Mitchell Hooper is coming off one of the greatest rookie years in the history of Strongman. So, many people wonder what exactly it is that makes him such an incredible athlete. Well, the 2023 World’s Strongest Man recently sat down with another champion, the 7x Mr. Olympia in the 212 class, Flex Lewis. The pair conducted a two hour podcast on Lewis’ YouTube channel where they touched on numerous topics, including mental health struggles, the benefits of winning big competitions, the sacrifice needed to become the best, and more.
Mitchell Hooper Talks About Reaching The Top
Mitchell Hooper opened up by explaining what his thought process was going into the 2023 World’s Strongest Man. Despite winning the 2023 Arnold Strongman Classic shortly before, Mitchell still did not think his chances of winning the title were large.
This comes due to the fact that the events at the 2023 WSM were not the ones that Hooper excels in usually. However, he still managed to put in an effort and win the competition.
“It was, if you know the events and you know what I’m good at, it was a more than perfect performance… In my estimation, I probably have three or four more chances at the most to win, and the odds that all of those go perfectly are very low. So, I thought I had about a 25% chance.”
Mitchell Hooper was then asked how he managed to achieve the greatest thing in Strongman after just one year in the sport. He revealed that experience has benefited himself the most, as he now knows how to approach different events and develop a tactic for the competition.
“I don’t know if I’m that much stronger than I was 12 months ago, but I’m just a much smarter athlete. Obviously, the strength creeps up over time, but it’s just execution. I think that’s the important thing, your performance can vary a little bit physically, but psychologically your coils have vast differences in performance.”
Mitchell Hooper also believes that he is extremely gifted in the genetic department, since he has been able to succeed in multiple sports. Even in Strongman, he has not sacrificed his health, family life, business, or similar stuff, but still came out on top. However, Hooper believes that he has to give back to the sport due to this.
“I haven’t sacrificed as much as a lot of other guys. I haven’t given up areas of my life that other guys have given up. I have my health, I have business outside of Strongman, I’ve got a good relationship with my family, and I still spend time with them every week… It’s a responsibility to give back…”
How It Feels To Be a Champion
However, even after getting some money from Strongman, while also gaining fame, Mitchell Hooper is still most proud of being the greatest in the world at one particular sport.
“I am actually one. Number one. Just winning is not important to me, just to reiterate, but just the knowledge that you’re at the pinnacle of the world in anything is ridiculous.”
Mitchell Hooper’s Mental Health
Despite being in a comfortable place currently, Mitchell Hooper reveals that he experienced very difficult hardships during his career. This comes regarding his mental health, as Hooper opened up on the podcast, touching on a topic that he has not even talked about with his family.
“Going into Arnolds, it was probably one of the most difficult times of my life. I’d speak to my coach a couple times a week, and if you watch him going up to me after, you can see that I’m fighting back tears. And it’s not tears of joy, it’s tears because there were times I didn’t think I was gonna make it here.”
Mitchell Hooper then reflects on the past year in Strongman, revealing that he did not feel as good mentally as his success would make it seem. However, many people look from the outside and comment on his character and life without really knowing anything.
“You’re getting assessed by people on your character who don’t know you… Mental health-wise I probably haven’t had the year that a lot of people would expect… I am a victim of my own success.”
Mitchell Hooper revealed that his mental health problems have almost pushed him overboard before, as he was thinking about the worst outcome possible.
“The hardest bit of all of this is that I know that my family listens to this, and this is stuff that I’ve never spoken about before. But, I’ve sat by myself in the bathroom, looking up train schedules like when I could go to the train track,” Hooper states, further explaining “Like looking up a train schedule of when I could go lie on the tracks.”
This was not the only time when Mitchell Hooper was prepared to take his life, as he prepared everything once more, but luckily talked himself out of it at the last second.
“I had a rope, I drove into the woods and I was sitting there and thinking ‘am I going to do this or am I not’. Also learning about tying it correctly, and knowing how to do it all, and looking at the trees thinking which one should I choose. Eventually I said if I’m not there (the basketball game) it will raise concern.”
Mitchell Hooper states that the moment when he decided to not take his life and go to the basketball game was one of the most powerful feelings he has ever had. Furthermore, he compared his situation with people who attempted to take their life by jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge, but changed their thoughts after surviving.
“You’ll never be sure that it is not what you want to do, as in the moment when you decide that you don’t do it. It is almost a classic thing. Every person who survived off of the Golden Gate Bridge has said ‘As soon as my feet left the bridge, I didn’t want to do it'”
However, Mitchell Hooper found that accomplishing stuff, whether that is in sport, business, or just helping people, helps him sort out his mind.
“The more fulfilled I am, the less likely it is to happen. And fulfillment is not happiness.”
Watch the full podcast here:
Mitchell Hooper is currently on a win streak, having won all three competitions in which he took part this year. However, he is focusing on other aspects of life apart from Strongman as well, as he has been doing some bodybuilding workouts, collaborating with CrossFit athletes, and taking on some fun challenges in the gym.