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20 Lessons from Rich Froning to Help you become a better CrossFit Athlete

6. Rich Froning on Mental Toughness

Mental toughness a key to success in Crossfit because it helps you push farther. Rich has trained a lot of different people in Crossfit. He still wonders why some of them have mental toughness and other don’t.

If he had to answer the question, he thinks it comes down to upbringing and pushing your comfort zone early on. There have been moments during the Crossfit Games where he thought, “I don’t feel like doing this. Why am I doing it?”

And that’s when his upbringing kicked in. His parents made him do a lot of chores, including meaningless tasks like pulling nails off a board, to instill in him a strong work ethic. His work ethic kicked in automatically when he wanted to give up.

crossfit games moments rich froning rope climbsSource: CrossFit Rittenhouse
Focus and drive are essential for every workout

As far as pushing your comfort zone early on, he means you can’t rely on your genetic gifts. He has observed many successful athletes rely on their talents to get them through high school. But when they hit college, they meet people who have the genetic skill and the mental toughness from pushing past their limits.

Therefore, always push yourself farther than you can go. Don’t just try to skate by on winning the genetic lottery.

Katrin Davidsdottir, two-time Crossfit Games winner, agrees. In an interview after winning she said, “Everyone that makes the games is fit. We’re all strong. I think the difference between finishing on the podium or not is the mental game. It’s a long week.”

Crossfit and Fitness Advice

In this section, we cover Rich’s advice specific to Crossfit or fitness.

7. Not Having A Meltdown Means More Than Winning

Crossfit is about endurance across a variety of taxing physical exercises. Rich realized during his competitive days that to win, it isn’t about coming out first in every workout. It’s about scoring among the top people for most of the exercises. It’s similar to a Triathlon or Decathlon in a way where it’s the average score of all your activities that matters.

Therefore, if you don’t have a meltdown and screw up completely in an exercise, you’re on your way to being a winner.

8. If You Hyperfocus In One Area, You Sacrifice Another

This may or may not be a bad thing depending on what your goal is. For workouts in Crossfit, it’s a bad thing. To be the best in Crossfit, it’s about being great at numerous different workouts. By focusing too much on endurance, for example, you can fall behind in powerlifting skill.

To be great at any of the possible variations they can throw at you during the Games, you have to prepare yourself by being great at all of them.

9. Don’t Compare Or Scout Out The Competition

The first big key to success in Crossfit is simply showing up consistently and doing more Crossfit. The second key is to avoid seeing what your competition does.

The Crossfit media love to scout out top players and find out what unique workout routines or tricks they’re using. Rich avoids doing any of that.

10. Let Your Body Tell You When To Push and When To Recover

Rich lets his body tell him when he has been slacking off and needs to work out more and when he is exhausted and needs to take a break.

He usually does at least two hour long workouts a day and aims for 5 metabolic workouts a week and 6 Olympic/ powerlifting workouts a week minimum. Often the training volume is much higher than this.

Rich-and-MayhemSource: CrossFit Inc / CrossFit Mayhem Freedom
Rich and Mayhem

His body is usually accurate in telling him when he has been slacking off and needs to turn up the heat for the workouts and when he needs to rest to recover.

Your body may not be as accurate as Rich’s though. You can use it as a compass, but consulting trainers, professionals, or friends is important.

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