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The Secret Sauce of the World’s Fittest Man

Jul 24, 2014 By Reverie Staff

“I rely on sleep more than I do my nutrition.”

For a man like Rich Froning, this is no hollow statement. A CrossFit colossus, the man is the very embodiment of athleticism and, after three consecutive wins at the CrossFit Games, is currently enjoying the title of the World’s Fittest Man.


The secret, by his own admission, is sleep.

“I train three or four times a day,” he has said – other sources put it closer to five. “With that much volume, sleep is crucial. Really crucial.”

Why? Sleep has long taken a back seat to nutrition and training in terms of an athlete’s regimen, but emerging research is demonstrating that a solid night’s sleep – one free of distractions, in a room free of light and sound, on the right bed – will make or break an athlete’s success.

A good night’s sleep is more than just waking up pain-free or somewhat rested. It’s about feeling rejuvenated, refreshed and ready for your day. Sleep is the body’s best chance to heal, grow, recover, and retool – and the most notable ways the body benefits from sleep are hormonal.

Up to 75 percent of the body’s production of growth hormone takes place during sleep – not during a light nap, but during deep, “slow-wave sleep.”(1) Growth hormone is sometimes called “the fountain of youth”: it isn’t just fantastic at lowering body fat and increasing muscle mass, but it improves physical function, bone quality, and longevity – yes, that’s probably why Sylvester Stallone is such a fan(2)(3)(4).

But sleep doesn’t only boost growth hormone, it’s also an important factor in that other muscle-building elixir, testosterone – one study even showed that just one week of sleeping 5 hours per night can drop testosterone production by up to 15 percent(5). When this is understood alongside the fact that low levels of sleep results in increased ghrelin, an appetite-stimulant, and cortisol, the muscle-wasting, memory-killing “stress hormone,” then we start to see just how critical a good night’s sleep is to our day-to-day performance and long-term health(6)(7)(8).

Learn more about Sleep Systems

Put simply, if you’re sleeping badly, you’re going backward. The body needs sleep like it needs water, and if you’re competing, thinking or breathing on poor quality sleep, you’re living uphill. Bad sleep leaves you with impaired brain function, low testosterone, stalled muscle growth, poor reflexes, damaged immunity, and vastly inferior strength, speed, and agility(9)(10). Effectively, you’re living slower while aging faster, all because your shuteye is, well, shoddy.

You need to sleep – not sleep, but sleep. Deep, restful slumber, the kind that imbues your body and mind with power and purpose like a rock in a slingshot. The best way to sleep? Well, sure, a bedroom free of noise, light, and distractions is a critical first step. But for that sleep sleep, the restful, healing slumber of the fittest man on Earth?

Let’s put it this way: Exercise has CrossFit, nutrition has Paleo, and sleep has Reverie.

Not only does the number one male CrossFitter on Earth sleep on Reverie, so does the number two male CrossFitter, Jason Khalipa, and the world’s fittest woman, Annie Thorisdottir, both of whom have called Reverie the best bed they’ve ever had.

What’s the big deal? A Reverie latex mattress is not like any other mattress – in fact, it defies the very definition of “mattress.” They aren’t made of rigid metal springs – springs that push back against the body’s vulnerable muscles and warp and sag with age. Reverie mattresses are constructed from a revolutionary natural rubber latex that’s not only hypoallergenic and resistant to dust mites, it’s completely customizable.

Not only can the mattress firmness be easily adjusted to suit your preference – though that is a feat in itself – the bed frame under a Reverie mattress can be adjusted from top to bottom (and side to side) by remote control, allowing an individual to not only sit up in bed, but to subtly alter their body’s placement and support so that they can eliminate snoring or even, through its famous “Zero Gravity” position, reduce lower back pain and soothe pressure points.

Most of Reverie’s adjustable foundations can also deliver a soothing, circulation-boosting massage to its lucky user, a feature to soothe leg muscles and feet after a long day of lifting, climbing, throwing, and, well, practically every physical feat the body is capable of. The bed can even be set to wake its user up with a massage – a feature that might qualify for the world’s most enjoyable wake-up call.

At least one third of your day is spent asleep, and many athletes, including Rich Froning, aim for closer to ten hours of shuteye every night. You don’t walk on cheap, one-size-fits-all shoes. You don’t slouch or bend your body unnaturally throughout the day – certainly not for hours at a time. Why would you, or anybody, want to spend your most critical recovery time, the time when your body repairs, rethinks, and rejuvenates, curled on box of deteriorating springs that aren’t giving your body what it truly needs? For strength, stamina, and skill – it’s easy to choose Reverie.

Learn about Sleep Systems


1.     Age-related changes in slow wave sleep and REM sleep and relationship with growth hormone and cortisol levels in healthy men. Van Cauter E, Leproult R, and Plat L. The Journal of the American Medical Association, 2000 Aug 16;284(7): 861-868.

  1. Growth hormone in health and disease: Long-term GH therapy–benefits and unanswered questions. Clemmons D. Nature Reviews Endocrinology, 2013 Jun;9(6):317-8.
  2. Adult growth hormone deficiency – benefits, side effects, and risks of growth hormone replacement. Reed ML, Merriam GR, et al. Frontiers in Endocrinology (Lausanne), 2013 Jun 4;4:64.
  3. Basal growth hormone concentration increased following a weight loss focused dietary intervention in older overweight and obese women. Miller GD, Nicklas BJ, et al. Department Health and Exercise Science, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC, USA. The Journal of Nutrition Health and Aging, 2012 Feb;16(2):169-74.

5.     Effect of 1 week of sleep restriction on testosterone levels in young healthy men. Leproult R & Van Cauter E. The Journal of the American Medical Association, 2011 Jun 1;305(21):2173-4.

6.     Role of sleep and sleep loss in hormonal release and metabolism. Leproult, R. and Van Cauter, E. Department of Medicine, University of Chicago, Illinois. Endocrine Development, 2010;17:11-21

7.     Age-related changes in slow wave sleep and REM sleep and relationship with growth hormone and cortisol levels in healthy men. The Journal of the American Medical Association 2000, 284(7): 861-868.

8.     Effects of insufficient sleep on circadian rhythmicity and expression amplitude of the human blood transcriptome. Möller-Levet, C.S., Archer, S.N., Bucca, G., et al. Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Surrey, Guildford, United Kingdom. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 2013, Mar 19;110(12):E1132-41.

9.     Sleep, immunity, and circadian clocks: a mechanistic model. Bollinger, T., Bollinger, A., Oster, H., et al. Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene, University of Luebeck, Germany. Gerontology, 2010;56(6):574-80

10.  Ongoing study continues to show that extra sleep improves athletic performance. American Academy of Sleep Medicine. June 9, 2008.