Some people may be smarter than you.
They may have more resources at their disposal.
They might even have more natural talent.
But the one thing you can do is WORK HARD.
You can only control a certain number of factors. As long as you focus on those, you will become the best version of yourself.
When you get to the end, you need to know that you did everything you could to accomplish your goal.
On today’s episode of The School of Greatness, I talk with an athlete who works tirelessly to be the fittest woman in the world: KatrÃn DavÃÃ°sdÃ³ttir.
KatrÃn Tanja DavÃÃ°sdÃ³ttir is an Icelandic CrossFit athlete known for her four appearances at the CrossFit Games. She is the women’s champion of the 2015 and 2016 CrossFit Games, becoming the second woman to win twice.
KatrÃn didn’t become Olympic gymnast like she originally wanted. But she went on to become a world-renowned CrossFit champion.
You can’t always be anything you want, but you can be all that you are.
So get ready to learn all about what goes into becoming the Fittest Woman on Earth on Episode 733.
Lewis: This is episode 733 with the world’s greatest athlete and cross fit champion Katrin Davidsdottir. Welcome to the school of greatness my name is Lewis Howes, a former athlete turned lifestyle entrepreneur and each week we bring you an inspiring person or message to help you discover how to unlock your inner greatness. Thanks for spending some time with me today, now let the class begin.
It doesn’t matter how much talent you have the only way that you’re going to be successful as one of the greatest in the world is if you have talent and you have so much hard work that you back that talent with consistent dedicated effort. That will set you up for the chance of being great, and that’s what our guest today has done Katrin Davidsdottir is a legend in the fitness and cross fit world, she is an Icelandic cross fit athlete known for her fore parents cross fit games, took 30th in her first games appearance in 2012 after less than a year of doing cross fit, improving to 24th in the games in 2013. Now, 2014 she was sideline from the games that year, she didn’t qualify but she returned with a fierce dedication to be great in 2015 and improved her focus and took the title of the fittest woman on earth. She ten proved that it was no fluke with a repeat victory in 2016 making her the second woman to repeat as champion. Talk about a fierce competitor, talk about someone who has a big heart and deep desire to push herself to the greatest limits humanly possible. That is what Katrin has been able to do with herself and she is just getting started.
In this interview we talked about how fast she knew she wanted to be in the cross fit games, we talked about when she realized that she needed a coach and a strategy to be able to advance her in her passion and she was able to get only so far alone. But in order to be a champion she needed a coach and a strategy, the importance of rest and reflection when you fail. Why you need to build solid structure that you love doing day after day, also the importance of balance if you want to be the best in the world at anything and we talked about who she was working for and competing for in her 2015 win. I’m super excited about this, I’ve been following Katrin for a long time and we’ve been connected online for a while we finally got to connect in Boston in person and this is an incredible interview, make sure to share this with your friends lewishowes.com/733 tag Katrin on Instagram as well as you are watching or listening to this and let her know what you think about this as you listen.
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Again, a big thank you to our sponsors and if you are looking to be great in your life then we have an incredible young woman who is going to inspire right now to reach beyond your dreams, to reach beyond your limits and to achieve everything you want. So let me introduce you to the one the only Katrin Davidsdottir.
Welcome everyone to the school of greatness podcast we’ve got the legendary Katrin Davidsdottir in the house.
Lewis: I know we’ve been trying to do this for 2 years.
Katrin: Probably so long. Every time I say I’m about to come to California I mean it every single time.
Lewis: You haven’t been to California I think in 2 years.
Katrin: I haven’t I don’t think I’ve been there since the games in 2016.
Lewis: Yeah, so we’ve been talking since then and you were like I’m going to be there for an event, sponsor thing and you never make it out and coming out to Boston and now we’re here in Harvard square and I’m excited to be here because you’ve had an incredible journey, you’re only 25 you’ve won 2 cross fit games back to back, you’ve qualified for 6 games 5 games?
Katrin: 12, 13, 15, 16, 17 and 18 6 games.
Lewis: You qualified twice and then you miss once what was that like? When you are qualifying and you get better every year and all of a sudden I don’t qualify after a year of pain and struggle and training?
Katrin: Honestly right now I can look back and say that it’s the best thing that ever happened to me. In the moment it was the hardest thing that ever happened to me, I was born very competitive and it didn’t really matter what it was whether it was you know swimming when we were in school or you know running around the playground you know with the boys I was always in competition. I did gymnastics until I was 16 and I was very really good at gymnastics but I think I love the conditioning and I love the dedication, I trained 4 hours a day 6 days a week and I liked that structure and at 16 I didn’t want to do it anymore and I was trying to find something you know and I was playing around with track, go to a global gym, I was always missing that like you know waking up in the morning and working hard towards something and you know having a purpose. In 2011, Annie she’s won the games she’s one of my best friends you know she’s was from Iceland, but that was all over the news and they were showing clips from the cross fit games and saying that she won that and I remember that my mom and my grandma was lost that summer, they’ve been doing like 2 years kind of like back and forth gymnastics and track.
Lewis: You were at high school at the time?
Katrin: Yes. And my mom and grandma like why don’t you try that? And in my head I feel like it was a day after that I went to the gym and I signed up for boot camp, for the cross fit and that was literally it.
Lewis: Wow, right away from day 1 you knew?
Katrin: Yeah, I think I knew for about 3 weeks when I remember I was talking to my mom and I was like ‘Mom, I want to make it to regionals.’ Which is like the qualification process or used to be for the cross fit games and that was probably in September and then probably around the New Year, I remember that goal kind of shifting to I want to make it to the games.
Lewis: No way that quick?
Katrin: And that was a little bit dangerous because I was so good right away. This is the end of 2011 and in 2012 I actually made it to the games, my first year try.
Lewis: 6 months of training?
Katrin: Yes, and no one could do that today, I mean the sport was so much younger but I progressed really fast and I got good right away and when I saw good I actually think that’s so dangerous because I think I kind of got content you know. I was the young one, I made it right to the games and honestly when I got to the games that year I didn’t really belonged, I was very star stuck, I didn’t have a coach I hadn’t train for that amount of volume and have the headspace to be there, I honestly didn’t enjoy it at all but I got to call myself a games athlete and then again.
Lewis: You play is top 30 right?
Katrin: Somewhere I might have been 30 yeah. Then I have another year of kind of doing the same thing like I would show up every day and I would train and I love training and then I was full time student and I was coaching and show up again in 2013, kind of the same story like I’m good enough that I’m a games athlete and I get to call myself a games athlete all year, but as soon as it gets to the games it’s a whole other level and a whole other playing field and it’s so many days, so many things to think about. Again, like I didn’t really have a coach.
Lewis: No one came to support you in coaching wise?
Katrin: I had some people from my gym.
Lewis: But they weren’t like coaches.
Katrin: They weren’t my coaches they were very supportive and I couldn’t have done it without them but we hadn’t worked together and I didn’t have the mindset and I didn’t have the preparation that needed for the games.
Lewis: You didn’t have a strategy like mentally.
Katrin: That kind of just like kept going like that until 2014 I didn’t make the games and right in that moment of now making the games I remember there was a workout that had 10 like rope climbs and rope climbs are a weakness of mine and that was a workout, there was nowhere to hide. And for weeks leading up to it I have been so nervous for that one work out, I was at that point at the best shape that I’ve ever been in and I’d always make it to the games but I couldn’t stop thinking about that workout, that was the workout like it could throw me out like maybe I won’t make it to the games and that was on day 2 of regionals in 3 days and day 1 I was crushing it, I was in 1st by so far and I remember they ask me like it was wow, I could never be happy with what I was doing because I was so nervous about that workout and be like I just got to get to that rope climb workout, like so crazy I couldn’t be in the moment. I was constantly like I don’t know projecting forward to that one and my potential failure in that one, and sure enough we get to that workout and I think I was on my 7th one when I fail a rope climb and I immediately start crying and there were minutes left on the clock and I didn’t make a single rope climb more. It’s kind of like I was right you know.
Lewis: What you say created yeah.
Katrin: I think I created that for myself and it wasn’t my physical ability because I was fit enough that year, it was my lack of mental toughness that year and I was just projecting forward that I could possibly not make the games and then instead of getting, we failed rope climbs all the time you know you stand back up and try again.
Lewis: So you try again or you just like barely trying?
Katrin: I did try again but I was just falling down the rope and I you know I wasn’t collected and.
Lewis: You could’ve taken more time of rest and still have tons of times.
Katrin: Yes and I was just rushing it because I needed to make that rope climb instead of resting until I was ready and jumping back up and failing in that moment I had nothing planned that summer, all I want to do was train for the games. So, he wasn’t my coach at the time but I’ve done training camps with Ben who is now my coach, and I remember getting a text from him. So every morning probably like a week or two I would wake up in complete shock like you know when you’re just like.
Lewis: After you qualify?
Katrin: Yeah like it actually happened. A couple of days later I get that text from Ben that this is tough for you right now and you might not see this in this right moment but this could be the best thing that ever happened to you. I remember that I was so mad that he would say like why would he say that to me? It was so hard for me right there and then and that was all I wanted and that was my biggest goal was to make it to the games and that summer I remember I took some time off and my dad and my siblings in Morocco. When I came back I hated the fact that everyone else was training for the games and had that purpose and I was just going to the gym. So, I kind of like I think that I tricked myself in my brain that I was training for the games, that summer was probably the summer that I started training so much more with Annie. So she was training for the games.
Lewis: So you were essentially training with her for the games?
Katrin: Yes, so I was you know the best workout buddy that she could have at that time because I would push her and push her, but I wasn’t like I don’t know I guess like for her she was training to win the games. So for me I’m actually training for the games too and pushing with her, so that kind of really pulled me through that summer and at the same time as I got to push her and that year I remember I didn’t really watched the games, I remember watching the final workout and it was really late in Iceland because of the time changed. I remember watching it and the final is done and I remember just closing my computer going to bed and I wake up the morning after it was like a million pounds were lift off my chest. I felt like such a clean slate like no one had made it to the games and honestly in that moment I think it was such an advantage for me because everyone had just finished the games and have to recover.
Katrin: Yeah and here I am fired up and fresh.
Katrin: There are so many things that kind of clicked that year that, I always think things happen for a reason and I was supposed to go through that and then I never really like [?] I just have a tough time like sit, I need to be doing things but that summer when I went to Morocco I really picked up a book and I remember picking up Michael Johnson’s book called ‘Gold Rush’ and he was the absolute favorite like leading to 2 games you have won every single race that he entered in, he has these chapters in the books where he describes a 100 meter race and it takes less than 10 seconds for him or about 10 seconds. But this could be a whole chapter describing what he is feeling when he’s on starting mat and then he described it like what’s going through his mind and what’s he thinking right before the gun comes off and his reaction, like for the whole dry face like he’d be literally facing down and after 40-60 meters he starts to like you know racing himself up and he would look right, left and he would never see anyone because he was so far ahead. He gets sick in the Olympics right before and he ends up it’s a terrible Olympics for him and he doesn’t even make the finals and then what a failure for him at that moment when he himself knows that he can win. But instead of giving up in that moment or thinking he’s not good enough or what a failure, he comes back in 96 he wins gold in 100, 200 he added 400 and it’s just crazy to think that.
I don’t know I needed to read that story in that moment because it would be easier for me to think that I had failed or I was failure or that I wasn’t good enough or I’m not as good as those girls, but it just showed me that I had failed at those regionals and I wasn’t as good as I needed to be in that moment but it wasn’t a destination you know it was a point for me to pass through and I could use it and then I started reading some sport psychology and I started working a lot more with Ben and he talks to me a lot on what we should be focusing on and what I should not be focusing on. At the end of 2014 that I was training in Boston I ask him to be my coach and he was like ‘let’s try a month and will take it from there’ did that and I remember the New Year he was like ‘Okay.’
Lewis: Why did you come to Boston in the first place?
Katrin: That’s just kind of a long story it was one of his athletes used to do some programming for me so before the 2013 games I came for a week and that’s kind of like how I met everyone and then early 2014, one of his team athletes they’ve won the games before I think podium 1 or 2 times. He had a phenomenal team and a couple of those individuals on the team won individual that year and I went and train with Rachel and so kind of went over there, I was gonna go for you know just a week or 2 and train with them and I don’t know there was something about training there that kept me wanting to come back for more. I always kind of just been good so I just kind did the training, I remember when I got to Boston I never been in a place where there was a coach, like I love being coached and I’ve been coached my whole life in gymnastics.
Lewis: What’d you have in Iceland?
Katrin: It was more like you’re taking class and I’ve never experienced having a coach in cross fit, and when I come here kind of like has his whole team and some individuals and you know everyone would show up at 9 am and they’re all waiting to hear what he has to say just like in gymnastics. I think I just love that whenever he spoke like everyone wanted to listen to what he had to say and he honestly didn’t say much, which I think taught me a lot because he’s not out shouting, I remember doing this hell sprints once and he’d be like ‘Kat 54, Rachel 57’ and it was like you’re not getting a good job or you should be going faster.
Lewis: Very neutral yeah.
Katrin: But it made me internalized and me be like I know if I worked hard enough or not, I know if that 54 seconds I know if it was my best or not, he doesn’t have to tell me and really it showed me. I started paying attention to what really my best and I think I really learned what hard work was. There’s a difference between working hard and working really hard.
So those weeks whenever I come to Boston I think I accidentally put myself into this life professional athlete bubble, because when I was in Iceland I was a full time student I was a coach trying to train and of all my friends and my family that you know you’re hanging out with, but when I was in Boston I would stay with Ben and Heather, Heather is Ben’s wife and I would go with Heather in the morning to the gym and we would work out and then I would have lunch and you know take a little break and work out again and I’d probably be done by maybe like 3 or 4. But Ben never went back home until it was like 5:30, that’s when he leaves the gym every day. So, I had all this time you know I just had at the gym and I would read, I would do all these recovery stuff like all these things that I never used the time to do before. So it’s kind of like accidentally living this professional athlete life and sleeping more and eating better and dinner time talks.
Lewis: And you’re like I can’t leave this. I have to be here full time this is the way.
Katrin: Absolutely and I think every time I left I felt so much better that it kept me wanting to come back for more.
Lewis: Sounds like that structure is what you really loved, because when you get back home it’s kind of like on your own time you have a lot of different things and it’s not a course structure on focus. Where do you think you’d be if you qualify for the games that year?
Katrin: I don’t know.
Lewis: Do you think you have won those back to back?
Katrin: No, I don’t think I would have won the games, I think I needed that not make it to the games, he showed me how bad I not only how bad I wanted to be there and how much I was willing to work for it and I think I really needed that because I think if that wouldn’t have happened I would’ve been content with I was doing.
Katrin: With Qualifying and I’m a 100% sure I would not have won the games if that wouldn’t have happened.
Katrin: That’s interesting I would probably be in school, I would probably.
Katrin: Yeah, I wanted to be a doctor. I used to love and I still do I love learning and studying, it’s just I don’t have time for that right now with what I’m doing and I know school will wait for me like school will be there and I can always learn and study and I love reading now, but the sport doesn’t wait for me and this is what I’m doing right now. So, I need to give it everything that I have.
Lewis: What do you think it takes to be the best in the world?
Katrin: Everything you got. If you’re not giving it everything that you have, I always thinks this I remember, everyone likes balance like talking about balance and I always felt very conflicted because that’s not what I wanted and I remember Ben was having a presentation once and it’s the first time I heard anyone say ‘champions don’t have balance’ and I was like ‘he’s right.’ It’s not right or wrong for most people it’s probably the right thing to have balance but if you want to be the best in the world at something you just can’t, because if you are spending your time on something other than your craft or something other that’s not gonna make you better, someone else is spending their time on getting better and I always think that someone else is gonna be spending their time so I better be doing it too.
There’s a time and place for everything like hanging out with your friends and getting your nails done but that has to be the right time. Sometimes it’s good to get that little bit of break but that has to be the right time, it takes everything you got and a lot of hard work.
Lewis: Do you balance ever? Do you take a day off once every 3 months?
Katrin: Yeah, absolutely.
Lewis: Your coach be like ‘today you’re going to rest’ has that ever happened?
Katrin: Yes, one day a week I get a full rest day, like I said you can only work as hard as you recover and all that, but you better be doing everything of all that 100%. But then there are times you have for me it’s Sundays. Sundays are my day that I take completely off.
Lewis: Recovery swimming you know.
Katrin: Sometime like I actually perform a lot better if I’m moved, like just get some blood flow in, getting a light but it has to be very light it can’t be I’m not getting lactic or not getting extra soreness. My favorite to do is actually sit in a sauna, that’s my favorite recovery thing it’s very it’s like me time, I bring in a book and I sit in the sauna for like 30 minutes and it gets really hard like it’s actually really hard to sit in the sauna sometimes when it gets really hot. But I feel really good after.
Lewis: What’s your biggest physical weakness right now that’s holding you back from being the best at all times?
Katrin: So, 2015, actually coming back from that year or not qualifying we win the games.
Lewis: That’s crazy.
Katrin: But at the same time we looked at the things that we did, it’s not crazy but it’s just crazy looking at it like that and 2016 repeating and it’s like we didn’t know that you can win and when you know what it takes you want to win, and I am ready to do whatever it takes and I am ready to give it everything that I have and worked as hard as possible I can every single day. There is no better feeling than showing up in your competition and knowing that you did everything you could. That’s what gives me confidence it’s not, you never know that you’re better than someone else or you never know that you’re gonna win or where you’re gonna place, but if you know that you did everything that you could then you can stand there and you can be confident and then you out there and give it your best. You know that you’re gonna come out there and that’s going to be your best result.
Lewis: It’s the worst when you know you didn’t train enough.
Katrin: Exactly, that is the absolute worst. So coming back in 2017 of course I want to win and.
Lewis: Back to back and hopefully back.
Katrin: Yeah, I was tired in 2017 mentally tired and I think I kind of lost my sense of why do this and my purpose and my joy in this sport.
Lewis Why were you tired from them? The emotional pressure in yourself?
Katrin: Yes, I think I was I had lot of think and in 2015 I truly fell in love with the sport and the process of just getting better and working hard. Every day showing up to the gym I was learning so many new things, I was reading all about, that’s the year that I really kind of got what it meant to be the best version of yourself. When I used to compete I used to be constantly in the leaderboard and the outcome wouldn’t matter to me so much, but then like starting to read sports psychology and Ben talking to me about like I can only control a couple of things, like I can’t control an outcome, I can’t control the weather, I can’t control the judges and my competitor. But what I can control is my sleep, what I eat, the effort that I put and do any kind of workout and we just kind of like love the process, we worked really hard we got to the games and it was an advantage but no one was looking at me.
Lewis: No pressure.
Katrin: Half people interview me and suddenly we come out top and because of that reason I think people thought it was a fluke and I take that personally because I knew what we had done, we had worked so hard. So that whole year I wanted to prove that I wasn’t and 2016 very suddenly my grandmother passed away and she is my best friend and my rock, my everything in this world she is a light and that’s definitely, it just happen fast and that year I did everything for and every training session I did I wanted to win for her.
Lewis: So you had a deeper purpose?
Katrin: I had a deeper purpose that year. So when I get to the 2016 games it’s really weird but I honestly like I would come up the floor and I somehow just like make a lift, I have no clue how I may or I would be like focusing on it might be a 5 round thing and I remember I would always pull through right at the right second and I would somehow like every time I got off the floor it was like, I never knew how I did it and I would always just be like it’s her and right before the final event both of us had this necklace, it was actually my grandparents and gave it to me, her best friends gave it to her. When she passed away I got a little protection angel and I put on hers and one on mine and hers is buried with her. So, I would always have this necklace with me and right before the final event I took it out of my bag and I was wearing this high neck sports bra, so I was able to actually tucked it in and I was wearing it for the final event. I was in the lead but it was just a really hard work out for me and this is probably one of the proudest competition moments that I’ve ever hard, because how easy it is to like with the rope climb just go up before you’re ready because it’s the win on the line. But to say I just take everything a moment at a time and doing other when I was ready and I actually got my best results even though there was so much on the line. I remember I walked over the bag and go over and the necklace would always fall out and I think it kept reminding me like she’s there for me and that year I remember just holding the necklace it felt like an eternity before they announced who had won.
Lewis: Because you didn’t know.
Katrin: Because I didn’t win the last event and I came out like a couple of points ahead and I was holding it and I wanted it nothing more than to win for her and I think I had that year and 2017 already on a back to back win and I didn’t know my purpose anymore.
Lewis: Your purpose was now pressure, it’s like how to deal with the pressure.
Katrin: Exactly and I think I kind of lost that a little bit, I don’t think I realize it until I was at the games and I never had one of those magical moments, like when you come up and like I love competing it’s my favorite thing in the world even when I’m out there on the floor and I didn’t have that, it wasn’t until that Sunday morning at the games I won those work outs and I had that magical moments.
Lewis: After the games?
Katrin: No, it was right at the end but it was just too late and I didn’t even podium I took 5th in the games and I know that’s a tremendous, it’s very good it was just not what I wanted and not what I worked so hard for.
Lewis: How’d it made you feel?
Katrin: Terrible. I think it took me such long time to acknowledge that I wasn’t happy with it and to acknowledge that I wanted to win the cross fit games and that I wasn’t happy with that placement and honestly like the longest thing took me to acknowledge how I was feeling, I was missing the joy, I was missing my purposed and spark.
Lewis: All 2017?
Katrin: This is all after the 2017 games that I think I was kind of realizing this things and there was a moment in time where I was like ‘do I love competing in this sport anymore?’ I was like why do I want to do this? And I got this email from, there was a doctor at our gym who saw someone post this that it was his little cousin that she was 15 or 16 who posted this essay, she was talking about how she had been, she’s very down like very depressed. She would go to school and she would do enough to get by and after school she would go home and she would do nothing and this one May it was before Memorial Day her aunt comes in and she was so excited like raving about this cross fit exercise and it was murf which is like a mile run, a hundred pull ups, 200 push ups, and 300 squats and then another mile run. It’s a tremendously hard work out and it’s long and grindy and there was all these people all showed up to do this work out and they’re all working so hard like some of them until their hands are all sweaty and like but they’re all there doing it together and all made her feel so welcome and she decides she want to join this cross fit gym. She did cross fit for a couple of weeks when she then like started looking at video and she gets more interested and she watches the documentary ‘fittest on earth.’
Lewis: When you want right.
Katrin: Yes and she says she saw Katrin Davidsdottir talking about being the best version of herself and she’s like something quick in me. So, I’d go to the gym and you know she kind of do pull ups and she starts working on pull ups until she could do one and you know she had to work so hard and you know sometimes she returns and a way until her hand [?] and you know it’s such an accomplishment when you work so hard toward something and you’re able to do something that you previously didn’t think that you can do. She then take it from there and like started working harder in school, she now is happier and a better life and what if her friends see that and see how inspired she is a better version of herself and inspire them to get better. It was like an immediate flip in my head that is probably the thing that means the most to me out of everything I’ve received or ever done. Someone could, I get to go to the gym every day and do what I love and work hard towards that and I’m lucky enough to be in a position that the cross fit games team and Mars and Hebrews they want to tell my story and you, you know thank you for having me on here but I get to tell my story and I get to show what I love and how hard I worked and if that can inspire that one girl and imagine who she can go onto inspire, I was like that is my purpose and that really, that’s why I started working hard again, I want to do it for that girl and do it for those people that need it for the opportunity that I can inspire someone else.
Lewis: So that’s the mission now?
Katrin: Yeah it still is and that was leading into my 2018 games or this season and that’s actually the season that I can honestly say that I’ve never worked harder in my entire life.
Lewis: Did you feel like you brought back the joy and the passion and the love?
Katrin: Yeah, I do in a different way it’s more like I feel like if you start out in anything there’s always a lot of excitement and things fun and it still is. It’s like it was a lot of hard work like I’ve never worked out so much in my life and I was doing.
Lewis: 2-3 a day.
Katrin: Like a lot of them are 3 a days and some of them would be like you know just be 90 minutes of running or biking and it’s just a lot of time to sit on your head and I have to tell myself so many times how much I wanted this. So, it’s not always fun and games but I will say in the big picture this is the thing that I love the most and that I am so thankful for that I get to do every single day.
Lewis: You’re gonna tell your coach to listen to the podcast during that 90 minute bike ride.
Katrin: I do that.
Lewis: So you got 3rd this year at the games 2018, how did you feel?
Katrin: Right, that’s why we are talking about this because of my weakness, I just started rumbling on.
Lewis: Yeah, it’s all good.
Katrin: So that was.
Lewis: How did you feel placing 3rd and not being on the top which you wanted and working harder and having a deeper mission and a purpose, how did you feel because 5th you were unhappy how did you received it?
Katrin: Very mix feelings and I still have those mix feelings. I want to win the cross fit games, I want to come out on top and I know what it feels like to come out on top and I worked as hard as I could and this whole year and as hard as I ever have in my entire life. That’s very scary to do that because if you do that, if you actually work as hard as you can and you still you come up short you have no excuses and that’s really tough. But at the same time like I woke up the morning after and my initial reaction like stunned and nothing you can do about it and.
Lewis: And you knew you have everything in every event you’re like.
Katrin: So it is hard but not what you wanted but at the same time I’m so proud of the worked that I put in, I’m so thankful for how much my coach coaches me and teaches me every single day, my family my friends they’re so incredibly supportive. The amount of support like Christmas it’s like I was late for Christmas dinner and my mom didn’t even blink an eye, she was like I’m stressing trying to get ready and my mom was like okay like she knows how hard it was what I was doing. So, it’s like all those things I’m so thankful for and I have to celebrate that I got 3rd it’s incredible but at the same time I want more
Lewis: So what’s the big weakness then?
Katrin: It’s like raw strength and power output.
Lewis: Raw strength? Don’t you have raw strength I mean your legs are strong.
Katrin: I know you would think, when I say I have a weakness or strength it’s compared to my competitors so I know I’m strong and fit and all these things but compared to my competitors I’m not strong enough, and it’s crazy to say that I want to be the best in the world and I want to win the cross fit games and I’m out there and it was cross fit totals, so we did max back squat 1 max press and then 1 rep max deadlifts. If you ask even before the games if you would’ve ask me I mean I’m just expected to show up that we should be ready for anything. But if you would ask me what would the worst thing be like to show for me it’d be the 1 rep back squat. So, I’m out there on the field and I’m not having a good time and I’m literally and I try to be very in the moment and engaging to what I’m doing but I remember like putting my head like I’m never going to show up and have a weakness, I am never going to show up and not be able to play with other girls. I want my worst finish be 10th place not 30th, so right there and then I’ve decided I’m not gonna show up and not be sure enough ever again. There is no reason that I can’t be as sure as they can.
Lewis: Is this at the beginning of the event or the end of the event?
Katrin: During, I know it was coming I knew that.
Lewis: So now you’ve been training?
Katrin: So, now I’ve been working so hard and we’re getting stronger.
Lewis: What’s the, it sounds like in the last 4 years now since with your coach that you’ve been developing your mindset at an extremely high level of being more neutral, less reactive and less hard on yourself all these different things just training and preparing the mind for to win. What is the element on your mind that you still need work on that would take you from here to a whole other level?
Katrin: I don’t know I’m constantly working on something and I think it really depends on you know the mood I’m in or what I’m going through in the time.
Lewis: You mean you’re not a robot?
Katrin: I love to be. I think like it fluctuates and something that I’ve realized that I used to be a lot better at and I think I got pulled away from is trusting. So there’s a big picture process and trusting the process and every day just doing the little things over and over doing them right, knowing that you got better that day and trusting that you’re on the right path and it’s kind of like that process in the middle of a work out. You know if you’re doing something that’s 5 rounds to 10 rounds and everyone goes out so hard like in the beginning and they’re off and you know how you going to do your best in that workout and it might not be real go out hard, get in a good pace hold that pace and be able to like come through at the right time, like I did in 15-16 and I feel like sometimes I get so caught up that I should be the best in this work out or should be the best in this that you start competing with other competitors and then you might go out too hot and might crash and burn. It’s an individual sport and no one is touching, it’s not a contact sport no one is playing with you, no one is going to tackle you it’s just you and your lane.
Lewis: I think was it Einstein who’s like comparison was the [?] of joy.
Katrin: How true is that?
Lewis: And the more you compare to everyone else’s time or whatever maybe I think it’s good to train that way maybe and I know I like to chase this person but also just chasing your own best time.
Katrin: I do that a lot in my head I put a competitor next to me and pushing and pushing, but yeah the same time you have to be like ‘Was it my best?’
Lewis: That’s it.
Katrin: If not then you can like all right we got to change that.
Lewis: What’s the part of your daily routine that you love the most?
Katrin: My mornings.
Lewis: What’s involved in your mornings?
Katrin: I don’t know I actually like working out. I’d say my mornings I love a slow morning and I probably said that because if I have a good morning it’s my day is so good.
Lewis: But if you rush.
Katrin: If I’m rush everything goes backward. My day is like ruined, I’m kidding it’s not but kinda.
Lewis: It’s harder.
Katrin: It’s weird if my morning starts weird but I love just like I start to learn like 2 hours before I have to be anywhere and when I’m in like a great routine it’s probably my favorite like this summer like leading up to the games like every morning I would wake up and just make my coffee and bring my coffee out and just read that little bit, just like have time to sit and read and then I would journal after. Every chapter I’ve read about I would try and pick something out of it that I thought applied or my favorite part of the book and I would write about it. After I’ve written about it I would write down 3 things that I’m thankful for that day and I love starting my days thinking about, because there’s so many things sometimes you’d be on number 3 and I can’t pick what I want to put there, after that I would always write down 30 days until the games and that really got me to think, even though there’s a month left or even with 2 months left it always seems like such a long time until you put the actual days and you see how much can happen in 2 months.
Lewis: Every day matters.
Katrin: And I love putting that down there and showed me like how many days are left and so much can happen but this day matters so much. At the end of that I would put my own thoughts how like I try to link what I am reading to something that I would do that day and really got me just in the right mindset, and I love going into the day with that and then I go make breakfast just cause I love calling my mom or my dad and then I’ll go get ready and go to the gym, I’m ready for the day.
Lewis: I’m curious I don’t know if you talked about this or maybe you have, but do you think intimate partnerships and relationships supports someone’s drive to become the best in the world or do you think that can hold you back?
Katrin: Both, I think it depends on the person like both people. If you’re with the right person and if you look at Matt and Sammy for example there’s so like they’re so good for each other and Matt is so focus and so driven to be the best in the world.
Lewis: Guy is a machine.
Katrin: He is and Sammy she loves taking care of all the little things and taking care of the food and she’s such a bubbly personality but so on it at all times that I think they’re a very powerful couple, but then I also think that if you’re dating someone that might not be the right or doesn’t live the same lifestyle is probably pulling you away. So, I think it’s a good mixture of both and I think it really depends on who it is.
Lewis: How do you feel about it personally?
Katrin: I’m not dating anyone I think that scares me a little bit, I think that if I were dating someone I think that I’m scared that he would be pulling me away from what I’m doing or if I’m not very excited then I feel like it might not be the right thing for me to do and at the same time I’d be open for it and if it was the right person or someone that is living the right lifestyle of course the option is always there.
Lewis: Have you been with someone for years where you’ve been training full time and in a relationship too?
Katrin: No, I’ve dated someone like my recovery after games when I have enough time but then my focus goes all in.
Lewis: Well when you obsessed with something that much in a good way I think it’s hard to do it when this is like your time in your mind and moment and I was talking to another friend of mine Nick Simmons, who is an Olympian 800 meter runner, American champion in 800 and all these things and he was like for 6-7 years ‘I didn’t have a relationship because I knew I won’t be able to give them the time and I knew I needed to be selfish because this is my time.’ Now I’m sure there’s ways you can do both and you can have both but he knew his personality type and I don’t think it’d be fair because I need to be selfish 100% at a time and do what I want to train and work out.
What are your thoughts on body image and femininity and what does that mean for you? Do you feel like you’re this fierce competitor in your industry but then do you feel like maybe I’m not as feminine as what other people are? Do you feel insecure about them?
Katrin: Yeah, I think it’s something that ever since I grew up I was tall but I wanted to be a gymnast. So I was so tall so I always wanted to be smaller, I always wanted to be skinner, I always want to be lighter. I look at pictures of myself when I was a kid, and I was so skinny and taller. But I just wanted to be smaller and I think that’s the way that I kind of grow up was always wanting to be something different and I wanted to have curly hair and I have straight hair, it’s like all these little things and after starting cross fit it’s, when you work really hard for something you know like I always had big shoulders or I had the big biceps. So now it’s like look at what they can do, look at what my shoulders can do like it’s amazing what our bodies can do and if you think you look at that way you know I have a 6 pack because I work out and a 6 pack can do this, I don’t know I think it can make you more proud of the body that you have.
Lewis: What’s it mean to be a beautiful woman?
Katrin: I think it goes back to the confidence thing, I think that always shines through. If you’re happy with who you are, if you’re happy with what you’re doing and kind of like in line with what your goals are and you’re confident in that and that you’re doing that you have healthy relationships I think that always shine through.
Lewis: Do you have a message for young girls or women who maybe don’t believe in themselves or don’t think they’re pretty or short enough or tall enough or whatever their insecurities are do you have a message for them?
Katrin: I actually have this as a bracelet to be the best me. I think there is only one of each and every one of us and it’s like you only have control over so many things and we have control over ourselves and what we do and how we treat others and what we do and how we act. I think if each and every moment we focus on becoming a better version of ourselves and each and every moment we make the right choice to become a better version of ourselves and in return if you’re being a better daughter and you’re treating other people well and you’re getting better in your craft I think that can only push the world upwards.
Lewis: What’s the greatest lesson your grandmother taught you?
Katrin: The light in the room. I think the biggest thing that I take away is how she made other people feel about themselves, she always light how she presented herself but the biggest thing is and this is something I really try to do is things like how she says good morning to someone she doesn’t know or when she meets someone in an elevator, it made them feel important. They could leave that room, it might not be a big interaction but they could leave it and they could feel good about themselves and feel seen and important and that’s, I always want people to feel like I can give them the attention that they deserved and that’s something that I try and live by.
Lewis: And your coach Ben if there were 3 things that he says to you on a consistent basis that if there’s someone who just needs coaching in their life, they could be a cross fitter, they could just be anything in their life. But there’s 3 lessons that he shares with you on a consistent basis that he would share with everyone else what would be those principles that he constantly instill on you?
Katrin: It’s focusing on the right things you know it’s probably that you can’t control others or the outcome but you can control your sleep, make sure you get enough sleep that’s like my number 1 recovery thing sleep. It’s focusing on the right things and I feel that when you do that and you focus on the things that you actually can control you feel like your mind is like a windshield wiper you just see things clear and you’re not constantly fussing about little things or getting iterated, if you can change it just change it and if you can’t and move on you know you’re not at least gets my mind so much clear. I think number 2 is probably focusing on details, I think there’s so many little things that you think are little things you know like that little accessory thing that the interview day that you could just skip or having that one cookie, it’s taking care of all the little details that seems so little in the time but they’re little quick to something that is really big. The 3rd thing is relationships, it’s evolving great relationship around you and I see that with the way that he treats his family and his friends and who he coaches. It’s like you create a great life with the relationships that you create around you.
Lewis: What’s your greatest fear?
Katrin: Losing the people I love.
Lewis: Why is that?
Katrin: I mean that’s the only thing I can’t see anything go to, like I said not making the games like anything terrible that happens I always believe that we are where we are for a reason and I think it’s gonna teach us something valuable or you’re going through something because you can someone else you know along the way. But when you lose someone that you love I don’t see it that’s that only thing that I can never see something good come out of.
Lewis: Well we’re all gonna die right.
Katrin: I know.
Lewis: That’s the challenge. What’s your vision for your life moving forward in the games or with the sport of cross fit and then after the cross fit.
Katrin: I have so many things I want to do that I sometimes I feel like I will do nothing because I want to do everything.
Lewis: I call it the passion dilemma. You have so many passion that you don’t take action on any of them.
Katrin: It’s terrible. So out of all the things that even now like I’m constant I want to do that and this, like you have all these things you want to do and at the same time I have to realize that being an athlete doesn’t wait for me and all of this opportunity that I am so lucky that I have are because the foundation is that I am a good athlete and I want to be great athlete and I want to continue building that right now and all the messages I want to spread. The better athlete the bigger platform they have, so that is something that I tell myself every single day that that’s what I’m doing right now it’ll just give me bigger and better opportunities to show what I want to do. So, it helps me have patience with everything I want to do.
Lewis: That’s the word.
Katrin: I know like I want it now.
Lewis: That’s good I think focus for now.
Katrin: But things I really want to do is I’m writing a book and that has, we talk about it earlier but that is a challenge it’s very challenging but it’s something that I really want to do.
Lewis: Do you have a title for it?
Katrin: I’m working with that. I have one but I’m pretty sure I’ll change it.
Lewis: What’s the thing you are most proud of in your life that maybe most people aren’t aware of?
Katrin: It’s my work ethic I am very proud of that and that is something I get inspired with other, I love hard work, I love seeing other people work hard and I love working hard whether that’s in the gym whether that’s, I work very hard when I was in school, I worked really hard when I was in gymnastics and that I was never a good gymnast. So whatever it is that you’re doing whether you know its book, its future career that I want to do like I just love hard work.
Lewis: Why do you love it?
Katrin: Because I think we can all do it, I think some people are smarter than other people some people have more talent, some people are stronger but we can all work hard and I truly believe we can do anything we want in this world, I honestly believe that but you got to be willing to do the hard work. And it doesn’t matter how good you are or not when you put in the work and enough of it I think you can do whatever you want.
Lewis: It’s interesting that you said that because a friend of mine was giving a speech at an event that I was hosting and he was saying you know a lot of us are total lie that we can do anything we want but he said I wanna probably butcher everybody, you can be everything that you are. He said you can do anything you want but you can be anything that you are.
Katrin: I don’t quite understand it.
Lewis: It’s like I can’t go be a gymnast in the Olympics like that’s not gonna happen for me but I can be everything that I am, I can be my best self, I can be that through hard work you know. So maybe you weren’t going to be an Olympic gymnast because you were too tall or you didn’t have certain things but you can be everything that you are, which is the greatest cross fitter. Like when you find the thing that you can be you can be everything that is and I think that’s inspiring to know that, because I do believe we can do a lot of things.
Katrin: Yeah, I think you’re right like not everyone is going to make it to the NBA or like.
Lewis: That’s right you can be the coach of the team and you might have that so you can be in the passion the place you’re supposed to be.
Katrin: Saying that thing though is you probably don’t want to be an Olympic gymnast like gymnastics probably doesn’t make good about yourself if it’s not something that. I think the things that you love and when you find something you love and you work hard towards it and you start getting better I think it fuels you and that’s when you want to become the best at something. So, I think it takes a lot of things to want that. So, I think what you want would naturally kind of align with what you can be, what you are so I think that’s kind of how it works.
Lewis: Where do you think this came for you in your life when you said the ‘I love hard work?’ When was this moment you realized that you loved it? And what triggered you to become obsessed with working hard?
Katrin: I don’t know. Honestly, it’s not long ago thinking about this and I’ve been so competitive since I was a tiny little kid.
Lewis: Did you get picked on?
Katrin: No. I was asking my mom I was like where did this come from? And so my mom was 16 years old when she had me, she’s very young so that means she was pregnant when she was 15 and I think she got told a lot that she wasn’t ready to be a mom. So she brought all the books, she read all the things and she was like ‘If I was supposed to know how to say 5 words when I was 10 months I was gonna know how to say 15.’
Lewis: So she pushed you?
Katrin: She’s not like a pushy, she’s never I think she’s very supportive and I think I get that from her like she’s very and this might be Icelandic female but like believe that we can do anything.
Lewis: Where does that come from?
Katrin: I don’t know it’s like Italian Iceland and my family and I think I was just raised that way but then a lot of things you know my dad is very academic and at the same time he’s not like pushy either. So if there is anything I didn’t understand so it’s just like I always I’ve had a lot of support and I’ve always been such like a grandparents little girl and I would spend my summers with them and I love making them proud, I love showing them my report card and results and having 10’s. Like I said even starting cross fit I wanted the result and it’s not the right thing to focus, I think you should really focus on your efforts but at the same time I think I realized that if I did study harder I get higher grades and if I did do more conditioning I would be stronger and better at gymnastics. I think because I’m an oldish child, I’m a people pleaser I want to make people proud and happy and I think early on I wanted to make everyone proud and I think early on I realized that if I study harder I would get better grade. In addition to that it’s like I want to be the best.
Lewis: A couple of final questions before I ask you I’m curious is there a question that you want people to ask you?
Katrin: I love a good conversation like this, I love where there’s you don’t know where it’s going or take you but if you can be honest and have a great conversation I think it takes you in places that, I think when someone has made up questions beforehand in an interview and they’re very like, if they know the questions they’re gonna before I’ll probably know them too.
Lewis: So is there a question you wish more people would ask you?
Katrin: No, I normally just get surprise by where conversation goes and I’m like I like where this is going but no I normally don’t know.
Lewis: I was curious if you like me to ask you something that you’ve never been asked.
Katrin: Yeah, I’m actually thinking about this.
Lewis: Yeah let me now that.
Lewis: This question I ask is a question that I ask called the 3 truths if you know about it.
Katrin: I have, it’s really funny when people gets surprise by this and I’m like ‘do you even listen to the podcast?’ But last night I was at Ben and Heather and Heather goes have you decided, I would’ve been a lot of those people like.
Lewis: You know the question. If this is the last day for you many years from now and you get to pick the day but we all die at least for now we do unless we figure something out and you’ve achieved everything that you want, you’ve done everything you want to do whatever it is you’ve done it. But you got to take it all with you and no one gets access to your content anymore or your videos or message just memories but you get to share 3 final lessons or truths that you want to share with the world. This is all they would have access to what would be your 3 truths?
Katrin: The first thing would definitely be gratitude and it’s to be thankful for the people that you have around you and what you have and the opportunities that you have when I try to be thankful for you know everything every day, I remember what I have and I’m so incredibly thankful for the opportunity that I have and that I get to wake up every day and do what I love and work hard towards it and every day that Ben coaches me, he has so many things on his plate but he takes his time every day to coach me and my family being supportive. It’s like if everyone just a little bit of time be thankful for what they have you can’t not smile, you know your days are better, somedays are hard I know that but even in those hardest moments you realized how many good things are around you and it makes any day so much better. So number 1 gratitude.
Number 2 is hard work it’s work hard because I really believe that we can achieve what we want to and with hard work and I hope that everyone works extremely hard towards what they love. I know there’s a lot of people at this world worked really hard 8 to 4 but I hope it’s work that you love and as soon as you love something you do things better and you achieve more and anything is possible with that hard work.
Number 3 it is surrounding yourself with great people because you get to really choose who you surround yourself with and I hope its people that really lift you up and support you at what you’re doing and inspire you and challenge you. I hope its people that really make you better and make you want to be better and laugh a lot. I got 4 things in laugh can I add that?
Lewis: I think laughter is a key to happiness, if you’re not smiling or joyful how are you going to be happy? And I think it brings a lot of peace to people’s lives too.
Katrin: I think its medicine.
Lewis: It is healing therapeutic.
Lewis: I’m glad you did that, you always smile at the end of an event at least the ones you do well.
Katrin: I wasn’t laughing off my deadlift.
Lewis: But I love the 2 documentaries I’ve seen, maybe there’s 3 documentaries for this stuff. But both the ones that I saw you’re just like always smiling and I love that. It’s like you work hard and you focus and then you’re like happy and smiling and I really appreciate that it’s really fun to watch. A lot of people can just finish something and be so exhausted and have like a negative face on too. I think you bring this level of joy and you’re proud which I think is cool.
How can we connect with you online maybe on Instagram, where do you spend most of your time on social media?
Katrin: Instagram definitely. I think I try to do it all, I do my social media myself and I do enjoy it because I want it to be me and I just wanted to be you know whatever I’m thinking that day and just be authentic and be true to myself.
Lewis: What’s your Instagram handle?
Katrin: It’s Katrintanja it’s my middle name too and I’ve tried to do Facebook and twitter and I don’t think I’m funny enough for twitter. Instagram is kind of like what I’ve settled I love the most and so instead of trying to do lots of things okay I just want to focus on that one.
Lewis: So if you’re listening or if you’re watching make sure to take photo or send Katrin a message of what you enjoyed most about this interview and tag her Instagram stories so she can the feedback as well.
I’ll acknowledge you for a moment Katrin because I love your spirit, I love your energy, I love you heart your commitment to the people in your life, the level of passion you have for your coach for you family and grandmother for all the people in your life it’s really inspiring to see that. You’re not just in it for yourself or your dreams but you’re in it for the people around you and that’s really inspiring. I just want to acknowledge you because I don’t think it’s easy to be a woman in general on social media. With the comparison and the pressure and insecurities and anxieties that’s happening in the world right now, I think you’re doing an incredible job owning who you are, owning everything about you that you are different and that it’s inspiring and I don’t feel like any insecurities about you when I’m spending time with you or your postings online and you’re a great example because there’s a lot of woman and young girls who are constantly insecure and comparing themselves to every other girl or woman. So, I really acknowledge you for your beauty of who you are and owning all of it and I also acknowledge you for your champion mind and the mindset, because I think it’s really hard to qualify for something and then fail and not do it and then come back and win back to back, and hard work can only get you so far but the way you think is evident to me that it’s unbelievable because it’s really hard and all those days in the games and all year long leading up to it to keep your mind in the right place. So whatever you’re doing keep doing it it’s really inspiring.
Katrin: I’m gonna walk out of here like a foot taller you know.
Lewis: Final question for you is what’s your definition of greatness?
Katrin: My definition of greatness is it’s hard to put this into words but it’s one, you’re happy with what you’ve done and if I think about this in terms of like when you worked so hard and you have no regrets, when you did everything that you possibly could and that you show up at game time and then you give it your best and you know that’s your best, it was the best you possibly could and I think that applies to life, and I think that’s when you know that I guess we have to put it in a present because I also don’t want to say that you’re then content and happy, I hope that we are always thriving towards better towards becoming better. But I hope that in every moment in our lives we can look back and know that we are doing our best and know that we are giving it everything we had and that to me is greatness.
Lewis: Thank you.
And there you have it my friend I hope you enjoyed this one. I love connecting with Katrin, I love hearing her story and just being around someone who is so committed, so dedicated to achieving something that great in life is inspiring for me. I always love deconstructing and assimilating the information and the wisdom and the passion and the energy because it always teaching me that there’s another level for my life as well, and there’s another level for your life it doesn’t matter where you are right now, if you feel like you are struggling with your life if you feel like you got a lot of talent and things are going well there’s another level. And talent is only one thing talent can only take you so far, you’d got to be willing to put in the hard work and the consistent strategic game plan, have the coaching to back it have the feedback system as well, you need to have all that in play if you want to be the best in the world at what you do. That’s just what it takes you can’t make it happen by change it doesn’t happen by showing up sometimes, it doesn’t happen by having average talent and average work ethic. You’d got to be willing to do what most people aren’t willing to do and that’s what it takes. Master your skills put in the work like most are unwilling to do and you set yourself up for a chance of being great at the thing you want the most. If you enjoyed this make sure to share with your friends lewishowes.com/733 to get the full show notes, all the links connect with Katrin on Instagram she has got an inspiring Instagram account so make sure to screenshot this put the link on there, tag myself @lewishowes and Katrin as well to let her know what you enjoyed most about this interview.
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Again big thank you to my sponsors and friends you were born with a deep desire inside of you there is a calling inside of you, there is something that is pulling at your heart right now. You might know what it is you might be on the path, some of you might have no clue what you’re supposed to do in this life. It’s time to explore it’s time to adventure, it’s time to allow yourself to go on a journey and see what’s possible for yourself. This might be in your relationship it might be in your health, family, it might be life’s greatest adventure whatever that is you get to discover it and you get to go on the journey of life to becoming the greatest you can possibly be. Each day is an opportunity to show up and be great, each day is an opportunity to show up and make an impact on someone’s life around you. You have a decision to make how you will show up today. As always I love you so very much you know what time it is it’s time to go out there and do something great.