With back-to-back victories at the CrossFit Games, a strongman-style competition among some of the world’s fittest athletes, Rich Froning has become the de facto face of the CrossFit movement, which now encompasses some 4,500 affiliated gyms across the country and millions of devotees.
This July 26 to 28, in Carson, California, the former college baseball player’s preternatural strength—he can back-squat 445 pounds and do 75 pull-ups in one set—will once again be on display as he goes for his third straight title.
Ditch the Training Plan
“I work out anywhere from two to five times a day, but I don’t walk into the gym with a schedule. I just make it up as I go, listening to my body and doing what I think I need to do.”
Skip the Supplements
“You should be able to get all the nutrients you need from your diet. I take protein and amino acid supplements, but I honestly don’t know if they do anything.”
Learn to Love the Squat
“People don’t like squats, but it’s an essential exercise. Look at all the sports that people do—there’s some form of squatting in each of them.”
“I try to get eight to ten hours of sleep each night. I don't nap, but every once in a while I'll down an energy drink."
Recovery Is Overrated
"I don't really take days off from training. For 'active recovery,' I'll go ride my mountain bike for a couple hours once a week. You're still working hard and moving but it's good to have one day of training that's not as stressful."
The Best Exercise
“One of the best exercises is the thruster—a squat and a press. It works everything. My least favorite? Anything with running in it.”
“A lot of people who do CrossFit eat a strict paleo diet, but I don’t subscribe to any specific way of eating. If you burn enough calories, you don’t need to.”
Sweets Are OK
“I love apple pie. If I see one, I’m going to eat the whole thing.”
You Don't Need the Gym
"You don't need to be inside a gym to strength train. You can do pull-ups on a tree branch. All you need is a pull-up bar, some plates, and a medicine ball and you have a pretty good home gym for around $200."
Get Out of the Pain Cave
"To stay out of the 'pain cave,' you just need to do something enough so that you feel comfortable with it. It will still hurt—especially if somebody's pushing you—that's when you just need to force yourself to pick the weight back up."
"I like shoes that allow you to do anything in them. I don't wear Olympic lifting shoes because you're trapped in them. For cross training, you want a minimalist shoe with a low heel. Something that allows you to really feel the ground."