario V60 electric grinder
    • His favorite coffee brand? – Geisha 
      • It’s a seasonal roast, typically from Panama
      • “It’s the smoothest, most delicious cup of coffee you’ll ever have”
  • He then dropped his kids off at school, came home, and then started working (mainly emails)

What does the breathing exercise in the cold tub look like? (5:30)

  • 10 second breaths – 4 seconds in, 1-2 second hold, and then 4-5 seconds out
    • Josh will try to do 20 total breath cycles – it takes him about 3.5-4 minutes to do 
  • Sometimes he’ll do just 4 seconds in, and 4 seconds out (typically for 8-10 total breaths)

It All Starts With Making Your Bed (6:45)

  • Josh makes his bed right after he gets up
    • “It’s not about making your bed, it’s about starting your day off right”
    • What’s the logic to this? – Right off the bat, you accomplish your first task of the day
    • “It’s the little things in life that matter the most”
  • And right after he makes the bed, he heads to the cold tub
    • “It puts me in the mind set of, ‘Stop thinking, and just do.’ I don’t need to start thinking about getting in the cold tub, because when I do, that’s when the bad thoughts start to enter the brain.” 
    • The “cold tub” is actually a large chest freezer 
      • How does it work? – Just fill the chest freezer with water using a hose
        • When Josh adds the water, he’ll also throw in some ice to help drop the temperature (you don’t really need ice, it just takes a few days for the chest freezer to drop the water temperature to 35 °F otherwise)
        • He’ll typically run the chest freezer for ~2 hours each day to maintain the water temperature
        • Josh keeps a thermometer in the tub for temperature checks
        • Every ~2 weeks, he changes the water, emptying the freezer with a large 5 gallon bucket
      • The chest freezer is much cheaper than typical large physical therapy cold tubs, which can can cost around $6,000

How does Josh think about time and structuring his days? (11:18)

  • “When I’m in the gym, I’m in the gym. When I’m with my kids, I’m with my kids. I put everything away and try to focus on them.”
    • (Josh works out at his house, instead of going to a gym)
    • A great tip – Just give whatever it is you’re doing, all the attention it deserves
      • “Whatever it is I’m doing at the moment, I’m giving it 100% focus”
  • He’ll try to consciously stay off his phone while working out or spending time with his kids

Josh’s Mom (14:52)

  • Josh was raised by his single mother (she had him when he was 19, and Josh’s older brother when she was 18)
    • He says he got his “get it done” mentality from her
    • “We never went without food, without clothes, without anything, because my mom worked her tail off to make sure her kids had what they needed” – Josh really appreciates this, especially nowadays
  • Sean – “It’s unbelievable the amount of high performers, many of whom have been on this show, who talk about strong women in their lives, and the influence that had on them”

What did Josh learn from wrestling in high school? (17:17)

  • “The number one trait – be the hardest worker in the room. First to show up, last to leave. Mouth shut, no complaining. You’re going to grind until someone has to peel you off the mat.”
  • Josh says he had a great high school wrestling coach, and actually loved it when he yelled – “I could tell that he cared when he was screaming at us”
    • In a sense, as a coach, if you don’t care, you won’t yell

The Most Physically Intense Thing Josh Has Ever Done (20:46)

  • His first year of college wrestling at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri
    • Sean says of the toughest people he’s come across, most of them have a wrestling background
  • Josh only wrestled in college for 1 year – he didn’t really like his coach all that much

Any crazy SEAL stories? (24:00)

  • BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL) Training and FQT (Field Qualification Training) were pretty difficult
    • These are required before becoming a Navy SEAL – they both took about a year total to complete
    • One workout in BUD/S involved a 3 mile soft sand run, a 1 mile ocean swim, another 1.5 mile soft sand run, a hike to an obstacle course with a 35 lb. rucksack, an obstacle course run, another 3 mile soft sand run WITH the 35 lb. rucksack, into another round of the obstacle course, a short run with the 35 lb. rucksack, then 100 pull-ups, 100 pushups, 100 dips, 20 rope climbs, and then 10 “buddy burn carries up and over a burn”
      • Josh says it took about 3 hours to do – “I remember dropping on the ground afterwards, and I didn’t want to move.”

CrossFit (27:44)

  • In January 2005, a friend of Josh’s introduced him to it
    • “From there I fell in love with it, and never turned back”
    • Eventually, Josh started doing 2-3 workouts/day out of pure enjoyment
    • “I got addicted to how I felt, and how I was starting to look”
  • CrossFit was not very popular at all around this time – Josh says there wasn’t even a CrossFit gym in Missouri
    • So he had to buy his own barbell, bumper plates, and rings in order to do the CrossFit exercises
    • He would work out outside in parks, or even in his mom’s basement

How did Josh’s stint as a SEAL come about? (32:23)

  • After college, Josh was a telemarketer for about a year and a half 
    • Josh says going into the business field was “one of the worst ideas he ever had”
    • After this, he was a mortgage loan officer
      • “I was hating my life being a loan officer”
  • “I always had a little bit of an inkling to want to test myself in the military”
    • So Josh started doing some research on what it would take to become a SEAL (this was when Josh was 24)
    • And the rest was history…

Are there any resources out there people should check out if they want to become a SEAL? (33:47)

Did Josh feel ready prior to joining the SEALS? (34:24)

  • “I felt like I was very prepared physically, and mentally I was ready as well. This is what I wanted to do. I had no plan B. This was it.”
    • Josh thinks this is the type of attitude that’s necessary in order to actually become a SEAL
    • His CrossFit workouts definitely gave him an edge physically

What was Josh’s self-talk like, when the going got tough during SEAL training? (35:25)

  • “I just had to step back and separate myself from it, and realize what exactly it was I was doing”
    • “Yeah it sucked really bad, but thinking on it then, it was actually pretty awesome. I had beachfront property. The room I slept in, I could wake up and hear the waves crashing outside my window. People pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for this stuff, and I was getting paid to do it.”
      • So in short, the training was hard – but Josh got to do it on a beautiful beach – “How could I sit there and feel sorry for myself”
  • Josh knew, deep down, that if it was easy, everyone would do it – like everything in life
  • Josh had some great mentors as well:
    • He remembers one of them saying – “No matter what it is that you’re doing, the one thing these instructors can’t do is stop time. Whatever it is that you’re doing, no matter how bad it hurts, no matter how bad it sucks, it’s going to come to an end. You can either push through it, and realize that it’s going to come to an end, and still be here at the back end of it, or you can quit mid way, and then you have to live with that for the rest of your life.”

What else did Josh learn from his time in the SEALs? (37:51)

  • It gave him a huge sense of confidence
    • “No one would be able to put something in front of me, that I couldn’t tackle. I just went through the hardest military training in the world. Good – bring it on.”

What other insane challenges are next for Josh? (39:30)

  • He’d love to road bike from the border of Mexico to the border of Canada

How did Josh end up deciding to compete in the CrossFit games, while at the same time being a SEAL? (44:07)

  • The first CrossFit games were held in the summer of 2007, right after Josh enlisted
    • As a SEAL, he followed the 2008, 2009, and 2010 games closely
    • In 2011, he asked his chief if he could compete, and then boom – he ended up taking second place
      • “My expectation was to win”

How has Josh managed to, for lack of a better term, kick the shit out of his body for so long and still remain relatively healthy? (52:58)

  • “I think I just love what I do. I love going out and testing myself every day, whether it be in the gym, on a run, anything in life really, even being a dad. I love it. Once you find something you love, and really enjoy doing, it’s easy to continue to do it forever.”
    • “If the CrossFit games didn’t exist, I would still go and train the same way I’m training”
    • “I don’t do it for the glory. I don’t do it for the money. I don’t do it for anything like that; I just love it so much. I love pushing myself every single day, not just in CrossFit, but in every aspect of life.”
    • “What am I gonna do, sit around and watch TV all day? Come on. I’m gonna go train.”

Wrapping Up (54:25)

  • Josh has a program people can follow, if they’re training to go into BUD/s and FQT 
  • Josh is starting a new fitness/nutrition based Youtube channel, as well as a podcast
  • “Everyone talks about mental toughness. I’m not sure I’d call myself mentally tough. I’d call myself mentally prepared for everything that I’ve gone after.”
  • Definitely check him out on Instagram

These notes were edited by RoRoPa Editing Services

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