On Black Rifle Coffee Podcast, Mat Fraser Opens Up About Maniacal Drive to Win and His Life Now after Retiring from Competition
The Black Rifle Coffee Podcast recently featured an episode with 2016-2020 CrossFit Games champion Mat Fraser. The conversation begins with Fraser reminiscing about how his title of Five-Time Fittest Man on Earth, was almost Four-Time Fittest.
After his win in 2019, he had bested Rich Froning, who had previously held the record for the most decorated CrossFit Games champion, as not only had Fraser collected five gold medals, but he had two silver metals as well, while Froning, who also had four gold medals, held only one silver. While he felt that this legitimately broke the record, Fraser’s manager and best friend Matt O’Keefe stepped in to contradict him.
- “Nobody gives a shit about second place. You need that fifth gold,” said O’Keefe to Fraser after the 2019 CrossFit Games.
Fraser ultimately agreed with O’Keefe, conceded, and went on to win the 2020 CrossFit Games, making him undoubtedly, the most dominant CrossFit male athlete to date.
Remind me: With a background in Olympic Weightlifting and having won the title of Junior National Weightlifting Champion in 2009, CrossFit was an organic transition for the athlete, as he reflects that he grew up playing sports, an active kid, and very competitive.
In 2014 and 2015, still struggling with a few holes in his game, Fraser took second place to Rich Froning and Ben Smith, respectively, and it was with complete dedication to his weaknesses and the sport as a whole that he came back in 2016 and won his first of five titles of Fittest on Earth.
In the midst of his reign, he met his partner Sammy Moniz, and in his interview with Black Rifle Coffee, he remembers his first encounter with her, and that he knew right away that he wanted to spend his life with her.
- “I just knew. I saw Sammy two years before I ever met her or knew her name. I saw her in a crowd… I saw her for like 2 seconds…she’d talk to someone and walk away, and I said, ‘that’s it right there.’ I didn’t know her name, didn’t know anything about her. I knew immediately,” said Fraser.
Moniz became an integral role in Fraser’s success, as she (among other things), cooked his many meals for him, which eventually led to her hugely popular Feeding the Frasers Instagram account and later her cookbook of the same name.
With Moniz by his side, Fraser continued winning, at the cost of putting other things on hold. He wasn’t able to travel, use either of his degrees, or pursue business ventures that were calling out to him. He wanted to work in different avenues and wanted new challenges. He reflects on repetitive days filled with similar training, similar food, (consisting of 10,000 calories a day at times), and similar schedules. This dedication and sacrifice was how the champion was able to continue winning, but he was ready for something new.
In February of 2021, in an exclusive with Morning Chalk Up, Fraser announced his retirement and his explanation behind it. He had given up so much to be great, and he was ready to pursue a different path.
- “The hard work paid off. But now, I’m ready to make decisions based on how they affect my family, friends, health, and happiness, not only my performance.” said Fraser in 2021.
Now retired, Fraser still plays a very large role in the sport of fitness, as over the last three years he has written a book, launched HWPO Training, co-founded the supplement company Podium, and coached elite athletes under the HWPO Training umbrella such as Mal O’Brien and Jayson Hopper.
After retiring, he stepped away from CrossFit, needing time and distance. He still worked out, but nowhere near the level at which he was pushing himself for almost a decade before. He slowed down, took time off, but the yearning began before too long.
- “I had to become half of what I used to be so that I could start rebuilding… Now I train for health, fitness and happiness, not because I have to,” he said.
In April of 2023, the HWPO Training facility was opened, which includes 11,000 square feet of space, 6,500 of which is dedicated to training space, the rest set aside for office and conference space. Six months later, he and Moniz welcomed their daughter Eddy into the world. He says that fatherhood is a new motivation, and plays a large role in his training. He and Moniz spend time in the gym, not only for themselves, but for Eddy as well.
- “I want this to be a family thing. I want my daughter to grow up seeing her parents work hard,” said Fraser.
To hear more about Fraser’s past, present and future endeavors, check out his full interview on the Black Rifle Coffee Podcast, where Fraser reminisced about his life as a professional athlete and speaks to the transition into his new roles as a business owner, coach and father.