Our Interview with Mat Fraser
2014 World CrossFit Games Runner-Up
Colchester, VT (Champlain Valley CrossFit)
*Athletes are not directly affiliated with Europa Sports.
Two years ago, Mat Fraser was a total stranger to the CrossFit community. Today, he’s known around the world. He’s been called a lot of names over the course of his career, most notably: Olympic hopeful, national champion weightlifter, rookie, rising star, and Froning-esque. We are confident that in the near future he will soon have one more claim to fitness fame. In 2015, we could likely be calling him the fittest man on earth.
There’s strength in weakness.
As a former competitive weightlifter, Mat is familiar with the discipline and training required to win. And he has the awards to prove it. While most fitness champs spends hours upon hours working out, sticking to morning and evening training sessions, Mat’s different. He trains for 1-2 hours a day and works mainly on one thing: eliminating weakness.
Strength is weakness leaving the body.
It takes a strong person to take down weaknesses one by one. And this is exactly the way Mat attacks fitness. Read on to learn more about Mat’s journey and what’s brought him this far. We all know where he’s headed next, but only Mat knows how he will get there.
Q: How has your training changed since finishing 2nd at the 2014 CrossFit Games? What is your strategy for the 2015 games?
A: After the Games, I started training twice a day. But I didn’t feel it was beneficial for me. So I am back to training just once a day. My strategy for 2015 is to just be as fit as possible.
Q: After a very successful inaugural games (2nd place) and with Rich Froning retiring from individual competition, do you feel any additional pressure or expectations?
A: No. I have the same pressure on myself that I have always had—with or without Rich there. My expectations are to do the best I can. I will hold my head high—win or lose—if I know I did everything in my power.
Q: How do you feel about all the changes to the CrossFit Open this year?
A: I am very excited about the changes that are happening. I think having less qualifying sport from the open is going to make it much more exciting. But what I am even more excited for is the addition of the scaled and teen division. I think it’s great how the open will truly be inclusive to everybody.
When I was weightlifting in my teens, there was one competition a year that separated competitors into age groups. It was the highlight for every teenager, every year, in the lifting world, because it was comparing apples to apples. It put everyone on an even playing field. It is so hard to compare a 14 year old to a 17 year old. I think all the younger people in CrossFit will be excited to see the results.
Q: How do you attack a weakness once you’ve identified it?
A: I don’t really have a specific science for it. I just try to incorporate it into my training every day in some way, until I find myself excited to do that movement. Then I move on to the next movement that I hate.
Q: How has CrossFit impacted your life?
A: In some ways, it hasn’t changed anything. In other ways, I have a whole new life. I am still a full-time engineering student. It hasn’t changed where I live; it hasn’t changed what I drive; it hasn’t changed my friends or my family. But, it has opened so many doors of opportunity that it’s unbelievable to me. I get to travel the country, meeting so many different people. I’m having a blast everywhere I go. The CrossFit community has been so kind to me. I don’t want to go back.
Q: Between the NPGL, CrossFit Games and other events, you maintain a rigorous training schedule. What are the keys to your success overall and maintaining your busy schedule? How does nutrition/supplementation play a role?
A: Actually, I feel like I have a very lax training schedule. I train day by day based on how I feel. I recently went about 8-9 days without training at all, because I wasn’t feeling great. But now I’m feeling good, so I’m back to training in full swing. Lately, I have started to pay very close attention to what I use for nutrition and supplements. So that when I do feel good, I am able to refuel my body correctly. So I can keep going.
Q: What is your daily supplement schedule? How has your supplementation/nutrition changed, if at all, from your Olympic lifting days to now?
A: I have a WOD pack in the morning, pre-WOD before training, protein after training, and then aminos + creatine + glutamine at night. My diet and supplements are completely different from when I was lifting. For most of my lifting career, I competed at 77kg (170lbs) and now I am 190lbs or so. While lifting, I ate a lot of dry chicken and plain tuna and didn’t pay too much attention to supplements. Now, I eat Paleo for the most part, and have a fairly regular supplement routine.
Q: What did you think of your inaugural season with the NY Rhinos?
A: I think it is a very exciting sport, and in the right hands, the league will take off. I also think it is good because it gives the specialists in the game a time to shine.
Q: Do you still train 1-2 hours a day?
A: I am still training once a day, usually closer to the two-hour mark. I haven’t changed the volume I’m doing in that time, just giving myself 20-30 minutes in between workouts to eat a little something and recover a bit.
Mat Fraser By the Numbers
Rookie of the Year at the 2014 Games
- 2014 2nd Place – The CrossFit Games
- 2014 1st Place – Northeast Regionals
- 2014 1st Place – East Coast Championships – Competitors Division
- 2013 5th Place – Northeast Regionals
- 2013 1st Place – East Coast Championships
- 2013 1st Place – Beast of the East
- Snatch – 315#
- Clean & Jerk – 375#
- Back Squat – 485#
- Front Squat – 405#
- Jerk – 395#
- OH Squat – 385#
- Fran – 2:09
- Isabel – 1:19
- Grace – 1:23
- 50 HSPU – 55 Seconds
- NPGL Team Member: NY Rhinos 2014
As stated earlier, Mat Fraser has been called many names. But the best name of all is the one he has made for himself. There may be over 10,000 CrossFit affiliates in the nation. But the folks at Champain Valley CrossFit in Vermont knew long before the rest of the world that Mat is one in a million.
Good luck, Mat. We’ll see you at the Games.
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