Noah Ohlsen won the CrossFit Open in 2016 and has been a perennial contender in the CrossFit Games for years, finishing 2nd in 2019. He sits down with our resident CrossFit expert Mike Lombardi for a discussion that covers everything from overcoming disappointment, to the power of a positive mindset, to understanding what’s really important as you pursue your goals in sport and in life.
Stay healthy and stay in the green!
2:17 – Goals. Noah talks about his CrossFit career and how he has been a perennial contender for the CrossFit title every season. “A goal of mine [has been] to make a mark on our community,” Noah says. “I’ve competed at the CrossFit Games for the last 8 years in a row, and I’m hoping to close in on a decade here soon. I’ve got two more years to at least hit that mark, and then I’ll see where I go from there.”
6:43 – Finding CrossFit. Noah explains how he discovered CrossFit and how he transitioned from other sports like lacrosse and water polo. “I wasn’t really used to that style of training, that fast-paced, high-intensity stuff. And I loved it.”
9:24 – Getting to the Games. Noah talks about his first experience competing at the CrossFit Games. ”The guys that I was competing against then were my absolute idols. Guys that I would watch YouTube videos of every day and just wanted to emulate. And so the fact that I was standing next to them and taking the field was mind blowing to me. And then at one point I had done well enough on a few events that I found myself in first place, my first year competing. It was like a dream. I still almost don’t believe it was real.”
11:29 – Pursuing the Dream. “It’s been a long road and I’ve still yet to achieve that goal of winning the CrossFit games, which is tough. … It is difficult year after year to set out to achieve one goal and year after year to fail in achieving that,” Noah says. “I have had to go through a lot of mental reframing. Trying to be satisfied with the journey and what I’ve accomplished, but still stay hungry to want to achieve that ultimate goal that I set for myself and not give up on that.”
13:49 – Enjoying the Process. Noah says loving what you do is critical in your day-to-day life. “I think the amount of enjoyment in the process has made it very sustainable for me. I think that if I didn’t enjoy it and I was just grinding away and banging my head against the wall for eight years straight and not achieving that goal, at a certain point you’d break and give up.”
18:50 – Reframing the Training Mindset. “I love competing and I don’t want to give up on that goal of trying to win the games, but I thought, ‘How can I reframe this and give myself a different purpose or perspective going into this season?’”
27:38 – Overcoming Injury and Disappointment. Noah talks about dealing with an injury-plagued 2021 season and how he was on the verge of his worst finish at the CrossFit Games in 5 years. Noah was outside the top 15 and ultimately finished in 10th after completing the final day of the event with a strong performance.
29:25 – Mental Performance. Noah talks about how he was inspired by an episode of the WHOOP Podcast with sports psychologist Dr. Jim Loehr.
35:14 – Using WHOOP. “I really love the data. And I think as a competitor at heart, I almost have turned it into a game for myself, not in the sense that I’m comparing it to other people, but I’m always comparing it to myself. I want to wake up and I want to see that green because that’s like a little mini win for me.”