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Tom Stoltman, the World’s Strongest Man, Fuels with IHOP and burgers.

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How do you train to be at your peak for a competition?

It’s about 10 weeks. We have training cycles, so the first two weeks is more of getting the feel of things, seeing where you are and just talking with your coach to see what the plan is. For me, it’s about eight weeks and that’s the best training cycle because it gives me enough time to peak. The first few weeks is conditioning and high reps—getting my body fit, healthy, and used to the reps. The next few weeks is the strength stuff—dropping down the reps and sets and increasing the weight. The last week you’ll know if you peaked right because it’s really light weights just to get you aggressive and get your edge.

You want to be 100 percent the first day of competition. You can feel a bit rubbish a few days before it but as soon as the comp comes, you want to be at your best. I have nutritionists and coaches but the perfect training cycle for me is eight weeks, and they plan it perfectly for me. Any more than that and I just peak too early or burn out quickly. It’s really hard to get that perfect balance and you need to try and find that because it’s very important in strongman not to overtrain or undertrain. 

What does recovery look like after a hard training session?

I like to do the hot and cold contrast. We have a cold tub in our gym and it’s 36 degrees Fahrenheit. My thing is usually two minutes cold, five minutes hot. Each day, I try and increase the time with the cold. I won’t ever go above five minutes in the cold tub but when my training gets intense, that’s when the need for recovery gets higher. If I have a light week, I’ll only do a minute in the cold and two minutes in the hot. As it gets closer to competition, just like the food gets increased, my recovery is increased. 

Physio is also really important. I do three massages a week. One is injury prevention and stretching. Another one is the dry needling, and the other is deep tissue. I do mobility as well, which over the last year has been key to keep myself as mobile as I can. That really benefits recovery as well because you can get into positions other strongmen can’t get into because they’re not as mobile. Conditioning as well, because that aids in recovery. For me, I tend to focus more on recovery and food than what I do in the gym because that’s what wins you the competitions. If your recovery and food is off, you’re never going to be able to compete with the best.

How does it feel to be back-to-back World’s Strongest Man?

When I won it in 2021, I always wanted to come back and battle again. I think if you win the title, you should go back and try and defend it. I did that successfully and the best thing about it was having my wife and some friends out there because [the restrictions] with COVID are easing up. I was able to enjoy it with her, which was amazing. She hasn’t been able to come out for a few years and to do that in front of her made it more special. 

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