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CrossFit champ Rich Froning talks workout injuries, Paleo diet and retirement

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Rich Froning is riding high after winning the CrossFit Games for the fourth consecutive year and is easing back on his workout schedule a bit now that he has retired from individual competition to focus on team sports, he told the Daily Burn.

Froning, who used to do up to seven workouts a day spread out over 10 hours, said he's now enjoying doing CrossFit to stay in shape rather than approaching it as a job, like he did in the lead-up to the 2014 CrossFit Games.

"Before the Games [in July 2014] I looked at it as a job," said Froning, 27. "Now I’m starting to have fun again, and enjoy working out and staying healthy."

Rich, who's known for his incredible work ethic, said he usually wakes up at 9 or 9:30 a.m. and then does various workouts with a group of friends. While most people would expect Froning to be super-strict about his diet, he's actually fairly laid-back about what he eats.

'Not Paleo At All'

Surprisingly, Rich doesn't follow the Paleo diet, which is the diet of choice among CrossFitters. “A lot of people who do CrossFit eat a strict Paleo diet, but I don’t subscribe to any specific way of eating," Froning told Muscle & Fitness. "I'm not Paleo at all.”

The 5-foot-9 Froning, who weighs a solid 175 pounds, said he eats whatever meals his wife Hillary makes, or they go out to eat. "I’m not real picky and at that point, since I usually haven’t eaten a lot and have been working out all day, food is food," he said. "Sometimes it’s not that healthy, but I try not to be ridiculous."

However, Rich makes a point to drink plenty of protein shakes every day and drinks a gallon of milk to keep his bones strong. While CrossFit has come under fire for its link to overuse injuries, Froning said soreness is a part of CrossFit.

I hate to say it, but people sometimes think they’re injured when they’re really just sore. You have to be smart about workouts, but realize you’re going to be a little sore the first few times you do CrossFit. For me, doing bodybuilding-type workouts using single-joint movements led to more injuries and more flair ups than I’ve had doing CrossFit. I had shoulder surgery before I did CrossFit, and my shoulder has never been stronger, so I think it’s great."

Rich does not use steroids, insisting back-breaking hard work is behind his incredible success. "I don’t take them," he said. "I work my butt off. And I think people who accuse other people of using, they could be jealous, or just lazy. They can’t imagine doing the work that it takes. We’re also tested regularly too. People say, 'Oh, you can fake a test easily,' but I don’t know how to do it, so it can’t be that easy.”

'I'm a Team-Sports Guy'

Froning was recently named captain of a team of top CrossFit athletes who will compete in the first-ever CrossFit Team Series, which kicks off later this month. Rich is looking forward to the camaraderie of team sports and to having more free time to spend with his family.

Froning, who pocketed $275,000 for winning the 2014 CrossFit Games, recently signed a lucrative long-term endorsement contract with Reebok, sponsor of the CrossFit Games.

He's happy to have made the sacrifices necessary to secure his win, but is looking forward to have more free time, especially now that he's a dad. While he's officially retired from individual competition, he prefers the term "switching gears" to retirement, and insists he'll remain on the CrossFit scene for years to come.

"We just adopted a baby girl and I don’t to want to let other things sacrifice that," he said. "I’ve made a good living for what I’ve done so far. But I want to have some fun on a team. I grew up a team sport guy and I want to try that aspect of it."

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