Amelia Boone on Beating 99% of Men and Suffering for High Performance (#127)

Amelia Boone (Photo credit: David Salafia)
Amelia Boone (Photo credit: David Salafia)

“I’m not the strongest. I’m not the fastest. But I’m really good at suffering.” – Amelia Boone

Amelia Boone (@ameliaboone) has been called the Michael Jordan of obstacle course racing (OCR). This episode explores her training, nutrition, rehab, “pre-hab,” and more.

In a sense, Amelia is more impressive than MJ, as she conquered OCR while building a stellar full-time career in law.

Since the sport’s inception, she’s amassed more than 30 victories and 50 podiums. In the 2012 World’s Toughest Mudder competition, which lasted 24 hours, she finished 2nd OVERALL out of 1,000+ competitors. This was ahead of every male except the winner, who beat her by just 8 minutes.


Her major victories include the Spartan Race World Championship (2013), Spartan Race Series Point Champion (2013 and 2015), and she is the only three-time winner of the World’s Toughest Mudder (2012, 2014 and 2015). She won the 2014 WTM eight weeks after knee surgery. Amelia is also a three-time finisher of the Death Race, and dabbles in ultra-running in all of her spare time.

Phew… I’m exhausted just writing this intro, but Amelia can do it all while eating Pop-Tarts for breakfast (seriously).

You can find the transcript of this episode here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

#127: Amelia Boone on Beating 99% of Men and Suffering for a High-Performance Life

Love wrestling as much as Amelia Boone? You will probably enjoy my podcast with Triple H. — In this episode, we discuss pre-fight rituals, injury avoidance, and Floyd Mayweather, Jr. (stream below or right-click here to download):

#72: Triple H on Pre-Fight Rituals, Injury Avoidance, and Floyd Mayweather, Jr.

Craving more OCR? Then you’ll want to check out my podcast with Joe De Sena, co-founder of the Death Race and Spartan Race. In this episode, we discuss grit, endurance, and building empires (stream below or right-click here to download):

Ep. 16 - Joe De Sena on Grit, Endurance, and Building Empires

This podcast is brought to you by 99Designs, the world’s largest marketplace of graphic designers. I have used them for years to create some amazing designs. When your business needs a logo, website design, business card, or anything you can imagine, check out 99Designs.

I used them to rapid prototype the cover for The 4-Hour Body, and I’ve also had them help with display advertising and illustrations. If you want a more personalized approach, I recommend their 1-on-1 service. You get original designs from designers around the world. The best part? You provide your feedback, and then you end up with a product that you’re happy with or your money back. Click this link and get a free $99 upgrade. Give it a test run.

This podcast is also brought to you by Wealthfront. Wealthfront is a massively disruptive (in a good way) set-it-and-forget-it investing service, led by technologists from places like Apple and world-famous investors. It has exploded in popularity in the last 2 years and now has more than $2.5B under management. In fact, some of my good investor friends in Silicon Valley have millions of their own money in Wealthfront. Why? Because you can get services previously limited to the ultra-wealthy and only pay pennies on the dollar for them, and it’s all through smarter software instead of retail locations and bloated sales teams.

Check out, take their risk assessment quiz, which only takes 2-5 minutes, and they’ll show you—for free–exactly the portfolio they’d put you in. If you want to just take their advice and do it yourself, you can. Or, as I would, you can set it and forget it.  Well worth a few minutes:

QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: Who do you consider the most dominant athlete right now and why?  Please let me know in the comments. Scroll below for links and show notes…


Selected Links from the Episode

Show Notes

  • Defining obstacle course racing [6:19]
  • Origin stories and law school [10:09]
  • Pre-race routines [15:59]
  • Pre-race mobility work [18:09]
  • Post-race recovery habits [21:59]
  • Amelia Boone’s opinion on ice baths [22:59]
  • Discussing how she placed 1st for women and 2nd overall (of men and women) in the 2012 World’s Toughest Mudder [23:34]
  • On practicing hardship and training in less than ideal conditions [28:29]
  • The most challenging and the most dangerous obstacles of Amelia Boone’s career [30:14]
  • On knee surgery and her quick recovery [36:29]
  • Nutrition habits and superstitions [45:29]
  • The different gear for obstacle course races and ultra-marathons [50:24]
  • Daily supplements [54:29]
  • Injury prevention and average running miles per week [57:09]
  • Amelia Boone’s daily morning rituals [1:01:24]
  • What is your self-talk during races? [1:03:59]
  • Interesting coping approaches for long-distance obstacle racing [1:07:24]
  • Do you have a specific meditative practice? [1:08:14]
  • Why move back to California? [1:09:39]
  • How do you keep your body limber after ice or water immersion during a race? [1:10:49]
  • When you hear the word successful, who is the first person that comes to mind and why? [1:11:19]
  • Most gifted books [1:14:59]
  • Favorite documentaries or movies [1:16:34]
  • A purchase of less than $100 that has most positively affected your life in recent memory [1:17:09]
  • Important habits to staying connected in the ‘social media’ world [1:19:14]
  • If you could have a billboard anywhere, what would it say? [1:20:59]
  • Is dating a challenge? [1:23:14]
  • Advice to Amelia Boone’s 20- and 25-year-old self [1:24:49]
  • People Amelia Boone would like to meet [1:27:39]
  • Asks or requests of the audience [1:28:39]

People Mentioned

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

Leave a Reply

Comment Rules: Remember what Fonzie was like? Cool. That’s how we’re gonna be — cool. Critical is fine, but if you’re rude, we’ll delete your stuff. Please do not put your URL in the comment text and please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name, as the latter comes off like spam. Have fun and thanks for adding to the conversation! (Thanks to Brian Oberkirch for the inspiration.)

47 Replies to “Amelia Boone on Beating 99% of Men and Suffering for High Performance (#127)”

  1. Amazing what can be accomplished. I’m excited to hear about the superstitions! I feel a lot of high performance athletes are prone to superstitious habits and am excited to hear what hers are. Looking forward to listening to all of this during my run later!

  2. Hi Tim. Great interview. However after Amelia mentioned Deanna Blegg, I looked her up. Not only is she 46 years old and a world-class athlete. She’s done so while living with HIV. She must have amazing discipline and love to hear about her focus techniques.

  3. Leo Messi is undoubtedly making history in Football Soccer (along with Neymar, Suárez, and the Barcelona Squad).

  4. Patrick Cane is most likely the most dominant athlete in sport right now. Chicago has been winning the stanley cup three times lately because of him been a clutch player. Maywether is dominant but not enough good boxer to fight.

  5. Jj Watt is without a doubt the most dominate athlete walking the planet right now. What he has done in such a short time has drawn comparisons to Lawrence Taylor and Justin James’s numbers are actually better.

    I challenge you to land Dwayne Johnson on for an interview. The guy works over 100 hours a week and manages to keep a smile on his face. If anyone can manage to land two hours of his time it is you.

  6. The show notes links are good, but need to take us right to the audio with a click. This is the 21st century. And it would be a useful feature. If she can do this, your website designers can do that. Get onto it!

    1. I agree with Jason! This gal is amazing! Thanks for sharing things like this Tim! I’d love to hear interviews with Rich Froning too! This guy that did 50 IMs in 50 days could be interesting to hear from too… .

      BTW – My 15 year old son qualified for World Championships in Ironman, Aquathlon and Duathlong next year, but unfortunately now his public high school is telling him he can’t go. He created a petition to help change things … [Moderator: link removed]

  7. You should do an interview with Forest fenn.

    He’s an older self made millionare/ adventurer. He hid 1 million dollars worth of gold in the Rockies and wrote a poem as a clue to where it is.

    1. Me too. Would love to hear an interview with Stephen Curry. I’m not familiar with most of the other athletes mentioned, but then I live in the East Bay:-)

  8. Most dominant athlete?

    Jaromir Jagr, Nhl still active legend. At 44 years of age

    Still playing at a high competitive level with athletes half his Age!

    Great inspiration for all athletes, surprised Ferriss never mentions this superstar whose work and training ethics are now legendary! !!!

  9. Hi Tim, loved your podcast with Jimmy Chin. Another climber that you might be interested in interviewing is Ed Viesturs. He was a keynote speaker at a corporate event I attended this year and gave the best keynote I have ever heard at a corporate event. Read his book, No Shortcuts to the Top, after the event and couldn’t put it down (and I’m not a climber). His training regimen and climbing philosophy are inspiring. Definitely an athlete at the top of his game when he became the only American to climb the 14 highest peaks in the world…without supplemental oxygen. Hope you have an amazing 2016!

  10. Of all the major sports (the ones you see on SportsCenter every night), it’s got to be LeBron James. Serena Williams is up there too.

  11. Was I the only on wondering if her parents named her after the strong pioneer of flying Amelia Earhart? Could naming have an impact on how a child internalizes positive or negative traits.

  12. Listening to Amelia Boone, she has all of the qualities to succeed in the toughest combat arms organizations in the DoD. So maybe “we” have been looking at women in the military all wrong. Much like we tailor our equipment to fit a certain mission set, why can’t we tailor women in the military to meet certain missions/mission sets? Forget the 80+ pound ruck march as the standard and forget the political correctness/butt-hurt mindset. Women that can hang like Amelia could do specialized missions in the SOF community tailored to her specific talents.

  13. Holly Holm. Would really like to know the mindset of a fighter before going one on one against someone who is considered unbeatable. And she is a decent lady, doesn’t talk trash like other fighters.

  14. Hi Tim,

    Love your podcasts. I’m a dislocated country boy living in London, England, and I just wanted to recommend Sky as a band for motivational music! John Williams is involved, so need I say more. As a start try the first ‘Sky’ album, then Sky 2 Hotta (track 1) and Medley (track 4). If you like it then venture further. As a kid I used to watch my favourite sports highlights with sky on full blast and the the TV on mute. I hope you enjoy! Best, Humphrey D.

  15. By far Nate Smith in slalom water skiing-a niche sport for sure. Hardest sport on the planet to learn because practice is so exhausting. Practice time is minimal. For the last couple of years in the Slalom world, the question is always: “Who will take second place?” He has run the hardest slalom pass more times in a short career than the rest of the men who have ever run it combined. Nobody touches Nate.

  16. Hi Tim. I have to admit I haven’t listened to this podcast yet, but my husband told me Amelia was gushing about “honey band-aids”. I work for Derma Sciences, which makes Medihoney wound and burn dressings. If you have folks asking where to get them, please let them know the best price is through Mercy Surgical at 888-637-2912. For a Medihoney brochure with dressing choices, go to Thanks!

  17. Fascinating, great podcast.

    There was an idea on your 25 lessons learned episode (I think) along the lines that any idiot can come up with a workout that breaks a Marine, or a Navy Seal, but there’s no value in that. To me the electric shocks while you’re crawling in water fall into that dumb category. Seems like course designers just being meat heads. Why not go all out and just have a grizzy bear kill the competitors?

  18. Wow, what a body!! Amazing…what an inspiration.

    I guess this podcast shows that drinking bone broth and beet juice can make up for eating Poptarts. Now, I want to know, what kind of Poptarts…inmy mind there’s a big difference between strawberry or blueberry unfrosted and the Frosted chocolate or vanilla:-)

  19. What an inspiring podcast! Nearly the whole interview I was asking myself, what kind of a man she could be dating 🙂 and then comes the question from Tim, haha. The answer makes total sense, though.

    I’m really fond of Brendan Brazier, the multiple ultramarathons, iron man winner and a vegan. He also created the sport nutrition brand Vega, possibly the best quality products for vegans. Would be so cool if you interviewed him 🙂

  20. Loved this interview. Skipping the whole, very useful and will listen again part to note that I don’t recall hearing you (or the person you were interviewing) laugh with such “heart” with each other… am i the only one that was thinking “man these two should think of going on a date” … you definitely found her cute a few times.. and she loved a few questions… a lot. … 😉

    I can only imagine what cyborg super human child would come out of this power couple… me thinks Tim might just be the guy who is “sure enough of himself” to be interesting enough for Amelia… she might even talk you into going to bed early enough to wake up at 4am 😉

    just look at the smiles on her selfie…

    nuff said… ask her out when you’re done in the Bahamas.

  21. Amelia’s desire for carbs is not unusual nor harmful for most women. Paleo seems to be best for men, and certainly some women. I learned first from Stefani Ruper–after eating Paleo for two years & wasn’t getting the results that I read so much about (mostly from men) on Mark’s Daily Apple & other blogs–that Paleo and low carb is not so good for most women. I now eat a whole foods diet including primarily fruit and vegetables (raw & cooked) including potatoes, seeds and nuts, some meat and a wide variety of that, and some fat. The reduction of meats & fats and the increase in fruits made my weight stabilize and my health dramatically improve.

    Here’s one of Ruper’s blog posts:

    Thanks as always for you wonderful podcasts, Tim.

  22. You had a funny laugh when interviewing her, almost a flirtatious laugh. Then you asked the dating question at the end. Yup, I’m going to give you grief…so…when are you two going to get married (smile).

  23. Anyone else feel like they were listening in on a first date during this interview? Maybe Tim was a little distracted by the subject during this interview because he seemed unable to elicit really good tips, techniques, etc from Amelia. From my point of view this was an okay episode. After listening I didn’t feel like I had learned anything. How, specifically is she able to deal with the suffering? Amelia has some remarkable accomplishments but I don’t feel like I understand how she accomplished those things.

  24. Amelia should become the new spokesperson for pop tarts! It would be interesting to know how much she has increased their sales. I think it also shows the demonization of “junk food” is overblown — everything in moderaion. She should connect with David Goggins, the Navy seal and ultra marathoner! He is currently touring with Marcus Latrell’s patriot tour .

  25. Great Podcast. Ir sounded like she was looking for a 100 mile trail race. Go Beyond Racing does the Mt. Lakes 100 in September. They do a great job. Aid stations are well stocked with ultra food. The volunteers are positive. I usually volunteer at the aid station at mile 66. (timothy lake dam, entering data for runners from aid stations) Also the big foot 200 (around Mt. St Helens) or Lake Tahoe 200 (different group) Also the Volcanic 50 (only a 50k) is around Mt. St. Helens. Very tough.

  26. Great interview. I was surprised to hear that “dry needling” is outlawed in CA. I actually religiously get it done here in southern cal. but the practitioner is dually trained as an MD (rheumatologist) so maybe that means he can do both. Let me know if anyone wants his info, he’s amazing.

  27. Great interview!!

    The dry needling she describes is exactly the same as what they call trigger point release in acupuncture. Any acupuncturist should be able to provide that service, plus much more.

  28. Hey Tim!

    Great interview! Very good chemistry with Amelia. Sometimes feels like you’re a little less comfortable while interviewing women so it was nice to see. Love your work!

  29. Hi, I’m wondering if anyone can recommend a spot in New York City for Active Release Technique. I’ve utilized massage, chiropractics & acupuncture for therapy in the past…but I’ve had persistent pain migrating between my elbow and wrist, which I’m convinced is rooted in my shoulder limitations. Thanks in advance.

  30. After each question I thought I knew she would throw a fast ball strike, they all came back as curve balls… She touched on older athletes, like me 60, I would like you to interview some older competitors.

  31. Hey, Tim. My friend is a Spartan competitor and I wanted to pass along this episode. Unfortunately, I can’t find a transcript of your interview and my friend is Deaf. Am I missing a link to transcripts or do they simply not exist?

  32. I really enjoyed this interview. Ms. Boone has such great energy. I could hear it in her voice. Something about long distance people makes them such vital individuals. Or maybe it’s those that seek out long distance events. Also, her being an attorney reminded me of a great runner during the 1990’s who was also an attorney; Julie Isphording. She ran a lot of marathons, and one time when I was doing the L.A. Marathon, I was near her in the warm up area. I could tell that she too had a great energy and aura about her. Thanks for this interview, Tim!