Athletes & Celebrities

Adventure-Racing Champion Vanessa Gebhardt Talks Intense Training, Her Nutrition Strategy, and Pushing Her Limits

Her first race was a one-off, a fun run with friends. Then she started winning. And as the races got longer, and she kept showing up on the podium, Vanessa Gebhardt discovered that survival racing had become her calling.

Vanessa Gebhardt

Courtesy of Freeletics

Vanessa Gebhardt was an intern at Freeletics in 2013 when she developed a passion for bootcamp-style workouts. Five years later, she utilizes many of the same training methods to stay in top shape for her latest passion: obstacle course and ultra-endurance racing.

The idea of running a 24-hour survival race may sound far-fetched to even the most dedicated runner or gym rat, and it definitely would’ve sounded far-fetched to Gebhardt a few years back. But after running a 5k Spartan Sprint with some colleagues and clocking the second-fastest women’s time in 2015, she was hooked. Since then, she’s built an impressive record of podium placements and wins in Spartan races of every distance and 24-hour-plus Survival Runs. Most recently, she won Survival Run Canada in August 2017 and Survival Run Nicaragua in March 2018.

We got the Munich-based athlete and content manager at Freeletics, a training and nutrition app that gives subscribers access to bodyweight workouts and nutrition guidance, on the phone to find out how she gets in shape for the grueling races, what she loves about them, and how she got started with such a physically demanding hobby.

Click through for Gebhardt’s take on fitness, nutrition, and getting started in endurance racing, and follow her on Instagram at @for_the_life_of_me to stay up to date with her races and training.