Having won the CrossFit Games for the last four years running, Mat Fraser is widely
acknowledged as the fittest man on earth. The 30-year-old has a level of talent only possessed by a rare breed of athlete, but he’s overcome some serious hardships to get to the top.
Fraser had a significant alcohol problem in his teens and has spoken previously about how it held him back from taking full advantage of the opportunities that his ability as a young Olympic weightlifter were bringing.
His addictive personality meant he was failing to make the most of his scholarship at the United States Olympic Training Centre, a campus run by the US Olympic Committee for talented athletes.
Speaking to The Times last month, Fraser recalled those problem years: “I realised that not every time I was drinking I got in trouble, but every time I was in trouble I’d been drinking,” he said. “Alcoholism runs in the family. “One night I got in trouble. I came home and my dad wasn’t mad. I showed him the fines I’d received and the trouble I’d been in, and he didn’t even interrupt his phone call. He didn’t care.
That broke my heart. That was the last night I drank.”
Although he has never gone into the specifics of what the “trouble” was, it was enough of a shock to put Fraser back on the straight and narrow and he’s been sober ever since. The help of his friend Nate, who had fought his way out of addiction as well, was pivotal according to the American.
'I really just secluded myself, I started working out like crazy' he told Men’s Health in December.
'I was in the gym one day, and [Nate] came up... He's like 'dude, what is going on' and I'm like, 'I quit drinking two weeks ago and I just don't know how to do it' And he's like, 'oh, easy, start coming to meetings with us'.
“At 17 you link up very quickly, so we became very close, we were attached at the hip for a long time... We drove around, drank energy drinks, we smoked cigarettes, and hit meetings. That was our lives, my senior year of high school was hanging out with him'.
“Something like that happens, it makes you realize like, nope, I'm not taking that chance' Fraser said of why he’s maintained his sobriety all these years. 'Your addiction, it's not like you press pause and when you relapse you just hit play and start where you left off. Your addiction's out in the parking lot doing pushups, it's getting stronger'.