On Episode No. 3 of the WHOOP Podcast, my guest is Katrin Davidsdottir, two-time champion of the Reebok CrossFit Games, also known as the fittest woman on Earth. Katrin has been a loyal WHOOP user for nearly two years, and I’m thrilled to have her on the show.
We begin by discussing her journey from Iceland to the US, how she took up the sport and the highs and lows of her rapid ascension to the top, as well as all the little things she does each day to ensure she stays there.
From there we get into what her training schedule is like, recovery tactics she enjoys, her bedtime routine and how she makes the most of her sleep, plus her nutrition and occasional guilty pleasures.
On a deeper level, we also talk about gender equality in sports, the psychological aspect of trying to defend a world title, and how she’s constantly striving to be the best possible version of herself and inspire and empower her millions of fans.
3:40 - The Beginning. “Looking back, when I first tried CrossFit I thought it was a sport made for me … I was constantly looking for competition.”
5:49 - Icelandic Pride. “There are no recreational sports, we’re in sports to compete. When someone in Iceland does something amazing, it’s someone’s aunt, or it’s your friend, or you know someone who knows them.”
8:08 - Role Model Annie Thorisdottir. “Seeing her on television … CrossFit blew up in Iceland. In my head I remember calling her gym the day after [she won the Games] and I started going.”
9:59 - Too Good Too Fast? Katrin’s abrupt rise to stardom came with a risk of complacency. “I made the Games 7 or 8 months after I started CrossFit and I remember her (Annie) being like ‘Whoa, who is that?’”
11:16 - “CrossFit is a Little of Everything.” How does she describe it? “You have to be prepared for everything, and I think that’s what’s kept me in the sport and so eager to wake up everyday and go train. There’s always something else you can get better at.”
13:55 - “Anyone Can Compete.” How the Games selection process works.
17:20 - First Experiences at the Games. “In 2012-14 I had no clue … I think I just kind of checked the boxes, went through the motions.”
20:35 - Wake-Up Call. Katrin failed to qualify for the games in 2014. “It honestly ended up being the best thing that could’ve ever happened to me. It showed me how bad I wanted it and how hard I was willing to work for it.”
23:05 - Little Things are Everything. What does it take to be the best? “All the little things that you think are so little that add up to great things.”
25:50 - Warmup Routine. “I’m known for going for my extraordinarily long warm ups.”
30:05 - Diet by Training Season. Leading up to the Games, “I need to constantly make sure I’m getting in carbs when I’m training hard.”
34:15 - Visualization. “I’ll strategize in my head, try to break the workout down, what I’m going to hit piece by piece.” Does she visualize in the first person or third person?
38:55 - Recovery Routine. “My favorite thing to do after training is go in the sauna. I only have this one body, if I want to be an athlete I have to take care of it and I have to stay on top of everything.”
40:55 - Sleeping Better. “My No. 1 recovery is always sleep.” The many things Katrin does to improve her sleep, and how they reflect in her WHOOP data.
45:45 - Her Only Red Recovery came when she flew overnight to Iceland. The effects of jet lag and time zone changes.
47:05 - “WHOOP Keeps me Accountable.” Katrin shares her favorite WHOOP features and discusses monitoring heart rate recovery.
48:57 - Community and Camaraderie within the sport. “There’s a mutual respect that all of us are working to be the best in the world … there’s so much to learn from each other, we all have different strengths and weaknesses.”
50:32 - Preparing for the Unknown. How do you train for something when you don’t know what it is? “I love when I don’t know any of the events at the Games … it keeps me present in the moment.”
54:55 - Incredible Secrecy of Games Workouts. Stories of a secret gym in an undisclosed location to test workouts, people are blindfolded when taken there?
58:40 - Psychology of Back-to-Back Titles. The second one is always harder. “You don’t accidently win the CrossFit games. I worked so hard all year long because I wanted to prove it wasn’t a fluke.”
1:00:55 - Inspire and Empower. Did she ever expect to have millions of fans? “It’s crazy. I’m very thankful of the opportunities that I get. I remind myself of that every single day. If I can do something for one person, that’s going to push me today.”
1:05:10 - Gender Equality in Sports. “Coming from Iceland, we have highest gender equality in the world. And at the same time with CrossFit, I’m so proud to be part of this sport where we are equals.”
1:08:35 - More Recovery Modalities. What she’s tried, things she likes, doesn’t like, and why, plus a bad cryotherapy experience.
1:13:52 - Guilty Pleasure? White chocolate flakes on a cappuccino.
1:14:37 - Meaning of Optimal Performance? Always striving to get to the next level. “When you say optimal performance, I see myself and I see the gaps where I should improve.”
1:15:13 - “Be the Best Version of Yourself.” Katrin talks about what influences her, including her coach, family, and a book The Champion’s Mind. “What’s your gold standard? Try and live up to that.”
1:16:40 - Starstruck. When was the last time she felt starstruck? And what does she want to say to her fans who are? “I’m just Katrin, I still get told off by my mom … we’re all just humans.”
1:19:13 - Beating Jet Lag/Travel Tips. “Be tired for that day then be in bed early.” She also always tries to be active after flying.
1:20:39 - Power of Instagram. How does she feel about celebrity fitness models? “If they inspire someone to get up and get moving then I think that’s great.” And how does she use her own page? “I want to do positive things. I’m not going to put something negative into the world.” You can follow Katrin @katrintanja.