Mat Fraser’s relentless ability to push harder than other athletes was one of the trademarks of his career and the envy of many of his competitors.
Time and again, the five-time CrossFit Games champion found ways to dig deep through four consecutive days of intense competition, enduring some of the toughest workouts event organisers could imagine.
Fraser says he achieved such a strong mentality through overpreparing for the hardships he would face in competition.
“I build it up more in my mind,” Fraser told the Josh Mat Sevan Podcast. “I tell myself it’s going to be more painful than it actually is so that it never arrives when I’m competing.
“I’m going into workouts so scared because I know what I’m about to put my body through. I know the sensation I’m about to feel and I’m building it up like ‘This is going to be so painful’.
“I’m ready to lose a finger, or feel like my arm’s being ripped off. So that during the workout, when I’m in pain I’m like, ‘This isn’t bad yet. Keep going, keep going, this isn’t bad yet’. I’m always waiting for that next level of pain, and then it doesn’t arrive.”
Fraser also rubbished comments that no CrossFit athlete could come back after a year off, and even suggested that a long break from competition could be an advantage.
“I think if you take a year to rest your body and recoup, [it doesn’t mean] you just don’t have it anymore,” Fraser said. “I think if you take a year and let yourself go and all that, yeah, you’re probably fighting an uphill battle. But this whole thing, and I never understood it…these sweeping blanket statements from so many people, ‘You have to do this, this is the only way’ or, ‘I never do that.’ It’s like bullshit.
“Let’s say you take a year off now you have 24 months before the next games. So let’s say you have 18 months before your next competition like The Open or something. You have 18 months to do nothing but base building. What type of superhuman would you come back as? That’d be amazing.”