Inside The Masochistic Mind Of The Top Obstacle Racer On The Face Of The Planet.

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Articles, Fitness

Meet my buddy Hunter McIntyre, pro endurance athlete, Broken Skull winner, BoundlessTV co-host, obstacle course racing champion and self-described macho man.

Men's Journal describes him as “the man behind the Spartan race empire”.

Competitor Magazine calls him the “rising star of obstacle racing”.

Men's Fitness acknowledges him as “the future of the sport”.

Yes, his list of accolades is indeed mighty impressive. Bad boy turned elite Spartan athlete, in 2011 he moved from New York to Malibu to give a shot at being a celebrity personal trainer and model. After running his first Spartan race on a dare, he placed near the top of the field and was quickly propelled into Elite Spartan status, rarely missing a podium.

This year, after some significant change-ups in his training program he's been absolutely destroying fellow elite competitors by as much as several minutes, which is considered to be a huge chunk of time in the obstacle course racing world…

…and now you're about to get an insider glimpse into his new training system, and the secret tactics he's been doing to absolutely explode his fitness through the roof, along with a unique mental biohack I learned from a Navy SEAL commander, a free video I filmed at my house that is jam-packed with grip strengthening tips and tricks, and much more…enjoy!

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The Birth Of Obstacle Dominator

In case you hadn't heard, Hunter McIntyre and I, along with American Ninja Warrior and elite female Spartan Rose Wetzel host a free podcast called “The Obstacle Dominator Show“. On the show, we interview everyone from strongman competitors, to elite obstacle racers, the world's best strength and conditioning coaches, military personnel and more. 

Here's the Obstacle Dominator podcast archive. Take a listen if you dare to delve into something just a bit more casual, funny, occasionally explicit, more meat-headed and less geeky than my BenGreenfieldFitness show.

Anyways, a couple years ago, Hunter and I decided to produce a training program designed to target the unique functional fitness, nutrition and mental needs of obstacle and adventure racers. We creatively, intelligently and scientifically mashed up just about every training technique on the face of the planet – from Ironman triathlon-style training to marathoning to Crossfit to powerlifting to bodybuilding to rowing and created an obstacle race training plan unlike anything that had ever existed…

…a plan designed for the distinct purpose of getting people of all fitness and experience levels fit fast for obstacle racing, and allowing seasoned racers to absolutely dominate obstacle racing. It included an fully detailed training manual, a pro athlete insider interview series, obstacle video instructions, a how-to manual for building your own obstacles, a top secret controversial interview with Spartan CEO Joe DeSena, a complete nutrition plan for obstacle training and racing, and plenty more.

We call it the Obstacle Dominator plan.

But this year, things changed.

This year, as I mentioned earlier, Hunter mysteriously changed his entire training approach and suddenly got way faster. And even stronger. And more ripped. And amazingly, somehow built massive amounts of endurance and stamina at the same time.

He changed up everything from his running style, to his weightlifting workouts, to his conditioning routine – we're talking everything – and instead he adopted a style of training he calls “hybrid” training, which we outline in detail in our new, upgraded version of the Obstacle Dominator training plan. We call it Obstacle Dominator 2.0.

Curious what this hybrid training approach looks like?

I certainly was.

But despite professional athletes tending to hold their training cards close to their chest, Hunter actually spilled the beans on his whole approach and shared his new training approach with me. Below I'm going to give you a few samples of exactly what his new training strategies look like. Whether your goal is to absolutely crush your next Spartan race, Tough Mudder, Rugged Maniac, Warrior Dash or any other crazy obstacle event, or whether your goal has nothing to do with obstacle racing but you instead just want to build massive simultaneous gains in both strength and endurance, you're about to discover exactly what it is the mighty Hunter has been up to…

…and after you check out his hybrid training below, keep reading to the end of the article, because I'm also going to show you how you can combine these techniques with massive amounts of grip strength, and a crazy mental biohack that will leave your head spinning, quite literally.


Hunter's Hybrid Training

Let's begin with how Hunter now approaches his off-season. While I'm not going to fill you in on his entire conditioning routine (at the end of this article, I'll tell you how you can get access to that), you'll find his strength building routine, which is a key component of the off-season, to be quite unique. It's a process that basically pounds the same muscles and movements over and over and over again, building copious amounts of muscle memory, muscle fiber, neuronal connections and strength.

Below is a sample from Hunter's off-season routine, pulled straight from our new Obstacle Dominator 2.0 system. You simply repeat the following two workouts on back-to-back days, then rest every third day. Hunter will continue a routine like this for a full 8 weeks of the off-season to build an unstoppable core, legs and upper body.

Day 1: Legs/Core

A. Front Squat 4×8

B. Bulgarian Split Squat 4×12 Each Leg

C. Hang Power Clean 4×5-8

D. Sled Push 4x100m (progressively get heavier)

E. Back Extension 4×15 (progressively get heavier)

F. Ab Roller 4×15-20

G. Weighted Leg Raises 4×15 Each Leg

H. Weighted Russian Twist 4×60 seconds

Day 2: Push/Pull

A. Barbell Push Press 4×10 (Feel Free To Use Dumbbell)

B. Barbell Row 4×8

C. Weighted Dips 4×8-10 Slow On Negetives

D. Weighted Pull Ups 4×10

E. Max Effort Diamond Pushups– 3 Sets

F. One Arm Dumbell Row– 4×12 Each Side

G. Dumbbell Curl And Press– 4×12

Now don't get me wrong: Hunter doesn't train like this all year long. Instead, once he gets closer to race season, he really begins to dive deep into a form of “hybrid training” designed to create a more race-specific stimulus. For instance, running while performing gymnastic movements and weight lifting movements will create a similar environment to that of race day, and even if you're not planning on completing an obstacle race  anytime soon, also develop a unique combination of functional fitness, aerobic capacity and strength.

So here's a sample from the Sprint/Short Distance Obstacle Race Week Two, again pulled straight from the new Obstacle Dominator 2.0 training plan.

Week Two Short Distance:

Monday Conditioning – Fitness Test: Do an easy 15 minute warm up jog. Then perform a 30 minute max distance test. Your goal is to cover as much ground as possible in 30 minutes. It is best to start off slower and have negative splits toward the end. Use the final 15 minutes to cool down. Record results.

Tuesday Strength – 10 minute 180 bpm warm up run, then:

5×10 box squats, focused on strong positioning

5×5 Turkish get-ups

5×10 box step-ups – add weight to each set

Wednesday Conditioning – Cross training with 30-60 minute row or bike – if your legs are feeling fresh, complete on heavy resistance.

Thursday Strength – 20 minute AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) for 800m run, 6 ground to shoulder with boulder at 45/80, 8 pull-ups, 10 burpees and 10 min 180 bpm cool down run.

Friday Conditioning – up to 60 minute recovery run – practice 180bpm pacing (90 steps per minute). Purely aerobic, conversational, easy.

Weekend Long Run – up to 90 minute road or trail run with little to no hills at 75-80% – practice 180bpm pacing.

As you can see, Hunter is big into blending a lot of aerobic “overdistance” work, even for shorter distances, with extremely intense strength and high intensity workouts. This is similar to the “Polarized” model I talk about in my Beyond Training book – a model used by many of the world's top cross-country skiers, marathoners, swimmers, cyclists, and other endurance athletes. But in the case of Hunter, he's added a unique strength-training twist.

Next, let's take a look at how Hunter's hybrid model that we use in the new Obstacle Dominator 2.0 would look for week 11 of a Super Spartan or other longer distance race preparation…

Week Eleven Long Distance:

Day 1 – Fartlek training: 45 minute run session comprised of: 1-5 minutes hard, 10-12 minutes hard, 16-20 minutes hard, 25-30 minutes hard, 35-45 minutes hard. Use the first 15 minutes to warm up slowly while breathing through your nose. Use the last 15 minutes of the hour to cool down.

Day 2 – Cross training: 60 minute row or bike at 75%, then:

1. 4×10 TRX hamstring curls.

2. 4×10 suspended TRX lunges.

3. 4×15-20 TRX row

4. 4×10-15 super slow atomic push-ups

Day 3 – Easy run: 90 minutes at 75% (use metronome or watch for the first 10 and last 10 minutes to complete 4-6 stride outs where you make sure stride rate is at 180bpm)

Day 4 – Hybrid strength:  7×3 dead lift – progressively add weight until form begins to break. Rest 5 minutes. Complete Crossfit Jackie. Rest 10 minutes. Complete Crossfit Helen (only move to Helen if you feel that you have the energy and ability to do with proper biomechanics).

Day 5 – Long mountain run: 150 minute run at 75%. Bring your race pack and fuel – complete this run in the mountains or on rolling hills.

As you can see, Hunter's new hybrid training style is a potent blend of heavy, hard strength routines combined with long, easy aerobic work – a unique model indeed. 

In our new Obstacle Dominator 2.0, we combine this type of hybrid training with Hunter's little-known tips, techniques and training strategies for maximizing every last second of your workout, and gaining the ultimate combination of speed, strength and stamina that a guy like Hunter possesses, including things like the best tools you can own for obstacle course training, mobility and stability how-to’s, the best ways to cross-train for obstacle course racing, periodization and base-building decoded and easily broken down, how to choose the ideal race for you, a potent running form system for ultimate efficiency and economy, tapering tips for the last week before your big race….

…along with 30 day training bonus for using Hunter’s secret weapon (something called “the sled”), and of course, a completely new 12 week short distance, 12 week middle distance and 12 week long distance obstacle race training plan.

But we didn't stop there. We wanted to deliver even more tips to completely take the guesswork out of training, fueling and racing. And hence the birth of our seventeen Obstacle Dominator 2.0 Video Modules.

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Module 1 of 17: The Grip Strength Video

To develop these how-to video modules, I invited a videographer up to my house for a full 12 hour day of HD filming on every nitty-gritty detail required to tackle everything from grip strength, to spear throwing, to climbing walls, climbing ropes, doing burpees with ease, barbwire crawling, race pacing and beyond. We coached 23 participants through every aspect of obstacle racing and filmed the whole thing.

We then condensed this entire videoshoot into three hours of footage and seventeen separate modules that we also include in the new Obstacle Dominator 2.0 program. To get a taste of what I mean, take a look at module 1 “Grip Strength” below:

Below each of the seventeen video modules inside the program, you get all the little notes and tips from the video in written form, like these ones for grip strength:

Technique Tips:

-If hands above heart, move fast.
-If hands below heart…move fast!
-Thumbs-on grip: more biceps/forearm
-Thumbs-off grip: more lats
-Experiment with & without gloves

Progressions:

phase I:
-Wrist/hand/finger openers
-Hand grip trainer
-Hand expander bands
-Deep tissue forearm / elbow massage

phase II:
-Dead hangs thumbs-on
-Dead hangs thumbs-off
-Pull-ups thumbs-on
-Pull-ups thumbs-off
-Carries thumbs-on

phase III:
-Sandbell rows
-Carries pinch-grip
-Sideways pull-up position shuffles
-Fingertip pull-ups
-Towel hangs

Practical things to practice:
-Dead hang for time.
-100 yard downhill, 100 yard uphill with alternating sandbag grip.
-Self trigger-point massage of medial and lateral elbow.

When you get Obstacle Dominator 2.0, you immediately get an email to your inbox with a link to each video, along with a downloadable .pdf of Hunter's entire new hybrid training program, and also, of course, each and every one of the components of our very first Obstacle Dominator system – the original videos, audios, nutrition plan, insider interviews, build-your-own-obstacles guide, etc.

We even reveal what Hunter learned while training at famed running coach Richard Diaz's “secret lab” in California, how he used that training to get his muscular body to run just as fast as the skinny guys who are moving faster than a five minute mile during obstacle races, and how you can use the same techniques.

And finally, we next met with a former Navy SEAL Commander to throw an extreme mental training audio and booklet into the plan. Let's take a look at that, shall we?

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The Ultimate Mental Biohack

Enter Navy SEAL commander Mark Divine, who was ranked as the #1 trainee of SEAL BUDS/class number 170 and who served nine years on active duty and eleven years as a Reserve Seal, retiring as Commander in 2011.

But Mark isn't just a SEAL. He is an accomplished martial artist with black belts in Seido and Goju Ryu Karate, a military hand-to-hand combat certification in SCARS and senior ranking in Saito Nijutsu, a teacher trained in Ashtanga Yoga, creator of the innovative KOKORO Warrior Yoga program, and a guy I'll be honored to grace the stage with at the Unbeatable Mind Retreat December 2-4 in San Diego.

Last month, to put the finishing touches on the new Obstacle Dominator 2.0, Hunter and I sat down with Mark to learn how to become the ultimate mental machine, how to decode the mental game of hard workouts, painful crucibles, masochistic races and seemingly impossible obstacles, and how to build a mental game that rivals the greatest warriors on the face of the planet.

Take breathing, for example. Mark is a big fan of something called “holotrophic breathing”, a technique I discuss in my detailed report here from my experience at SEALFit academy.

Holotropic breathing is a technique developed in the mid-1970s by a guy named Dr. Stanislav Grof, who developed it as a means of simulating the psychedelic experience of LSD without actually using the drug itself. It is designed to allow you to experience deeper levels of your psyche than are usually available in your normal waking state.

You begin by lying on a mat with eyes closed. You begin by breathing slowly and deeply during this initial relaxation period as you allow all parts of your body to relax. The lights should be dimmed and holographic or holotrophic music like this should be played at a sufficient volume to block any external noise (my friend Jesse Lawler of SmartDrugSmarts has an excellent Spotify playlist and podcast on holotrophic breathing here).

Once the music begins, you accelerate your rate of breath to a point near hyperventilation. The goal is to continue breathing deeply, but to do so quickly, breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth. Remaining on your back, you continue breathing like for thirty minutes up to three hours (yep three hours!) while the music is pumping. Some coughing or choking feelings are not unusual, and you may find yourself writhing, dancing, crying, laughing, shivering, speaking or any of a variety of other possibilities, including feeling completely detached from your body.

Once the music fades, you gradually resume a normal rate of breath. When you’re ready, you open your eyes and allow the light in the room to return to normal. During a holotrophic session with Commander Divine, I've personally experienced breakthroughs in areas like my reason “why” for doing what I do, my relationship with my kids, emotional cleansing, crying, and a host of other intense mental and emotional experiences – all drug-free and simply by using a “biohack” of music and some really hard breathing.

Pretty cool, eh?

In our one hour audio interview and full accompanying transcript from the chat, you’ll discover much more, including Commander Divine’s top mental tactics that really work when you’re preparing to go into the pain cave and when you’re in the pain cave, such as:

-How to breathe (and how not to breathe) when the going gets tough…
-The exact visualization techniques used by the world’s fiercest soldiers…
-Tools to forge the resiliency and mental toughness necessary to succeed, even at an elite level…
-Mark’s practical tips for starving fear and feeding courage…
-How to use Mark’s “5 Mountains” of self-mastery to control your emotions perfectly…
-Mark’s three-sphere awareness system…
-The five most critical mental toughness skills you must possess to truly dominate…
-How to embrace the suck and block out pain when the going gets tough…
-And much more…

This guy trains the greatest warriors in the world to never crack under pressure and to literally 20x their physical and mental capabilities, and now you get his most potent secrets in the new Obstacle Dominator 2.0.


Summary

So that's it.

That's how the most macho obstacle racer on the face of the planet now trains, using his unique hybrid training system. 

That's how you can get your hands on a complete bundle of obstacle racing how-to HD videos, shot at my house in Spokane, Washington.

That's how you can tap into the unbeatable mind of a Navy SEAL Commander.

And that's all just a tiny, tiny sample of the brand new Obstacle Dominator 2.0 training system developed by Hunter and I, in which we spell out and describe all the workouts, exercises and everything else you need to train like a true obstacle racing pro in this new version.

In addition to all the race-proven material we already have in the original Obstacle Dominator, in Obstacle Dominator 2.0 we’ve unveiled Hunter’s underground training secrets, produced an official obstacle course racing manual jam-packed with new tips, released a mental training plan we worked on with a Navy SEAL commander, added over three hours of new obstacle training and racing video instruction, and plenty more.
 
And, in celebration of our launch of the new program, until October 31 at midnight Pacific, you get the entire program instantly downloaded to your computer at a heavily slashed price…less than the cost of a single personal training session. You can click here to see exactly what that new slashed price is, and to check out even more components of the new Obstacle Dominator 2.0.

Whether you want to race a Spartan, Tough Mudder, Rugged Maniac, Warrior Dash, or any other obstacle race on the face of the planet, this is everything you need for supreme confidence and superior fitness – something we like to call “obstacle domination”.

Zero guesswork.

Complete confidence.

And a big smile on your face at the finish line.

Enjoy the new program and the new price. Leave your comments and questions below, and either Hunter or I will jump in to reply (and of course, be sure to grab your Obstacle Dominator 2.0 training program now as it's flying off the website like hotcakes).


Also published on Medium.

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24 thoughts on “Inside The Masochistic Mind Of The Top Obstacle Racer On The Face Of The Planet.

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  6. Ernest says:

    Es el modelo de césped artificial más económico.

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  10. Jon Albon says:

    Really?

  11. Neil says:

    Appreciate the sample, Ben. What are your thoughts on a rowing machine for building strength? I would love to be able to incorporate that into this program. Thank you!

      1. Dus scoggins says:

        Ponders I have Cerebral Palsy..training is a bit different for me..I’ve had those in the past do this you will be OP..I do well..I’m blessed but thing is I want a trifecta but how I train versus most folks doesn’t compare..seems thats a Issue for me..Curious if you could give me some insight..I do not want money…What I want is to live longer, be healthy..Be a good father to my children…thanks for any insight..Dus

  12. Jose Garcia says:

    Hi Ben! Interested in checking out the program! Do you offer a refund policy at all?

  13. James says:

    Didn’t you mention on a previous podcast that those that purchased the original Obstacle Dominator package would be able to upgrade to the new one for free? I haven’t seen any options for previous subscribers to upgrade, or even pay at a discount.

    1. You should have received an email letting you know you'd get it at a greatly discounted price because you'd already bought it. Can you email [email protected] and they will sort it out.

  14. Wenzel says:

    You would need a good amount of equipment to follow this program, right? (i.e., Sled, TRX, Back Extension, Olympic Bar, etc.). Sounds like a lot to invest in prior to starting the program.

    1. Sled is totaly optional. So is TRX. But highly recommended to have kettlebell, barbell, dumbbell!!! So not TOO much.

  15. Phil says:

    Thanks for this, Ben. I like having the opportunity to try the sample workouts before I decide to drop the cash or not. Bonus thanks for linking to instructional videos!

  16. Brent Jaciow says:

    Ben, would you recommend using a training program like this for completing Mountain Ultras? I know they arent the same thing, but no program exists which combines heavy lifting, metcons and various distance work for mono-structure aerobic work. There is bMack’s PSE, but i find the interval work too blunt (only repeats of 400m/800m/1km or TT’s @ race distance) and i have to think there is a better way.

    1. This would be KILLER for mountain ultras but you could probably skip some of the pullups. ;)

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