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We Interviewed Mat Fraser to Learn Everything About His Diet

The Fittest Man on Earth™ walks BarBend through his calories, supplements, and more

We don’t really track anything specifically, I don’t really adhere to any specific diet like Paleo or keto or anything like that. We have a ballpark number in terms of what we’re striving for with calories, but I’m sure we’re hit or miss.

Mat Fraser is not here for your diet dogma. He doesn’t care about Paleo, he’s not into keto, the guy doesn’t even really track macronutrients. But he does have some simple rules he follows to keep him performing at the highest level of CrossFit.

And we mean the highest level, there is nobody above him. Mat Fraser has been the reigning Fittest Man on Earth™ — that’s what they call the guy who wins the CrossFit Games — for the past four years straight. Only Rich Froning has won as many individual titles as Fraser, and there’s a good chance Fraser will land his fifth title in 2020.

Naturally, we just had to find out what he eats. In this video we’re talking about calories, macronutrients, micronutrients, meal templates, and supplements, the whole shebang — everything you want to know about the diet of the Fittest Man on Earth.

Mat Fraser’s Calories  

  • At the height of the Games season, he’s eating 6 to 7,000 calories per day

As mentioned earlier, he doesn’t track his calories as rigidly as a lot of other athletes out there — in our guide to Rich Froning’s diet, he has his ideal food intake measured to the gram — but Fraser has rough numbers in mind that vary based on the time of year.

“Right after a competition, when I take my off season and I’m not training at all, I’m eating maybe one or two meals a day,” he says. “Then when I start ramping back up, I’m only training once a day, so I’m probably hitting three or four thousand calories. And when I’m in full swing, my only purpose in the day is I wake up and everything is directed toward training, that’s when the calories increase to six or seven thousand calories.”

View this post on Instagram

I know what you’re thinking.. this LOOKS fancyAF. You bet your bottom is does! Forget fancy, this shhht was simpleAF. I feel like a real honest to goodness chef with this but I pinky promise even us home-cooks and culinary-explorers can whip these up. I suggest y’all invest in a tiny meat thermometer, it’s a GAME CHANGER! Fool proof way to get the perfect bite of meat everrrrry time. #protip #yummyAF #feedingthefrasers – Pistachio & Everything Crusted Lamb *2 racks @butcher_box lamb *1/2 cup Trader Joe’s Everything crackers *1/2 cup pistachios *3-4 Tbsp spicy brown mustard — pulse pistachios and crackers in a blender. Set aside in bowl. Pat each rack dry with a paper towel. Brush with mustard. Coat with crust and shake off excess. — place racks on baking sheet, roast at 450 for 10mins. Reduce oven temp to 300 and roast 15-20mins until internal temp is 125. — remove from oven, REST 10 mins before slicing. Slice between the bone in cuts of two. ENJOY 😋

A post shared by Feeding The Frasers (@feedingthefrasers) on

Mat Fraser, Paleo, and Fasting

Typically, athletes prioritize their calories first and then their balance of macronutrients: protein, carbs, and fat. But when we went on to ask Fraser about his macro split, he revealed that he doesn’t much care for tracking them. Instead, he focuses more on food quality first, calories second, and macros somewhere way in the back.

“You know what food’s good for you and what food’s bad for you,” he says. “I hardly ever eat at restaurants or anything like that. Basically, if food comes in a package, I’m not eating too much of it.  It’s mainly just meat, vegetables a ton of rice, and probably a good amount of fruit too.

So obviously, he’s not Paleo. Rice (which is not allowed on Paleo) is the backbone of his entire diet.

I eat white rice with just about every meal. Most breakfasts, there’s a side of white rice or I put white rice in my omelette. (…) There’s always a box of rice in the fridge so whatever I’m eating, I put a couple scoops of rice on the side. I find that really beneficial. 

The Paleo diet was a lot more popular in the CrossFit community a few years back, but Fraser notes that when he tried it out, that “it did not work for (him) at all,” and neither did a rudimentary form of fasting, when he would go twelve to fourteen hours a day without eating.

“I’d bonk out and have to go eat and wait until I felt better,” he says. “So now I just try to eat more consistently throughout the day.”

[Learn more in our guide to intermittent fasting]

But the man doesn’t eat boring food. You can follow the Instagram of his wife, Sammy Moniz, called @feedingthefrasers where you can see a ton of delicious meals he eats like pistachio crusted lam racks, smoked baby back ribs, all kinds of tacos, and plenty of desserts like cream cheese strawberry biscuits.

Normally Sammy includes the recipe, so that’s a really resource if you want to eat like Mat Fraser.

View this post on Instagram

We are in Madison, WI for the CrossFit games and thhhhhankfully locked in a hotel with a kitchen. What a dream to be able to keep up the cooking just like at home. With Mat being an athlete at the top of his game, our lives revolve around routine and eating the foods you’re used to is an important part of that. I made these TJs Tacos, as I call them, the other night. Just like at home, they were a smash hit. #traderjoes #yummyAF #feedingthefrasers – TJs Tacos *2 lb @butcher_box ground beef *1 pack @fronterafoods Taco Skillet seasoning *1/2 white onion, diced *1 Tbsp olive oil *1 pack @traderjoes Habanero Lime tortilla *1 bag @traderjoes southwestern chopped salad *handful cilantro *1 bunch radish, thinly sliced *1 cup Apple cider vinegar *1 cup water *1 Tbsp red pepper flakes *2 tsp mustard seeds *1 tsp salt —TACO BEEF: over med heat add oil to large cast iron skillet, add onions and cook until soft, 3-5 mins. Add ground beef, cook until no pink remains. Add @fronterafoods foods and cook additional 2-3mins until the sauce has coated all the beef. Remove from heat. —PICKLED RADISH: place the thinly slight radish in a glass bowl or jar, set aside. To a sauce pot, add vinegar, water, red pepper flakes, mustard seeds and salt. Bring to a boil and then turn off heat. Pour liquid over sliced radish and allow to cool on countertop before refrigerating. (Best of done at least an hour before your meal or DAY before). —ASSEMBLE: mix all contents of the salad together except the crunch tortilla topping (save for taco topping). Habanero lime tortilla, taco meat, pickled radish and cilantro, chop salad and tortilla bits. ENJOY

A post shared by Feeding The Frasers (@feedingthefrasers) on

As a side note, Fraser used to be pretty well known for eating a pint of ice cream every night to get enough calories, but he stopped that in 2015 for two reasons.

“First, I saw the (Fittest on Earth documentary) and I didn’t realize how big I was, and I kind of went ‘oh my god I thought I could out train a bad diet.’ It was very apparent that I couldn’t,” he laughs. “Second, throughout the whole 2015 season I was dealing a lot with nagging inflammation, joint paint, things like that, so probably the heavy dairy that whole season was causing a bit more of the inflammation, or at least not helping with it. So between body composition and how my body felt, I decided I should probably cut that (ice cream) out.”

Mat Fraser’s Supplements

Fraser’s supplement routine is pretty uncomplicated: no multivitamins, no collagen, no fish oil. (He doesn’t like the fishy burps mid workout.)

So his regimen today is:

BCAAs

It’s worth taking a look at the BCAAs, because Fraser likes them so much he even released his own line of them.

BCAAs are branched chain amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and the three branched chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucine, and valine) are the ones most  closely associated with muscle protein synthesis. Basically, a lot of people find them useful during long, strenuous workouts or when exercising on an empty stomach. There’s a lot of research suggesting they can help with endurance, muscle retention, muscle recovery, and focus, and Fraser’s preferred brand is Xtend.(1)(2)(3)(4)(5)(6)(7)(8)(9) (Which, coincidentally, we picked as the best BCAA company on the market.)

“Xtend was just like, ‘What do you like?'” he says. “So they put in their Peak O2® Blend and beta alanine. I love that, it feels like it opens up my lungs and it just feels like it helps.”

That Peak O2® Blend contains adaptogenic mushrooms, which may help the body respond to the stress of exercise, and the beta alanine has links to improved endurance. The product also contains a blend of electrolytes to help with hydration.

His favorite pre workout, meanwhile, is Cellucor’s C4, but what’s really unusual is the CBD he takes. 

[Learn more in our guide to Tia-Clair Toomey’s diet]

cbd oil
ElRoi/Shutterstock

CBD

Here we should note that Fraser, along with Tia-Clair Toomey (the Fittest Woman on Earth™) is sponsored by Beam, a company that makes CBD supplements, and Beam helped us put together this interview. They haven’t sponsored this article, nor has any money changed hands, but it’s worth pointing out that they do pay Fraser and Toomey. 

So CBD is a cannabinoid found in cannabis and while it doesn’t produce a “high,” a lot of studies have linked CBD to pain relief, reducing inflammation, and anxiety-related insomnia.(10)(11)(12)(13)(14)(15)(16)(17) Since it’s no longer banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency, many athletes are experimenting with it to improve recovery.

Beam has a morning blend (called “Clarity”), that has some adaptogenic mushrooms and roots added to it, and a nighttime blend (“Dream”), which includes some melatonin and magnesium for facilitating sleep.

Fraser aims for 10 hours of sleep per night, so he’s grateful for any supplement that can improve his sleep quality, and he says that CBD does the trick.

“It’s a huge part of my routine, and so with something that’s helping promote better sleep for me, that’s a huge game changer,” says Fraser. “It’s super easy to implement into my schedule, every night before bed I turn off the phone, turn off the TV, I always have a cup of tea, and I just read a book try to shut off the blue light and clear the head. I always drank this tea called Sleepy Time tea, and I’ve replaced that with Dream. There’s a lot of stuff in it that helps, makes sleep an easier routine that’s definitely the biggest one.”

While it is federally legal, and the World Health Organization, National Institutes on Drug Abuse,  and the World Anti-Doping Agency have no issues with CBD, the FDA published a paper in late 2019 saying that we need more research on it before we commit to taking CBD all day, every day, as it could potentially interact with other drugs, put strain on the liver, and… well, there’s just a lot we don’t know right now. Research is ongoing, but a lot of athletes we’ve spoken to, from Fraser to Toomey to the Stoltman brothers, swear by its benefits.

[Related: What every athlete should know about CBD]

Wrapping Up

That’s just about everything you need to know about Mat Fraser’s diet and supplement routine.

The main takeaways are that he prioritizes whole foods over weighing his macros; his daily supplements are whey protein, pre workout, BCAAs, and CBD; he’s a big fan of adaptogens and beta alanine; and a lot of deep sleep is a top priority. We’re grateful to Mat for taking the time to chat with us — but always, make sure you speak with your physician before making any big changes to your diet or supplement routine.

Featured image via @mathewfras on Instagram.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is Mat Fraser?

Mat Fraser is an elite CrossFit athlete. He has won the CrossFit Games in 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019. He’s considered one of the most successful athletes in the sport’s history.

How many calories does Mat Fraser eat?

When the CrossFit Games season is in full swing and the competition is soon, Fraser will eat six to seven thousand calories per day. After the season ends, his workout volume and his calorie intake will decrease.

Is Mat Fraser paleo?

No. Mat Fraser eats copious amounts of rice with practically every meal, and rice isn’t allowed on the Paleo diet. He also eats plenty of tortillas, dairy, and other foods forbidden on the Paleo diet. He found that when he was on the Paleo diet, he suffered from low energy levels.

References

1. Blomstrand E, et al. Branched-chain amino acids activate key enzymes in protein synthesis after physical exercise. J Nutr. 2006 Jan;136(1 Suppl):269S-73S.
2. Hulmi JJ, et al. Effect of protein/essential amino acids and resistance training on skeletal muscle hypertrophy: A case for whey protein. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2010 Jun 17;7:51.
3. 2009 international society of sports nutrition conference and expo new orleans, la, USA. 14-15 june 2009. Abstracts. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2009 Jul 31;6 Suppl 1:P1-P19.
4. Blomstrand E. A role for branched-chain amino acids in reducing central fatigue. J Nutr. 2006 Feb;136(2):544S-547S.
5. Doi M, et al. Isoleucine, a potent plasma glucose-lowering amino acid, stimulates glucose uptake in C2C12 myotubes. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2003 Dec 26;312(4):1111-7.
6. Gualano AB, et al. Branched-chain amino acids supplementation enhances exercise capacity and lipid oxidation during endurance exercise after muscle glycogen depletion. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2011 Mar;51(1):82-8.
7. Mittleman KD, et al. Branched-chain amino acids prolong exercise during heat stress in men and women. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1998 Jan;30(1):83-91.
8. Leahy DT, et al. Branched-chain amino Acid plus glucose supplement reduces exercise-induced delayed onset muscle soreness in college-age females. ISRN Nutr. 2013 Mar 17;2013:921972.
9. Shimomura Y, et al. Branched-chain amino acid supplementation before squat exercise and delayed-onset muscle soreness. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2010 Jun;20(3):236-44.
10. Burstein S, et al. Cannabidiol (CBD) and its analogs: a review of their effects on inflammation. Bioorg Med Chem. 2015 Apr 1;23(7):1377-85.
11. Klauke AL, et al. The cannabinoid CB₂ receptor-selective phytocannabinoid beta-caryophyllene exerts analgesic effects in mouse models of inflammatory and neuropathic pain. Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2014 Apr;24(4):608-20.
12. Woodhams SG, et al. The role of the endocannabinoid system in pain. Handb Exp Pharmacol. 2015;227:119-43.
13. Philpott HT, et al. Attenuation of early phase inflammation by cannabidiol prevents pain and nerve damage in rat osteoarthritis. Pain. 2017 Dec;158(12):2442-2451.
14. Shannon S, et al. Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series. Send to Perm J. 2019;23:18-041.
15. Zuardi AW, et al. Effects of ipsapirone and cannabidiol on human experimental anxiety. J Psychopharmacol. 1993 Jan;7(1 Suppl):82-8.
16. Bergamaschi MM, et al. Cannabidiol reduces the anxiety induced by simulated public speaking in treatment-naïve social phobia patients. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2011 May;36(6):1219-26.
17. Hammell DC, et al. Transdermal cannabidiol reduces inflammation and pain-related behaviours in a rat model of arthritis. Eur J Pain. 2016 Jul;20(6):936-48.

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