How HYROX Champion Hunter McIntyre Trains for Size and Stamina

·4-min read

At his cabin in Big Bear, California, Hunter McIntyre trains with some unconventional tools. The American world record holder for functional fitness race Hyrox chops logs, lifts stones and flips tyres. He sometimes throws an axe into a tree stump while perched on a unicycle (a pandemic hobby).

After breaking the world record for CrossFit hero WOD Murph and easily beating the shit out of everybody (“not to be insulting”) at the HYROX Invitational and Nationals in 2021, the champion variously of Obstacle Course Racing, Tough Mudder X and Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Challenge wanted to try something new. He went head-on into training to run the fastest marathon over 200lb (90kg), got hurt and realised: “I can’t have one ass and ride two horses.” This year – after the odd Spartan Race and 2022’s HYROX World Championships – McIntyre plans to clear his slate of heavy, intense conditioning. Then that marathon is on.

How does McIntyre ride the two horses of strength and endurance but not half-ass either? “Just periodisation, man.” Alternating endurance blocks with strength, fully focusing on each in turn. He usually does his own programming, and that of his HAOS Training app, but he recently hired a coach because he’s so busy he doesn’t want to think. A “great week” for McIntyre, when he’s not travelling, is six hours in the gym and 10 to 14 of cardio. (Continued below)

McIntyre splits his training time between Big Bear and Boulder, Colorado at the foot of the misleadingly named, near-vertical Flat Iron mountains. When he speaks to MH, earlier this year, he’s gearing up for two hours atop “Magnus the Mountain Slayer”, a single-speed bike that builds “almost unstoppable” physical and mental capacity - because if McIntyre doesn’t pedal, he falls off. In the gym, he’s working through a back squat cycle: pick a weight you think you’d be lucky to get ten reps with, then don’t stop until you’ve done 20.

You need an alter ego, says “The Sheriff”, that comes out when necessary. He self-talks by relentlessly bad-mouthing himself, repeating only two or three words so he doesn’t get distracted. At school in Connecticut, teachers said his only life path was taking pills for his ADD; he ran, wrestled, drank, got arrested for stupid stuff. After rehab – which included a job as logger, which filled out his sapling frame – he realised: to be worthy of people’s time he had to do something worthy with his.

McIntyre got into bodybuilding, then modelling, but he’s not a still picture guy. He’s animated. Having never run farther than three miles, he rocked up to a half-marathon and won. It’s a great part of the book he’s writing. He’s been off medication since 21.

MH has a new alter ego: Hunter McIntyre.

57:34

McIntyre’s world record for HYROX: 1km SkiErg, 50m sled push, 50m sled pull, 80m burpee broad jumps, 1km row, 200m farmer’s carry, 100m sandbag lunges and 100 wall balls - with a 1km run before each station

34:13

McIntyre’s world record for Murph: 1-mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 press-ups, 300 air squats and another 1-mile run - all while wearing a 20lb weighted vest.


Hunter, Not a Gatherer

McIntyre’s unconventional nutrition. Disclaimer: MH does not endorse avoiding veg.

First Thing

"I have Strong Coffee, my buddy’s company: it’s got collagen in it and it tastes really good. I have my own supplement company, BLDR, so I put my aminos in a cup every day. And I add about three tablespoons of honey."

Morning training (2 hours)

All Day Long

"It's mostly sandwiches, steak and rice, tons of Honey Nut Cheerios and milk and more sugar on top of that."

Afternoon training (1-3 hours)

At Night

"Lots of rice and meat, big steaks: sometimes I eat two or three a day. Last night, we had ramen noodles and sticky buns. And I'm still always under 10% body fat."

Almost Never...

"You can't pay me to eat vegetables… I've hung out with some super athletes and almost all of the best of them just rip calories. It doesn't matter if it comes from steak and rice, chicken, Twinkies... Superheroes aren’t made of vegetables, they're made of calories."

How to Win at Hyrox

The record holder’s pro tips for newbies:

  1. "Just get used to running an hour straight. It’s an endurance event. I hold the world record, and I'm fucking running my ass off the whole time."

  2. "It's almost all legs. You should be doing tons of squats, wall balls, box step-ups, lunges. You should be doing that about three days a week."

  3. "Test one of the workouts, like 100 wall balls for time: if it takes you five minutes, you should be doing something on your legs that's five minutes straight. It’s not rocket science."

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