Tom Stoltman’s training clearly produces results in Strongman competitions, with the Scotsman having won back to back World’s Strongest Man titles in 2021 and 2022.
In his most recent victory, he was challenged until the final rounds of the competition by Ukranian Oleksii Novikov.
Novikov was looking dominant as he took wins on three events in a row in the deadlift, Flintstone barbell and bus pull, but Stoltman was able to overtake him on the power stairs and seal victory in the Atlas Stones. Novikov eventually finished third.
Although some doubted his commitment after he was spotted at the Europa League final in Seville a few days before the compeition - Stoltman is a keen Rangers fan - his approach to the sport is single minded and it’s that dedication that has resulted in consecutive titles.
Along with his brother, Luke Stoltman, he’s been quietly working year after year up in the Scottish highlands, and the hard graft in the gym has paid off.
Stoltman is only the 10th man to win the coveted title twice, following in the footsteps of some of the greatest Strongmen in history such as Brian Shaw, Žydrūnas Savickas and Magnús Ver Magnússon.
He’s also one of just two British athletes to take the crown, after Eddie Hall won it in 2017, and is the only Scot in history.
It’s his commitment to eating an insane amount of calories and putting in long training sessions that has got him to the top.
Reaching the pinnacle of your sport never comes easy. Here’s a detailed look at the training and diet that helped him climb to the top of the podium.
Tom Stoltman’s Strongman Training
Unlike his brother Luke, who’s been working on oil rigs since he was 18, Tom Stoltman trains full time.
His weeks follow a set structure and routine across five days. While he used to train seven days a week, he now feels he needs some time to recover, so takes the weekends for spending time with his family.
Stoltman does a lot of common weightlifting as a bodybuilder would. Monday is a deadlift day, followed by upper body on Tuesday.
He then takes Wednesday as an active recovery day, which still involves a trip to the physio and a HIIT session.
Thursday is then spent training legs and Friday is a specific strongman session that can last up to five hours. These Friday sessions are perhaps the most important of the week.
An example of one of these sessions was posted on the Stoltman Brothers’ YouTube account.
They adapted a slightly different workout for their younger brother Harry who they are teaching to live like a Strongman, but the older brothers’ session included five traditional events.
These were the log press, sandbag throws, frame carries, stone lifting and the shield carry.
They’re also not afraid to make things more challenging than in real Strongman competition so that when it comes to a pressure situation with prize money and pride on the line, the event feels easier.
During the stone lifts in the example workout mentioned above, the brothers were using a 150kg bolder they’d found on a local beach that had much sharper edges, and was therefore harder to lift smoothly, than the stones used in official events.
The Stoltman High Performance Environment
Importantly, Tom benefits from having his brother Luke to train with on many occasions, and he credits the support network in his hometown of Invergordon for supporting his progression.
“The moment I knew I’d won I felt Luke hugging me to the ground,” he told The Scotsman after returning from California. “He’s been a huge part of why I got into strongman competitions and why I got to where I am today.
“I am also the first man with autism to win the competition, and he helped me get over a lot of the hurdles it brings, like doing interviews.
“He’s amazing, and that’s why, together, we are the World’s Strongest Brothers.
“I owe a lot of this to him, my wife Sinead and my dad, Ben, for being so supportive on this journey.”
Tom Stoltman’s Strongman Diet
Like all athletes training for the World’s Strongest Man, Tom Stoltman’s diet is something to behold. Standing at 6’8” and weighing around 174kg, it takes a lot just to maintain him.
In competition, he’ll eat around 14,000 calories a day - matching Eddie Hall’s monumental eating regime - although it’s down to 8,000 on normal training days.
“I eat 10 eggs for breakfast, four slices of bread, two bits of bacon and two sausages as soon as I wake up,” Stoltman says.
“Then, an hour or so later, I have a protein shake and some fruit. For lunch and dinner, I have about 400g of meat and 400g of vegetables and rice, and I snack on burgers and chips in between if I’m hungry.”
During the World’s Strongest Man, he was eating two breakfasts, a lunch before going out to compete in the afternoon and then a second lunch in between events.
The key is to ensure you have enough energy to put everything into the events, but even Stoltman says it was hard work to eat that much in the California summer heat.
Now 28 years old, it’s taken years of practicing his fueling strategy for Stoltman to get used to it. Even in his early days of competing in World’s Strongest Man, he was eating more than his competitors so he could outperform them.
The enormous buffet the organisers provide just didn’t have what he and Luke needed, so they would get more food on top.
Speaking to Joe.co.uk, Tom said: "We'd order in massive bowls of pasta... 'Meat Feast' pasta with three extra meatballs or sausages with bread. Then we'd have double Five Guys burgers with fries, milkshakes, pancakes for breakfast.
"The bank account took a bit of a hit. We could have paid the other athletes their prize money with the amount we spent on food.
"A lot of the athletes just ate what they were given, but me and Luke put our hands in our pockets and went out and bought stuff. We knew we'd perform better that way."