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.
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).
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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,