Country singer Tim McGraw takes fitness as seriously as he does music. His road regimen is a tough routine that can include 30 minutes on the treadmill, an hour of yoga and runs up and down the stairs in whatever arena he’s playing that night. That’s not counting an hour (or even two) in the custom tractor-trailer gym he brings with him, which includes 20-pound chains, exercise balls, sledgehammers and more for a grueling, high intensity CrossFit-style workout.
These strategies do more than keep him toned. He says fitness has helped him become more alert and improve everything from his work to his relationships. And since he works out with his band, he’s seen the unique way fitness has helped them all connect, collaborate and work together on and offstage.
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These experiences, in part, inspired McGraw to help others change through fitness and new habits. The singer has signed a two-year partnership with Snap Fitness to develop a line of specialty clubs. These TRU MAV signature clubs will leverage workouts and custom equipment McGraw uses himself.
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And though McGraw has sold more than 45 million albums, don’t think that his music will be playing while you work out at these new gyms. They’re more likely to play songs that have motivated McGraw during his workouts, anything from ‘70s rock classics to Bruno Mars. “I think it’s all about how you feel when you’re in the gym,” McGraw says. “What makes you feel good and what drives you forward.”
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We caught up with McGraw to learn more about how fitness has transformed everything from how he works to how he leads — and what you can learn, too.
Here are some excerpts from our interview, edited and condensed for clarity.
Fitness is really a mindset. Tell us about how your mental game has changed.
It’s not necessarily about how you look, it’s about accomplishing something. Ten years ago when I really started trying to get myself in good shape, I noticed it raised the bar on everything that I did it: my career, my family life, my alertness. It changed my whole attitude about everything that I do. Finding good habits turned into better habits and finding better habits turned into really, really, really great habits. I think it’s made my career stronger and certainly has given me more longevity.
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You work out with your band — and it’s brought everything up a notch. How?
It’s a great team-builder. We end up talking about the show a lot and talking about different things that we want to do and how we might change the light or maybe change a certain guitar sound. Some of our best ideas about the show come during our workouts. It’s a direct translation to what we do on stage. When you’re out there with a team and you’re pushing each other to work hard in the afternoon, you do the same thing when you’re on stage together.
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People who start a new regimen can hit a wall and not want to push themselves again. How can they trust and listen to their bodies?
The more energy I expend during the day, the better I am at night. I grew up being an athlete — a football player, a baseball player and a basketball player. And your body does that for you. Any athlete will tell you there’s that two to three hours before right before a ballgame where it feels like your body’s crashing and you’ll never get back up. And that’s your body reeling itself in and resting itself.
These fitness clubs are a new venture for you. What advice do you have for other people striking out on their own with new ventures?
I’ve gotten asked this question by people in the music business, and other artists, people who want to start companies, and it always comes back to focus. The times where I know things are going well for me and I’m making the right decisions and I’m firing on all cylinders are the times that I’m focused. The times when things don’t seem like they’re quite right, where it feels like I’m struggling or like the boats are swaying a little bit, those are the times where I realize I’m not as focused as I need to be.