Meet Marcus Hunt, a hybrid athlete based out of Las Vegas, NV who defies traditional fitness labels by excelling in both strength and endurance training. Whether he's running a monthly marathon, deadlifting 700lbs, or pushing himself to the limit in a high-intensity workout, Marcus is a true testament to the power of hybrid training.
His dedication to pushing his limits in multiple areas of fitness has not only helped him achieve impressive physical feats but has also had a profound impact on his resilience, entrepreneurship and overall well-being.
In this interview, we dive deep into Marcus's approach to training, his mindset for success, and the lessons he's learned along the way.
An Introduction to Hybrid Training
Hybrid training is a type of training program that combines different exercise modalities in a single workout session.
It typically involves a mix of strength training exercises, such as weightlifting and resistance training, and cardiovascular exercises like running, cycling, or rowing.
Hybrid training can be customized to suit individual fitness goals and levels, and can be a great way to challenge the body in new ways while avoiding boredom and plateaus.
Additionally, hybrid training may help improve overall fitness, increase muscle mass, burn fat, and enhance cardiovascular health.
An Introduction to Marcus Hunt
Marcus has been working out since he was 13 years old - a fitness journey that kicked off when he was taken under the wing of Mark Philippi - 1997 Winner of the World's Strongest Man.
Throughout high school, Marcus played a ton of sports, with a special love for football.
At 17 years and weighing 193lbs, Marcus deadlifted 635lbs conventional.
Following a 2 year church mission in São Paulo, Brazil, 18 year old Marcus became fluent in Portuguese.
Some more of Marcus' Accomplishments:
- B.A. in History from Brigham Young University.
- Ran an in person and online coaching business since he was 15 years old.
- Certified Functional Strength Coach (CFSC.)
- Experienced in bodybuilding, powerlifting, Olympic lifting, sports performance, dietetics, longevity, and other disciplines but have a love for building strong, healthy, & aesthetic physiques
- Run marathons, deadlifted in the 700lbs+ range, and overall enjoy pushing the limits of what is possible in all aspects of life.
- A lifetime drug free natural athlete who has been training and dieting for 13+ years.
If you could distill your personal philosophy of training in a few sentences... how would you describe it?
My training originated with lifting solely to increase my personal confidence as an insecure middle schooler. Shortly after my focus shifted to my maximizing athletic capability, with an emphasis on speed and strength for sports performance.
As time has gone on, I've tried to excel in every major physical discipline I can while trying to look good doing it.
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Many view a modern fitness regime as either strength training or cardio like running or cycling, among other activities like hiking, rock climbing, yoga. Rarely do people view a hybrid training regime as sustainable - viewing it instead as unattainable and overwhelming.
What benefits do you experience from a well-rounded training routine? How do you think incorporating hybrid training would benefit people?
I honestly started pursuing hybrid training because I thought simply getting stronger and looking half decent didn’t excite me anymore.
It was the mental challenge I needed/wanted. I wanted more. I deadlifted over 705lbs for the first time towards the beginning of 2022 and wanted to be able to do that plus more.
The elephant in the room is that endurance running and heavy lifting inherently contradict each other. If you’re trying to get big and strong, running does the opposite by depleting your calories and breaking down your body.
I think lifting weights and doing cardio is a healthy goal for anyone. How extreme they choose to take that is up to them.
Imagine someone reading this becomes super curious about a hybrid training program. They currently strength train 3x a week, but they don't have a running routine. What kind of routine would you suggest for them to get started?
This obviously varies from person to person depending on fitness level and past experience, but I would say start with walking and lower-intensity versions of cardio, and slowly ramp it up to running 2-3x a week, gradually increasing your mileage.
What is your response when someone says, "I'm not a runner." "I could never be a runner."
My wife used to say things like this, and now she runs 5-6 days a week and loves it. I think the biggest thing is knowing that in order to grow, you’ll have to be uncomfortable. But you can do anything you put your mind to, if you work hard enough.
Can you tell our audience about your current goal of running a marathon per month? Before you set this goal, what was your running goal? What made you decide on this goal? How's it all going? What are the challenges? What's next?
It all started when I ran a marathon on two broken feet around a single neighborhood block with 0 training just to prove to myself that I could.
I then went on to run as a sponsored athlete in the Utah Valley Marathon in 2022, and have run over 15 half marathons and 3 more full marathons since.
On February 12th, Marcus achieved an all-time squat PR (610), an all-time paused bench PR (390) and a 675 deadlift on the same day he ran a half marathon.
Running to me is all mental and that’s why I like it. Running isn’t fun, I don’t “enjoy” it in the traditional sense that others do, it’s miserable for me, and that’s why I enjoy it. I like building the mental endurance and pushing myself to do extremely difficult things on a regular basis.
My cardio base is good enough now that I don’t have to run super often to maintain it. What has been challenging has been trying to intentionally gain weight/muscle mass and having to run at a much higher body weight than I’m used to.
My original goal was to train and finish the Utah Valley Marathon. As time has gone on, half marathons have become a more casual expectation at the pace I like to run. Marathons are still something that are extremely challenging for me, so after running a few at the end of 2022, I decided I was going to run one per month each month of 2023 alongside deadlifting at least 700 lbs each month as well. One month down, 11 more to go!
As for 2024, maybe an ultra marathon, we’ll see! ;)
How does strength training help your running? How does running help your strength training?
When I ran the Utah Valley Marathon in 2022, I burned a bunch of people on the hills because I’d built up strength in my legs that helped me to maintain my endurance, even on the hillier portions of the race.
Honestly, running hinders my strength training and breaks down my body. However, I have enjoyed the new challenge.
For those of us curious about the nutrition it takes to sustain your type of training, can you run us through 3 of your go-to meals that help you stay strong and run long distance?
On days where I run long distance, I have a few things I like to have on-hand: Sour Patch Kids, Gatorade Zero, G2G bars. I like to end those days with a high-calorie cheat meal, like In N’ Out or Canes.
On the average day, though, my diet looks a bit different: For breakfast, I love turkey bacon, greek yogurt or a protein shake, and sourdough toast. My wife cooks dinners that are usually high in protein, moderate in carbs, and low in fat. Some of my favourites are shredded pork with homemade buns, or a no-bean chili made with lots of veggies, bone broth, and lean ground beef.
What projects are you currently working on?
I’m currently working full time corporate job. Scaling my social media (IG, Tik Tok, and Youtube) and online training are my second job. Past ventures include a couple moving companies in Washington D.C., Utah, and Las Vegas. The Hunt Fitness App is the biggest entrepreneurial pursuit I’m pushing at the moment!
Can you share what your current training split looks like?
At this point in my training career, I don’t have a set split. My workout days vary based upon the demands of previous days and future demands of upcoming challenges. My routine focuses on heavy multi joint lifts including: deadlifts, squats, bench press, military press, weighted pull-ups, weighted bar dips, and other accessory movements. As for running, I usually do a few slower paced shorter runs and a long (marathon-half marathon) run every 2 weeks or so.
To get the workouts I’ve used to attain my current strength, physique, & fitness level, check out The Hunt Fitness App available for IOS!
You've been both an athlete and an entrepreneur since you were a teenager.
What were the foundational experiences in your childhood that helped you succeed in both athleticism and entrepreneurship at an early age?
What were the things that you had to learn along the way?
I wasn't really interested in fitness as a younger child. I played sports like many other kids, but was honestly a big skater until 8th grade when I decided I needed to stop being mentally and physically weak and do something valuable with my life. Up until that point, I hadn't taken the time to develop a true sense of self.
I decided I wanted to become the strongest and most disciplined version of myself. As a 13-year-old I would wake up every morning early before school and do a workout from Men's Health magazine in my room with dumbbells. Then after school I’d workout again, hitting consistently two or three a day for many years.
As I began to learn more about myself, I realized that I had a strong passion for helping and motivating others, which fueled my first business: A personal training & life coaching business.
This business has helped not only the clients I trained, but has helped me in many ways, too! My confidence in myself as an entrepreneur has grown and led to several other business ventures. Financially, this business has helped me in high school, to my LDS mission in Brazil, to paying my college tuition at BYU, and has continued to help me to support my family.
Lastly, starting and growing this business has given me a greater sense of purpose and drive to push me through even the toughest life journeys.
I have had to learn many life lessons along the way. The biggest lesson of all, I would say, is that you cannot be motivated toward success by external factors. Why you do what you do must come from within.
Who are the people you look up to? What about them inspires you? What have you learned from them?
I look up to my dad because of his strength and hardworking spirit. He has worked tirelessly my whole life to provide the best life for me and my family, and is extremely honest, patient, and thorough in everything he does.
In terms of athletes, I look up to Alex Viada - the best hybrid athlete ever. Alex is one of the most instrumental thinkers and athletes in the hybrid training realm. I read his E-Book, ‘The Hybrid Athlete’ in high school and it revolutionized how I thought about training.
Can you tell us a bit about your life outside of fitness? What are the things you LOVE to do? Who are the people who bring you joy?
Outside of fitness, I'm a big foodie. My wife and I love to try new restaurants, and I especially love a new donut joint or Brazilian steakhouse.
I love learning and I love learning about history in particular (I was a history major in college.) Every day you’ll catch me listening to a history podcast, studying a new topic, or starting a new book.
I love playing with my dog, Winston, and spending quality time with the people that I love. My friends and I love to spend hours catching up over home-grilled steaks or all-you-can-eat sushi.
My faith in God and His plan brings me the greatest joy followed by being married to my wonderful wife, and being with my family.
Serving and motivating others along with focusing on gratitude also brings me great joy.
Is there anything that you would like to share with our audience that hasn't already been covered?
I am a proud member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I attribute all of my success to the strength I receive from my faith in God, and the support I get from my wife and my family. I have grown a lot from my fitness journey, but have also learned a lot from other experiences, such as my 2-year church mission to Sao Paulo, Brazil and my time spent studying in college at BYU. I am grateful for the challenge each new day presents, and look forward to continuing to grow into the best version of myself.
Must-Have Hybrid Training Exercises
The Better Body Air Bike gets your blood pumping - getting more difficult the harder you work. Its cardio and strength training capacities make it perfect for any hybrid program in a home gym.
In Photo: Better Body Standard Squat Rack, Competition Barbell, Horizontal Plate Rack, Hex Dumbbell Set, Premium Bench
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