How Bradley Cooper Became My CrossFit Inspiration

Bradley Cooper American Sniper

Bradley Cooper in American Sniper

I joined CrossFit in August 2014. I love the classes, and the community is phenomenal. In many ways, it feels like a co-ed fraternity. Everyone is friendly and laughing all of the time. It’s the most fun I’ve ever had in a fitness class.

There’s just one thing I don’t like about CrossFit: I suck at it.

I regard myself as relatively athletic. I run a few half marathons every year. I lift weights. I take frequent indoor cycling classes. That said, none of these activities seem to translate into making me a strong CrossFitter.

When I take CrossFit classes, I see so many of the women gliding through the workouts. They jump like gymnasts onto a high bar and kick out dozens of unbelievably impressive pull-ups. I, on the other hand, feel like my arms are made of play-doh as I can barely do a pull-up even with the help of two resistance bands. And it makes me so frustrated.

But recently, I was inspired. I was listening to Howard Stern interview Bradley Cooper about his workout regimen for the American Sniper. Bradley talked about how he did intense weight training for three months in order to bulk up to play war hero Chris Kyle. And, suddenly, I thought, “If a non-athlete like Bradley Cooper can get stronger, maybe I can too.”

My mission this year is to do a pull-up, and I’m not quitting until I make it happen. In order to accomplish this goal, I’ve ramped up my upper body weight-training at Main Line Health and Fitness. I’ve also decided to dedicate at least an hour every week to learning how to “kip” — that is, how to use your legs for momentum during the pull-up. If Malcolm Gladwell is right about how to become proficient at something, then I need to put in hours of practice. I can envision myself doing strong pull-ups, and I feel excited about my plan of action.

Life is funny. Sometimes you find inspiration in the most unusual places. So thank you, Bradley Cooper, for inspiring me to do a pull-up.


Lauren Napolitano, Psy.D., is a licensed psychologist on staff at Bryn Mawr Hospital and in private practice in Bryn Mawr, PA.  To learn more about her practice, go here.