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'Fittest Man on Earth' Mat Fraser on money and investing

Four-time CrossFit Games champ Mat Fraser is known for his herculean feats. Some of his benchmark stats include deadlifting 500 pounds and back-squatting 485 pounds, helping to earn him the title of “Fittest Man on Earth.”

But’s what is perhaps less known about Fraser that while he was still in college he used a $500 CrossFit prize to invest in himself and his career. 

“I was a full-time college student at UVM, pursuing mechanical engineering. And you know, I didn't want to get a part-time job, but I saw an opportunity to make some pocket money competing. And so it slowly just built, and I started investing more time into myself to get better at that. And you know, by the time I graduated college and the job fair came to the school, I didn't go,” he said on The Final Round in a recent interview. 

Indeed, since graduating with a double major in mechanical engineering and engineering management from the University of Vermont in 2016, he has earned the top prize at the 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 CrossFit Games. For his most recent win, he took home $300,000.

“I never expected this to end up being a career. I figured it was a good way to make some pocket money while I was in college, and then I was going to go on and get a desk job as an engineer. But it kind of worked out.”

“Trying to capture the market”

Fraser tells Yahoo Finance that from the very beginning, he focused on being responsible with his winnings. The now 29-year-old lived a pretty modest life — he lived at home with his parents after college and drove an inexpensive car. He went to a broker, but eventually started to do some research of his own to become more active in his investments. 

“I started doing some more research on [my own] and found a low-cost site. And I started dabbling with it and trying it and trying to learn the platform ... Just recently, I took all of my assets in, so it's all under my management. I’m just trying to play it safe, but I'm trying to capture the market,” he said.

Sponsorships and beyond

Mat Fraser’s second PE is designed on the new Metcon 5. What's new: the haptic chain-link pattern on the upper can better withstand the abuse of rope climbs, and a wider heel improves stability during heavy squats, snatches, cleans and shoulder-to-overhead movements.

In addition to his winnings, Fraser is one of several CrossFit athletes sponsored by Nike (NKE), and launched his second player exclusive (above) with the footwear maker earlier this year

He’s also tapped into the CBD space by teaming up with Beam. The Boston-based company, which launched in November 2018, is attempting to disrupt the market with full-spectrum products free of THC. 

“I think we've found a good connection with athletes, people in the active lifestyle wellness where we've seamlessly integrated CBD into their normal routines and habits,” Beam co-founder Matt Lombardi told Yahoo Finance back in May

Fraser is also affiliated with Rogue Fitness (an equipment maker), Compex (a muscle stimulation device-maker) and SteadyMD. 

‘What's the life expectancy of a CrossFitter’

The term “CrossFit” was registered nearly two decades ago, and went competitive in 2007 (the year of the first CrossFit Games). As such, it is still developing as a sport, and Fraser plans to stick around for as long as he can. 

“That's kind of a question on a lot of competitors’ minds of, you know, the sport's relatively new, and people are still trying to work out the kinks of how to train properly: What's the life expectancy of a CrossFitter — all this stuff. So I'm kind of in the middle of that as well.”

Pamela Granda is a producer on Yahoo Finance’s closing bell show, The Final Round. Follow her on Twitter

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