Rich Froning was CrossFit’s earliest breakout star—you might say he’s the Michael Jordan of the sport (with Mat Fraser being the LeBron, naturally). The four-time “Fittest Man on Earth” transitioned from individual to team competition in 2015, and since then has taken home the team title four times.
Despite the fame and deals with companies like Reebok and Rogue Fitness, the 33-year-old lives out on a farm with his family in Cookeville, Tennessee, where he raises bison and maintains 3 miles of dirt trails for mountain biking. Of course, that spread includes a state-of-the-art gym inside a large barn, with endless racks of iron, air bikes, and rowers. At least according to the official CrossFit numbers, the father of three has a 570-pound deadlift, can back squat 475 pounds, and can do 75 pull-ups unbroken. Most days, he works out three times.
So how do you fuel of that? GQ recently caught up with the legend, to learn more about how he hits his macros, what’s in his smoothies, and go-to coffee program.
For Real-Life Diet, GQ talks to high-performing people about their diet, exercise routines, and pursuit of wellness. Keep in mind that what works for them might not necessarily be healthy for you.
GQ: You’re an intermittent fasting guy, right? So, what do your mornings look like?
Rich Froning: I’m up around 7 a.m.—that’s when my first kid alarm clock goes off, as I call it. Some days are different than others, but I don’t even set an actual alarm anymore because they’ll come and wake me up. I get up, I make coffee. If I’m being honest I’m kind of a coffee snob now. I only drink black coffee because of the fasting, which I’ve been doing for about three years now.
For me, it’s a 1-to-15 pour-over while I hang out with the kids for about an hour. I love Guatemalan coffee, and really like light roasts that have some real flavor in it. If I’m not gonna be eating for a while in the morning, then I want to have something that I really enjoy when I’m sitting down with my kids and they eat breakfast.
So when’s your first meal, then?
It’s at about noon—after we do our 8:30 a.m. live workout on the Mayhem Athlete YouTube and I get in a workout, too. The meal starts off with a shake, which I make with Advocare lean body protein. In there, I add 400 to 500 grams of berries, like raspberries or blackberries, as well as some almond milk and a little bit of a PB2 powdered peanut butter.
Lunch is usually something pre-made, we have a girl that goes to the gym who makes ready-to-eat stuff that’s delicious and includes all of the macros and calories I need—I follow an RP diet template. My favorites are a meatloaf she makes with sweet potatoes, a grilled barbecue chicken, and a buffalo chicken mac.
And then you train after that?
Yeah. At around 2:30 after working on some podcasts and stuff, I usually take in some more calories, like 40 or 50 grams of carbs and then anywhere from 20 to 30 grams of protein. Then we train from 2:30 to 3, then again from 3:30 to 4:30 or 5:00. I head home and spend time with my kids for dinner. Both Hillary and I cook, but she’s more toward the carbs like spaghetti and that type of stuff. So if that’s what’s in the cards, then I’ll grill up some chicken or something to go with that or something else from the farm.
Talk to me about the farm.
I didn’t want my kids to grow up to be brats. When I was growing up, we didn’t have a working farm but we had chores. I wanted my kids to have the same. I began talking with one of my best friends about the idea of having a farm on the property, and it took off from there. Now, we’re producing meat sticks like bison and biltong, which I think is incredible. It’s a lot more tender than jerky. A lot of people want to eat beef, but want to kind of be heart-healthy. That’s where the bison comes in, and we’re trying to figure out a way for people to actually buy actual bison from us.