The CrossFit Coach: Sage and the Burgener Legacy in CrossFit Weightlifting

ByCrossFit May 15, 2023

Sage Burgener is a well-known Olympic weightlifting coach carrying on the legacy of her father, Mike Burgener, a coach of more than 50 years including many in the CrossFit space.

While she has several lofty goals such as running a 100-mile race and building her own legacy, one goal supersedes them all.

“To show up for myself in this life and to show up for my kids in a way that helps them navigate through life — that’s my goal,” Sage says.

A mother of two, Sage’s approach to parenting empowers her kids to be good people, speak their minds, be respectful, and stay in shape, says Sage’s mom, Leslie Burgener.

“I really hope that my kids want to continue on the Burgener legacy,” Sage says. “They fight me every day on working out, but once they do a workout, they buy into it.”

Sage’s upbringing influences her parenting. As a child, she’d frequently watch her dad coach athletes in their garage affiliate, CrossFit Mike’s Gym. Although she doesn’t remember formally learning the Olympic lifts, Sage absorbed the experience and it stuck with her into adulthood.

“I remember the day my dad told me, ’Wow, you have a really good eye,’” Sage says. “He never complimented me unless I really deserved it, and so when he told me I had a good eye, I was like, ’Oh my gosh, I have a good eye with this stuff?’”

From there, her passion for coaching grew. Experiencing the impact her dad left on her and others inspired her to help people the way he did.

“I have experienced firsthand someone believing in me, and then seeing what that did for me and how it kind of changed the trajectory of my life, how it changed my confidence, my self-esteem,” Sage says.

While continuing her dad’s legacy, Sage is also creating her own with Bad Bitch Camp, a three-day fitness retreat where women train with Sage at CrossFit Mike’s Gym. She hopes to empower women to love themselves and lead with confidence.

“I believe to be a strong woman, you just have to be secure in what you’re presenting and you have to believe in what you’re presenting, and that’s gonna come out in being confident in who you are,” she says. “If you’re confident in who you are and what you have to say, people will listen … and we absolutely need those women to show up in this industry.”

“The CrossFit Coach” is a six-part series that highlights the impact CrossFit coaches have in the lives of the people they train, from those who have never walked into a gym to professional athletes in sports of all kinds. The best CrossFit coaches are those who can pair their unparalleled fitness expertise with an equal level of care about each person’s goals. They are continuously learning and seeking out ways to refine their craft and reach new people with the magic of CrossFit. These are a few of their stories.


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