Mitchell Hooper never dreamed of becoming the world’s strongest man. This makes last year’s win both unique and impressive as he also became the first Canadian to be named ‘World’s Strongest Man’ and doing so in only his second time competing.

While there are perks that come with being named the world’s strongest man, Hooper’s focus has remained on impacting others. Naturally introverted, trips to the grocery store, restaurants, and even the gym require some planning from him. Although, he has enjoyed the conversations, photos, and pleasant exchanges that have come from fans and supporters who simply want their own experience with him. Hooper was able to buy his dream home and car, and his businesses have all taken off since winning the World’s Strongest Man, but he hasn’t relaxed.

Just last month, Hooper won the Arnold Strongman competition for the second year running. With a master’s in Clinical Exercise Physiology and running a private clinic, his mission is to be able to educate others on all aspects of training to help them lead the healthiest lives they can.

Before he defends last year’s World’s Strongest Man title this week in Myrtle Beach, SC, M&F caught up with Mitchell Hooper to speak on what led to him competing in the event, how life changed after winning and why he is heading into this year’s games a little underweight.

Life Is Dramatically Different For Mitchell Hooper Now

Mitchell Hooper has made the most out of the opportunities that have presented themselves after winning last year’s World Strongest Man. He spends more time on the road than he does at home, and he’s gotten used to the strangers that approach him with excitement once they recognize him. For someone who has never been enamored with fame, having your private time interrupted consistently by strangers could be challenging but Hooper says the attention has been great for his personal development and getting outside of his comfort zone.

“It’s a way that I’ve been able to grow a lot and it’s something I’m really thankful for in my sporting career,” Hooper said. “I feel like it’s still new for someone to come up and be excited. When you see the excitement on someone’s face when you walk down the street and you’re just existing as you, it’s sort of fighting the feeling that you’re not a superhuman person. I’m just a regular guy.”

Hooper Entered World Strongest Man as A Challenge to Himself

Given his medical background, Hooper made the decision that he should be able to relate to anything he asked any of his patients to do. After he finished his college football career, he lost over 100 pounds and challenged himself to become as aerobically fit as possible. He ran marathons and learned what it was like to keep the weight off. From there, his competitive nature switched to focus on how strong he could become.

One of Hooper’s greatest accomplishments was entering a local bodybuilding show where he placed 11th out of 12 contestants. Yes, he was both bad by his standards as well as most of the areas a bodybuilder is judged upon, but he discovered the joy in the process. Hooper always believed he was capable of many things but in both the process of becoming as fit and as strong as he could, he learned that he’s capable of more than he imagined.

“I learned about myself as much as I learned about other people — that really anyone can do a lot more than you think you’re capable of if you just get out of your way,” he said. “I think that myself and many other people self-sabotage by just believing that you can’t do things or that you’re going to mess something up or you don’t have the confidence to go out and try something.”

World's Strongest Man Mitchell Hooper competing in the 2023 World Strongest Man Competition
Worlds Strongest Man competition

Mitchell Hooper Training Plan:

Hooper doesn’t train at a Strongman or bodybuilding gym. He has a gym in his home and trains out of a commercial gym. What’s most important to him is being around other motivated individuals. He doesn’t need any music and enjoys resting in between sets chatting with friends and sharing a laugh.

Warming Up

Hooper prefers to work himself into a light sweat before moving into a working set. For deadlifts, he’ll do seven to eight reps of two plates before adding more at one set each. Once he feels warmed up, he then begins his working set.

“I’m not a full-time strong man,” Hooper says. “I’m a full-time business owner and the strongman is just something that I also happen to do. If I were to try to do every type of warm up that I possibly could, it would probably eat up a big chunk of my day.”

Best Part of Training 

One of the best parts of training for Hooper is the fact that you’re objectively improving yourself. This works as a positive for both his physical and helps him mentally.

“You can’t convince yourself out of I am faster, fitter, stronger, or whatever metric you’re chasing,” he said. “I think that’s an underpinning to stabilizing positive mental health.”

Worst Part of Training: Mandatory Self-Mutilation 

From the ripped arm hair from tacky used for gripping of the Atlas Stones, mangled thumbs, and cuts on the shin from deadlifting to the numbing and nerve pain in the forearm from Conan’s Wheel — there are a lot of events in World’s Strongest Man that can leave spectators bewildered. Hooper says some of it doesn’t make sense to him either. He has no problem with the training or working hard but says you have to learn to find enjoyment from the “mandatory self-mutilation” that comes from the events.

Mitchell Hooper Nutrition Plan:

Nutrition: 5,000 – 5,550 calories a day

Hooper began working with professional bodybuilder and powerlifter Stan Efferding to assist in his nutrition. He eats about 5,000 to 5,550 calories a day. In the lead up to the Arnold Strongman Classic, Hooper bulked up but will enter World Strongest Man at a lighter weight but more fit, which will help his endurance.

  • Breakfast: Orange juice, Greek yogurt mixed into a protein shake, a few cups of cereal.
  • Meal 2 and 3: San Efferding’s Monster Mash (ground beef or ground chicken with rice and beef broth).
  • Post-workout: Two fruit smoothies with two scoops of protein.
  • Dinner: Eight ounces of meat (Cod), and vegetables.
  • Dessert: Big bowl of yogurt with honey and peanut butter.

Recovery: A Nice Relaxing Walk

Given his busy schedule, Hooper prefers his recovery to be active. Nailing 10,000 steps a day is a minimum requirement for him and this is both for the physical and mental benefits.

Follow Mitchell on Instagram @mitchellhooper