SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash.— On a recent Tuesday morning Cole Sager was grinding through a high-intensity workout in the garage of his Spokane Valley home.
There was no music. Sager didn't have a workout partner. It was just him and his drive to be the best.
“If you want to win, if you want to be a champion, you have to dial everything in. You have to give your best and maximize every minute of every day,” said Sager.
It's a dream Sager has dedicated his life to chasing. And, unlike many elite-level athletes the bulk of his training takes place in his garage, which he's converted into a mini CrossFit gym.
"You know, it took a little bit for my neighbors to realize what was going on. At first I just looked like the weirdo across the street in the neighborhood," Sager joked.
CrossFit wasn't always on Sager's radar. His first love was football. Sager walked on to the football team at the University of Washington and saw playing time as a true freshman. After four years with the team, he planned to chase his dream to play in the NFL.
But, Sager recalls a conversation with a friend, who was in the military. It was a conversation that changed his life. The friend convinced Sager to give CrossFit a try.
“So I made a decision. You know, I’m going to stop playing football. I am going to stop chasing the dream of playing in the NFL,” said Sager, “I’m going to go to the CrossFit Games, and I’m going to start training to win.”
Sager went all in. He gave up his career as a mortgage broker in Seattle an started training full time. Sager admits it was a struggle at first. He relied on his faith, stayed focused on his goal and quickly saw success.
Within a year-and-a-half, Sager qualified for the CrossFit Games. It's sort of like the sport's version of the Super Bowl. The four day, grueling competition features events aimed at measuring an athlete's strength, endurance, agility and mental toughness, among other things.
In his four trips to The CrossFit Games, Sager has placed as high as fifth. His success has made him one of the more recognizable athletes in the sport. He's Sponsored by Nike, Rogue Fitness and supplement company, Progenex. Sager has a coach who designs his workouts, a nutritionist who helps him plan his diet and an Agent.
Sager is laser focused on his achieving his goal.
"I want to win the CrossFit Games for one main reason and that's just to build a platform in the community. I want to be an ambassador in the sport. I want to encourage people. I want to have people look at me and just see a person...you know...he is striving to be the best version of himself every single day. He's a man of integrity and he loves and he cares about people. And, I want to share that message," Sager said.
At this year’s Crossfit Games, which took place in early August, Cole was awarded the Spirit of the Games Award. The award not only recognized what an athlete accomplishes, but how they accomplish it. It recognizes things like character, grace and kindness.
It's an award he's extremely proud of. Now his sights are set on another title: 'The Fittest Man on Earth.'