July 13, 2012 the Reebok CrossFit Games will head back to Southern California for three days of intense competition to crown “the fittest man on earth.” After national television exposure last year, this year’s games are highly anticipated and will provide some of the most intense competition in all of athletics. Men’s Fitness caught up with four of this year’s top contenders and got insight into their training as they prepare for this year’s event.
Rich Froning, last year’s champion and current “fittest man on earth” is a former football and baseball player. He played baseball as high as the collegiate level but soon returned home where he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science from Tennessee Tech Univeristy.
HOW DID YOU FIND OUT ABOUT CROSSFIT AND WHEN EXACTLY DID YOU START?
Rich Froning: I found Crossfit through Chip Pugh, the head Strength and Conditioning Coach and one of my professors [at Tennessee Tech]. I actually began CrossFit in 2009 with my cousin Darren Hunsucker in my dad’s barn.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT CF VS. “TRADITIONAL TRAINING?”
I love the competitive aspect of CrossFit, having grown up playing sports and having 20+ male first cousins. I also love that there is always something to get better at.
AS REIGNING CHAMPION, HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR CHANCES IN THIS YEAR’S GAMES?
It’s hard to really set expectations with CrossFit; there are so many athletes that are well rounded and fierce competitors—it will be fun to see how it all plays out.
IN YOUR OPINION (AND AS A STRENGTH COACH), CAN CROSSFIT TRAINING BE APPLIED TO OTHER SPORTS LIKE FOOTBALL OR BASKETBALL?
I think CrossFit is highly beneficial to any athlete, in any sport. I was a strength coach for over a year where our teams used CrossFit, and our football team won their first conference championship in 36 years!
CROSSFIT SOMETIMES GETS KNOCKED FOR PEOPLE GETTING INJURED. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THIS AND HAVE YOU EVER BEEN INJURED WHILE DOING CROSSFIT?
People get injured everyday doing simple things. The problem comes sometimes when people crank up the intensity on skilled movements before they are ready. I think it’s more dangerous to NOT do CrossFit.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO ANYONE WANTING TO BEGIN CROSSFIT? WHAT ABOUT CURRENT CROSSFITTERS THAT WOULD LIKE TO PURSUE THE GAMES?
For anyone beginning CrossFit I would say find a local affiliate and get there. They have coaches and a community set up. To anyone wanting to pursue the games—GO FOR IT!
AFTER YOU’RE DONE COMPETING IN THE GAMES, WILL YOU CONTINUE TO TRAIN “CROSSFIT STYLE?”
Without a doubt!
THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME, RICH. BEST OF LUCK THIS YEAR!
Check out Men’s Fitness’s coverage of this weekend’s CrossFit Games next week on mensfitness.com.