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First: What It Takes to Win Paperback – June 21, 2013


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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

What does it take to be the best?

Strength. Endurance. Skill. Discipline. Those are the qualities that made Rich Froning a two-time CrossFit Games champion and earned him the title of “The Fittest Man on Earth.” But it takes more than sheer physical strength to compete and win at an elite level. It takes incredible mental and spiritual toughness as well. And it is the precise balance of all three that makes Rich Froning a champion.

In First, readers come alongside Rich as he competes in back-to-back-to-back CrossFit Games and get an inside look into the CrossFit phenomenon that is sweeping the world as well as a personal glimpse into the life of the down-to-earth champion. From the infamous rope climb that cost him the title in 2010 through his subsequent wins in 2011 and 2012, Rich shares invaluable lessons, priorities, and insights that have transformed his life and career and ultimately underscore what CrossFit is all about.

Most important, Rich shares the secret to his own success both in and out of the gym: when God comes first, everything else falls into place.

About the Author

In 2011, Rich Froning took first place in the CrossFit Games, earning him the title of "Fittest Man on Earth." In 2012, 2013, and 2014, Rich successfully defended his title, becoming the first man ever to win the Games four times. He lives in Tennessee.

David Thomas is coauthor of several books, including the New York Times bestsellers Wrestling for My Life with Shawn Michaels and Foxcatcher with Mark Schultz.

Sean Pratt (AEA/SAG/AFTRA) has been a working professional actor for twenty-five years. He has been an audiobook narrator for seventeen years, has recorded over 700 books in almost every genre, and has received eight AudioFile magazine Earphones Awards and four Audie Award nominations from the Audio Publishers Association. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (June 21, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1414386788
  • ISBN-13: 978-1414386782
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (228 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,293 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

This book will help you get to know more about him and how he thinks about things as he competes.
Kyle G.
Rich 's story gives great insight into not only the competitor aspect but the personal aspect as well.
Matthew Isner
I pray Rich will remain committed to his faith in Christ and Crossfit...you can only win with God!
chris chadwick

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

119 of 132 people found the following review helpful By David on July 10, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Rich Froning: CrossFit Champion
A biography

I enjoyed reading about Rich Froning but only for a little while. It was interesting reading about his family and background and how he grew up and the book is at its best when Mr. Froning takes you through the games and competitions themselves.

It was not what I was expecting. There is nothing in this book about learning to be come a better athlete (mentally or physically) or a better CrossFit(er). In short, this is a very short biography with a lot of Born Again Christian themes.

Froning is a two time CrossFit Games Champion. He has beaten a lot of other people in some tough events. There is nothing detailed in the book about how he trains or what he eats. Just general stuff like:
"I work out five times a day...based on how I feel...I eat what a feel like..."
"I follow the Forrest Gump diet plan: when I'm hungry, I eat; when I'm thirsty, I drink."
"To get better at CrossFit do more CrossFit".

Yes, you have to push yourself beyond your mental barriers but how does Rich Froning do that? What does It Take for Rich Froning to do that over the last 2-4 years? That's what I was expecting based on the title and the reason I bought the book in the first place.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Ben Reed on July 11, 2013
Format: Paperback
If you have any inclination towards CrossFit, you'll enjoy this book. Rich chronicles his rapid rise to success in the CrossFit world, sharing his story from life on the farm to back-to-back "World's Fittest Man" titles. Reading this book is like sitting down with Rich over a cup of coffee. Or, more likely, over a protein shake after a WOD. (workout-of-the-day)

Every time I read a portion of the book, I wanted to throw it down and start working harder. Rich's work ethic and passion are infectious.

Equally infectious is Rich's faith.** It's genuine, and you see it laid bare in this book as he does battle against his own pride. I found his faith refreshing, bold, and courageous.

The big question Rich wrestles with throughout the book is, "What legacy am I going to leave when I die?"

Hopefully you're asking something similar.

For Rich, faith and fitness go hand-in-hand. I've found the same to be true, which is why the book resonated so well with me. When I'm disciplined with my body, I find myself more disciplined spiritually.

This is a great summer read. And a great read just in time for this year's CrossFit Games, as Rich looks to become the three-time champion for this sport.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Don Fancher on May 23, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As a CrossFitter, you can't help but enjoy reading about Rich and his focus and dedication to fitness and his efforts to be the absolute best at CrossFit. As a father and husband, it is refreshing and humbling to read about how Rich's upbringing and family continue to drive him in so many ways today. Most importantly for me, as a follower of Christ, it is awesome to read how Rich's focus on Christ is at the center of all he does and drives the success he has.

This book reads like you are sitting down and having a conversation with the fittest man on earth and hearing of his life story. It is inspiring, humbling, and also a fun read that I didn't want to put down. Most importantly, it reminded me to always put my faith first and everything else will follow!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Quincy on February 8, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I admire the man and his story is very interesting... but his writing is not very interesting or captivating. It is rather shallow and does not make me feel like I know more about him - I do know his story but not HIM.

And that is okay - I wish him best of luck and he is an inspiration to many, and I hope he continues to change lives.... But this book left me feeling unfulfilled. Rich isn't a good story teller or a writer, so keep your expectations low.

The man might be 5 stars, but the book is 2-3 star territory. If he put as much effort into writing a compelling and colorful story as he does into multiple daily workouts, it would likely come out with a higher rating.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By M. Jones on November 1, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Not only a beast of an athlete, but also a Christian and a great role model for many of us. I mean 3 time fittest man on earth, but humble as they come - you have to respect that.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By D. Barbour on August 19, 2013
Format: Paperback
Quick Recap: In the past four or five years, CrossFit has gone from being a lesser known specialty gym chain to an almost household term for elite fitness. Even people who aren't members of this rigorous community probably know someone who is, and know that being a member of CrossFit is no joke. First: What it Takes to Win by Rich Froning is a journey into the CrossFit world from a Christian perspective. Having had a brief history with CrossFit, and a long history with Christianity, I loved most of this book. For those who aren't members of either of those communities though, this book will probably have little to offer you.

The Plot: This non-fiction book chronicles the journey of the author, Rich Froning, the first ever two-time champion at the annual CrossFit games. We learn about his faith, family, and fitness routines (his three F's as he calls them). From personal tragedy and triumph, this is an emotional read to say the least.

Favorite Scene: I wouldn't say I had a favorite scene reading this book, but I did most connect with Froning's segments that talked about the reason for being fit. Is it for personal glory? Competitive success? Good looks? Or is it to glorify God? All Christians probably want it to be the latter, but more than likely that's a hard long road to get to, and Froning honestly shares his journey proving that to be true.

If I Could Change Something: I wish Froning had made the book more appealing to those that were not familiar with CrossFit terminology. Most of the time when he is depicting workouts, he doesn't stop to explain the routine clearly for non-CrossFit folks. For some readers, it will be like going to an ethnic restaurant and trying to figure out what to order from a menu in another language.
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