Mat Fraser held onto his title of “Fittest Man on Earth” for another year in October 2020, when he won the annual CrossFit Games for the fifth year running. In a recent conversation with powerlifter Stefi Cohen on her YouTube channel, Fraser spoke about how his diet plays an important part in his overall fitness—and why he doesn’t believe in cheat days.
While plenty of other CrossFit athletes might have those defined six-pack abs, Fraser says his nutrition has never been about eating to look a certain way. “My previous sport was weightlifting, all I cared about was being strong, not looking strong,” he says. “When I got into CrossFit, I never cared about looking fit as long as I was fit.”
He adds that he has found that a higher percentage of body fat can have some benefits when competing, and that this “extra cushion” can be an advantage when it comes to longer events. “By day three or four, these guys that have these incredible abs, they don’t have the fuel.”
During the periods when he is preparing for a competition, Fraser rarely has an appetite, and has to force-feed himself so that his body is able to recover during his intense training. “If I have a 90-minute training session, I have a pile of Snickers next to my bike and I’m just piling them in,” he says. “I’m taking in a huge amount of calories in liquid form, in Gatorade, just slugging it down. Just carbs, carbs, carbs. Is it great for my performance? Absolutely, I feel great, I recover off that, but what’s it doing for my body composition? For 99 percent of people, that’s why they’re working out, they want to look better in day-to-day life.”
He adds that his go-to foods during competition are all about packing as much fuel into his body as possible: breakfast burritos, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, rice bowls with meat and vegetables and then calorie-loaded meals at night such as tacos, cheeseburgers, and pizzas.
When asked about his favorite cheat day meals, however, he says he doesn’t really do them, preferring to incorporate sensible amounts of treats into his everyday routine. “I struggle with moderation, it’s either all or nothing,” he says. “I have two chocolate truffles every night. And that for me is my treat, that’s what I look forward to… I don’t cut out sweets altogether, I just try to have one or two a day.”
However, when the competition season is over, all bets are off. “As soon as the gains are done, I go overboard,” he says. Once a year for a couple of weeks, I’ll just binge.” Then there’ll come a stage where his body naturally starts to crave salad after being loaded up with so much sugar and salt. “I get excited from wanting to eat healthy again.”
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