The 2015 Reebok CrossFit Games are just around the corner, and all eyes are set on former Olympic weightlifter turned fitness phenomenon Mathew Fraser to take home the title "Fittest Man on Earth." The CrossFit rookie shocked everyone when he snagged the second spot on the podium last year. As he said in a four-part Nike Training video series, "Competing has given my motivation an extra gear. I can't stand the thought there's someone out there who is putting in more time and effort than I am." The barrel-chested champion knows not everyone gets to hit the gym for a living, so we caught up with him for fitness tips every man can use.
Eat immediately after a workout.
"I step home and a minute in the microwave, boom. I have my meal." We know the grind. You go to work, hit the gym, commute home and then it's another 45 minutes until dinner is on the table. Before you know it, an hour and half has gone by since your workout and you haven't had a bite. Fraser uses Paleo Power Meals delivery service for pre-cooked food.
For recovery, keep it simple.
"I try to ice bath when I can," says Fraser, but even this champ says he's crunched for time. "The generic stuff works." He suggests relieving muscles on the foam roller or sitting down for 20 minutes for easy static stretching.
So you can clean and jerk, but can you run a sub 6-minute mile? "If there's a certain movement that's a weakness, I'll do that movement everyday for a month, until I feel like it's become a strength. Then I'll move onto the next thing." Fraser says he didn't touch a barbell for the past year. Now he's weight lifting daily until he feels confident again.
When you want to quit, go harder.
"I always try to think – how am I going to feel when this workout is over?" This mentality is golden during competitions, like when he went head-to-head with Rich Froning during the 2014 CrossFit Open. "I always tell myself, 'If I go hard, it will hurt for a minute, but it will feel good forever. But if I back off and go easy, it'll feel good for a minute and then hurt forever.' I always think — what if I just went harder?"
Consider a coach.
We're sure he has high standards, but when Fraser started swimming laps, he says he was shocked by his performance in the pool. "I was god-awful (laughing)." So he found a swim coach at his CrossFit gym for pointers. "Maybe one out of every 10 sessions I'll have someone watch me. You don't need them there holding your hand through every workout, but it's good to have an eye on you once in a while to make sure you're doing the right things."
Keep your training well-rounded.
Training for a competition is impressive, but functional fitness is the ultimate goal. "Coming in, I've always said Olympic weightlifters are the best athletes in the world. I still think that's true; it gives such a huge advantage going into anything. But at the same time, when I was Olympic weightlifting, I broke a sweat walking up a flight of stairs."