Shrugged Collective

What the Hell is So Cool About Obstacle Racing w/ Spartan Race Champion Hunter McIntyre – EP 160

Audio Only: iTunesStitcher

This week on Barbell Shrugged we interview Professional Spartan Racer and lovable deviant, Hunter McIntyre.

To be honest, I had no idea there was such as thing as a professional obstacle course competitor before this show. I’ve seen a few Spartan Races. Those imposing trail runs embedded with physical and mental barriers of all degree and kind. It’s an impressive thing to witness, much less experience first hand.

It’s easy to understand the massive popularity of these events. They are intense and primal in every sense. Each race is a variety pack of challenges, every kind of tough thing that life might throw your way – Fire, mud, shiver, doubt, fear. And just like in life, those that fight and finish find plenty of reward. Raw emotion and wide smiles can be found at the finish line.

Where there is a race there will be competition. It was only a matter a time before a few hardened Spartan’s started taking things seriously. In Hunter’s case, the goal is to simply be the best in the world.

New season, new races…NEW TRAINING wWw.obstacledominator.com

A photo posted by Hunter McIntyre (@huntthesheriff) on


We filmed this episode at the new Barbell Shrugged HQ in Encinitas, California. It’s a stunning spot where the SoCal mountains roll all the way down to the shore, but I guessed Hunter wasn’t that impressed.

“Do you think you could get a decent workout in these hills, Hunter?” I asked with a smile, knowing first hand just how intense and intimidating the Spartan mountains up in Pittsfield, VT can be come wintertime. He replied with a wider, suggestive smile. “I think we can make it work.”

What followed was an impromptu Barbell Shrugged inspired Spartan trail run. Feel free to give this a try, but know that we are not responsible for shenanigans-related injury or harm.

Go Spartan in x easy steps, Barbell Shrugged Style!

1. Find yourself something heavy to carry. We just happened to have an 85-pound cambered squat barbell lying around, so we thought we’d carry it up the mountain with us. 

2. Get some friends together to “join the fun.” Grab the bar and attack every hill you can. Yes, your quadriceps and ass will be reduced to molten lava. You might spit blood, sure, but at least you can take turns out there. Share the burden. If you can, take along an actual Spartan. That way you don’t lose your barbell out in the wild. 

3. If you come across a river, cross it! You could pick a quiet spot, or you could just jump right in. Again, the key is not doing it alone. Just send the least favorite of your friends out into the water to test the depth of the rapids (that’s a joke, of course). 

Epic podcast and trail run w/ @spartanrace champion @huntthesheriff today.

A photo posted by BarbellShrugged.com (@barbellshruggedpodcast) on


4. Training should be brutal at times, but remember, it’s a pleasure to suffer. It’s one of you best opportunities.

These races are very intense, there’s no question about that. Many domesticated primates would call it unnecessary, or even dangerous. At least this is what my inner dialogue tells me now (I have my own first full Spartan Race experience coming up in just a few days).

When you stare down at the starting line you will always feel a shiver, doubt and fear. Again, this is just life in a nut-shell. The conditions will always be tough as hell, but you knew that already. So, why not push through for your reward, at least once?

If you take nothing else from this episode, remember this – You are much tougher and much stronger than you think. You can do anything you want in this life, you just haven’t proven it to yourself yet.

Find a trail of your own and run it hard, baby.

Enjoy the show,



For more

  • We had a ton of fun chatting with Hunter. For trail run madness and shenanigans, follow him on Instagram and Twitter.
  • Don’t miss Episode 153 of Barbell Shrugged with Spartan Race founder, Joe DeSena.
  • Do you want to become a successful Weightlifter? We’ve got a treat for you- Learn to take FLIGHT.


Chris Moore is a writer, recovering meathead, fledgling raconteur and rabid imbiber. He's also cohost and resident potty mouth on Barbell Shrugged, a weekly podcast devoted to Crossfit, strength, fitness and all things brash. His experience is drawn from over twenty-years spent training for and competing in American Football, Powerlifting, a bit of strongman and a dash of mixed martial arts. Also, it's possible that he's had one too many cups of coffee. A caffeine fever is a hell of a thing, you know?


  • Chris, how you ended that description is just what I needed to hear: “You are much tougher and much stronger than you think. You can do anything you want in this life, you just haven’t proven it to yourself yet.” I have my first crossfit competition happening in a few short days in Des Moines, Iowa. I’ve actually only been doing crossfit for 5 months and my partner is far more advanced than I am! Needless to say I am already experiencing the shiver, doubt and fear that I will let her down. But I’m going to try to keep reminding myself of your inspirational words. Thanks for being awesome!

    • Thank you, Liz. You will be fine. The nerves are natural for everyone, so don’t worry too much about it. At the end of the event you’ll be thrilled and on fire, trust me. Just don’t worry over the outcome.

  • Guys, good luck this weekend, it’s so much fun, once you’re finished. During the beat down not so much. We did the World Championships last September in Pittsfield, it was armeggedon. Keep up the amazing work. Are you guys doing a Sprint, Super or Beast?


      • Last year when I ran obstacle race first time in my life I thought I was be the lamest member of the team but surprisingly the race showed that I was stronger than I thought and I really enjoyed the race. I guess you’ll be surprised by yourself too. Good luck!

  • Haven’t watched the video yet but I want to say that for me crossfit is not just weightlifing or metcons. Crossfit helps me to be strong, improves my coordination and endurance. And obstacle races (we have Hero Race in Russia for example) are great test to see what you can do in natural circumstances when you need to run, jump, hang, swim, carry heavy things for a distance and so on. In other words you check your ability to survive and I think it’s a great experience and a way to evaluate of your skills aand find weak spots.

    By the way last year I took part in obstacle race with crossfit exercises: we pulled wood logs, climbed a wall, farmer’s walk with kettlebells, rope climbing, pull ups and so on. It was interesting too.

    No I’ll start watching.)

  • Hey Guys,

    You touched on a point similar to your discussion with Dr. Andy Galpin again here with Hunter. Hunter is a total idol of mine, I’m huge into CF and OCR’s and have been playing with my own training regimes for the last 2 years (I’m also 6’2″ 180!). I train in a very similar fashion to what Hunter says in this episode (albeit at a lower volume). My question is how does one train to increase strength, without gaining too much (or limiting) muscle mass. Are there training methods to do this, or is it a nutrition thing? Both?

    Thx for any input!

    • Muscle will not limit you. In fact, I would be working on strength pretty hard. Heavy barbells. Progressive sets week to week. Eating a diet with plentiful calories. That’s the course. Again, you need muscle. So make room for this training.

  • I registered for my first Spartan Sprint as a result of watching this podcast. I’ve got 17 weeks to get into the best shape of my life. Thanks for another week of inspiration!

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