Rich Froning Jr.

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Rich Froning Jr.
Rich Froning at Wodapalooza in 2019
Personal information
Born (1987-07-21) July 21, 1987 (age 36)
Mount Clemens, Michigan, U.S.
EducationTennessee Tech (Exercise Science)
OccupationCrossFit Athlete
Years activeIndividual Competition: 2010–2014
Team Competition: 2015–present
Height5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Weight195 lb (88 kg)
SpouseHillary Froning
Partner(s)Dan Bailey, Darren Hunsucker, Thomas Cox, James Hobart, Matt Hewett, Tyler Goodman, Josh Blake
Achievements and titles
World finals
  • 2010 CrossFit Games Runner-Up
  • 2011 CrossFit Games Champion
  • 2012 CrossFit Games Champion
  • 2013 CrossFit Games Champion
  • 2014 CrossFit Games Champion
  • 2015 CrossFit Games Affiliate Cup Champion
  • 2016 CrossFit Games Affiliate Cup Champion
  • 2017 CrossFit Games Affiliate Cup Runner-Up
  • 2018 CrossFit Games Affiliate Cup Champion
  • 2019 CrossFit Games Team Champion
  • 2021 CrossFit Games Team Champion
Regional finals5-times Regional champion (2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015)
3-times Open worldwide champion (2012, 2013, 2014)
Personal bests

Rich Froning Jr. (born July 21, 1987) is an American professional CrossFit athlete known for his achievements participating in the CrossFit Games. He became the first person to win the CrossFit Games title of "Fittest Man on Earth" four times with his first-place finish in the 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 CrossFit Games. In 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019, 2021, and 2022, he led a team from CrossFit Mayhem to a first-place finish in the Team category in the CrossFit Games.

In addition to making a living off CrossFit, Froning has won over $1,050,000 in prize money from winning the CrossFit Games four times.[2] Additionally, he has accumulated significant sponsorships from brands like Reebok,[3] Oakley,[4] and Rogue Fitness.[5] In early 2015, Reebok released a shoe designed, in part, by Froning.[6]

Froning owns and operates the affiliate gym CrossFit Mayhem, located in Cookeville, Tennessee, and is a member of the CrossFit Level 1 Seminar Staff.

Early life[edit]

Froning was born in Mount Clemens, Michigan. He moved to Cookeville, Tennessee, where he currently resides. There he attended Cookeville High School where he played baseball and was an all-district, all-region second baseman. He also participated in football. Upon graduating in 2005, Froning received a baseball scholarship to Walters State Community College. Soon after, Froning decided to end his baseball career, and began working at the Cookeville Fire Department, while continuing his studies at Tennessee Tech.[7] Froning was introduced to CrossFit by one his professors at Tennessee Tech in 2009, and he soon developed a passion for CrossFit and started doing CrossFit workouts in his barn.[8] In 2010, he began coaching and competing.[9]

Professional career[edit]

Froning has competed at the CrossFit Games since 2010. Froning qualified for the 2010 Southeast Regional competition through the Sectional Qualifiers, a precursor to the online-based Open. Froning won the Regional, thereby qualifying for the fourth CrossFit Games at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California.[10]

At the 2010 Games, Froning earned five top 5 finishes including two event wins, and never dropped below 19th. He was leading heading into the final event, however the rope climb portion of the final event exposed "a chink in his armor" in terms of technique. Froning did not use his legs and feet to wrap round the rope, and attempted the rope climbs only using his arms. Fatigued, Froning fell from the rope multiple times.[11][12] His 12th-place finish on the final event opened up the space necessary for Graham Holmberg to move up to the top spot. The 2010 Games podium had Holmberg in first, Froning in second, and Chris Spealler in third.

In 2011, Froning had a poor start at the Games in the Beach event that featured the first ever ocean swim, but performed consistently well in most of the other events, winning three events, including the event that featured rope-climbing,[13] and placed second in three further events. He topped the leaderboard with nearly a hundred points better than second place Josh Bridges, thereby winning his first CrossFit Games title.[14][15]

Froning followed the 2011 Games win by winning every stage of the 2012-2014 Games season including the worldwide Open, Regionals, and the Games. That winning streak lasted until he retired from Individual Competition.

Froning competing at the 2012 CrossFit Games

In the 2012 Games, Froning won three of the events (Chipper, Elizabeth, and Isabel), beating second-place Matt Chan to win again this year.[16] Both Froning and the winner of the women's competition Annie Thorisdottir were the first athletes to win the CrossFit Games twice.[17]

In 2013, Froning again started poorly in the swimming event, finishing in 30th place. However, he performed well in the most of the other events, and won the last three. He topped the leaderboard, beating Jason Khalipa to win for the third time, thereby becoming the first ever three time winner of the Games.[18]

At the 2014 Games, Froning faced a strong challenge from newcomer Mat Fraser. He struggled in the heat in the Triple-3 event, and had to walk part of the run course. At 37th place, it was his worst-ever finish in a CrossFit Games event.[19] However, he finished strongly with three consecutive event wins in the final day to win a record fourth consecutive title.[20] Froning retired from individual competition after this Games. He set the standard for the "Fittest Man on Earth" with his four consecutive CrossFit Games. In a documentary released in the summer of 2015, "Froning," documentary filmmakers from CrossFit, Inc., said that Froning was the Fittest Man in History.[21]

In each of the years since, Froning has qualified for Regionals as an individual; however, he chose to participate in the team competition instead, as part of the "Mayhem Freedom" team.[22]

Froning has said "It's not necessarily that I like to win, but I hate losing more."[6]

CrossFit Mayhem[edit]

Froning started competing as part of the CrossFit Mayhem/CrossFit Mayhem Freedom team in 2015 after he retired from individual competitions at the Games. He has been a constant in the team since 2015, although other members of the team have changed through the years. The team has won all the team competitions at the Games from 2015 to 2022 apart from 2017 when it came second, and 2020 when no team competition was held.[23][24]

Froning announced that he would retire from team competition in October 2022 after winning his sixth CrossFit Games team titles.[25]

CrossFit Games results[edit]

Year Division Games Regionals Open (worldwide)
2010 Individual 2nd[26] 1st[22]
2011 Individual 1st[27] 8th (Team, Central East)* 3rd[28]
2012[22] Individual 1st 1st (Central East) 1st
2013[22] Individual 1st 1st (Central East) 1st
2014[22] Individual 1st 1st (Central East) 1st
2015 Team[22] 1st 1st (Central) 4th
(2nd Individual)
2016 Team[22] 1st 1st (Central) 3rd
(2nd Individual)
2017 Team[22] 2nd 1st (Central) 4th
(11th Individual)
2018 Team[22] 1st 1st (Central) 3rd
(10th Individual)
Year Division Games Qualifier Open (Individual only)
2019 Team 1st 5th (Wodapalooza)
1st (Asia)
3rd (Rogue)
10th (world)
5th (United States)[22]
2020 Team 1st (SiD)[29]
1st (WZA)[30]
19th (world)
8th (United States)[22]
Year Division Games Semifinal Quarterfinal Open (Individual only)
2021 Team 1st 1st (MACC) 1st (North America) 5th (world)
4th (United States) [31]
2022 Team 1st 1st (MACC) 1st (North America) 2nd (world)
1st (United States) [31]
*As the 2010 runner-up, Froning was prequalified to compete as an individual in 2011

Diet and training[edit]

Froning does not adhere to the Paleolithic diet nor Zone diet, both of which are popular in the CrossFit community.[32] He states that he does not adhere to a specific diet plan, and does not count his calorie intake. He eats large amounts of peanut butter and drinks whole milk, both of which are not compliant with Paleo standards. During the day he typically does not eat an excessive amount, instead eating a large meal at night and drinking multiple Advocare protein shakes, combined with berries, almond milk, and peanut butter.[33][34]

He reports working out multiple times a day[35] and, unlike other athletes, prefers not to take days off from training. Froning does not have a coach nor programmer who writes his workouts. Instead, he often finds an exceptional athlete to be his training partner, such as Games athletes Dan Bailey and James Hobart. Froning utilizes regulated breathing exercises to help control his heart rate, and trains using a specialized mouthpiece designed to maximize the opening of the wearer's breathing passages.[36]

Some of Froning's methods are discussed in his 2013 memoir, First: What It Takes to Win.[37]

Personal life[edit]

Froning is a Christian.[38] He has a tattoo on his side, that says "Galatians 6:14".[39] Rich and his wife, Hillary, have adopted two daughters and a son.[40][41][42]


  • First: What It Takes to Win (2013) ISBN 978-1414386782
  • Froning: The Fittest Man in History (2015)


  1. ^ Froning, Rich. "CrossFit Games: Athlete Profile". Crossfit Games. Crossfit, Inc. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
  2. ^ "CrossFit Games Prize Purse Grows". CrossFit Games. Retrieved 2015-10-09.
  3. ^ "Rich Froning Signs Long-Term Deal with Reebok". Men's Fitness. 22 July 2014. Retrieved 2015-10-09.
  4. ^ "Oakley Training Icon and CrossFit Games Repeat Champion Rich Froning Joins Oakley Family | Oakley Sports". Retrieved 2015-10-09.
  5. ^ "Rogue Athletes - Tips, Tweets & Videos from Top CrossFit Pros". Rogue Fitness. Retrieved 2015-10-09.
  6. ^ a b Reebok CrossFit Compete 6:14, retrieved 2015-10-09
  7. ^ "Rich Froning: Athlete Biography". BSN. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
  8. ^ "The Fittest Man on Earth". Men's Journal.
  9. ^ Crossfit Games. "Athlete Feature: Rich Froning". Crossfit Games. Crossfit, Inc. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
  10. ^ "The New Guy: The Southeast Regional". CrossFit Journal.
  11. ^ "2010 CrossFit Games - Men's Final Event". CrossFit. September 16, 2011.
  12. ^ Rich Froning Jr., First: What it takes to win.2013. Tyndale House Publishers.
  13. ^ "In case you missed it: the epic 2011 Crossfit Games". Yevgeniy Brikman. August 2, 2011.
  14. ^ "Athletes of the Month – Rich Froning Jr. and Annie Thorisdottir". Points Sports Health.
  15. ^ "Scoreboard". 2011 CrossFit Games.
  16. ^ "Games > 2012". CrossFit Games.
  17. ^ Borawski Jenkins, Becca. "Froning And Thorisdottir Win The CrossFit Games...Again!". Breaking Muscle.
  18. ^ Langford, Richard (July 24, 2013). "CrossFit Games 2013: Daily Results, Leaderboard Standings and More". Bleacher Report.
  19. ^ Imbo, William. "Froning Begins His Comeback. Khalipa, Webb Lead After Day 2 of Competition". BoxLife Magazine.
  20. ^ LoFranco, Justin (August 2, 2020). "July 25, 2014: Maybe the Biggest Comeback in Games History". Morning Chalk Up.
  21. ^ "Froning on iTunes". iTunes. Retrieved 2015-10-09.
  22. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Leaderboard". CrossFit Games. Retrieved 2015-10-09.
  23. ^ "The Evolution of Team Crossfit Mayhem Through The Years". Heatonminded. September 16, 2019.
  24. ^ Blechman, Phil (August 1, 2021). "Rich Froning's Team Mayhem Reigns Supreme — 2021 CrossFit Games Teams Division Results". BarBend.
  25. ^ LoFranco, Justin (October 25, 2022). "Rich Froning Announces Retirement from Team Competition, Leaves Door Open for Masters". Morning Chalk Up.
  26. ^ "2010 CrossFit Games Finals Overall Results (Men)". Retrieved 2015-10-09.
  27. ^ "2011 CrossFit Games Results Men". Retrieved 2015-10-09.
  28. ^ "Scoreboard | CrossFit Games". Retrieved 2015-10-09.
  29. ^ "Strength in Depth Leaderboards". Strength in Depth. Retrieved January 27, 2020.
  30. ^ "Wodapalooza Leaderboard". Competition Corner. Retrieved 24 February 2020.
  31. ^ a b "Scoreboard | CrossFit Games". Retrieved 2021-08-06.
  32. ^ [1], Muscle & Fitness magazine Live Chat with CrossFit Games Champ Rich Froning
  33. ^ Dehority, Sam (21 February 2012). "The Fittest Man on Earth". Men's Fitness. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  34. ^ Campbell, Jessica (2021-05-03). "Here's What CrossFit's Rich Froning Eats In A Day". Men's Health Magazine Australia. Retrieved 2022-12-14.
  35. ^ "Rich Froning: Day at the Office". March 3, 2014.
  36. ^ Cooper, Edward (2021-07-30). "Four-Time Fittest Man on Earth, Rich Froning, Swears By 'Optimised Breathing' for Superior Fitness". Men's Health Magazine UK. Retrieved 2024-04-05.
  37. ^ Rich Froning Jr., First: What It Takes to Win. 2013. Tyndale House Publishers.
  38. ^ "'Fittest Man on Earth' Rich Froning Jr.: Put Jesus First, Everything else Will Fall into Place".
  39. ^ "Rich Froning's Tattoo and Meaning". Hative. 2014-02-18. Retrieved 2020-07-10.
  40. ^ Pyfferoen, Brian (March 28, 2018). "Rich and Hillary Froning Adopt 3rd Child". The Barbell Spin.
  41. ^ Cox, Madeline (July 1, 2019). "Mum's heartbreak after losing three babies through adoption process". Kidspot.
  42. ^ Froning, Hilary. "Forever a Froning".