Mat Fraser Discusses Being Sober Since 17 and Channeling His “Addictive” Personality
Since announcing his retirement from competitive CrossFit in early February 2021, five-time Fittest Man on Earth®, Mat Fraser, has been busy. He coaches through his Hard Work Pays Off (HWPO) programming, guest-starred on the indie comedy series Nashville Dads Club, and wrote a book with Spenser Mestel. On May 6, 2022, Fraser took to his YouTube channel to talk about getting sober at age 17, so he could focus on his athletic career and Olympic aspirations.
In the video, Fraser participates in an early morning training session at The Phoenix, a sober active community that officially began its partnership with CrossFit in May 2021. Fraser then takes viewers on a tour through a non-alcoholic brewery, Athletic Brew Co. — in which Fraser samples his first-ever flight of beer. (Athletic Brewing is one of Fraser’s sponsors.) Check out the entire video below:
Fraser and his training buddies at The Phoenix wrap the video — and their session — by holding six-packs of non-alcoholic beer in their hands, going from sitting to standing without their hands touching the ground.
Fraser and Sobriety
Of his early journey through sobriety, Fraser says that he stopped drinking to pursue his dreams of competing in the Olympic Games. He explains that his fitness routine helped reduce his desire to drink, which he also attributes to his “great sober community.”
The 32-year-old Fraser says that during his senior year in high school, he would wake up at 5 a.m. to run a mile to the school gym, do a full weight training session, then run back to catch the bus at 7:45 a.m. Then, he’d do Olympic weightlifting after school, followed by bodybuilding and core work at home at night. Of his routine, Fraser comments:
“I was doing all this to fill this void. I just felt like I had to do something in excess. I didn’t realize then, [but] I look back on it now and realize I was just feeding my addiction with something else. And I think that was probably the start of me realizing…that having this addictive personality can be a benefit if I’m addicted to things that have a positive outcome.”
The Phoenix and CrossFit
Fraser’s video also features Scott Strode, the founder and Executive Director of The Phoenix, who explained the non-profit’s mission: “We work with folks in recovery from addiction and create a free sober active community using the transformative power of climbing, CrossFit, and yoga.”
In May 2021, then-CrossFit CEO Eric Roza announced the partnership between The Phoenix and CrossFit on his Instagram, calling it a “dream come true.” The partnership with The Phoenix is part of a broader initiative to connect CrossFit with local community non-profits.
[Related: The NOBULL CrossFit Games to Remain in Madison, WI in 2023]
When a Phoenix trainer introduces the training session to Fraser and other participants, the trainer emphasizes that people who work out in the facility are asked to have 48 hours of continuous sobriety to support those in long-term recovery. He also asks that participants keep their clothes on during the workout and use language — including body language — that facilitates a safe and affirming space for everyone in the room.
What’s Next for Fraser?
True to form, Fraser has kept himself busy even after retiring from CrossFit. His visit to Athletic Brewing Co. doesn’t only reflect his commitment to living sober. The five-time CrossFit Games champion looks to make his mark in the athlete-oriented nutritional space with the supplement company Podium Nutrition, which he co-owns with the Buttery Bros.
And Fraser still has his eyes on success in the Games — just not for himself. He’s taken 2022 CrossFit Open winner Mal O’Brien, 2021 Fittest Man on Earth®, Justin Medeiros, Jake Marconi, and Jayson Hopper under his wing through his HWPO programming. The 2022 NOBULL CrossFit Games are slated for Aug. 3-7, 2022, in Madison, WI, and the five-time champ is likely to be in attendance to support those athletes he trains.
Featured Image: @mathewfras / Instagram