The sport of obstacle racing is continuing to grow and get more competitive in 2014.
Hunter McIntyre has burst on the scene as one of the world’s top obstacle racers in the past two years. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound former personal trainer and spin instructor from New York City was a wrestler and cross country runner in high school, and continued wrestling for one year in college before moving to Montana for a summer to become a logger. Recently based in the Big Apple, where he worked out at CrossFit 5th Ave, McIntyre, 25, moved to Malibu, Calif., in March to have greater access to trails, hills and other outdoor training venues. “He’s the sport’s next superstar,” says Utah’s Hobie Call, 37, the 2013 Spartan Race World Champion, who also happens to be a 2:16 marathoner. “He’s an amazing athlete, the ultimate package of strength and speed and agility. I would venture to say he’s the fastest runner in the world from the mile to the marathon for a guy his size.”
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How do you train?
“I do a lot of strength training in CrossFit and CrossFit Endurance workouts. I’m much more about being an all-around fit athlete. You have to understand obstacle racing isn’t just about running. What happens if you’re not all-around fit and strong is that the weak parts—the nuts and bolts that are a little bit loose on you—will fatigue first and then the whole thing is going to fall apart. I try to be strong in the core and then work my way out toward skills like running and lifting.”
What kind of running workouts do you do?
“The best way to explain it is that I’ll do one or two interval workouts a week. If I do 800 repeats, I’ll run from 2:15 to 2:25 for each one with some kind of active rest in between. I’ll also do workouts that include 20 burpees, 20 pullups, 5 dead lifts and then run 800 meters hard and do a couple of rounds of that. Every two weeks or so I’ll go for a 90-minute to 2-hour run just because I need to keep my body used to that kind of stimulus.
What would you recommend to others?
“I would say try not to section out your workouts where you’re doing a day for your legs or a day for your upper body. Start doing more full-body conditioning. My biggest advice is go out and have a lot of fun, and practice running through the woods and mixing in burpees and squats and other exercises along the way. Climb a couple of trees while you’re out there. Be really adventurous with your training, because that’s what our sport is—a combination between adventure racing and fitness.”
What is your diet like?
“I’m not a saint, I’ll tell you that, but I definitely try to stay more toward a Paleo diet—not because I think it’s the be-all, end-all kind of diet. It’s more about eating very healthy and fresh food on a regular basis. I’m not a dieter—I’m more of a clean eater. I love eating peanut butter and almond butter and sweet potatoes, squash and Brussels sprouts. I eat steak four times a week. Meat, bacon, whatever—I like to eat big, hearty meals. I always tell people, unless you’re morbidly obese, don’t diet—instead, eat big, eat healthy, train hard and your body will grow into it.”
Do you think OCR competitors are the fittest athletes in the world?
“I’d like to be able to sit at a table with Greg Glassman, the founder of CrossFit, and see what he thinks of our sport because CrossFit athletes peg themselves as the fittest humans on earth. I don’t want to argue, but maybe we’re the fittest. That’s what draws me to our sport. We’re all-around athletes. We can run 20 miles at the blink of an eye and then pick up a boulder and roll it across the tundra and then we can throw a spear and hit a bull from 100 yards away and then we can climb a tree and do all of it back to back to back to back. Remember when Ironman triathlete Mark Allen was dubbed ‘The World’s Fittest Man’ a few years ago? It’s one of my goals to earn that title.”