Meal Plan for a Strongman

Competitive strongman is a sport where both static and cardio-vascular strength are important. Not only do strongmen have to be strong for movements like the squat and deadlift, but they have to be able to carry heavy, and often awkward, loads over a distance involving peak physical fitness.

Strongmen often carry a heavy bulk bodyweight; considerable excess bodyfat is not considered an advantage by many, though some do argue that heavy bodyweight can be an asset in some movements. Whilst a lean body-builder type physique is not the goal, the meal plan below is designed so as not to encourage too much excess body fat, though a 'bulky' look is acceptable.

Training for strongman will usually involve 3-4 weight training gym sessions per week, which can vary in length from quick intense sessions, to longer duration ones with large rest periods between sets. There will also be 2-3 event training sessions per fortnight which will involve the strongman practising events likely to be in a competition. In addition to this, periodically the trainer will also so some cardio-vascular fitness training.

A strongman should eat for strength and with this muscle size will come, so a meal plan is not too dissimilar to that of an off-season bodybuilder. The key to healthy quality muscle and weight gain is to eat big and eat consistently throughout the day following a structured meal plan.

Six or seven feeds all of large quantity are the norm, which will include plenty of high protein food choices, like lean meat, chicken, fish, eggs and milk; fibrous low glycaemic carbs like cereals, bread, pasta, rice and potatoes; fruit and vegetables (don't forget nuts and pulses are also good sources of protein); as well as sources of essential fats.

Meals should be spread regularly through the day, paying close attention to structure surrounding training sessions to provide fuel. Have low glycaemic carbs about 30 minutes before a workout, with a small amount of simple carbs right before and straight afterwards.

It may also be useful to have protein pre-, during and immediately post workout, both on gym and event training sessions. Protein and weight gain supplements can be useful aids to gaining size and strength, but not in place of good wholesome food.

Before a strongman competition up the portions of low glycaemic carbohydrate foods on the two days prior to help load the muscles; nutrition for an event should be similar to that of a training session.

The following is a sample meal plan for one day for a strongman of around 280lbs (128kg) body weight to help gain strength and improve fitness. On non-training days, the only difference should be to peri-workout nutrition.

30g whey protein in water
Serving of James' Super Smoothie The JSS Bulker
2-4 slices granary bread toasted + 400g baked beans
Tea/coffee with skimmed milk
Sandwiches: 4 slices granary bread + tuna / chicken / ham + salad
Large handful mixed nuts
Item fruit
Drink water
2 chicken breasts or 200g tuna (canned in water)
100g Basmati rice or wholewheat pasta
Tbsp sunflower seeds
Large mixed salad
Low fat yoghurt
4-6 oatcakes
250g cottage cheese / quark
Large handful mixed nuts
Large banana
Mug green tea
30 mins pre-workout
4 squares Easy Flapjacks
Tbsp sunflower seeds
Drink water
Immediately pre-workout
20g whey protein + 30g dextrose in water
during workout sip 20g whey protein
Immediately post workout
40g scoop whey protein + 30g dextrose + 30g maltodextrin in water
Evening meal
(60 mins later)
250g lean red meat or 250g chicken / turkey or 300g white fish
100g basmati rice or 100g wholewheat pasta or 6-8 small boiled new potatoes or 1-2 large sweet potato (dry roasted)
Large serving of vegetables / salad
Low fat yoghurt
Large bowl high fibre cereal (like Weetabix, bran flakes, Shreddies, muesli, porridge, etc) + 200ml skimmed milk + 1 tsp sugar
200ml fresh fruit juice
Late snack
Serving of James' Super Smoothie The JSS Bulker

As with all the meal plans this is merely a guide and must not be stuck to rigidly! Ensure you eat a variety of different meats / fish / alternatives, complex carbohydrates, fruit and vegetables every day, and drink plenty of water. Adapt the plan to suit your own needs and lifestyle and adjust with progress.

Plans for people with illness or medical conditions in no way should override advice provided specifically for you by your doctor, clinical dietitian or other clinician. We advise that you seek the advice of a suitably qualified physician before commencing any exercise regime, following any dietary or nutritional regimen or beginning the use of any dietary supplements, legal or otherwise. The information provided on the Website is intended as information only and does not constitute advice. Therefore, it must not be relied on to assist in making or refraining from making a decision, or to assist in deciding on a course of action.