Athlete shares weight-loss diet, workout plan that made him a champion – Insider

Athlete shares weight-loss diet, workout plan that made him a champion – Insider
  • Hunter McIntyre is the Hyrox World Champion for 2022 and record holder for the fitness race.
  • After coming fourth in 2021, McIntyre overhauled his diet and training and lost 17 pounds.
  • He lifted weights three times a week, and ran and cycled in the mountains, he told Insider.

In 2020, Hunter McIntyre won the Hyrox World Championships. In 2021, however, he came fourth, and he was not happy about it.

“I showed up in bad shape and I had never lost in the sport at that point,” the athlete told Insider. “I got my ass handed to me, rightfully so because I didn’t put the hard work in.”

McIntyre realized he’d got complacent, so decided to up his game, overhaul his training, and get in (better) shape, losing 17 pounds in the process, he told Insider.

And it worked. McIntyre, 33, not only won the 2022 World Championships on May 14, but the month prior he set a world record for the fitness race, which combines running with disciplines such as rowing, sled pushes, and burpees.

McIntyre explained how he trained and ate to cut fat, build strength, and boost endurance.

Troubled teen to elite athlete

As a child, McIntyre loved sports but then fell into trouble with drugs, he said.

After getting kicked out of various rehabs for failing to follow protocol, at 18 he went to work as a logger in the Montana mountains.

It was during this six months that McIntyre had a mindset shift, he said — and put on 60 pounds of muscle in the process.

Since becoming a professional athlete in 2012, McIntyre has set out to prove that strength is an asset in endurance.

McIntyre aims for explosive power

Hunter McIntyre doing a farmer's carry

Hunter McIntyre doing a farmer’s carry.
Erik Wittkopf

After his fourth place finish in Hyrox 2021, McIntyre retreated to the mountains in Boulder, Colorado, to focus on “honing his craft.”

McIntyre created his own training formula, with help from coach Mike Tromello, after studying cross-country skiers: “They have this incredible balance of the highest level of cardio but also explosive power,” he said.

In Hyrox, it’s not simply about running stamina.

“We’re going fast then we have to push a nearly 400 lb sled, then we run, then we do 100 wall balls,” he said. “There are these humongous mountains in the middle of the course.”

McIntyre lifts, walks, runs, and cycles

In October 2021, McIntyre began his transformation, he said.

McIntyre started doing 15-20 hours a week of cardio either walking, cycling, or running in the mountains, he said.

This encapsulates high intensity, low intensity and moderate “active recovery” sessions, Luke Worthington, a personal trainer who works with elite athletes, told Insider.

Professional athletes build and taper their training volume around competitions, and the general public shouldn’t try and emulate their training in the run-up to an event, he said.

McIntyre’s strength goal was to maintain rather than build.

Three times a week, he did a 60-90 minute gym session. 

Each workout, McIntyre started with three exercises, such as a bench press, performing sets of three to five heavy reps.

He then worked on two Hyrox movements, like a farmer’s carry or ski erg, practicing the skill and “moving at a leisurely pace.”

“Then I’ll pick another three movements and max out as hard as I can for 20-30 minutes, either interval-based or straight through,” he said. McIntyre aimed for 30-50% of the race distance.

McIntyre keeps his food intake high to fuel his training

McIntyre went from 212 lbs to 195 lbs, but he still ate a lot.

A post shared by Hunter McIntyre (@huntthesheriff)

Although a calorie deficit is required for weight loss, he didn’t track his food intake and was mainly concerned with eating enough to fuel his high activity levels. McIntyre estimates he ate 4,500-7,000 calories a day.

“I was eating a lot, keeping my metabolism high, and giving my muscles lots of energy,” he said.

McIntyre ate plenty of carbs around his training sessions, for energy beforehand and to help his muscles recover after, he said.

As he got lighter, he went from struggling to keep up with his friends when out mountain biking to being leader of the pack, he said. 

And how did McIntyre relax after reclaiming his Hyrox crown? A backpacking trip in the mountains.

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