Chalk it Up to Greatness: Katelin Van Zyl
Katelin Van Zyl is a freight train. There is no stopping her so you’d best get out the way! A CrossFit athlete from down under, Katelin is ramping up the 2023 CrossFit season with a number one qualifying placement going into the Torian Pro Semifinals.
She would be modest about her accomplishments but most people will be in wondrous amazement at what this woman has accomplished through hard work and will power.
Katelin’s athletic career began at age 4 when she entered the sport of field hockey. For the next 22 years she would train to perfection the qualities of stamina and incisive action. When a jaw injury sidelined Van Zyl in 2013, she transferred her instinctual talents to CrossFit.
Her momentum of growth continued. She went on to open 2 CrossFit boxes with her husband, Johann and business partners.
Athletics and business obligations didn’t hinder Katelin’s desire for family, she trained right through it. In 2018, Katelin qualified for regionals just 5 months after giving birth to her first child. With toddler in tow, she placed 57th at the Games in 2019. After the birth of her second son, Van Zyl trained and competed at the CrossFit Games with team CrossFit Urban Energy in 2021 and 2022.
It’s full steam ahead for Van Zyl. Katelin shares with us how she maintains a spirit of inner harmony and keeps her balance while reaching for the top in all areas of life.
Katelin, you are competing as an individual this year, what brought you to that decision?
KVZ: I am competing as an individual this year. I felt like I was ready to get better as an individual and see what I was really capable of.
How did competing on team Crossfit Urban Energy make you a better athlete?
KVZ: Competing on the team was a lot of fun, but also hard to get better as an individual athlete as what you have to get better at as a team needs to be prioritised.
What other qualities did you develop as a professional hockey player that you apply to CrossFit?
KVZ: My ability to hurt cause with hockey you have no choice but to keep on going, no time to stop! Thanks to hockey my engine is my best asset in CrossFit.
What motivates you to live a life centered around personal growth?
KVZ: I have 2 kids and honestly all I wish for them is to be the best versions of themselves and I want to be their biggest role model to show them that it’s important to chase what makes you happy.
What do you do when you are not training? What kind of adventures do you seek out with your family?
KVZ: We spend A LOT of Hours in the gym so we like to make time for the kids to go to the beach, go out on Ouma & Oupas boat. Our kids are EXTREMELY active and energised 24/7 so anything we do has to be very physical, lol.
You are a leader of women and set an example for what can be done when you don’t let anyone or anything stop you. What or who has influenced you in your pursuit of greatness?
KVZ: There are a lot of people who have influenced me along the way. I am extremely proud and humbled that people also now look up to me. It’s an honor.
What is your mindset going into the Torian Pro?
KVZ: I am excited but I honestly don’t know how it’s going to go. I’m going to give it my all and leave no question that we have prepared well. My first real competition back with some individual training under my belt. I’m excited at least to see where I’m at.
To what do you attribute your success?
KVZ: I can wholeheartedly say that I give my absolute all. Nothing has been given to me, I have worked so damn hard to get where I am right now. I’m very proud of that.
How does CrossFit training improve your life?
KVZ: CrossFit makes me happy, training makes me happy, competing makes me happy. It sets a good example for my kids to see and be around such a great community and active lifestyles. Being fit & healthy just makes everything better.
What are your life priorities & values?
KVZ: My kids are and will always be my 1st priority. Teaching my kids to grow up with values & respect - all which they learn through such a great community in CrossFit.
How do you train your mind to greatness? Was it learned or taught?
KVZ: To be honest, I struggle with my mental game sometimes. Especially coming back to individual after having such a long break and going team, it’s hard to be confident with a lot of things. But I’m working on that.
What do you tell yourself (or do) when you meet a challenge?
KVZ: How much do I want it? I always ask myself when I’m tired ‘do I WANT to rest or do I NEED to rest’ and then I find my answer. If it’s want, I keep going, If it’s need, I take a rest.
How does this mindset help you grow and evolve through difficulty?
KVZ: This comes back to hockey and enjoying the ‘hurt’ I genuinely love this space. This is hard to teach. I have just grown up knowing no different.
What mindset advice would you give to other athletes?
KVZ: Keep working hard for what your passionate for and don’t let anything stop you or get in your way. If there is a road block - fix it.
What brings you the most joy in life?
KVZ: My kids & my husband.
What is your favorite CrossFit Wod or movement?
KVZ: Anything endurance involved, LOL. I also love ‘grace’ ‘Isabel’ ‘randy’ ‘Karen’ anything barbell cycling.
How can the community support you?
KVZ: Just cheer for me loud and know I appreciate you all. 🏼
Katelin, we will be rooting you to victory! Follow Katelin's journey on Insta @katelin_vanzyl
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