The Stunning Transformation Of Tim McGraw's Abs

The days when country music stars could get away with looking like Willie Nelson appear to be over. Nowadays, even fifty-something veterans of the Nashville scene have to be as ripped as your average big-screen action hero. Just look at Tim McGraw, for example. The "Just to See You Smile" singer looked to be settling into paunchy middle age back in the late '00s. But thanks to a workout regimen that would almost put Mark Wahlberg's to shame, the 10-time American Music Award winner has graced everything from the front cover of Men's Health magazine to the doors of his very own gym!

So how exactly did the other half of fellow country legend Faith Hill make this incredible transformation? From life-changing cinema trips and kale salads to fishing obsessions and workout moves named after one of the worst domestic chores, here's a look at McGraw's absolutely remarkable abs story. 

Tim McGraw used to have a dad bod

Tim McGraw freely admits that he used to live on a diet of junk food before he embarked on the kind of fitness regimen that would see him gracing the front cover of Men's Health. And so there were few signs of any abs in 2008 when he took the role of Vince Vaughn's UFC fighter brother Dallas McVie in festive movie "Four Christmases."

And the idea of a six-pack seemed even more unfathomable when he added an extra 25 pounds to play the small-town character as he explained to GAC (via The Boot). "The funny thing about this movie was it was an amateur UFC Cage fighter, and you see 'em on TV and they're all cut and muscular. But I thought this guy is a redneck amateur, so it's not gonna be guys that look like that that's back there doing it."

Further explaining his decision to pile on the weight, the "Felt Good On My Lips" singer said, "So I thought I'll look like a strong guy, but a little overweight and kinda backyard, a having-a-few-beers-and-jump-in-the-cage sort of guy." McGraw admitted he was a little perturbed when he got ready to face off against actor-director Jon Favreau who'd gone in the opposite direction: "So I show up and I'm the fat guy on the set."

Tim McGraw got a wake-up call from eldest daughter

It seems fair to say that "Four Christmases" played a pivotal role in Tim McGraw's abs transformation. In 2009, he took his daughters to watch a film for what was supposed to be a nice family day out. Instead, the country singer left the theater questioning his life choices. And he ultimately decided that he needed to get absolutely stacked.

In an interview with Forbes, McGraw explained that his epiphany came when the trailer for the Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon festive comedy he had a supporting role in, was shown: "My face popped up on the screen and my oldest daughter looked at it with her eyes really wide. And she looked at me and said, 'Geez, Dad, you really need to do something.'"

Taking the young Gracie McGraw's slightly derogatory advice on board, the "Diamond Rings and Old Barstools" singer subsequently hit the gym the following day. And it's practically become his second home ever since. 

Tim McGraw swapped the barroom for the gym

But it wasn't only some weight-shaming from his eldest daughter that inspired Tim McGraw to get some abs. In a tell-all interview in 2013, the "Grown Men Don't Cry" singer revealed that both he and his team had started to get concerned about how much whiskey he was consuming and so he decided to swap the barroom for the gym.

"I drank a lot from my point of view, and I needed to stop," McGraw told People (via TODAY). "I felt quitting was something I needed to do. I didn't have any moral high ground with my kids in the long run ... It was to the point where I felt it was negatively affecting my relationships and getting in the way of things I wanted to accomplish in life."

The country star subsequently dedicated two hours every day to his gym routine and showed off all his hard physical work by posing shirtless for the magazine. He added, "Working out is a great way to go out on stage. When I hit the stage, my adrenaline is going and I'm ready."

Tim McGraw's abs make their televised debut

Just a week after steaming up the magazine aisles with his shoot for People magazine, Tim McGraw got the chance to show off his remarkable new physique on national television. In fact, the "Meanwhile Back at Mama's" singer got to show off his abs twice in quick succession.

While appearing on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" in 2013, McGraw, and indeed everyone watching, was shown a photo sent in by a fan who'd posed for a photo with the country star while he was out for a run. And the latter was sans shirt at the time, too. The host, however, was more interested in the fact that you could also see a pair of Ellen-branded boxers sneaking out at the top of his shorts.

The thirst trap vibes continued when McGraw took part in a prank on a stagehand in which he was told what to do by DeGeneres via a hidden earpiece. Not only did the mischievous comedian demand that he reveal his "muscle jacket" to the poor, unknowing victim, she also asked McGraw to disclose that he wasn't wearing any underwear.

Tim McGraw is inspiring others to get abs

Want to get rock hard abs like everyone's favorite ripped fifty-something country singer? Well, where better to start than the gym co-founded by Tim McGraw himself? Committing himself even further to the muscle man lifestyle, the "Highway Don't Care" singer joined forces with Snap Fitness to launch a flagship club, TRUMAV Fitness, in Nashville in 2019.

In a press statement about the venture, McGraw said (via American Spa), "Physical fitness is something I value — it can help you live your best life. Working out becomes a habit when it's an easy part of everyday life, and that's why I'm partnering with Snap Fitness. These gyms will help folks who are short on time find their fit. They're encouraging communities that support people who are working toward their own fitness goals."

When asked by Forbes why he didn't follow in the footsteps of peers such as Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton, and Jason Aldean by opening a honky-tonk, McGraw argued that this wouldn't have fitted in with his personal brand: "I wanted to find something that really took what we did on the road, how we worked out on the road, and I guess the principles that we have for preparing ourselves for a show, we wanted to take that into a gym."

That Men's Health shoot

Having shown off his six-pack for People magazine a year earlier, Tim McGraw then got everyone hot under the collar once more in 2014 when he posed shirtless for the front cover of Men's Health magazine (via E! Online). And this time around, he appeared to have an eight-pack!

"I'll be the first to admit I take it to extremes," the "Watch the Wind Blow By" singer told the fitness bible, perhaps explaining the dramatic transformation from dad bod to muscle man. "I'm not one of those people who can sorta half-ass something."

And McGraw further proved that by carrying out a full workout during the photo shoot. The multiple Grammy Award winner tackled everything from high-box step-ups and alternating battle rope arm waves to plyometric push-ups in only a pair of cutoff sweatpants. And while most of us would collapse from exhaustion after such an extensive routine, the country singer seemed to barely break a sweat.

Tim McGraw swears by kale

In 2005, Tim McGraw scored another U.S. Country Top 10 hit with a track titled "Do You Want Fries with That?" While the Nashville favorite may have answered yes to that at the time, he's now more likely to swap all the calorific potato goodness for what many of his more hell-raising peers would class as rabbit food.

Yes, in an interview with New York Daily News, McGraw revealed that his diet had been just as instrumental to his eight-pack transformation as his time in the gym: "It's almost anti-country singers, but one of my favorite things is a kale salad (with) all kinds of things in it: walnuts, pumpkin seeds, parmesan cheese, olive oil, lemon."

Luckily for his nearest McDonald's, or his other burger chain of choice, McGraw hasn't entirely given up junk food, though, as he told Yahoo! Health: "I'm sorry! I have to have a cheeseburger. The thing is, though, you do it occasionally, and we really enjoy turkey burgers now. That's become a big part of our routine instead. But, every now and then ..."

Spearfishing makes Tim McGraw maintain abs

You may have seen Tim McGraw posting several pictures of his ripped physique while holding up his latest spearfishing catch. In 2018, for example, he celebrated the New Year by showing off a 33-foot hogfish during a stay at his and wife Faith Hill's vacation home in the Bahamas. And a year later, he took to Instagram once again to proudly display a yellowfin grouper he caught during a 36-feet underwater free dive.

In an interview with ET, the country star revealed that it's this particular pastime that has helped him to maintain his muscular body: "Spearfishing is one of my passions. I love doing that and so, really the music thing is secondary for me. I just want to be in shape so I can do spearfishing and dive deep."

It could be argued that McGraw enjoys his hobby just a little too much, though. In 2011, he suffered two stress fractures in his foot, acknowledging on Instagram that he'd overexerted himself while playing beach volleyball and, you guessed it, spearfishing.

Tim McGraw's family serves as his gym inspiration

As well as making millions of fans across the world swoon over his physique, country music sensation Tim McGraw has another motivating factor when it comes to hitting the gym. And it essentially boils down to staying alive.

In a 2019 interview with ET, the "It's a Business Doing Pleasure with You" singer acknowledged that his earlier rock and roll lifestyle had left him worried that he might not be around for as long as he'd hoped: "My family is counting on me. I want to see my kids grow up, I want to be able to spend time with my grandkids. I want to take them diving and spearfishing, all those things that I want to do with my grandkids."

"All the people who work really hard for me and count on me to show up — I wasn't doing that," the multiple CMA Award winner added. "And I thought that if I want to have a long career and I want to be in this position for a long time, it's easy to bail out now. And I don't want to bail out."

Tim McGraw literally worked out like an animal

Tim McGraw's remarkable physique isn't just down to pumping iron. Since 2012, the "Better Than I Used to Be" singer has stuck to a complex routine which involves everything from yoga and Tai chi to ground gymnastics and the movement system known as animal flow.

It's a regimen that was devised with the help of trainer and James Bond stuntman Roger Yuan. "I started reading and researching about what the human body is capable of doing, but we no longer do very much of because of everything that's available, like cars and technology," he told New York Post. "Tim totally bought into it and loved it."

Yuan, who's also worked on the likes of "Immortals," "Dune," and "Mulan," recommends his star client to adhere to "21-day chunks" for certain activities, explaining, "It gets you into a thinking process and into a physical practice process, and without knowing it, you start to jones for it. You crave it, if it's not there."

Tim McGraw pushes his body to its limits

In 2018, Tim McGraw collapsed during a show in Dublin from dehydration. But this wasn't a simple case of forgetting to drink some Evian. According to his personal trainer Roger Yuan, the country star was so keen to maintain his eight-pack physique that he pushed his body to its absolute limits.

As he revealed in a chat with New York Post, Yuan believes that McGraw had failed to rest an adequate amount of time after an international flight before hitting the gym, and that the on-stage incident was a wake-up call: "I [told him], 'You've got to tone down the training, and I think he's taken me up on [that]."

Yuan, whom McGraw cites as a major source of inspiration in his book, "Grit and Grace: Train the Mind, Train the Body, Own Your Life," acknowledged that McGraw was the hardest-working individual he's ever had the experience of training. "That's a compliment, but it was also a critique. I said to him, 'You need to not train so hard because you're going to tear apart your body.'"

Even touring doesn't slow down Tim McGraw's fitness routine

You're unlikely to find any requests for M&Ms with all the brown ones taken out on Tim McGraw's tour rider. Even when he's on the road, the country singer likes to stay as fit and healthy as possible. In fact, his morning routine alone could put most personal trainers' to shame.

Speaking to Muscle and Fitness, the "How I'll Always Be" hitmaker revealed that he begins his day with various stretches, yoga moves, and body-weight exercises before hitting the treadmill for an increasingly inclining 30-minute power walk. And when the tour bus hits the actual venue, McGraw and his bandmates will use what's in front of them to create their own improvised gym.

"We'll run the stadium stairs, the arena stairs, or the grass on an amphitheater," said the Nashville Kats minority owner. "We'll do bear crawls and all kinds of stuff for about an hour." If that wasn't enough, McGraw and co. will also try to squeeze in another workout using the sledgehammers, kettlebells, and battle ropes that are always part of the touring set-up. "Professional athleticism is in my DNA," McGraw boasted.

Tim McGraw tries to make workouts fun

Tim McGraw has transformed himself into a muscle man via a mixture of Cheyennes, Beyoncés, and Taking Out the Trash. If you're understandably baffled, then these are the nicknames the country singer has given to his regular sumo stances, squats, and kettlebell moves, respectively.

Yes, in order to make his grueling 90-minute workouts a little more fun, the "Top of the World" singer has developed his own unique brand of gym lingo. "I don't really get tired of training," McGraw told Men's Health after revealing his secret weapon. "There's such a feeling of accomplishment that comes from the feeling of being my age and still being at the top of my game."

And the way the "Friday Night Lights" star has described one of his favorite exercises can also be applied to his general post-exercise mental wellbeing. "This workout is my meditation," McGraw added after showing the fitness bible how he smashes it at the gym. "It frees things up in your head so you can get the trash out for a little while."

Tim McGraw is proud of his abs transformation

Tim McGraw has no fewer than 14 CMA awards, 29 U.S. Country chart number ones and one of the biggest-selling country music tours of all time to his famous name. And yet judging by his 2019 interview with Men's Health, the "Standing Room Only" singer is perhaps most proud of his rock hard abs.

"Most things in this business are out of your control," McGraw explained. "What the radio is going to play, how many records you're going to sell. Control the things you can, and maybe that helps." And it turns out his unwavering dedication to the gym also benefited another of his major assets.

"I use my whole body to sing — my legs, my butt," the Louisiana native added. "And having more control over those things makes my voice stronger." And that's a good job, too, as McGraw will need both his vocal cords and muscular body in tip-top shape for a 2024 tour to support his 16th album "Standing Room Only" which will hit 33 different venues in the space of just four months.