As I type this, my clients are in the midst of their prep for the 2013 Worlds Strongest Man contest. Brian Shaw, the 2011 Worlds Strongest Man Champion will be our reference point through this weekly series of articles, along with an additional client who will be qualifying for World’s Strongest Man over the course of the next couple of weeks.
When a client is involved in strength sports, specifically Pro Strongman, several unique challenges will be present throughout my nutrition guidance with the athlete. Strongman involves numerous aspects in order to be competitive. Strength is a given. But we aren’t talking normal strength.
We’re talking Superhero strength.
I’ve worked with numerous Pro Strongman & top Amateur strongman clients, in addition to Powerlifting clients like new All Time Bench Press World Record Holder Tiny Meeker (1076.9 pounds). How I have to approach a client like Brian Shaw compared to Tiny Meeker is vastly different due to the requirements of the sports, even though they both have priorities of strength first and foremost. It is my intention to provide insight and resource into the world of nutrition as it pertains to the strength athlete.
Everything starts, and stops, with nutrition. The athlete’s attention to detail within the confines of whatever training system they are using is paramount, along with knowing their own bodies. Like I tell my clients, you know your body better than anyone; you walk around in it 24 hours a day. Your feedback from paying attention to your observations is critical in my dialing you in for a championship or world record. With this mindset, this first article shall be Phase One, as my systems use a series of phases to address the progressions taking place in and out of the weight room.
I can honestly say I have no two athletes within the strength world who train the same. Not one. The challenge always for me is adapting the nutrition formula that I created for use with strength athletes to line up and “flex” with the clients training program. I have clients who even train together, who are at the highest level, yet they each have adaptations to their training to best suit their structure. This is key.
To be the best, you have to be willing to start at the bottom.
Take a good look at yourself and analyze your structure, acknowledge your limitations and then attack them, through adjustments and accommodations. When nutrition is utilized as a means of enhancing performance, the enhancement is co-dependent on your training to literally take you to places you never thought imaginable. If you lack the attention to detail and self awareness of what is going on within your body during training and recovery, you will limit your potential. I’m about maximizing your potential.
You have to learn how to refine yourself. Learn to take a step back in order to take three forward.
We’ve all read the countless training programs and systems out there. New and existing clients will often bring me what they’re plans are and ask for my input. What I always find fascinating is that despite the training system the athlete references using or is about to use, whenever I review their training system and layout, there is always a large degree of personalization with the training that the athlete is using.
This is the year 2013, and though incredible advances in nutrition, training and supplementation have occurred, at the core of it all, no two clients have the same body. This is something every athlete must keep in mind as the foundation for their training approach.
Strength and Leverage are the dynamic duo of Superhuman Strength.
With no two athletes having the same body, no two athletes have the same leverage points.
Differences in joint and bone structure, tall vs. short height, long vs. short limbs, (and thus varying muscle insertions), quickly illustrate why there is no ONE universal training application for all in pursuit of superhuman strength, modification for the individual body type is always required. Pick your training system and be in tune with your form. If you ignore your form, you are going to limit your progress no matter what I can do for you. Stay with your chosen training system and pay attention to what your body tells you. If certain exercises don’t feel right or miss the targeted muscle group, pick another exercise. If your goal is biceps, it doesn’t matter that Ronnie Coleman used preacher curls if all you feel when you do them is your forearms due to your long arms. For you, you’re simply spinning your wheels, while your competitor, is blasting exercise after exercise that addresses his exact structure.
Mastering and being aware of one’s own body type is a key link in the chain for achieving ultimate strength, and achieving levels of strength beyond your wildest imagination.
As my nutrition system for a strongman athlete has to address explosive strength, muscular endurance, peak strength, and cardio vascular endurance, all through the course of one contest prep, modifications can be constant as the athlete progresses through their training. A one rep max progresses into that same max weight...but for reps. When that occurs, you have a shift in dynamics revolving around muscular endurance that requires its own nutritional approach in order to keep the strength progressing
This dynamic shift into a max weight for reps then leads to a new one rep max, and the cycle repeats itself with a shift in nutrition to push that new one rep max weight again into a max weight for reps
....and thus encompasses the “circle of life” for the strength athlete.
In next week’s article I will break down how to make changes into your own nutritional program based on your training program using Brian Shaw’s contest prep as an example, utilizing the concepts behind the World’s Strongest Diet.
Nathan payton is a nutritionist focusing primarily in the greater strength community. You can contact Nathan directly at [email protected]
*Nutritionist for ESPN Worlds Strongest Man competitors:
2011 Worlds Strongest Man and 2011 and 2013 Arnold Classic Champion Brian Shaw
2011 Americas Strongest Man Champion Travis Ortmayer
2010 Europa Champion Ryan Bracewell
2009 Mr. Olympia Strongman Champion Andy Vincent,
2012 Europa HW Champion and 2013 Giants Live Champion Robert Oberst
2012 Europa LW Champion Johnny Wasiczko
ALL Time Bench Press Worlds Record Holder 1076.9, WABDL Hall of Fame Tiny Meeker
* Official Nutrition Consultant American Strongman Corporation
* Product formulator for 360Cut supplements
* Partner* Monster Gym Sports Complex hardcore strength training facility in Kingwood, Texas