At age 52, Tim McGraw is a lean, mean country music machine, but if you rewind the clock back a decade, the Grammy-winning star will tell you he was nowhere near the fitness zealot he is today.

As McGraw details in his book, Grit & Grace, life on the road, plus challenges with his record label, the death of his father (major league pitcher Tug McGraw), and a host of other issues had finally broken the musician and actor. His health fell into shambles due to the stress, which led to poor diet choices which led to 40 extra pounds on his 6′ frame.

At his highest weight, about 210 pounds, McGraw’s family intervened to help get his life in order. First his wife, fellow country star Faith Hill, warned him to cut back on his partying. Then his oldest daughter, Gracie, provided a humorous—and effective—reality check when he appeared on a 100-foot theater screen during a movie trailer.

“My daughter said, ‘Jeez, Dad. You really need to do something,’ ” he says. “For your kid to say that, it sounds funny—and it was funny—but it kick-started a thought process in my head that made me look into the future.” 

Not wanting to miss out on seeing his children grow up and have families of their own, McGraw decided to make some life changes. He cut out drinking, started to eat healthy, and began working out every day. Slowly but surely, he shed the pounds, and now, at age 52, he has a physique most men half his age would kill for.

“I wanted to get control of my life,” McGraw says. “What was the one thing that I could do? Well, I could control how I treated myself.”

Road Warrior 

“Professional athleticism is in my DNA,” the “Live Like You Were Dying” singer says, and now it shows in his workout regimen, especially when he’s on tour. On a typical day, McGraw starts his mornings with “a lot of stretching and some yoga, maybe some body-weight exercises,” as well as a 30-minute treadmill power walk that gradually inclines. From there, McGraw—along with his band—will sneak in a workout at that night’s concert venue.

“We’ll run the stadium stairs, the arena stairs, or the grass on an amphitheater,” McGraw says. “We’ll do bear crawls and all kinds of stuff for about an hour.”

As if one exhilarating pre-concert workout isn’t enough, McGraw and his crew will add an afternoon program using battle ropes, sledgehammers, tractor tires, and kettlebells stored in the gym trailer that travels with them on tour. “We’ll do two hours of fuctional fitness,” McGraw says.

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It’s Showtime

Although some people might think he’s crazy for working out so much before doing a two-hour “full-throttle, wide-open physical show,” McGraw believes this new routine has helped contribute to some of his best recent performances.

“On the days we don’t have those opportunities, our shows aren’t as good,” he admits. But when he does find that flow, “boy, those are special nights,” he says.

To prepare before a concert, it takes some backstage solitude and meditation to get ready to put on a show for the sold-out crowds, McGraw says. “When you have those kinds of nights,” he says, “those will keep you doing this.”

Tim McGraw On-Tour Workout
Exercise Reps
Plank Walkout to Pushup 5
Loaded Split Squat 5
Feet-Elevated Pushup 15
Double Under 40
Directions: See how many rounds you can finish in 15 mins. in this four-move workout



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