Episode 86: Bill Grundler

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Description: Host Brad Kearns catches up with CrossFit legend Bill Grundler, a 46-year-old retired firefighter and proprietor of CrossFit Inferno in San Luis Obispo, CA. Bill has defied the normal notions and realities of aging by competing in the Open division of the CrossFit Games—challenging the best athletes in the world despite having a couple decades of seniority on the pack. Bill subscribes to what he calls a firefighter mentality, where “you just get the job done. The fire doesn’t care how old you are.”

After suffering an ACL tear during a qualifier for the 2014 Open CrossFit Games, Bill endured an arduous recovery and, with minimal expectations for 2015, agreed to enter the Masters division to compete alongside his brother James. The Grundler brothers became the first brothers ever to compete together at the Games. The 2015 Masters contest featured an especially tortuous series of events (detailed by Bill in the podcast), and Bill finished a close second to an Australian when it was all over.

Bill is a lifelong athlete in swimming and wrestling. He was a high school state champ in wrestling and All-American wrestler for Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where he attained a top-10 national ranking his senior year. Interestingly, Bill explains that his wrestling career ended unfortunately, as he cut his hand right before nationals and had to watch from the sideline. Bill believes that this gave him a profound sense of “unfinished business” that provided a source of deep motivation for his lengthy competitive career. You can detect an incredibly resolute positive attitude from Bill during this show. His devastating college injury became a source of great motivation; his ACL tear was a “blessing in disguise,” and his heartbreaking narrow defeat at the 2015 Games didn’t dampen the joy of competing alongside his brother. Bill also explains the wonderful benefits of taking the Primal Blueprint Expert Certification, and his plans to set up members of CrossFit Inferno with easy access to the certification program.

Even as he basks in the adulation of being a true CrossFit legend, Bill offers a healthy perspective quote about CrossFit: “The essence of CrossFit is to become more functional for a lifetime. People can miss this when them become too focused on the competitive aspects of CrossFit.” Enjoy a truly inspiring show from this CrossFit legend!

Show Notes:

  • Bill Grundler, age 46, reports on his recent experience with the CrossFit Games. [00:01:37]
  • What are the events he competed in during the CrossFit Games? [00:12:08]
  • How many CrossFit Games are televised? [00:16:28]
  • Grundler, a retired fireman, describes his life of competition and how the “unfinished business” after his injury was his motivator. [00:17:55]
  • What goes on at the CrossFit Inferno? [00:23:18]
  • Are there concerns about the future of the CrossFit movement? [00:26:03]
  • Is it unusual for the trainers to be doing the scaling of the levels of workout? [00:32:17]
  • What was Bill’s experience taking Primal Blueprint Expert Certification program? [00:35:19]
  • Using “age” as an excuse is not in the cards for this guy.  He talks about his recovery after an ACL tear. [00:38:02]

Selected Links from the Episode:
Bill’s CrossFit Games Athlete Profile
CrossFit Inferno
“From ‘The Games’ to ‘The Cert’: The Story Behind the Grundler Brothers”
Primal Blueprint Expert Certification

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