THE world’s fittest man is not a boxer, cyclist or a marathon runner. He doesn’t play professional sport of any kind, and you’ve likely never heard of him.
He also eats too much peanut butter and drinks a whole lot of milk.
The world’s fittest man is Rich Froning and this week he’s putting his title on the line.
Froning is a professional CrossFit athlete. CrossFit is an exercise program which is a mixture of aerobic fitness and weight lifting. It is practised in more than 6000 gyms worldwide and the fad has well and truly caught on here, with CrossFit taking off in larger Australian cities.
CrossFit Workouts are short and intense and has a jargon all to itself.
For example, gyms aren’t gyms. They’re “boxes”. Workouts aren’t workouts. They’re WODs (Workout of the Day). The acronym is a reference to the fact that the workout always changes. Indeed, participants often don’t know what they’re in for when they turn up.
Seriously fit dude. Deodorant not included. Pic: Supplied
A CrossFit staple is the Filthy 50, a brutal series of taxing exercises conveying the madness of CrossFit.
The circuit includes 50 repetitions of 10 different exercises, all done as quickly as possible. Do 50 Box jumps, with a 60cm/45cm box, 50 jumping pull-ups, 50 kettlebell swings 16kg, 50 walking lunge steps, 50 knees to elbows, 50 push press of 20kg, 50 back extensions, 50 wallballs using a 9kg/7kg ball, 50 burpees (dropping all the way to the floor), 50 double unders.
Apart from being an excellent all-round fitness regime, CrossFit is said to be great for people seeking to apply it to their daily jobs – such as cops, fireys and so on.
Indeed, Froning was working as a firefighter when he got interested. He has since gone on to be a motivational speaker, author and more.
So how fit is he? Well. He can deadlift 240 kilos, squat 190, bench 150, clean and jerk 150 and snatch 120. He’s also said to be as aerobically fit as an Olympic swimmer.
But CrossFit fitness isn’t one of the things you can easily measure. True to CrossFit principles, the “Fittest Man on Earth” title, which is up for grabs each year at the CrossFit Games, is decided on a range of challenges which competitors only find out about shortly before the event.
Rich Froning in a promotional shot
Hard work got Froning where he is. But like many American athletes, he credits a higher source.
“Christ is the reason for everything and that’s what I need to be living for,” he told US website theblaze.com.
When most athletes credit religion for their success, they can come across as preachy or boastful. Not Froning, who is refreshingly upfront about the role his devotion plays in his success and even his occasional failures.
“May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world,” he told TheBlaze.
“For me, that’s really how it is. It doesn’t matter what I’ve done. When I retire or when I walk away from competing from CrossFit, I won’t have it anymore [but] Christ will always be there.”
What do you think? Have you tried CrossFit? Fad or revolution? Comment below.