My name is Nathan Payton, and I specialize in strength sports and performance enhancement through nutrition.
As Dave has graciously allowed me to be a part of the ‘collective’ here at RX Muscle, I wanted to begin by introducing myself and launching a series of articles on Strongman, the “Modern Day Superhero”. Future articles will cover nutritional and supplement systems for the competitive strongman, profiles of pro and top amateur strongmen around the globe, and training videos from top athletes.
Ever seen a man that is 315lbs with a six pack?
Ever seen a 315lbs man with a six pack jump vertically on to a 52" box, or lift a 533lbs atlas stone for 3 reps? If you have, then you have probably seen my work.
My job is to take some of the strongest athletes in the world and make them perform at an even higher
level. My athletes accomplishments include 2 top 3 finishes at the Arnold Classic, 1 win at the Mr.
Olympia, 3 top 5 finishes at World’s Strongest Man, European Championships, and a client win his Pro
Card. Also included in that time are numerous Amateur American records and Professional American
and World Records.
Prior to my working with strongmen, my knowledge of the sport itself consisted of what I saw every
year on ESPN with the World’s Strongest Man contests. A great weekend would involve the WSM replay
marathon from the contests throughout the years. For me, the changes in the athletes physiques and
performance over time was fascinating, but far beyond that was the strongman’s ability to perform at or
near maximum capacity, in spite of unfavorable conditions and crippling injuries often received during
As my nutrition business grew and I worked with more and more athletes from various professional
sports, the athlete that fascinated me the most from a nutritional aspect was the strongman,
who encompassed all my approaches for various athletes into one “supersized” hybrid.
A sort of equal parts powerlifter, bodybuilder, triathlete, and Olympic athlete, all rolled into one.
With professional and aspiring professional athletes, the goals go beyond aesthetics and health
motivations, and branch out into sports performance. I must say that the sport of strongman is truly
something of wonderment and provides the most intriguing insight into human performance and the
boundaries that can be pushed on the most extreme of individualistic levels. Equally as fascinating
is the type of ‘homegrown’ training and close knit strongman community that is constantly evolving
and pushing themselves and each other to new extremes, forcing the sport itself to try and keep up.
Look at the very essence of the sport itself; ‘game day’ if you will, and compare what the strongman
athlete has to adapt to on a minute by minute basis. If a football player tears a quad during a game, not
only is he out of the game, he’s done for the season.
He will not only continue in spite of the injury, but may very well win the contest, catch a flight to
another contest a couple of days later and compete again.
That’s a superhero.
In Strongman, EVERYTHING is taken to the extreme.
Pain Management? Check
With so many areas coming together as one to create what is the competitive strongman, the variables
are virtually infinite at improving performance. The number one factor and core element behind
improving a strongman’s performance is maximizing energy resources, “fuel’.
The human body being the amazing machine that it is has the potential to power the strongman athlete
past boundaries that seem impossible:
Pulling a 36 ton Boeing-737 airplane down a runway?
For pro strongman Travis Ortmayer, that’s simply a day at the office.
Fueling this continued growth and progress is a never ending evolution.
Week to week, strongmen can be a different version of themselves than they were the week before.
See the checklist again for reference to the numerous areas constantly evolving, it’s mind boggling!
That’s the equivalent of a baseball pitcher throwing faster, and with greater control every game he
pitches, or a running back running faster and harder every game he plays than the one before.
Fine tuning my athletes to utilize a mixture of fat and carbs from both external and internal sources
and switching seamlessly back and forth to provide the necessary fuel is essential. Protein is imperative
for growth and repair, however for my athletes it’s the fuel powering the muscles and central nervous
system that holds the key to performance.
You can have all the muscle in the world and the greatest training system ever created, without the
right combination of fuel to power the muscle and cns, the athlete’s strength, endurance, speed and
ultimately potential are all compromised.
It’s the equivalent of having a Ferrari powered by watered down gas.
In my next article, I’ll show you a basic example of one of my pro strongman client’s diets, and go over
the list of who’s competing at the NAS Strongman Nationals for the last pro card to be given out for
Be sure and follow the Strength Sports section of the RX Forums for live up to the minute contest
results, videos from my training facility The Asylum Gym in Houston, TX and interaction from the
athletes themselves, including several pro strongmen.