Misti Pope of Granbury is one tough cookie.
It’s why her kids urged her to compete in one of the toughest reality shows on television.
If anyone could endure the physically and mentally grueling tests that are dished out every week on Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Challenge, they figured Mom could do it.
“I always tell my kids that they can do anything if they set their minds to it,” Pope says. “Don’t be scared. Just go for it.”
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Now they’ll get to see her practice what she preaches.
The 37-year-old former gym manager is one of eight women vying for bragging rights and $10,000 in Sunday’s 7 p.m. episode on CMT.
The competitors in Broken Skull Challenge, hosted by wrestling icon “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, are a rugged bunch. They typically include body builders, mixed martial arts fighters, CrossFit athletes and pro wrestlers. Pope’s specialty is high-intensity weightlifting.
“To be considered elite enough of an athlete to get picked for this show was a real honor,” she says.
For the kids
The truth, however, is that Pope was just humoring her 6-year-old son and 11-year-old daughter when she signed up.
“We were watching the show last summer and they were like, ‘Mom, that is so right up your alley. You need to try out for that,’” she says. “So I went online and filled out an application, never expecting it to amount to anything. Because what are the odds?”
In fact, Pope’s application to Broken Skull Challenge was so quickly forgotten that, when she got the call from the show’s producers in Los Angeles, she let it go to voicemail.
Pope isn’t allowed to talk about the outcome until after the show airs. She’s not allowed to say whether she survived the three elimination challenges that precede the Skullbuster obstacle course. Not allowed even to say how she fared in the first-round “trench warfare” showdown against an MMA fighter.
But she can reveal that the experience had a huge impact on her life.
“The other girls on the show were so inspiring to me,” she says. “They all own their own businesses. They have their own gyms or they do online training. They’re women who knew what they wanted, had no fear and just went for it.
“My gym was not mine. I just managed it. But since I came back from doing the show, I quit that job and started my own business.”
Behind the scenes
It’s called Macros by Misti. She prepares macronutrient meal plans, customized for each client’s needs, whether it’s bulking or weight loss. And business is booming. She already has more than 170 clients.
Since it was announced that she’ll be on the show, friends and family have been pumping her for inside information, but Pope isn’t letting anything out of the vault.
“Several people have been like, ‘Come on, I won’t tell anybody,’” she says. “I tell them, ‘Sorry. You’re just going to have to watch.’”
In the meantime, Pope shares an interesting behind-the-scenes story.
“None of the contestants were allowed to talk to each other once we got there,” she says. “It was the strangest thing. We rode on the bus together. We ate together. But we could not speak to each other. It was grounds for immediate dismissal if you were to say anything to the other contestants. Only after we had competed were we allowed to talk.
“I think it’s so we wouldn’t get chummy. If we liked each other, we might not fight as fiercely. It’s funny because the eight of us have stayed in touch. We have a private Facebook group, just the eight of us, and we’ve become really good friends.
“Now we laugh a lot about all the smack talk we did during the show!”
Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Challenge
▪ 7 p.m. Sunday