By Rich Froning Jr.
The CrossFit Games are coming up again. Do you alter the way you train once you get to a certain point out from the Games? When does this happen, and how do your workouts change?
For the most part I stay in a ready state all year long. That’s really the whole point of CrossFit! You train for the unexpected, the unknown. There is no real build-up or special periodization I follow whatsoever. I just try to have fun with the people I work out with and go as hard as I can all the time. Theoretically, anyone who aspires to win the CrossFit Games would be ready to compete with no notice at all— obviously due to the logistics of holding Regionals to qualify as well as the fact that putting on any large competition, and especially one that will air on television, means that dates and locations need to be set up far in advance. But until you get to the actual Games, you don’t have the slightest idea what you’ll be doing there. All you can do is train hard every day and be ready for anything they throw at you.
I saw you briefly on the TV show “The Biggest Loser” with a few other top CrossFit athletes. What was it like? Did you get to train the contestants, and how did they do with the various CrossFit exercises?
Yes, it was a lot of fun. I had watched the show before and to finally see the ranch and meet Bob Harper was very cool. It was very inspiring to see the contestants push past what they thought they could do. Bob was pretty rough on them, but he knows what they need since he works with them every day. It was just weird for me because normally I ease out-of-shape people into intense exercise a little more gradually. They don’t have that luxury on the show, since it’s a contest with a limited amount of time. The other CrossFit athletes and I were just there more or less for motivation. It would be fun to work with them for more than just one day. Bob is a big proponent of CrossFit, so maybe he’ll invite us back next season and hopefully we can help out the contestants the way he does.
I work out all the time and I have been seriously for over a year now. I’m dying to know the best way to gain muscle mass and increase my strength beyond where I’m at. I have been stuck at where I’m at (lifting and size) for what seems like forever. What’s the quickest yet healthiest way I should go about getting bigger and better? I thought it’d be best to ask the fittest man alive! And no I’m not wanting to be like a bodybuilder. I want powerful, lean muscle, but with size.
CrossFit will do everything you are looking for. The WODs aren’t designed to alter your physique, but that happens anyway. There are so many different components to what we do in CrossFit that you end up getting bigger and stronger as time goes on. One reason I think this happens is because when people just train on their own in the gym doing whatever they feel like doing, they tend to get stuck in a rut of doing the same exercises in the same sequences, with the same rep range and so on. That’s impossible in CrossFit. Some of the WODs will feature lower rep weight training, others you’ll do higher reps as part of a round with other exercises. Since you get your workouts from a website like www.crossfit.com, the WODs are different every day and you’ll always get a mix of things like weights, kettlebell swings, box jumps, jumping rope, rowing, etc. Your muscles are constantly getting shocked. It’s also important to mention that if you do want to gain more muscle mass, you need to be sure you’re taking in enough protein. Whole foods like chicken breasts, eggs and grass-fed beef are critical, but you should also use a quality whey protein shake like Syntha-6 Isolate from BSN. I would aim for at least a gram every day of protein per pound of bodyweight divided evenly among your meals and shakes. So if you weigh 180 pounds and have three meals and two shakes a day, you would want right around 36 grams of protein at each of those. You may also want to look into a good post-workout shake with fast-digesting carbs and creatine, like CellMass 2.0 from BSN. Good luck!
Greetings from South Africa, Rich! I am curious, you are a phenomenal athlete and I know you have done triathlons before as part of the CrossFit Games. Have you ever thought about doing the Ironman competition in Hawaii?
I have not! That is way out of my time domain and comfort zone. Right now I am plenty busy running CrossFit Mayhem in Cookeville, Tennessee and training myself. If I had time, I’d give it a shot and it’s something I may get involved with in the future. My focus is on trying to win the CrossFit Games as many times as I can. That’s more than enough to think about for now.
Rich Froning Jr., the only two-time CrossFit Games Champion, and the owner of his own CrossFit “box,” CrossFit Mayhem in Cookeville, Tennessee. CrossFit is fast becoming the training style of choice for millions of men and women around the world, and Rich is here to answer your questions about it! If you have a question for Rich, e-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org.