Whether it’s rowing across the North Atlantic Ocean by himself or summitting Mount Everest without an oxygen tank, Laval St. Germain is one of the very few people in the world who has constantly pushed himself beyond limits, succeeded beyond expectations, and lived to tell the tale. In the process, he has also managed to set quite a number of impressive records: the only Canadian to have climbed Mount Everest without the use of supplemental oxygen; the only person to have climbed and skied Iraq’s highest peak; and the fastest ever to cross the North Atlantic Ocean by solo ocean row boat from mainland North America to mainland Europe.
Laval has scaled the highest peaks of 6 of the 7 continents here on earth, along with summitting the highest mountains of countries all over the world. In addition to being a highly successful outdoor athlete, an intrepid adventurer, and having spent well over a decade flying for Canadian North, Laval is also a keynote and motivational speaker, inspiring students, professionals, and people from all walks of life to push themselves further and to pursue and find success in life.
- Laval St. Germain’s Official Website
- Laval St. Germain on Facebook
- Laval St. Germain on Twitter
- Laval St. Germain on Instagram
- Laval St. Germain on Linkedin
- Send Laval an email
In this episode, we cover:
- Laval’s daring, record-breaking journeys and adventures
- How he prepares himself for each challenge and how he sets himself up for success
- How to go beyond your limits and do you want to do (and come back alive)
- … and much more!
- Listen to it on iTunes.
- Stream by clicking here.
- Download as an MP3 by right-clicking here and choosing “save as”.
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During the course of our conversation, Laval and I talked about his experience rowing solo across the North Atlantic and what it was like to deal with the physical exertion, the elements, and the stresses stacked and placed upon him over 53 days. Here are a few images of what it was like for Laval in the cockpit of his Rannoch-built ocean row boat:
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QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: Have you ever tried to push yourself beyond your limits by doing something you’ve not tried before? What was your experience like? Please let me know in the comments at the bottom of this post.
Click the link below to listen from the exact time stamp on Overcast:
- Why did Laval decide to climb Mt. Everest without an oxygen tank? [6:58]
- How is it that Laval’s wife is so cool with his more dangerous approach to mountain climbing? [10:40]
- How does it feel when you reach the top of Everest? [14:10]
- Laval talks about frostbite and losing three fingers [18:34]
- On the philosophy of Extreme Ownership [20:07]
- After summiting Everest and getting back to base camp, did Laval get hit with any realisations after the fact? [24:08]
- Laval talks about losing team members [25:50]
- Laval talks more about how his family feel about his more dangerous expeditions [26:50]
- Has going through these dangerous, high-risk expeditions helped Laval learn more about himself? [28:43]
- On the value of experiencing discomfort versus society’s aversion to it in general [32:30]
- How did Laval prepare for the Everest expedition? [34:30]
- Laval’s strength training regimen [38:00]
- On stress management, recovery, preventing burnout, and active rest [41:45]
- What does Laval think about lifehacks for frequent flyers (and does he have any of his own to share)? [43:42]
- Laval talks about rowing 4,500 kilometers across the Atlantic from Canada to Europe, alone, and why he had to row naked [49:10]
- On the loneliness of rowing solo, swimming with dolphins, and having sharks, whales, and a Portuguese man o’ war keep him company [1:01:35]
- What was an average day like for Laval while he was out at sea in the Atlantic? [1:04:53]
- What effect did the constant hours of rowing have on Laval, and how did he deal with the soreness? [1:08:30]
- What’s the hardest challenge that Laval has ever done? [1:11:57]
- What’s the next Challenge for Laval St. Germain? [1:13:47]
- Does Laval find it impossible to just take a regular vacation? [1:15:44]
- Do Laval’s wife and family join him on his adventures every now and then? [1:18:03]
- On just how safe flying really is [1:18:45]
- On how checklists can significantly reduce risks and enhance your mindset and performance [1:21:15]
- Laval talks about losing his son and how it drives him forward [1:30:57]
- On catharsis and retracing his son’s route through the Mackenzie River [1:36:09]
- On Stoicism, grieving, dealing with loss, and what succeeding in life entails [1:39:17]
- On Happiness [1:43:46]
- Laval talks about his speaking engagements [1:47:30]
- What do the first 90 minutes of Laval’s day look like? [1:49:17]
- How often does Laval fly in a week? [1:53:57]
- How have Laval’s views on diet and nutrition changed over recent years? [1:54:47]
- On reading and podcasts [1:57:43]
- Does Laval notice any negative effects whenever he has the occasional cheat meal or two? [2:03:51]
- What is the best piece of advice that Laval has ever been given? [2:07:08]
Selected Links from the Episode
- The Crystal Horizon: Everest-The First Solo Ascent by Reinhold Messner ( Amazon US / Amazon UK )
- Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande (Amazon US / Amazon UK)
- Being Mortal by Atul Gawande ( Amazon US / Amazon UK )
- Mount Kilimanjaro
- National Three Peaks Challenge | Website
- Mount Everest
- Yukon (Canada)
- Canadian Rockies
- Jumar ( Amazon US )
- Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win by Jocko Willink ( Amazon US / Amazon UK )
- Transportation Safety Board of Canada | Website
- National Transportation Safety Board | Website
- Air Accidents Investigation Branch | Website
- NATO | Website
- Cerebral Edema
- Drumheller | Website
- Medicine Ball ( Amazon US / Amazon UK )
- Electromagnetic Field | EMF Health and Safety
- Boeing 737
- Sulforaphane | The Joe Rogan Experience Episode 901 with Dr. Rhonda Patrick ( YouTube )
- Vega Vegan Clean Protein ( Amazon US / Amazon UK )
- Great Lakes Gelatin Collagen Hydrolysate Beef ( Amazon US / Amazon UK )
- Greek Yogurt ( Amazon US / Amazon UK )
- Pure Peanut Butter ( Amazon US / Amazon UK )
- Organic Olive Oil ( Amazon US / Amazon UK )
- Frozen Avocado ( Amazon US )
- Laval St Germain: From Scared Little Boy to Rowing 4500 km Across the Atlantic – Alone
- Rannoch Adventure – Ocean Rowing Boats
- Alberta | Alberta Cancer Foundation
- Yachtmaster Ocean Theory Training
- Sea Survival Training
- International Distress Signal
- Underwater Parachute
- Portuguese man o’ war
- Newfoundland and Labrador
- VHF | VHF Radio
- Snow Crab
- Fatbike ( Amazon US / Amazon UK )
- Hungary | Kékes (Highest Mountain in Hungary)
- Czech Republic | Prague | Sněžka (Highest Mountain in the Czech Republic)
- Slovakia | Gerlachovský štít (Highest Mountain in Slovakia)
- Poland | Rysy (Highest Mountain in Poland)
- Morocco | Marrakesh | Toubkal (Highest Mountain in Morocco)
- Slovenia | Triglav (Highest Mountain in Slovenia)
- Mount Fuji
- Bordeaux | Bordeaux Wines
- Pyrenees | Aneto (Highest Mountain in the Pyrenees)
- Basque Country
- Northern Flight Deck – Countdown to Takeoff by Laval St. Germain (Article)
- Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen ( Amazon US / Amazon UK )
- Rickover and the Nuclear Navy: The Discipline of Technology by Francis Duncan ( Amazon US / Amazon UK )
- Evernote | Website
- Richard St. Germain’s River Rescue Fund ( Facebook Post | Laval’s Tweet )
- Five questions with Calgarian pilot and adventure-seeker Laval St. Germain (Article)
- Mackenzie River
- Norman Wells
- Great Bear River
- Letters from a Stoic by Seneca the Younger ( Amazon US / Amazon UK )
- Fratello Coffee | Fratello Espresso
- CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) | Website
- Canadian North (Airline) | Website
- Paleo Diet
- Primal Diet
- The Canadian Arctic
- Placebo Effect
- The 4 Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat Loss, Incredible Sex and Becoming Superhuman by Tim Ferriss (Amazon US / Amazon UK)
- Slow-Carb Diet
- Reinhold Messner | Website
- Atul Gawande | Website
- Gavin Vickers
- Frank Ziebart
- Peter Kinloch
- Andy Magness (Listen to my interview with Andy here)
- Dr. Rhonda Patrick
- Mylène Paquette (English)| Website
- Admiral Hyman G. Rickover
- Seneca the Younger
- George Mallory
- Steve Hankirk | Website
- Tim Noakes | Website
- Mark Sisson | Website (Listen to my interview with Mark here)
- Ernest Hemingway
- Farley Mowat
- Gary Vaynerchuck | Website
- Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
- Tim Ferriss | Website