Rich Froning Jr.
The former firefighter turned the functional fitness world on its head when he burst onto the scene in 2010 with a second place finish at The Games. After claiming four consecutive "Fittest Man on Earth" titles at The Games (2011-2014), Rich stepped away from individual competition. His love for competition and purposeful challenge pointed him toward the team division where he has won an additional four Affiliate Cup Championships (2015, 2016, 2018, and 2019) with his team, Mayhem Freedom.
When Rich is not busy being a devoted husband, father of 3, running multiple businesses, or advancing as a professional athlete, you can find him serving his community through Mayhem Mission, participating in triathlons, mountain biking, playing flag football, programming for Mayhem Athlete, coaching during Train With Rich weekends, podcasting for Froning & Friends and Into The Storm, and growing personal businesses such as Froning Farms and CrossFit Mayhem.
When did you first start using AIRWAAV? Had you ever used a mouthpiece or breathing aid before?
"I started wearing AIRWAAV about 8-10 months ago and up until that point I had never worn a breathing aid before."
Did you have to get acclimated to AIRWAAV? If so, how long did it take to adjust? Did you feel any benefits to your breathing immediately? Did you notice it more in strength or heart-rate-focused workouts?
"Wearing it during lifting sessions required no adjustment period, but getting acclimated to wearing AIRWAAV during higher intensity workouts took a few weeks. I've felt the most benefit in breathing during heart-rate-focused workouts like metabolic conditioning, mountain biking, or flag football."
When in your career did you recognize the importance of breath training?
"2014 during the Triple Three event at the CrossFit Games."
How much consideration do you put into breathing when training for the CrossFit Games?
"In the last 5 years, I have put a considerable amount of attention into my breathing when training, thanks to Chris Hinshaw."
Do you perform any specific exercises to improve your breathing capacity? If so, what are they? How many sets, reps, and how frequently do you do them?
"Starting the day with a cold shower and following workouts with a Cold Plunge session has forced me to focus on breath control outside of working out. I take a cold shower every morning and have 3-5 Cold Plunge sessions per week."
Is breathing an area you feel athletes neglect more than they should? What are the biggest mistakes you notice in athletes who don't focus on breathing?
"Absolutely. Recovery is king in a sport that's based around a clock and when it matters most, if your heart rate and breathing are out of control everything else falls apart. "
How are AIRWAAV and your breath training influencing your preparation for the 2021 CrossFit Games?
"AIRWAAV is influencing training by bringing awareness to my breathing so I'm more equipped to handle the curveballs that are sure to come at this years' CrossFit Games."