We've talked about Obstacle Course Races (OCR) before and in this month's fitness focused issue, we sat down with Hunter McIntyre to talk about his upcoming Tough Mudder X Championship presented by KILL CLIFF race taking place on July 28th and airing on CBS. We wanted to know how he got into this sport, how he trains for it and why he enjoys doing them.
ATHLEISURE MAG: Tell us about your athletic background as we know you were a cross country runner and champion wrestler in high school.
HUNTER MCINTYRE: My grandfather was an Olympic athlete and he really helped me believe that I could become a great athlete myself. He would constantly tell me that I was really fast and encouraged me to run track and field. My ability to run quickly and my experience with wrestling has really translated into my training now.
AM: How did you get into the world of Tough Mudder and other OCR competitions?
HM: While living with my friends in Malibu, my one friend challenged me to compete in an OCR race. At that point, I hadn’t been training for an obstacle race, just body building. In the short time I had to train for that race, I would run up and down my driveway for hours and I ended up finishing 6th place out of around 10,000 participants. I was all-in after that.
AM: What is it about OCR in general that you enjoy?
HM: The best thing is, the opportunity is what you make of it. It’s a sport that you can train for anywhere and everywhere. I can go for a run in Central Park, go to the gym to lift and I can mix in some rock climbing with my friends to train. Most of all, I just love being outdoors.
AM: How do you train for OCR versus just maintaining your workout?
HM: When training for a Tough Mudder, I’ll run once or twice per day, six days per week. It also depends on the distance and location of the event. For World’s Toughest Mudder, I’ll spend 2-4 hours per day training in the woods. When I’m not training for a race, I just like to get in the gym and challenge myself to get as strong as I can. That’s when my friends and I put a big emphasis on strength training.
AM: What are your go to foods that you eat when you're maintaining your body and what 3 splurge foods do you enjoy?
HM: I stick to a high carbohydrate diet. I eat a lot of pancakes and Honey Nut Cheerios. There are some days when I’ll eat 10 apples per day. For two months leading up to the Tough Mudder X Championship I ate a 14oz or 16oz ribeye steak every single night. That steak every night became my sleeping pill and I always feel rejuvenated the next morning. I do splurge on Ben & Jerry’s ice cream from time to time.
AM: Where did your name, "The Sheriff" come from?
HM: One of my friends called me “The Sheriff” one day and it really just stuck with me from then on.
AM: With such an intense schedule how do you take time for yourself?
HM: When I’m not training or I’ve just finished an event, I really like to just chill and relax at my place in Malibu. Since I’m on the road a lot, I enjoy that time at home when I can.
AM: How important is travel to you and what are 3 of your favorite places that you enjoy going to?
HM: It’s important to disconnect work travel and travel for pleasure. I’m always traveling for events, but my top vacation spots would be St. Barts, Telluride, Colorado and Big Sur.
AM: On Sat July 28th, you will be defending your title in the finale of the Tough Mudder X Championship presented by Kill Cliff airing on CBS - how have you prepared for this competition physically and mentally?
HM: Preparing for the TMX Championship, I put myself in tough training situations. This year, I trained extremely hard in the mountains of Park City, Utah.
AM: What has it been like to compete alongside athletes that are comprised of Navy Seals, UFC Fighters, CrossFit, American Ninja Warriors?
HM: It’s great because you learn to respect and understand the ways these other athletes train and the way they approach the same events, differently. I really enjoy learning and picking up some tools from each of them.