Three things strike me about this nice piece in GQ about CrossFit’s Mat Fraser.

  1. Mat Fraser seems remarkably down to earth and well adjusted. That’s saying something considering the era of the athlete-celebrity-as-expert–everything that we live in.
  2. His diet is really simple: eat mostly fresh foods, including bread, and I will bet he even drinks milk (clearly, he loves milk chocolate) and don’t make it complicated. Interestingly, he makes a point of saying that when you make your nutrition too complex (such reading what other athletes and celebrities say and write), you drain away time and energy that are better spent on other things, such as training, resting, and being with friends and family.
  3. How much he sleeps. Given the rigors of his training, his need for 10 hours of sleep nightly is not much of a surprise. Most of us could probably use more sleep and less screen time. Your iPhone isn’t going to prolong your life or improve your health. Sleep will.

The lesson from this, I believe, is that the commercial aspects of health and fitness (i.e., everyone has something they want to sell you) often overwhelm the sensible elements. If Mat Fraser can eat simply, train rigorously, and clearly understand the ways to do both without losing sight of what’s important, what is your excuse?

I walk up to two hours daily; do an average of 45 minutes of strength training daily; keep my stress to an absolute minimum (mostly by saying no more than I say yes to potential demands on my time); and, I sleep about nine hours nightly. It really isn’t complicated, and it really does work, but you must endure. You must be patient, and — very unpopular these days — you must be disciplined.

I tried to take my diet to a more extreme place, but it wasn’t for me. It was taking too much time and energy away from different parts of my life. Now, instead of obsessing, I just try to eat well: No junk food. No soda. Very little that comes in wrappers. It’s mostly meat, vegetables, and fruit. If I’m hungry, I eat. If I’m not hungry, I don’t. There’s not too much of a science behind it.