It's hard to imagine that someone dubbed the "fittest man on earth" once lived a life of addiction – and not for the gym.

Mat Fraser is a US athlete who earned his sought-after title at the 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 CrossFit Games.

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He dominated the competition for four years in a row, describing his winning streak as coming from an obsession with coming first.

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The 30-year-old - who found CrossFit after an injury in 2009 forced him out of his initial sporting passion as an Olympic weightlifter – took up the extreme sport in 2012.

But before all that, before the endless competitions in the lead-up to his world title and the extremely heavy weights, Fraser was an alcoholic.

As a teen with a promising future in various sports, he revealed he was hungover three out of four training days and thought it was normal to drink until passing out.

He started dabbling in drugs and alcohol at 10 years of age and by the time he was 17, his behaviour began to slide, and that's when he spotted a pattern.

"I realised that not every time I was drinking I got in trouble, but every time I was in trouble I'd been drinking," the athlete told The Times UK.

Fraser, the son of two Canadian figure skating Olympians Don Fraser and Candace Jones, made an abrupt decision to quit alcohol when he realised his self-destructive behaviour was becoming too much of a norm.

His father was on the phone one day when Fraser came home to show him the paperwork of fines he had copped after getting into trouble again.

But his father was unfazed and "didn't even interrupt his phone call".

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"He didn't care. And that broke my heart. That was the last night I drank," Fraser said.

He discovered a different way to feed his addictive personality – he shifted his focus on becoming the best athlete he could be, and his hard work and relentless attitude to succeed eventually paid off.

In 2014, Fraser competed in his first CrossFit Games, which involved a 42km row, lifting his maximum weight and doing 30 "muscle-ups".

He placed second in the world, and while that was a feat in itself, he didn't think so and made it his mission to come first the following year.

But to his dismay, it didn't happen. He refocused his energy and competed for the winning spot in 2016 and he hasn't been stripped of that title ever since.

He hasn't touched an alcoholic beverage since he was a teenager, and part of the reason for his sobriety was because of his ongoing mission to keep improving.

"That's why I got sober," he told Men's Health magazine. "To be better."

When it comes to what Fraser eats, it can be anything from steak and potatoes to enchiladas and tacos – and usually four to five meals per day.

Fraser kicks off his day at about 7.30am with a cup of coffee and a classic three-part breakfast of bacon, eggs and oatmeal. He's then off to the gym at 9.30am for four hours where you will find him doing anything between conditioning, weightlifting and metabolic conditioning.

He spends roughly six hours a day at the gym.

"A lot of it depends on what I did the day before. If I did a lot of conditioning yesterday, I'll do some more strength work today," Fraser told GQ magazine.

He then heads home for lunch, which is usually a sandwich, before heading back to the gym for another three-hour session.

But this time he focuses on strength, conditioning, cardio and technique work.

"I'm definitely in a unique situation where this is the only thing I do. I don't have a nine-to-five (job), and I'm not in school," he told the publication.

After dinner, you will find him stretching on the floor for about an hour-and-a-half, focusing his attention on areas of pain from the day's training.

He then heads to bed at about 10pm and repeats the routine the following day.