A Tribe of Bad Bitches with Sage Burgener
7 months ago
Everyone knows what it’s like to be thrown into a crowd at the cafeteria in school for the first time. That anxiety of not knowing who anyone is or where we belong in the crowd. That desire to connect and feel connected. It’s a daunting thing to experience. Not everyone has the determination to go out there and find it, and not everyone has the foundation to know themselves enough to make it for themselves. Growing up in a family where fitness was a core of the family foundation,
In On the Action
Ever since she was a child, Sage Burgener has had exposure to the world of Olympic Weightlifting. She started training at the age of four and had her first competition at the age of six. It comes to no surprise that Mike Burgener—a legend in the fitness world—is Sage’s father. Between her performance and mindset towards all aspects of life as well as fitness, it’s clear he has passed on his legacy to the daughter he raised. Growing up, Sage explains that “you always had to be playing at least one sport and you had to be training at least three times a week.” As the baby of the family, with three older brothers, she only ever wanted to be in on the action. Wherever her people were, she would make it a point to be there. While many people often struggle to maintain a fitness lifestyle, Sage feels she can speak for all her siblings when she says that they “never went through a rebuttal phase of not wanting to train.” Sage loved being in the gyms and to this day their family functions involve training and working out. When they finally settle on what and how they are going to train, they continue fueling a huge part of their family culture.
Becoming the Teacher
Though she had loved so many sports growing up and played so many, such as volleyball, field hockey, and soccer, Olympic Lifting was Sage’s sport. “I was better at every other sport than I was at weightlifting” explains Sage. It's because of this that she loved Olympic weightlifting so much though. Not being built for it or naturally gifted paired with her determined personality made her love the challenge of the sport. She also looked up to her older brother who followed the Olympic training route. And though she had his influence, much of the credit is due to her father; the fitness famous Coach Burgener, who single-handedly made popular the sport of American Weightlifting. For a crucial chunk of her life, Sage’s father was her coach. However, all his past experience in coaching had made it difficult when it came to training his daughter. Because this was impeding her progression, Sage’s father made a decision for her benefit. After getting a female coach in late middle school, Sage started excelling in her training. This gave her the foundation of more intense progression forward preparing her for her future. She managed to land a full-ride scholarship to Northern Michigan University. Despite the potential success that would have come out of her time there, Sage wound up leaving after a semester. Sage tries to make it a point to live without regrets, but she admits to wishing she would have finished college. However, she sees how that decision helped land her an awesome opportunity. After returning home, CJ Martin of Invictus fame —another prominent name in the fitness world—offered Sage a job as an Olympic weightlifting coach. Through that, Sage, at the age of 18, got her first exposure to the CrossFit world.
Building a Tribe
On her journey, Sage established sagebergener.com which is a platform for her Bad Bitch Camp. This camp is an all-female weekend of food and training and community building. For Sage, it embodies a dream of hers. “When I step outside of the fitness world, I realize how few people love talking about food, and lifting, and training, and mindset,” she explains. During this camp, she can “be around like-minded women” and talk about how much they love CrossFit, nutrition, and healthy living because the “real world” people don’t get it. Sage recognizes how important this community is for her, and knows how important it has been for the women around her. Beyond that, she has managed to create connections with other companies such as BUBS Naturals and has even entered communities with Mayhem. Sage acknowledged the importance of these connections and the value they have to her when she sat down with
Sean Lakerecently in our IG Live. Part of Sage’s motivation for how she lives her life is for the benefit and improvement of others. She has built upon her father’s approach to fitness and training, emphasizing how he always made it about serving others and giving them the best product. It was not and is not about the money for Sage. Sage surrounds herself with those who share her values and appreciation for things like fitness, family, and faith. In her experience, she has found that other women like her have a desire for community. She explains that they “want a tribe.” And so Sage, through her determination, has handed that to them. Sage has manifested a tribe not just for herself, but for those around her.