Rory McIlroy is the first golfer ever to appear on the cover of Men's Health magazine with his May debut.
It's another accomplishment the 25-year-old No. 1 can add to his ever-growing list. Most will say the cover honor is well-deserved given how much work McIlroy has put into his physique since linking up with trainer Steve McGregor in 2010.
“At the start I needed to do it. But now I want to do it," McIlroy said in the cover story of Men's Health. "Now it’s part of my life. It’s become part of my routine, I enjoy it. I love getting up in the morning. I love the feeling of sweating. It’s a great feeling, you feel like you’ve worked hard, it’s a great way to start your day.”
McIlroy is careful not to overdo it as bulking up too much could affect his swing, but so far, the work in the gym is paying off on the course.
McIlroy has won three of his last 17 PGA Tour starts, finishing Top 10 in 12 of them. Worldwide, he has done even better; in his last 15, he's finished first or second eight times.
The workouts have positively impacted his game too. His 2014 PGA Tour stats show that he's dominating in almost every area of the game, ranking first in scoring average, third in driving distance, sixth in GIR and sixth in fairway proximity.
McGregor said McIlroy had dropped about 20 pounds of fat and converted that into muscle, changing his entire body composition.
“His misses were wide,” McGregor said in an interview with PGATour.com. “We needed to tighten that up. As he was going into impact he was going to spray it. As he has gotten more stable so has his swing, and he has been able to add more power and more distance.”
The Men's Health article delves deeper into the specific exercises that are making McIlroy so successful on the course, from plyometrics to stability-increasing core exercises to total-body drills like deadlifts and squats. You can see more from the shoot along with some of McIlroy's fitness tips here.
McIlroy hopes the hard work pays off for the ultimate prize, as he attempts a career grand slam next week at the Masters. If shooting a low round warrants a gym session reward from McGregor, who knows what taking home a green jacket will get him.