23 Questions with Justin Cotler, Underdogs Athletics Co-Founder and Head Coach

October 9, 2023 by
Photo Credit: Underdogs Athletics
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As we head into the end of 2023, it’s a good time to reflect on the season behind us as well as look to what’s coming ahead. But amidst the heavy pondering that comes with the close of the year, it’s also time to approach some more light hearted subjects. 

Since coaching the first American woman back to the CrossFit Games podium in five years during the 2020 season, Cotler has gone on to open the Underdogs Athletics training camp, which is home to Games athletes like Ricky Garard and Alex Gazan. This week, we sat down with Cotler to learn more about his 2023 beyond CrossFit.

In the spirit of the Vogue 73 question interview made popular by journalist Joe Sabia, we asked him 23 questions to close out the 2023 season.

  1. What’s your favorite time of day?

Justin Cotler: I’m a night owl. I think it stems from my years of being a musician

working late night gigs and in the studio. 

  1. What are you most excited about these days?

JC: Watching my kids grow and thrive. Both my own kids (6 and 3 year old) and my

gym kids (all the athletes I coach)

  1. What’s one thing people don’t know about you?

JC: I feel like maybe most people know this about me now as it’s been publicized, but I

was a full time recording artist prior to my coaching career. 

  1. AMRAP or For Time?


  1. Bike, row, ski, or run?

JC: Bike

  1. What do you usually eat for breakfast?

JC: Eggs, avocado, fruit (yes, i know avocado is fruit, but I put it in it’s own category)

  1. What’s one thing you had to learn the hard way?

JC: I am allergic to marijuana. Causes my heart rate to spike and creates massive


  1. What did you want to do with your life at age 12?

JC: Be either a professional athlete or singer

  1. Favorite place to be?

JC: Home with my family or at a competition coaching

  1. What’s one piece of advice you wish athletes would listen to?

JC: Are the decisions you make on a daily basis aligned with your goals? If they are,

great, if they aren’t, make better decisions. 

  1. You have 10 minutes to train, what are you doing?

JC: Strict Pull Ups and Pushups

  1. What is a trend you’ll never give up?

JC: Smoking meat on my Traeger Grill. Does that count?

  1. What’s one habit you wish you could break?

JC: Cracking my knuckles

  1. Describe yourself in 3 words

JC: Loyal, passionate, moral

  1. What are you grateful for this year?

JC: My incredible wife. She makes everything work. 

  1. One person you’d like to get coffee with?

JC: Phil Jackson

  1. What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve done in your life?

JC: Skydiving

  1. What’s your favorite piece of clothing you own?

JC: My DC Brawlers shirt I wear around the house. Perfect jammies shirt.

  1. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

JC: Make the most of today. Tomorrow is not promised. 

  1. What’s at the top of your “most played” on Spotify right now?

JC: Stevie Wonder. Always Stevie

  1. What book did you recently finish?

JC: Way of the Warrior Kid

  1. If you weren’t working in CrossFit, what would you be doing?

JC: Something with Music. Writing, producing, performing. 

  1. Secret talent?

JC: Whistling. Doesn’t make much sense actually. I actually feel like I’m a whistling savant. 

The cashout: And of course, it wouldn’t be CrossFit if we didn’t have a little cashout. 

  1. How would your athletes describe you?

JC: Passionate, emotional, honest. 

  1. A time you recently practiced regularly learn and play new sports?

JC: My new passion is rock climbing. I try and climb 3x a week and have geared most of my training and diet around it. My goal is by the time I’m 50 (2 years) to consistently be able to climb 5.12’s.

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