On an average workout day, Rich Froning eats somewhere in the area of 200 grams of protein, 500 grams of carbs, and 100 grams of fat — between 3,500 and 4,000 calories per day. Butwhat makes up those macronutrients and how he chooses them might surprise you.
Froning has won the Reebok CrossFit® Games as an individual four times, which was the most of any person ever until Mat Fraser won his fourth title in 2019. But since Froning’s last win as an individual in 2014 he has competed with his team, CrossFit Mayhem, and won the Team division at four separate Games as well. There’s a strong argument to be made that he’s the most influential and successful CrossFit athlete of all time.
For this article we’ve spoken to Nick Shaw, the CEO of Renaissance Periodization and Rich Froning’s personal nutrition coach, to learn the ins and outs of how this man eats to fuel some of the most demanding workouts a human being is capable of. We’ll be covering:
- Fasting and CrossFit
- Protein, Carbs, and Fats
- Takeaways for CrossFit Athletes
Froning, Fasting, and CrossFit
Is intermittent fasting good for CrossFit?
Froning has said in the past that he likes toeat in an 8-hour window, a popular form of intermittent fasting called 16/8. (Because you fast for sixteen hours and eat during eight of them.) He typically trains from 8am until noon, takes a break until 2pm, then trains until 4 or 5pm. (He seldom takes rest days.)
He used to not really eat until his training was done for the day, but Nick Shaw has pushed him to move his window back so that he starts eating during that 2-hour lunchtime break. And frankly, he doesn’t recommend fasting for CrossFit. But it’s not a dealbreaker.
“It’s OK, but it’s not ideal, it’s not optimal. It’s not the best thing you can do,” says Shaw. “I showed (Froning) research that said for high-level athletes it’s probably not the best, butas a coach there’s a fine line.You want things to be optimal, but you want to give people some wiggle room, some space for their personal preferences. If someone’s going to try and follow a diet, do you want to hammer this idea that everything has to be perfect, and then they won’t stick to it? There’s a balance between what’s super,super optimal and what might stick.”
[Related: Our Complete Guide to Intermittent Fasting]
The foundation of Renaissance Periodization’s approach to nutrition is this pyramid, or “priority chart”:
Your total calories are 50 percent of your results, the balance of macronutrients is 30 percent, hydration and micronutrients are about 10 percent, and when you eat your food is just 10 percent of the equation.
“A few percentage points, in the grand scheme of things, is not too detrimental to performance,” says Shaw.
It’s not idealto have huge gaps between meals if you’re training twice a day, especially if you’re trying to put on muscle. But if it makes your diet easier to stick to then it’s not a huge deal.
Rich Froning’s Macronutrients
- ~1 gram per pound of bodyweight
“Pretty much every meal other than the shakes are 45 grams of protein, 25 grams of healthy fats, and then 100 to 120 grams of carbohydrates.”
That’s what the man himself says in this video of a day of eating for Rich Froning. How much protein does he eat throughout a day? The pretty standard 1 gram per pound of bodyweight.He weighs about 200 pounds and Shaw gives him leeway to eat 180 to 220 grams.
“We don’t necessarily pay too too much attention to the ratios and percentages but for most people,one gram per pound for protein.You’ll have some wiggle room, so around there is good,” says Shaw.“I’m not saying you don’t need to be precise, but given how food labels are always up in the air with regard to how correct they are, you assume there’s a margin of error in there. So again, consistency is going to trump perfection.”
[Related: How Much Protein Should I Eat?]
- 0.3 to 0.5 grams per pound of bodyweight
When coming up with the ideal macro split, people generally work out calories first, protein second, and then adjust carbs and fat based on activity levels and individual preference. When it comes to fat, in a diet like Froning’s it winds up a relatively small portion of the overall calories simply because he has to fit in a lot of carbs to fuel his extraordinary activity level.
“Generally, because he’s training so much, the strategy is to limit fats around the workout window because they slow down digestion,” says Shaw. “So for someone training 4 to 5 hours a day over two workouts, it’s all high carb. If Rich ever took a rest day, you’d see that fat intake come up.”
Though CrossFit has historically been the home of a lot of folks pushing higher fat Paleo diets, Froning’s intake is usually around 80 to 100 grams of fat per day. But regular gymgoers who aren’t pro athletes training for hours and hours every day will have more room for fats in their diets.
“I think the trend, especially in CrossFit, has been a bit away from Paleo and more into the macro concept,” says Shaw. “Because I think what people are starting to realize is that it takes so much time and energy to devote to training, and it makes things harder if you’re going Paleo and limiting your food choices if you can’t eat bread and rice. It makes things harder.”
[Want to work out your diet? Check out the best macros calculator for athletes]
- Usually 2.5 grams per pound of bodyweight, depending on activity levels
Carbs are centered around training and Froning usually eats about 500 grams per day. It dips a little on rest days, but those are very few and far between.
What might be the most unusual aspect of his diet is that carbohydrates are separated into three categories:
- Healthy Carbs, eg. Whole grain bread, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, fruit
- High GI Carbs, eg. Sugary cereal, Nutrigrain bars, white bread with jam, fat free frozen yogurt, white potatoes, low fat baked goods
- Workout Carbs, eg.Gatorade, Powerade, lemonade, fruit punch, Kool Aid, juice
Basically, the “healthy carbs” are for any time of day except around your workout. You have the “high glycemic index” carbs post workout and the “workout carbs” are liquid, which you’re advised to take right before and during the workout.
[Related: Your Ultimate Guide to Pre and Post Workout Nutrition]
“While you’re training, it’s going to be a bit more beneficial and optimal to have liquids because they get into the system quickly and they don’t’ cause as much stomach distress,” says Shaw. “Your’e trying to go all out during a metabolic conditioning workout so you don’t want to have too much in your stomach or you’ll be in the guy yakking.”
Although Froning’s most recent diet video had him eating fast food from Chick-Fil-A, Shaw isn’t too worried about an athlete being flexible with food quality.
“From his standpoint he’s hitting those top two in our priority chart, calorie and macros,” he says. “I’m not going to sit here and say Chick-Fil-A is ideal for everybody, but is he doing that every day? No. It’s all a balancing act.”
Rich Froning’s Supplements
There are just five supplements that Shaw endorses:
- Workout carbohydrates
Multivitamins and fish oil are also deemed useful unless you have an absolutely fantastic diet. But of course, most people don’t.
[Related: Our picks for the Best Whey Protein Powders]
Renaissance Periodization’s approach isn’t quite an “If It Fits Your Macros” diet. Athletes aren’t given their calories and macros and free reign to fill them with whatever they please.
But itisa flexible diet: you’re encouraged to prioritize calories, then macros, micronutrients, hydration, supplements, and meal timing in roughly that order. If you want the best results, then hit all those areas of your diet. But what’s actually most important is adherence.If you’re given absolutely no room to eat a meal that might not be perfectly healthy, then you’re unlikely to stick to the diet.
It’s important to remember that you’re probably not Rich Froning, so emulating his diet to a T may not be what’s needed for your needs.
“A couple main takeaways for the average CrossFit athlete is eating a little bit more, especially higher carbs around training, with performance and recovery as your main focus,” says Shaw. “If you’re a typical CrossFit athlete going for an hour WOD a couple of times a week, the need to supplement and eat a lot more around training drops a little bit. So it depends on what level you are.”
A lot of people who try to be healthy tend to undereat carbs and calories, so it’s definitely worth working out your calorie needs and tracking, at least for a few weeks to get a feel for your needs and to give you a base to eat intuitively then on out.
Whatever your level, that priority chart: calories, macros, micros, hydration, supplements and meal timing, is worth remembering.
Featured image via @richfroning on Instagram.
What Rich Froning eats in a day? ›
Everything you need to know about the diet of the most influential CrossFit® athlete of all time. On an average workout day, Rich Froning eats somewhere in the area of 200 grams of protein, 500 grams of carbs, and 100 grams of fat — between 3,500 and 4,000 calories per day.What Meal plan does Rich Froning use? ›
To tackle his nutritional needs, Froning began intermittent fasting and uses RP Health, a nutrition coaching company. Together, they developed a personalized plan that outlines how much he should consume of each macronutrient when working out two and three times a day, as well as on active recovery days.What is the 16 8 diet CrossFit? ›
The 16:8 method has users fasting for a 16-hour window, which leaves an eight-hour eating window. In the 5:2 method, practitioners eat normally for five days and consume 500-600 calories on the two fasting days of the week. The 1:1 method is where one eats normally for one day and fasts the next.What is the best diet to lose weight while doing CrossFit? ›
BOTTOM LINE: CrossFit recommends the Zone Diet, which encourages a balance of lean proteins, non-starchy vegetables, nuts, seeds and low glycemic fruit while limiting starch and refined sugar. The diet is overall healthy and may help manage hunger and improve blood sugar and inflammation.What athlete eats the most calories per day? ›
The swimming superstar pounds a whopping 12,000 calories per day, most notably while training for the 2008 Olympics. His diet consists of a pound of pasta, an entire pizza, three fried egg sandwiches, grits, and French toast, to name a few.
Q: How many hours of sleep do you get on average? Rich: 7-8 hours.What protein does Rich Froning use? ›
Froning is reportedly a big fan of peanut butter, so he mostly gets his protein intake from peanut butter and protein powder.How many carbs do Crossfitters eat? ›
75g of carbs per pound of body weight. On days as described above with some lifting and a metcon we go from 1-1.5g of carbs per pound. If you're really doing 2 marathon training sessions a day, you could be as high as 3g of carbs per pound of body weight.How many days a week should you do the 16 8 diet? ›
Try this today: If you're interested in 16/8 intermittent fasting and don't have underlying conditions, start by giving it a go 1–2 days per week.What are the best 16 8 fasting times? ›
Most often, people following 16/8 intermittent fasting will choose to skip breakfast and eat in a window from roughly 11 a.m.-7 p.m. or 12 p.m.- 8 p.m., with those later hours allowing for flexibility for after work get-togethers and later dinners with friends and family—this option is also great for late-risers.
Whats better 5 2 or 16 8 diet? ›
Compared with the 5:2, the 16:8 is easier to stick to – if you can ward off your morning hunger and not eat until 10am or lunchtime each day, all you then need to do is eat two to three well balanced meals within an eight hour period.How do you lose belly fat with CrossFit? ›
Jade recommends large compound barbell movements. We're talking squats, lunges, deadlifts, thrusters (squat-to-overhead press), shoulder presses, barbell rows, as well as bodyweight exercises like strict pull-ups and push-ups. Don't be afraid to go heavy on the weights!How many times a week should you do CrossFit to lose weight? ›
"My biggest tip for using CrossFit to lose weight would be to go at least three times a week." Keep in mind, though, that if weight loss is your overall goal, consistency is queen. “My biggest tip for using CrossFit to lose weight would be to go at least three times a week,” says Tracy.Will I lose belly fat doing CrossFit? ›
Even though CrossFit can help you lose belly fat because you burn calories while you work out, reducing belly fat comes down to your nutrition. There is no way for you to out-exercise your bad diet. If you want to lose belly fat, you have to decrease your overall body fat percentage.What are the heaviest calorie foods? ›
Examples include butter, oils, salad dressings, sugar, nuts, seeds, dry bread, dry cereal, crackers, egg yolk, avocado, dried fruit, red meat, and yes, Egg Muffins and pizza. As you can see from the chart below, oils are the most calorie-dense foods on the planet.What happens when you eat at night? ›
Eating late at night may lead to acid reflux and negatively affect blood sugar management, blood pressure, and weight. This may be due to many factors like poor food choices.What is Simone Biles diet? ›
As a gold medalist who's prepping for her second Olympics, Simone Biles pretty much lives at the gym, so she has to keep her body fueled. To do so, she eats a diet rich in protein, fiber, and lots of fruits and vegetables. However, she says it's important that she does not restrict herself or count calories.How is Rich Froning so jacked? ›
Froning does a lot of squats, deadlifts and power cleans, which is how he maintains such a strong base. After lunch, he trains again from 2:30pm until 3pm, and then might fit one final session in at around 4pm if his body feels good. These afternoon workouts tend to be more CrossFit specific.How many hours does Usain Bolt sleep? ›
He said, “Sleep is extremely important to me — I need to rest and recover in order for the training I do to be absorbed by my body.” Bolt sleeps for 8 to 10 hours per night and he is not alone.What diet do most Crossfitters use? ›
What is CrossFit's diet recommendation? Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat. These two sentences capture a nutritional approach that, when applied with our workouts, yields incredible health and fitness.
Do Crossfitters eat sugar? ›
CrossFit recommends eating meat, vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, and no sugar when eating for wellness.What to eat for 4000 calories a day? ›
Calorie-dense foods are the best choice to reach 4,000 calories per day without feeling too full or overwhelmed by the amount of food. They are often those with a higher fat or carbohydrate content -- think nuts, avocados, oats, eggs, peanut butter, whole-grain breads, olive oil and other rich foods.What athlete needs the most protein? ›
Athletes seeking to gain muscle mass and strength are likely to consume higher amounts of dietary protein than their endurance-trained counterparts. The main belief behind the large quantities of dietary protein consumption in resistance-trained athletes is that it is needed to generate more muscle protein.What are the best macros for CrossFit? ›
What About Macronutrients? One reason CrossFit likes the Zone Diet is that the breakdown of calories is a good starting point for CrossFit athletes (40 percent of calories from carbohydrate, 30 percent from fat and 30 percent from protein—40 C/30 F/30 P).Why does Rich Froning fast? ›
"I've found that it actually helps a lot with my inflammation, and it's increased my testosterone in about six months," says Froning. But as well as his health, Froning says intermittent fasting has also had a major impact on the quality of his training sessions.Why am I not losing weight with CrossFit? ›
Nutrition Is Essential
“The people that just do CrossFit and don't have a nutrition plan do not lose weight,” says Zuffelato. "When they get serious with the CrossFit program their appetite goes into overdrive and without a proper plan, they don't see any sustained weight loss.
For most active adults, who typically weigh between 100-200 lbs, a good amount of daily carbs is: 100-200 grams per day. A big difference between carbs and protein is that carb intake is, to a large extent, based on energy expenditure (i.e., how much you work out).Does lemon water break a fast? ›
Long story short - the answer to the question “Does lemon water break a fast?” is no, lemon water does not break a fast. Lemon water contains almost no calories and zero sugars, it doesn't raise insulin levels, which means it will not break your fast (1).Does 16 8 intermittent fasting burn belly fat? ›
When examining the rate of weight loss, intermittent fasting may produce weight loss at a rate of approximately 0.55 to 1.65 pounds (0.25–0.75 kg) per week (23). People also experienced a 4–7% reduction in waist circumference, indicating that they lost belly fat.Can I drink coffee during intermittent fasting? ›
Can You Drink Coffee While Intermittent Fasting? The short answer is yes, you can drink coffee while intermittent fasting. But, this answer comes with a big caveat: You can drink black coffee while intermittent fasting, but coffee drinks with cream, sugar, or other forms of calories technically break your fast.
Does sleeping count as fasting? ›
Does sleeping count as fasting? A. Yes, while following intermittent fasting, sleeping is considered a fasting period. Therefore, one does not consume food or drinks during this state.How long does it take to see results from 18 6 intermittent fasting? ›
That's how long it takes your body to switch from using glucose for energy to using fat for energy. Additionally, it will take your body a while to get used to this new eating schedule. So don't expect results right away. You may need to wait between 2 and 4 weeks to see or feel any results.How long does it take to see results from 14 10 intermittent fasting? ›
Most people start to see a difference in their bodies in the first few weeks while practicing 14/10 intermittent fasting plan. Excess body fat starts to get burned off for energy, and you start to gradually lose weight.Which intermittent fasting loses the most weight? ›
“For quicker and more profound weight loss, the alternate day fasting plan is arguably the most effective. A less-extreme and thus easier-to-adopt approach is the 16:8 model.How many hours do you fast on 5:2 diet? ›
It features a daily 16-hour fast and an 8-hour eating window wherein you can fit in 2, 3, or more meals. The 5:2 diet. The 5:2 diet involves eating as you normally do 5 days of the week and restricting your calorie intake to 500–600 on the remaining 2 days. Eat Stop Eat.What is the most successful intermittent fasting? ›
Many people find the 16/8 method to be the simplest, most sustainable and easiest to stick to. It's also the most popular. There are several different ways to do intermittent fasting.Is gym or CrossFit better to lose weight? ›
By performing CrossFit, you are able to lose weight more quickly than if you engaged in an average gym workout, over a certain amount of time. This is because a CrossFit workout helps to burn a higher number of calories than a traditional workout.Will I see results doing CrossFit 3 times a week? ›
Crossfit starters and beginners can improve a lot by doing Crossfit 3 times a week. The amount of progress will depend on your training/sports background.Is cardio better than CrossFit for weight loss? ›
Yes, cardio is the best option for true weight loss.
It all has to do with achieving that magical calorie deficit necessary for weight loss. Cardio helps out in that area since it burns more calories than strength training (you can thank a high heart rate, heavy breathing, and sweat for that).
In general, you can expect to see measurable results in about six weeks of training if you work out properly. Many factors will affect this timeframe: the workouts you do, the frequency of training, the intensity of the workouts, your diet and sleep, your stress levels, and so on.
How long does it take for CrossFit to change your body? ›
Body Shape Change–This stage usually begins shortly after the beginning of the previous stage, anywhere from 1-6 months into your CrossFit experience. As your body begins to get stronger and more efficient, you'll also start to notice that it's beginning to fit in your clothes a bit differently.How often should you take rest days from CrossFit? ›
It's Okay to Take a Rest Day
And experts agree that the professional athlete standard of no rest days or only one day off per week isn't always enough recovery from the Crossfit training sessions we're doing. Instead, we should be aiming for two or three days off per week from all intense exercise.
You can expect to do your CrossFit training around two to five days a week. Many beginners start doing CrossFit workouts for two days a week and then gradually increase it to five days a week after building their stamina and adjusting their bodies to these intense workouts.Why am I gaining weight while doing CrossFit? ›
You will gain weight at first.
Simply stated, because you are using muscles that have been out of the game for years, you will be building those muscles rather rapidly, and muscle weighs more than fat.
Boxers should eat natural carbohydrates, such as those found in sweet potatoes, peas, beans, wholegrain bread, lentils, oats, rice, fruits and honey. A daily diet that consists of 4,000 calories should ideally have 1,800-2,200 calories from quality carbs. This equates to approximately 550g of food weight.How much food does Usain Bolt eat a day? ›
When he has to follow a strict diet because the competition is close, Bolt opts for a diet with a high energy content, about 5.000 calories a day, calibrating each of your six meals with 60% protein, 30% carbohydrates and 10% fat.What foods should boxers avoid? ›
- Red meat: Beef, lamb, pork.
- Processed meats: Hot dogs, sausage, bacon.
- Animal fats: Lard, bacon fat, the skin of poultry.
- Whole-fat dairy products: Whole milk, butter, shortening, heavy cream, cheese.
- Oils: Coconut oil and palm oil.
Breakfast on training days should include a moderate portion of carbohydrates such as oats or bread to help top up the bodies muscle glycogen stores (the bodies main fuel tank) to ensure there is sufficient gas in the tank ready to be used during high intensity training sessions later in the day.Is pasta good for boxers? ›
Carbohydrates should be the foundation of your diet, as they're your main energy source. At breakfast, lunch and dinner, Mark Ellison of the English Institute of Sport and nutritionist to the GB Boxing squad suggests prioritizing carbs from whole-food sources, such as toast, pasta, rice, fruit, vegetables and couscous.What is the most fattening fruit? ›
- Avocados. Calories: 322 per whole avocado. ...
- Figs. Calories: 150 per five small figs. ...
- Dates. Calories: 1 158 calories per 100 grams of pitted medjool dates. ...
- Shredded coconut. Calories: 466 per cup. ...
- Raisins. Calories: 429 per cup. ...
- Bananas. Calories: 121 per large banana. ...
What are 6 foods that cause obesity? ›
- Sugar-sweetened beverages (soda, fruit drinks, sports drinks)
- Fruit juice (no more than a small amount per day)
- Refined grains(white bread, white rice, white pasta) and sweets.
- Potatoes (baked or fried)
- Red meat (beef, pork, lamb) and processed meats (salami, ham, bacon, sausage)
Dried fruits, such as dates, prunes, apricots, figs, sultanas, currants, and raisins, contain more calories than their fresh counterparts, making them great options for healthy weight gain.Does Usain Bolt eat McNuggets? ›
And of course, Usain Bolt eating 1,000 Chicken McNuggets from McDonald's during the Beijing Olympics and still winning three gold medals. Wait, what? In his new memoir, “Faster Than Lightning," Bolt claims he basically lived on a diet of chicken nuggets during the Beijing Games.Do sprinters eat rice? ›
Good sources of carbohydrates for sprinters include whole grains, rice, pasta, fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes and quinoa. Choose a variety of healthy fats including nuts, seeds, oils derived from vegetables, lean cuts of meat and cold-water fish.What is LeBron James diet? ›
In an article published on menshealth.com back in November 2021, LeBron dove deeper into his diet. “I had no sugars, no dairy, I had no carbs. All I ate was meat, fish, veggies and fruit. That's it.Why do people quit CrossFit? ›
Quite frankly, it just didn't feel fun anymore. I also didn't like the direction the programming had taken. On top of it, my gym wasn't super supportive of going lighter than I was capable of to accommodate my running. Not to say that all gyms are this way (they're not), but my gym was not very encouraging.Does Rich Froning use creatine? ›
Rich's Morning Supplements
Mass Impacts core ingredient is Creatine and promotes muscle growth, strength and volume. Advocare rehydrate does exactly what it says on the tin, restoring electrolytes and rehydrating the body, preventing cramping and fatigue.