July 08, 2021 9 min read

Rich Froning Jr. has been given the title of the Fittest Man in History after being the CrossFit Games champion four years in a row.

He captained the team CrossFit Mayhem Freedom to several Affiliate Cup championships after his retirement in 2014. Having the title he has, it’s obvious that he maintains a strict workout routine and supplement stack. 

Back view of muscular man doing ring gymnastics in crossfit gym

Who is Rich Froning Jr.?

Rich Froning Jr. is from Cookeville, Tennessee, where he attended high school and college. He became interested in CrossFit when he was working for the local fire department around 2010, and soon after, he began competing and coaching. His first appearance in the Reebok CrossFit Games was in 2010, but he didn’t win until 2011.

He continued winning until 2014 when he retired after placing second at the C6rossFit Open behind Mat Fraser. When he first won the CrossFit Games four years in a row, he was originally named the Fittest Man on Earth. A documentary was released about him in 2015, and the filmmakers named him the Fittest Man in History because they thought it suited him better.

Froning has still competed in the CrossFit Games, but he chose to compete with his team, Mayhem Freedom, instead of as an individual. Now as a coach at his own gym, Froning enlists the help of Nick Shaw as his personal nutrition coach. Shaw is the CEO of Renaissance Periodization, a company that specializes in fitness and nutrition.

Froning and Shaw have developed an awesome routine involving supplements, bodybuilding, and meal plans to help Froning achieve an ideal body for a CrossFit athlete.

Rich Froning’s Supplement Stack

Being the Fittest Man in History, Rich Froning uses multiple supplements to be the champ that he is. Not only does he use protein powder, he also uses several capsule pills to ensure he has plenty of muscle fuel and energy to get through his rigorous workouts every day.

He uses a protein powder because he needs to make sure he’s getting the recommended amount of protein for his body weight every day. Steel Supplements is a company that provides many different supplements to help you achieve your health and fitness goals. They are NSF Certified for Sport, which means that their products are entirely safe to use and the labels aren’t misleading.

Visit Supplements: A Scorecard from Harvard Medical School to learn more about what kinds of supplements are good for you.

Steel Supplements’ WHEY-PRO comes in several flavors, including hot cocoa, milk chocolate, snickerdoodle, vanilla cream pie, peanut butter, strawberry cheesecake, banana pancakes, blueberry muffin, butter pecan, and cookies and cream. This supplement:

  • Reduces cell inflammation
  • Promotes muscle growth
  • Has 24 grams of protein in every scoop
  • Replaces meals
  • Increases antioxidant defenses

You should take one scoop with about eight ounces of water and shake it vigorously. You can take it at any time, but it’s recommended to be taken about an hour post-workout. This protein powder has papain and lactose in it so you won’t get an upset stomach from this shake.

Steel Supplements’ ATP-FUSION is a creatine supplement that helps build muscles and doesn’t make you bloat or retain water. It comes in capsules, and you should take one capsule before your workout and one capsule after your workout. This supplement helps with:

  • Muscle gain
  • Recovery time
  • Energy
  • Cognitive brain function

This supplement is also stimulant-free, and you don’t need to use a loading phase or sugar with it.Steel Supplements’ PRO+FLORA PROBIOTIC is a digestive health supplement. It comes in capsules that you should take one of every day. Some of the things this supplement helps with are:

  • Reducing symptoms of lactose intolerance
  • Heart support
  • Development and stimulation of the immune system
  • Mental health
  • Urogenital health
  • Improved gut health
  • Regulation of gut bacteria

Also, this supplement is vegan.

Steel Supplements’ SHREDDED-AF is a pre-workout supplement that has several good attributes. It’s a fat burner that suppresses cravings, boosts metabolism, and provides mental clarity and energy all day long. Plus, you won’t crash when you take this supplement.

This supplement comes in capsules, and you should only take two a day at the maximum. It’s also suggested that you take one day out of the week to not take SHREDDED-AF so your body doesn’t become accustomed to its ingredients.

Rich Froning’s Workout Routine

Even though Rich Froning doesn’t own a home gym, he does own a full CrossFit gym where he coaches other people. He’s an absolute beast, so he trains like one.

He even has his own workout program called “What’s Rich Doing?”, where he coaches others in the same workouts that he did when he won all of the CrossFit Games. He follows the same workout every day. Froning wakes up at eight am every morning and starts off with a bike ride or a rowing session to warm up and improve his cardio.

He does this until he breaks for lunch and continues on with the rest of his workout. He does muscle-building exercises after lunch, which are made up of deadlifts, power cleans, Olympic lifts, squats, muscle-ups, and power snatches. A more broken-down version of his daily workouts include:

Monday Mornings:

  • 10 to 14 legless rope climbs
  • Handstand walk
  • 60 dumbbell squat snatches
  • Another handstand walk
  • 10 to 14 pegboards

Monday Afternoons:

  • Eight minutes of building up to a heavy snatch
  • Five minutes of rest
  • Four 30 second hollow rock holds
  • Four sets of five V-ups
  • Four 20 seconds L-sit ring holds

Tuesday Mornings:

  • 165 lbs barbell thruster
  • Three sets of 20 ring dips
  • 60 seconds on an assault bike
  • Three sets of 10 muscle-ups

Tuesday Afternoons:

  • 20 minutes of medicine ball sit-ups, as many reps as possible
  • 10 minutes of muscle-ups, as many reps as possible
  • 20 minutes of sumo deadlifts, as many reps as possible
  • 10 minutes of wallball, as many reps as possible

Wednesday Mornings:

  • Four 1000 meter runs
  • 10 minutes of rest
  • Five minutes of barbell squat cleans, as many reps as possible
  • 10 minutes of burpees, as many reps as possible
  • 15 minutes of pull-ups, as many reps as possible

Wednesday Afternoons:

  • 10 sets of 10 kettlebell swings
  • 10 sets of 10 box jumps

Thursday Mornings:

  • 100 double unders
  • 500-meter row
  • 50 minutes of single-arm kettlebell snatches, as many reps as possible
  • Another-500 meter row
  • 100 minutes of sit-ups, as many reps as possible
  • Another-500 meter row
  • 50 minutes of ring dips, as many reps as possible
  • Another-500 meter row

Thursday Afternoons:

  • Three legless rope climbs
  • 135 lbs overhead squats
  • 225 lbs barbell deadlifts
  • 5 minutes on an assault bike

Friday Mornings:

  • 200-meter swim
  • 10 sets of 10 burpees to muscle-ups
  • 10 sets of 10 power clean
  • Another 200-meter swim

Friday Afternoons:

  • 300-meter row
  • 50 minutes of push-ups, as many reps as possible

Saturday Mornings:

  • Five minutes of handstand push-ups, as many reps as possible
  • Seven minutes of dumbbell snatches, as many reps as possible
  • 10 minutes of box jumps, as many reps as possible

Saturday Afternoons:

  • 2-4-6-8-10 muscle-ups
  • 4-8-12-16-20 burpees
  • 10-20-30-40-50 wall balls
  • Five minutes of rowing cool down

In addition to Nick Shaw helping him work out, Froning sometimes teams up with other CrossFit athletes like Dan Bailey, Mat Fraser, and James Hobart. Froning likes to keep his workouts short and compacts everything he does into 30 minute sessions. When he was training to compete at the CrossFit Games, Froning did two more workouts every day on top of the two he does now.

Froning also believes in listening to your body about what it needs. If he doesn’t feel like doing an exercise that day, he just skips it and does the next one. Squats are one of his favorite workouts because it works every part of your body.

Rich Froning’s Diet Plan

Two of the most popular diets among CrossFit athletes are the paleolithic diet and the zone diet. The paleolithic diet, or just the paleo diet, means that you only eat foods that a caveman would have eaten. This includes nuts, fruits, vegetables, fish, grass-fed animal meats, and olive oils.

The zone diet is a bit more specific in the amounts of food that you eat rather than what you eat; you’re supposed to eat three meals and two snacks daily. Your meal should contain roughly 400 calories, with 30% of them being protein, 30% of them being healthy fats, and 40% of them being carbs.

Froning doesn’t participate in either of these diets. Instead, Froning does intermittent fasting. There are several different styles of intermittent fasting, but Froning follows the 16/8 method, which means that he can eat for eight hours of the day and fasts for the other 16 hours.

Froning used to not start eating until after he had finished training around four or five pm every day, but his coach Nick Shaw pushed him to make a change. Shaw doesn’t think that intermittent fasting is the best meal plan when you do rigorous CrossFit workouts, but it’s what works for Froning.

Froning also pays attention to his intake of the seven macronutrients. These seven include:

  • Fats
  • Carbohydrates
  • Protein
  • Water
  • Fiber
  • Minerals
  • Vitamins

The ideal intake of fat is about 0.5 grams per pound of your body weight. Because of this method, Froning has a significantly higher fat intake than most of the other CrossFit athletes. It’s more rewarding this way because Froning gets to indulge himself in fatty foods daily and not worry about how they’re affecting his weightlifting.

Carbohydrates intake typically depends on your activity level, but it’s usually about 2.5 grams per pound of your body weight. Froning breaks these down into three categories: healthy carbs, high glycemic index carbs, and workout carbs.

  • The healthy carbs include sweet potatoes, brown rice, oatmeal, whole-wheat bread, whole-wheat pasta, and fruit. These carbs are meant to be eaten any time of day other than right around your workouts.
  • High glycemic index carbs include white bread, white potatoes, fat-free frozen yogurt, sugary cereal, and low-fat baked goods. You’re supposed to eat these carbs post-workout.
  • The workout carbs mostly contain liquids, such as Powerade, Gatorade, juice, fruit punch, Kool Air, and lemonade. You’re meant to drink these during and right before a workout.

Your protein intake should be around one gram per pound of body weight. This can be between protein shakes, peanut butter, fish, or other meats. Froning is reportedly a big fan of peanut butter, so he mostly gets his protein intake from peanut butter and protein powder.

However, it doesn’t matter how you get your protein, so long as you’re getting the recommended amount for your body weight. Harvard’s  “The Best Diet: Quality Counts” will help you learn more about macronutrients, micronutrients, and their importance.

crossfit games

Pros and Cons of CrossFit

CrossFit has its fair share of advantages and disadvantages. If you’re looking to start CrossFit and you don’t know much about it, here are the pros and cons:

Pros:

  • Difficulty
  • Community
  • Portability
  • Affordability
  • Nutrition

There’s an acronym called HIIT, which means high-intensity interval training. CrossFit is one of these training styles because it’s a very effective way to upgrade your muscle strength and your cardiovascular endurance. HIIT hasn’t always been highlighted in the health and fitness industry, so CrossFit is a good way to keep it at the forefront.

CrossFit is a massive community that helps participants stay motivated and feel welcomed. People of any age and fitness level are welcome to join most CrossFit gyms, so it’s a great way to meet new people if you move to a new city and want to make some friends.

CrossFit athletes also know how to use their body weight to do some challenging exercises anywhere they are. CrossFit provides you with no excuse as to why you can’t work out.CrossFit gyms don’t have super expensive equipment like regular gyms do, so it doesn’t cost as much to have a membership at a CrossFit gym.

They are also more likely to work with people when it comes to payment schedules because CrossFit gyms aren’t usually big chains and are local businesses. Many people like Crossfit because it also encourages a healthy diet. Many people who do CrossFit do the paleo diet. 

Cons:

  • Glorification of the Mesomorph
  • Frequent Injury
  • Peer Pressure
  • Challenging Technique

Many people argue that the CrossFit competitions are very exclusive and a bit unfair. Most winners of CrossFit competitions have the same build, and they almost wouldn't be suited for the Olympics. It’s said that it’s hard to get into this sport because of how exclusive it is.

Many people also get hurt from CrossFit. People tend to suffer from muscle and tendon ruptures and herniated disks, which can be extremely severe. Because the community is so strong in CrossFit, it can also be a little bit too strong. Participants tend to push each other to try dangerous exercises, which can ultimately lead to injury.

You might also feel a heavy pressure to keep up with the others at your gym, and you might not be at the same level they are at. CrossFit techniques can be very hard to master because they come from Olympic weightlifting techniques. You should take your time learning how to do these exercises, and remember to start off small.

Conclusion

Copying Rich Froning’s supplement stack, workout routine, and meal plan isn’t as hard as you'd think it would be. If you are looking for something similar to what Rich takes, we recommend the following:

WHEY-PRO is $35 for about 25 servings. ATP-FUSION costs $30 for 120 capsules. PRO+FLORA PROBIOTIC is $50 for 60 capsules, and SHREDDED-AF is $70 for 60 capsules.

You can copy his diet fairly easily as well. All you have to do is watch the intake of the macronutrients to ensure that you aren’t overeating anything.

Cooking instead of eating out is also a good way to make a new diet work for you. You’ll also need to join a CrossFit gym, but like stated earlier, they are easy to work with about payment plans. 


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