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CrossFit king Rich Froning talks high protein low carb diet and supplements

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Ever watch those people at the gym who take two spin classes in a row, then run on the treadmill for an hour? Wonder what powers them to go beyond perceived human limits? After winning his fourth consecutive title as the Fittest Man on Earth at the CrossFit Games, Rich Froning is ready to reveal precisely what it takes, reported CNN on Aug. 30.

Winning a CrossFit competition takes more than a spin class or a run on a treadmill. Rich muscled his way through four days of running, swimming, muscle-ups, 345-pound squat cleans, handstand push-ups, rope climbs, double unders, handstand walks, and245-pound overhead squats. And that's just a sampling of what's involved in becoming the proud recipient of the Fittest on Earth title. But with a schedule that involves multiple workouts daily, the competition is like a walk in the park for Rich.

"It's what I train for all year -- it's the ultimate goal," he said of the four-day experience. "Winning the CrossFit Games is what I'm most happy about. Fittest Man on Earth is cool, but CrossFit champion is what I most like."

As for his high protein diet, Rich uses shakes to help maintain his muscle mass. He also relies on supplements.

"In the morning I don't really eat a lot. I'll take some type of creatine -- not a lot though. Then throughout the day I'll have a protein shake or two, depending on the workouts I'm doing. I usually don't eat that much during the day and then at night I eat a lot," noted Rich.

His proven practice of eating a small breakfast may sound like it defies the traditional advice to eat a big morning meal for weight loss and health. But a new study confirms that breakfast isn't as important as scientists used to think, reported NPR on Aug. 31.

University of Alabama researcher Emily Dhurandhar compared dieters who ate breakfast to those who skipped their morning meal or followed Rich's lead and ate only a small amount of food.

"There are lots of association studies out there suggesting that eating breakfast is associated with better health, but because breakfast is associated with better cardiovascular health, for example, doesn't necessarily mean that breakfast causes better cardiovascular outcomes," clarified Dhurandhar. And she found that breakfast foods and amounts are based more on culture than on health.

"One thing that is pretty clear is that breakfast is really a cultural phenomenon. A lot of documentation about breakfast actually started back in the 1700s and 1800s. Even then they touted breakfast is the most important meal of the day," she revealed.

As for athletes like Rich? He eats clean, following low carb diet guidelines that recommend avoiding starchy carbohydrates.

"I don't really like bread or pasta so that helps," he said in an interview with Muscle & Fitness magazine. As far as all those articles in the media describing him as Paleo proponent?

"Not Paleo at all," Rich announced. He feels that his use of fish oil supplements, however, does help him stay in top shape.

For those who want to try Rich's recommendations for fish oil and creatine supplements, read the label carefully, advises Rob Wildman, registered dietitian, in the Box magazine. However, he does concur with the suggestions for protein powder supplementation.

"Among the most studied and efficacious ingredients are protein, creatine, beta-alanine, HMB and certainly fluid and certain carbohydrates for more prolonged exercise efforts. For instance, 25 grams of high-biological protein such as whey protein isolate can be used shortly before or after a training bout to help maximize muscle protein production in hours that follow a strenuous WOD (workout of the day)," he noted. As for fish oil, Rob recommends taking it daily.

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