“I know there’s a timestamp on what I’m doing. So I want to take full advantage of what I’m capable of, so that when I’m at the end of my sports career, I’m not looking back and wondering: could I have been capable of doing more?”
There are few titles in sports as cool as those that come with “in the world” at the tail end. The 100m champion at the Olympics is routinely crowned “fastest man in the world.” There’s an entire competition devoted to crowning the “World’s Strongest Man.” Mat Fraser, two-time Reebok CrossFit Games champion (2016 & 2017), has earned the title of “fittest man in the world.”
It takes a lot to get to the top of the CrossFit world, which is rapidly expanding in popularity. In a recent interview, as he was promoting the release of his new shoe, the Nike Metcon 4 “Mat Fraser”, Fraser detailed what his life is like as he prepares to go for three straight titles. Spoiler alert: it includes a lot of training and not much else.
He trains 5-6 days a week pretty much year-round, regardless of whether he’s getting ready for competition. The routine changes when competition time draws near, but only in subtle ways.
“Volume gets cut down a little bit. I’ll stop doing workouts that could have an adverse affect on the next day,” said Fraser. “If there’s a lot of pull-ups or muscle-ups there’s a big potential for tearing your hand or something like that where, if you tear your hand, it’s going to affect your training the next couple of days. So, I try to avoid things like that.”
Fraser’s training is intense, and as such, he needs plenty of nutritional fuel to maintain that intensity day in and day out. However, unlike some athletes who swear by one type of diet or another, Fraser says he’s just happy he has someone in his corner who’s able and willing to take care of that for him.
“When it comes to my nutrition, I have very little idea of what I’m doing,” said Fraser, chuckling. “I don’t follow a certain diet plan or anything like that. Lucky for me, my fiance is an absolutely incredible cook. Even the process of taking the time out of my day to prep my food, she does all of it. I’m spoiled when it comes to that.”
While the intense physical training has played a big role in pushing Fraser to the top of the CrossFit world, he says his mindset, exemplified by his motto, HWPO, or Hard Work Pays Off, has been crucial.
“It was something that, a couple of seasons ago, I just had to remind myself of over and over, because I’m training all year for this one weekend, and it’s kind of hard to see the progress towards that big goal. So I just kept reminding myself that hard work pays off, this will pay off in the end.”
As the “fittest man in the world,” one question that Fraser gets a lot is how can people take that next step up in their training? For him, the answer lies in that aforementioned mantra and always keeping in mind the long-term progress.
“I always say, have your bigger goal in mind all the time. Never forget what your bigger goal is,” said Fraser. “Whether it’s to get stronger, get better cardio, get fitter or you want to lose weight, on the day-to-day scale, you’re probably not going to see that progression. But keep the bigger picture in mind.”
After placing first in the Central regional, Fraser goes for his three-peat when the 2018 CrossFit Games get underway on August 1st. CBS Sports will once again have coverage of the Games throughout, across their various digital and broadcast platforms. To hear more from Mat, check out the video above, and if you want to check out his new shoe, you can head to the link here.