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88: Val Voboril — How to Succeed at Motherhood, Happiness, and CrossFit

By March 9, 2017Podcasts
Reading Time: 4 minutes
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Val VoborilWhat if I told you one of the three fittest women on the planet was (at the time she earned the title) 35 years old, a mother, a wife, and a school teacher who limits her training to ninety minutes per day? Would you believe me? If not, you’d be sorely mistaken.

In 2013, Val Voboril took third at the CrossFit Games. It was the second time she placed third, and it would be one of four times she finished in the top five. At the time, she was ten years older than most of her competitors.

If you met Val on the street, you’d be taken by her bright eyes, incredible smile, and sunny disposition, but not at all by her physical prowess — she appears “normal” as normal can be.

Ordinarily, relating to an elite athlete is next to impossible. Their lives are too dissimilar to the ones the rest of us lead. But this is not the case when you speak with Val – she has a life that is very much like yours and mine.

Val VoborilFirst and foremost, she’s a mom and a wife, responsibilities she takes seriously. And believe me, she knows the importance of these roles —  she’s been an elementary school teacher for over fourteen years. These responsibilities take priority over all else, and are why she puts such strict limits on her daily training. Ninety minutes per day in the world of elite CrossFitters is tiny.

In order to keep things in balance, Val’s adopted a training philosophy and strategy that allows her to do it all. It’s one of the freshest and coolest strategies I’ve heard of. And since she’s now 38, and still a mom, wife, and full-time teacher, she knows what it’s like to juggle life’s responsibilities with her daily training discipline.

There is so much to learn from Val’s experience, attitude, daily practice, and how she keeps it all together:

  • Her most embarrassing moment with her mom and Georges St. Pierre
  • Her first “Fran” with 75-pound thrusters (Yikes!)
  • Balancing life as a teacher and mom with athletic training
  • Managing expectations, goal-setting, and focus
  • How she handles her desire to be perfect in every area of life
  • Fun and freedom — the keys to building an effective training program
  • Her approach to the CrossFit Open workouts and the importance of fun
  • Her “spectacular” start (and finish) of the 2009 CrossFit Games
  • How she battled fear, doubt, judgment and finished with a smile at the 2015 CrossFit Games
  • Community, teamwork, and the power of fun, play, and shared experience (and misery)
  • Finding your “Why?”
  • Listener questions: challenges with food, bread, and sugar; tips for motivation to start workouts; working through plateaus and their silver lining
  • Using the starting time of a exercise class to “force” you into starting your workout
  • What constitutes a recovery day?


Andy Petranek Whole Life Challenge

P.S. If you only have five minutes, listen at listen at 1:00:30 where I ask Val some great reader-submitted questions regarding workouts, nutrition, motivation and sleep.

THANKS, Val Voboril! If you enjoyed this podcast and want to thank Val, click here to thank her on Twitter.

Episode Resources:
Val Voboril — CrossFit Games profile.
Georges St-Pierre — Three-time former UFC Welterweight Champion.
Adam Noble — Profile of DogTown CrossFit trainer.
Pat Sherwood: A Reflection On 10 Years Of CrossFit — Article from BTWB Press.
Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment — Book by George Leonard.
Crossfit WOD: Fran — Article on Men’s Fitness.
Dr. Kirk Parsley — WLC sleep podcast.
Dr. Steve Orma — WLC sleep podcast.
Dumbbell Snatch — YouTube instructional video.
Krav Maga — Information on the self-defense system.

Connect with Val:
Val’s website
Val on Facebook
Val on Instagram
Val on Twitter

If you enjoyed this podcast, here are some others to check out:
Erin Cafaro — What It Takes to Win Olympic Gold (Twice)
Lucy Danziger — Triathlete Mom Entrepreneur Who Does It All

Connect with Andy to offer feedback or ask a question:

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Andy Petranek on FacebookAndy Petranek on InstagramAndy Petranek on Twitter
Andy Petranek
Andy is what you’d call a modern day Renaissance Man: a former professional trumpeter who attended the Eastman School of Music; a snowboarder, mountain biker, surfer, kayaker, outrigger paddler, mountaineer, and former Marine (Gulf War veteran); a professionally sponsored adventure racer; and the oldest participant to qualify for and participate in the CrossFit Games at the age of 43.

Andy is a certified CHEK Practitioner and holistic lifestyle coach. He holds a spectrum of certifications from CrossFit and is also a Vivobarefoot certified running coach. He has trained as a Zen buddhist and graduated with a Master’s degree in spiritual psychology from the University of Santa Monica.

Andy founded CrossFit LA one of the first and most successful CrossFit training centers in the world and the first to be featured in national media. He is the co-founder of the Whole Life Challenge, Inc, currently its president, and is also a consultant and life/business coach. Andy lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Julia, and son, Dashel.