Becoming an Icon

Photographer: Sweat RX
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Ask Rich Froning about his diet and he’s pretty nonchalant, admitting he doesn’t follow paleo or count calories in any way, shape, or form. Mention some of his max lifts, which are pretty well on par withlifters who specialize in throwing huge weight around, and he’ll play them off as if they’re no big deal. Visit the CrossFit Mayhem website and buried on the page that says Coaches, you’ll find Rich Froning listed simply as Owner/Head Coach– no loud, upfront callout there or anywhere else on the site stating that the box belongs totheReebok CrossFit Games 2011, 2012, and2013 champ.

The evidence is conclusive. Rich Froning is not only the 3-time reigning Fittest Man on Earth, he just may be the humblest too.

Yep, you’ve got it. Rich Froning, the most decorated CrossFit athlete of all time – giving him bragging rights no one else can claim –is also the least likely to boast or glory in his own accomplishments.But should we really be surprised? As an athlete and individual, Rich is practically a study in juxtaposition: Jack-of-all-trades/CrossFit specialist. Every man/Seemingly superhuman.Accessible and approachable/Icon in the sport of CrossFit.

A born athlete – at this point it’s safe to assume, right? – Rich played high school football and baseball then accepteda baseball scholarship to Walters State Community College. After a short time, he decided college ballwasn’t for him so he opted out of high-level varsity competition to focus on his studies at Tennessee Technology University while working at the Cookeville Fire Department. This is where he found a kind of high-level competition he could get on board with – CrossFit. This is where the sport of fitness acquired its most winning and perhaps most influential athlete to date.

So what’s ahead for Rich Froning? Well, hehas certainly earned respect as a frontrunner heading into the 2014 Reebok CrossFit Games. He’ll be defending his 3-time title with a vengeancebut no outcome is for sure, especiallywith somenew Gamesqualifiers,like Noah Ohlsen from the South East,and the return of some fan-favorite vetslike Jason Khalipa, TommyHackenbruck, and Chris Spealler just to name a few. Froning willhave to elevate hisgameyet again if he’s going to move large loads overlong distances in various domains faster and better thanthese hungry athletes. Come July, there’ll be only one Fittest Man on Earth. Will it be Rich Froning for a fourth year in a row? Only time will tell.




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