This is embarrassing, but here it goes. I have a massive man crush on Mat Fraser.
It started when I watched Fittest on Earth 2015. Mat placed second and stood out as an incredible athlete. He made a few mistakes and wasn’t quite the all rounder Ben Smith was.
Recently I watched Fittest on Earth: A Decade of Fitness (Crossfit Games 2016). Mat blew through the competition (including Ben Smith) to finish first. It was awesome to see Mat dominate the competition, including beating last years winner. But, I figured, sometimes it happens like that. You see the same thing with football teams. No matter the odds, sometimes you get an upset. Maybe he should have won in 2015? Or maybe 2016 was a fluke?
Today I stumbled on the ‘Mat Fraser — Making a Champion’ documentary series. And it all made sense. Mat is an absolute machine and he has the most amazing attitude and work ethic.
Placing second in 2015 was obviously painful for him. In his own words:I look at my medal from 2015.
I hate that fucking medal. Because I didn’t do it right, you know? That’s like second place. I got second place in 2015. I should be proud of that result. I was the second fittest man in the world. But I just look at that and I’m like…. I fucking hate that year, because I’m not proud of the effort I put in. I’m not proud of the corners I cut.
He went about 2016 completely different. He looked at everything he was weak at and did whatever it took to get better. This is a great example:
Alright, I suck at rowing. So I got a rower. And I rowed between 4K and 5K a day for a whole year.
Every day, he just put the work in. He kept stacking the days, with the faith it would make him stronger for next year’s competition. It’s pure discipline. Another good quote from Mat that sums up his attitude:
I’m gonna do today what other people aren’t willing to. So I can do tomorrow, what other people can’t.
This one really resonated with me. It can be hard to stay motivated to consistently take small, uncomfortable steps. Particularly when many of those steps don’t give you immediate results based feedback. But as Mat says, the consistent daily efforts = long term success. It’s the moments when no one is looking that count.
I’m going to put that last quote at the top of my planning documents to remind myself of this. And when I get an urge to procrastinate or cut a corner, I am going to remember Mat and his 2016.
I actually did this today. I had planned to go on a long bike ride. A few hours before I was due to set off, I started trying to persuade myself it would be ok to skip it. I’d done enough this week already, it was a bit too hot etc. I put the talk to one side and went out on the bike. And when I hit some steep hills, I had some shitty self talk about taking a rest and walking for a bit. I pushed through it and did the whole trip non stop — something I had never done before. And I felt great afterwards!
I encourage everyone to watch the Making a Champion videos. It doesn’t matter whether you are into fitness or not. Mat’s mindset is super impressive and inspiring.