01 – Rich Froning on competition, shifting priorities, and discovering his purpose


Rich Froning is the reigning and four-time Fittest Man on Earth. He has competed at the CrossFit Games since 2010 as an individual, but this year he will appear at the Games with his team, CrossFit Mayhem Freedom. I’ve had the opportunity to get to know Rich a little bit over the past several years, as we both competed on Team USA at the CrossFit Invitational in 2012 and 2014 and on Rogue Team Black during the 2014 CrossFit Team Series.

Team USA - 2012 CrosFit Invitational.
Team USA – 2012 CrossFit Invitational. Photo: CrossFit, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Team USA 2014 - Training at CrossFit Mayhem.
Team USA 2014 – Training at CrossFit Mayhem

I’ve recently spent time in Cookeville, TN training with his team and getting to know his community at CrossFit Mayhem. I’ve always been impressed by how competing in CrossFit has helped Rich to discover his purpose in life, and how he has used his platform to positively impact so many people.

Training with CrossFit Mayhem Freedom and Chris Hinshaw in Cookeville, TN
Training with CrossFit Mayhem Freedom and Chris Hinshaw in Cookeville, TN

In this episode, we talk about:

  • The workouts our dads do
  • His mental and physical transition from individual to team CrossFit Games competition
  • The biggest challenges of preparing for team competition
  • His CrossFit Games Central Regional 2015 experience
  • How his life has changed from before he found CrossFit to now
  • The impact of CrossFit on Cookeville and his local community
  • How re-prioritizing and reconnecting with his faith after adversity at the 2010 CrossFit Games led him to four consecutive CrossFit Games titles
  • His outlook on using his fitness for life rather than competition
  • His plans for the future and how he hopes to be remembered as a CrossFit Games athlete
  • Three things he does on a regular basis that have the biggest positive impact on his health
  • One thing he struggles to implement that could have a big impact on his health
  • What a healthy life looks like to him

You can follow Rich on Twitter and Instagram. Look out for the world premiere of his upcoming documentary created by CrossFit: FroIVing: The Fittest Man in History on July 23, 2015.

If you like this episode, please subscribe to Pursuing Health on iTunes and give it a rating! I’d love to hear all of your feedback in the comments below and on social media using the hashtag #JFHealth. I look forward to bringing you future episodes with inspiring individuals and ideas about health every other Tuesday!

16 Responses to “01 – Rich Froning on competition, shifting priorities, and discovering his purpose”

  1. Davis Reed

    LOVE the podcast idea Julie! As a college student who discovered CrossFit 2 years ago and is currently applying to medical school, you are truly inspiring. I really liked the last few questions you asked Rich, I assume you’ll ask everyone you have on the show those questions and I look forward to hearing how they differ from person to person. One thing that I would love to hear is an episode (or episodes) on how to make fitness and nutrition relatable to other people who might have no background in CrossFit or other fitness programs. Obviously having on Games athletes is great, but it would be cool to hear from some practicing physicians on how they incorporate health and wellness into their practice. Keep it up Julie and I can’t wait to see what you do in the future!

  2. Marissa

    Hey Julie! A few things I am hoping to see in some future podcasts or maybe if I’m lucky, a direct response. I am a college student, 1 year into CrossFit, and completely obsessed. I always see post of athletes like yourself posting pictures of daily meals and go to food throughout the day. I feel like the dedicated gym goers doing the 5 days on, 2 active recovery days “off” like myself have a grasp on the types of food our bodies need but not the quantity and timing. Even as a college student who is always on the go, I find it pretty easy to live a clean paleo lifestyle but I often question how much of each food group I should be eating based on my level of training. With training on the table comes my final question. At what point do you step up your game from the 1 hour class plus maybe some lifting after to the 4-6 hour long workouts 5 days a week? And I’m not talking about gaining confidence, establishing priorities, and learning to sacrifice; I’m talking about the person (me) who has chosen to ignore the typical college party scene for the 9 pm bedtimes and early Saturday morning training but doesn’t have the coach who is willing to put in the individual attention. Keep up the good work, Julie and I hope to hear back from you!

  3. Maria Luna

    I liked hearing about the spiritually Rich incorporates into his life, and how awesome is it to hear he takes his physical ability and has fun by playing sports. I agree it’s one way to have some fun and spend time outside a gym. I’m new to working out and dont have an athletic background, so the gym is sometimes too routine for me. What sports lend themselves nicely to cross fit?

  4. Tauren Keels

    I think this was Great Julie !!!! i look forward to future podcasts! I also would love to hear more from you and your thoughts so maybe every now then you could do a q&a just about you ,reading and responding to questions from your fans!

  5. Tauren Keels

    I think this was Great Julie !!!! i look forward to future podcasts! I also would love to hear more from you and your thoughts so maybe every now then you could do a q&a just about you ,reading and responding to questions from your fans.

  6. Marc

    FANTASTIC first podcast!! It’s always great to hear what top athletes have to say about their rise in crossfit and how they came to be where they are, because for us “normal” folk, we look up to the best of the best and are constantly striving to get there in our own lives! I think its also great to hear about the drawbacks Rich experienced, to let us viewers know that even the best of the best have mental physical and emotional struggles.

    One thing that could be really interesting is a podcast about you personally, and particularly how you plan to transition from being a top female crossfit athlete to a normal everyday crossfitter. For someone who has worked so hard for so long, that transition certainly must be a challenge!

    I will be sure to tune into future podcasts and I wish you the best of luck in your continued recovery!

  7. Kristina Kurkimilis

    Hey Julie! I’m so glad you’re doing a podcast! You were my inspiration a year ago to get involved in crossfit and now I am starting to compete and start my second year of medical school! It was great hearing what Rich had to say about changing his perspective and how it affected his life. You asked great questions! I think it would be cool to hear what you have to say on how crossfit influences the choices and lifestyle you’ve chosen to live as a medical student and ultimately as a doctor. Also, as a competitive college gymnast I’d love to hear about how your recovery is coming and your mindset now after the injury!

  8. Darrin Woodie

    This was a great podcast! Thank you rich for always being awesome haha. Great job Julie, can’t wait to hear the next one.

  9. KickinAssChick

    pretty enjoyable

  10. Trey Warnock

    Awesome podcast! Looking forward to what is to come. It’s nice to see a Health-Care professional leading the charge in longevity.

  11. Gina Hardley

    Loved how down-to-earth and honest this conversation was. Thank you for sharing your Faith and how it’s impacted your life. You are both so encouraging. Thank you!

  12. Denis Vasin

    Loved it! Thank you for the great start! it was easy to listen and i totally enjoy that interview w/ Rich.

  13. Jarryd

    This was great! I just subscribed, looking forward to the listening to the next one. I’d like to hear you talk more, especially instead of saying that’s awesome, and then moving on to the next question

  14. Derek Sennett

    Julie, this is absolutely fantastic. I have watched Crossfit for over 4 years and try to stay active as much as possible. This podcast is exactly what I have been wanting to see happen for years. Thank you for your positive position in the community and the work you have put in. You have shown me with everything you and several others you workout with what I can potentially do as well and I look forward to what is to come. Great episode and looking to see many more.

  15. melissa

    loved the podcast and just subscribed! (:

  16. Matt Hailey

    Great start to the podcast Julie. I’m extremely impressed with how Rich was allowed to openly share his faith in Jesus with the audience. That says a lot about you as the host and she show overall (in a good way). I’ve been looking for a podcast like this where it’s CrossFit & health without the explicit symbol next to the podcast but honestly, it doesn’t exist. Thanks for creating this.


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