This week’s conversation is with Andy Petranek, the co-founder of the Whole Life Challenge.

Andy is also a Marine Gulf War veteran and was the oldest participant, at 43, to qualify for the 2009 CrossFit Games.

He’s participated in dozens of adventure races that have varied in length from three hours to seven days, and became known for his ability to navigate in the wilderness, carry heavy loads, get through obstacles quickly, and persevere in even the worst conditions.

He created the Whole Life Challenge to help people manage real-life challenges; commitments to work and family, time constraints, sleep issues, and stress.

The Challenge is a gamified and community-based initiative to help people stay committed to make better choices each day, outside of the gym, where it really matters.

It grew from 150 players in 2011 to over 22,000 worldwide in 2017.

Now a small, successful start-up company, it has been responsible for changing the fitness, health, confidence, and lives of hundreds of thousands of people around the world.

Andy loves to work on developing and improving himself — physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I think you’ll find it interesting to learn exactly why that drives him.

“One of my biggest things as a trainer was empowering people to take action, not just have the knowledge and the information. The world’s full of information but nobody takes action.”

In This Episode:

  • How his role has evolved within his business, The Whole Life Challenge
  • The formative experiences that have shaped his life and why that turned him into the active “doer,” the hustler
  • His dad was a successful musician, but was never around. He was driven to always “be better” in the hopes that would capture his dad’s attention
  • How his quest to “be better’ lead him to serving in the military
  • Why that same mentality is tricky in the context of his marriage
  • His quest to sort out his true purpose
  • How he came to be great at staying calm in intense environments and problem-solving
  • The foundation of The Whole Life Challenge: What are the things that really make a difference in your life outside the gym?
  • The 7 core pillars of the business: nutrition, exercise, mobility, sleep, hydration, well-being practices, reflection
  • His strategies for holding others accountable and motivating them to do the work
  • What he’s learned about people through this process
  • Why he’s a proponent of stoicism
  • How he thinks about mastery


Listen via: Apple Podcasts | Android | SpotifyStitcher | Pocket Casts |  RSS



“The big thing that I’ve taken over the course of my life is the smaller the steps, the more impact they’ll have on my life. I don’t have to take big, bold, audacious jumps, in fact, most of the time when I do that, those don’t work at all.”

“The more people think I’m a lunatic, the more excited I am about what I’m doing. That’s one of the things that drives me.”


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Andy Petranek has been inspiring others to access their courage, joy, and community in order to “do the impossible” for over 25 years. He's the co-founder of the Whole Life Challenge.