Hunter McIntyre is a 6-time obstacle course racing (OCR) world champion, 4-time OCR national champion, the reigning Broken Skull Ranch champion (the television show hosted by Stone Cold Steve Austin), the 2017-2018 Tough Mudder X Champion, and holds multiple HYROX world records.
Suffice to say, it isn’t a secret that the 6 foot 2 inches tall, 205lb McIntyre who is capable of running sub-five minute mile and bench pressing 102kg/225lb ten times (NFL combine standard test) is a world class endurance athlete. Even CrossFit offered him a wildcard invite to the 2019 Reebok CrossFit Games to test how he stacked up against the fittest in the world — he placed 61st, not too shabby for someone who isn’t dedicated solely to training for CrossFit.
We got the chance to talk with McIntyre about his training, his diet, his current goals, and more. The man has is not shy about his competitive nature and has the look, talk, and flair of a pro wrestler — big flowy blonde hair and an affinity for rose colored shades indoors. He is fully aware of the areas that his training and diet break the conventional norms but is equally as aware that it works for him (and his results back him up). In his own words:
“This is frickin’ sweet! I’m getting paid to run in the mud, baby!”
Check out the full interview with McIntyre below from the BarBend YouTube channel:
McIntyre’s Origins In OCR
Before becoming a professional athlete, McIntyre worked as a fitness model, a personal trainer, and bodybuilder. When asked how he navigated his way to competitive obstacle course racing, he pretty much stumbled into it.
“It was kind of like a crapshoot, dude. It was super random.”
McIntyre first got into OCR in 2011 and said the decision was akin to someone fresh out of college trying to figure out what to do with their life. He attributes first getting into OCR after he found active.com — a site that informs people where there are athletic activities near them, both casual and competitive.
“One of my friends found a Spartan Race…nobody really knew what those things were. People were going, but it wasn’t really a sport. I did it and was like damn this is insane.”
McIntyre recognized that it was a “big, emerging time in the functional fitness world” and decided to go full throttle in the pursuit of become one of the sport’s best. It also served as a reason to prevent his parents from bringing him home to attend college.
“I’m putting all poker chips down on this thing. My mom wanted to kill me. My dad was supportive. And look where we’re at now.”
McIntyre writes his own programming and will adjust it as needed depending on how his body feels. He believes that there are focal points training should highlight in order to improve intensity and distance over time:
- Increase strength and position — progressive overload.
- Increase speed and position — faster reps at higher resistance.
- Increase endurance and position — add more volume.
His training structure each week includes at least one upper body intensity day, one lower body intensity day, and one track day.
McIntyre trains in Boulder, CO for half the year (the other half is spent in Malibu, California). He has three to six athletes training with him at any given time and each have their own strengths. And he will incorporate some pretty unusual gambits to spice things up — such as a pull-up contest where the loser has to run around the neighborhood naked.
“I have to put the work in myself, but if i didn’t have the support from my teammates, it’d be hard to get the numbers and the places I want to be.”
Cold Bar Technique For Grip Strength
When it comes to improving his grip, McIntyre subscribes to the “cold bar technique” which involves performing feats of athleticism and strength sans warming up, such as lifting a 250lb stone. Some other examples are:
- “He-Man challenge” — performing 15 pull-ups cold with a 50lb weight around your waist.
- 17 pull-ups on the fingerboard (fingers inside of grip holes).
- 120 meter sandbag sprint in under 20 seconds.
“I’m not much of a sleeper.”
Even though McIntyre has a grueling training schedule, he doesn’t require much sleep to perform at his best. He is able to routinely wake up very early — think 4am — regardless of how late his goes to bed, whether it’s 8pm or midnight.
“I certainly track my calories. I’m not super super dialed on what I eat. Meat, yogurt, and tons of sugar. Sugar’s the shit, I love that stuff.”
McIntyre certainly lives by his love of sugar. His normal intake is usually “300g-500g per day.”
McIntyre said that he is actually able to eat more on rest days than he is on training days. He sketched out a rough estimate of his macros per day:
- ~90g of fat
- 400g-600g carbs
- 180g-250g protein
Adding up the high end of that macro estimate, it would put his daily intake at 4,210 calories, but he says his daily average somewhere in the range of 4,500-5,500 calories. Here is a list of the staple foods McIntyre’s training diet consists of:
- Maple Syrup
- Sweet potatoes
“Being a professional athlete, you have to dedicate yourself just as much towards eating as you do towards training.”
Is there any food that you actively avoid?
“Vegetables. I don’t touch vegetables. They don’t make sense. I can’t find one reason to add them in there. I cannot find one fricken’ reason. You just need to eat calories and vegetables are just a waste of time. What am I going to do with a bunch of spinach? It’s not going to do anything. Broccoli neither. Let me introduce you to the monsters of world — you don’t see them touch any vegetables. They just eat like pigs and they crush.“
McIntyre doesn’t believe in keto, paleo, or any other special diet. His stance against vegetables came after a conversation with exercise physiologist and sports nutritionist Dr. John Ivey:
“I sat down with the guy…he was like I’ve worked with some of the best athletes in the entire world — they drink Coca-Cola and eat Twinkies and they crush.”
The health aspects of a diet contained with so much sugar don’t concern McIntyre in the slightest. He expects his autopsy to include the coroner having to pull globs of cholesterol out of his arteries.
“I’m not trying to live the life of a healthy person. I’m trying to live the life of a champion.”
When it comes to CrossFit, McIntyre knew he wanted to get the wildcard invite to the CrossFit Games well before he ultimately got it. He was making it known that he was going to go to the Games nearly a year in advance. His results and his training coincided with a lot of networking. His meals were often paired with phone call after phone call to make it known that he wanted that wildcard invite. He intends to make another appearance at the Games, but first plans to set a world record time for the hero WOD “Murph” on Saturday, May 23th as part of The Murph Challenge — “if I get 28:45, that will be 10 minutes ahead of the current world record.”
The “Murph” was named after fallen U.S. Navy Seal and Medal of Honor recipient LT. Michael P. Murphy. It consists of:
***while wearing a 20lb weighted vest:
- 1 Mile Run
- 100 Pull-Ups
- 200 Push Ups
- 300 Squats
- 1 Mile Run
The Murph Challenge is also a fundraiser for the LT. Michael P. Murphy Memorial Scholarship Foundation. If you would like to donate to support the cause and McIntyre’s “Murph” world record attempt, you can do so via Team RWB’s fundraiser.
Feature image via Hunter McIntyre’s Instagram page: @huntthesheriff