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July 28, 2021

CrossFit Games Legend Rich Froning Talks Workouts, Recovery & Career Longevity

Heading into the 2021 CrossFit Games, all-time great Rich Froning answered questions from WHOOP members about his training, workouts, recovery, sleep, supplements, career longevity, and life outside the gym.

By Mark Van Deusen

The first 4-time “Fittest Man on Earth,” Rich Froning took home the title every year at the CrossFit Games from 2011-2014. Froning retired from individual competition in 2014 and then became a 4-time team champion with CrossFit Mayhem Freedom. On the eve of this year’s Games, his squad is primed to capture a fifth world championship.

Froning recently took part in an AMA through our app to discuss his workouts and training, extending his career, and the insights he gains from his WHOOP data. Here are several of the highlights.

 

Training, STRAIN & Workouts

Question: How many hours/sessions do you train daily? And how do you prevent injury?

Rich Froning: Usually a 3-hour session in the morning and 2 hours in the afternoon. The offseason is a lot of technique to stay healthy.

Q: Do you track individual pieces of your workout sessions or the entirety?

Rich: Depends on how lazy I am that day with starting and stopping the activity on my WHOOP.

Q: What is your average daily strain?

Rich: I average around 15 strain during the season.

Q: Have you changed your approach to training (e.g. schedule, volume, intensity) after gaining access to WHOOP data?

Rich: Not a ton during the season, but offseason yes.

Q: Are burpees the most complete exercise, if you only had to choose one?

Rich: Thruster is better.

Q: Would you rather squat with Mat Fraser or do arms with Arnold Schwarzenegger?

Rich: Arms with Arnold.

Q: I follow Mayhem competitor programming and just wanted to ask, do you guys really do that much work every day?

Rich: Yes, haha. Love having you as part of the family!

 

Sleep, Recovery & HRV

Q: What is the one piece of data from your WHOOP that you value the most?

Rich: Sleep.

Q: How many hours of sleep do you get on average?

Rich: 7-8 hours.

Q: What is your favorite recovery protocol?

Rich: Sleep. Cold plunge.

Q: What’s the weirdest thing you do for recovery that seems to work for you?

Rich: Swim.

Q: What does an active recovery day look like for you? Do you ever take complete rest days with no physical activity (or as little as humanly possible)?

Rich: I feel better when I move every day. Thursdays are usually a machine or mountain bike for an hour (weather permitting) and swim. Sundays are just one session, usually a machine (ski, bike, row). Those would be my “active recovery” days.

Q: How, if at all, has WHOOP data changed your approach to recovery?

Rich: During season not much, other than that I try to optimize those things that help me recover. Offseason I pay a lot more close attention to my recovery. I’m getting older and if I want tot extend my career, off-season is where I’m going to do it.

Q: What do you do when you feel great but your recovery is reflecting otherwise? Do you keep to your programmed training or alter it?

Rich: It’s a little bit of a mix of both.

Q: Can you tell us your protocol for getting over patella tendinitis?

Rich: Tempo back squats, 3-4 sets, 8-12 reps. 4 down, 3 up. Heavy.

Q: I know this question is a regularly asked one, but what is your recommendation for increasing one’s HRV? What works best for you?

Rich: Sleep, eating enough, and cold tub are my 3 go-to’s. Massage seems to help bring up my HRV as well.

 

Supplements & Gear

Q: Are there any supplements you recommend to help with your sleep or training?

Rich: I take CBD and melatonin.

Q: What do you think about CBD for performance? Any experience about that?

Rich: I take it for sleep.

Q: Why do you like to wear your shoes loose when you train?

Rich: As long as it’s not rope climbs, it’s more comfortable.

 

The CrossFit Games

Q: What was your best moment competing as an individual at the Games?

Rich: When the last one was over, haha. Actually I have too many to list. I have a lot of great memories from the tennis stadium.

Q: At what point will you have CrossFitted longer than you played baseball?

Rich: I think I’ve passed it.

Q: I’m interested in your perspective on the topic of longevity in CrossFit in general. What’s the best way to extend your career?

Rich: Move well and check your ego.

 

Life Outside the Gym

Q: What are the foundational activities that you do when you start your day?

Rich: Reading the Bible and coffee.

Q: What are your favorite hobbies, or ways to relax and unwind?

Rich: Hanging with the kids, mountain biking, and hunting.

Q: Which one of your children do you believe will participate in CrossFit in the future?

Rich: I don’t want to push any of them to compete, but they all love coming to the barn and “working out.” I love hanging out with them there and us having fun.

Q: I’m weeks out from having my first baby, my life is already hectic. How do you balance your career, training, and being a good father?

Rich: Some days I do it very well and other days I’m bad at It. Every day is a new day.

 

Learn More: Comparing Rich Froning’s Heart Rate, Strain & More in Individual vs. Team CrossFit Games Quarterfinals Workouts

 

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Mark Van Deusen

Mark Van Deusen is the Content Manager at WHOOP. Before joining WHOOP, Mark served as the Managing Editor and Head Writer for CelticsLife.com. He was also a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and a contributor at Yahoo Sports. A former tennis coach, Mark graduated from the University of Richmond with a degree in Sociology and Leadership Studies.

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