Rich Froning sits down with our resident CrossFit expert Mike Lombardi to talk about his journey to the top of the sport. A 4-time individual champion as the fittest man on Earth, Rich has also won 5 titles in the team competition to make him one of the most decorated athletes in the history of CrossFit.
He talks about the mindset that has propelled him to greatness, and explains why his drive to win and his disdain of losing has fueled him for the last decade. Rich also shares his thoughts on team building, why red recoveries aren’t a deterrent to accomplishing big things, and the importance of addressing your weaknesses as an athlete.
Stay healthy and stay in the green!
2:15 – A Lifelong Athlete. Rich played baseball and football when he was younger, and discovered CrossFit at the recommendation of a professor while he was studying exercise science.
5:29 – Finding CrossFit. Rich started CrossFit in 2009 with his cousin. He says he quickly realized that his times were comparable to some of the elite athletes in the sport, which led him down the path to competing at the highest level.
9:21 – 2010 CrossFit Games. Rich finished second in his first appearance at the CrossFit Games in 2010. He was in first place before the final event, a rope climb, which he failed to do. “You put so much into who you are in something. You find your identity in that. It put me in a bad place after that, getting second. It got me closer in my faith and made me realize what my purpose is in life. It’s not just about something that I’m doing. It was a good wake up call and I’ve said it multiple times: If I’d have won that first year, I don’t think I would have won [as much after that].”
11:01 – Hating to Lose. “Watching The Last Dance documentary or watching Man In The Arena with [Tom] Brady, you see [winning] becomes almost an obsession. [Brady and Michael Jordan] hated to lose too. I connected a lot with just watching those documentaries and those guys and how they were.”
14:03 – Drive to Win. “Is it truly as simple as you want to win so badly that each day that’s what kind of keeps you coming back?” Mike asks. “Especially the first probably 10 or 11 years [of competing,]” Rich says. “Now I know Father Time is undefeated. I still enjoy competing. I still want to push myself.”
16:09 – Addressing Weaknesses. “I think I’m way more well-rounded,” Rich says of his current athletic ability, citing his commitment to improving his weaknesses. “I’m better than I have been in years.”
21:00 – Training Partners. “I think training partners are almost more important than a coach,” Rich says. “I think training partners are huge. That push, that camaraderie. It doesn’t make everything dull and boring. I think training partners are huge and I 100% think that’s a huge part of my success.”
22:24 – Performing With Red Recoveries. “Some days you’re going to have to compete when your body is in the red,” Rich says. “As long as I’m not trending and staying in the red for multiple days, honestly, that’s the main thing. If I have a red day and I train relatively normal and the next day [the recovery improves], then I’ll keep at it. But if I have probably two days in the red, I might take it a little bit more easy.”
29:47 – Team Championships vs. Individual Championships. ”I think five team championships is cooler for me than my individual [success]. Winning with different personalities and trying to figure out how to motivate different people and be a part of a team is way more difficult than it was for me to do it by myself.”
34:10 – Training Smarter & Lessons Learned. Rich talks about what he’s learned through 10 years of experience in CrossFit and how he tries to instill those lessons in younger teammates.
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