Strongman Supplements: What the Strongest Men in the World Take

UK Fitness Pro
UK Fitness Pro
· 5 min read
A man benefitting from strongman supplements.

Strongman Supplements: What the Strongest Men in the World Take

Whether it’s pulling trucks or deadlifting cars, strongmen ask a lot of their bodies. So, as well as rest and buckets of food, it’s important that they take advantage of scientifically supported supplements to ensure they get the most out of every workout.

Here, we take a look at the strongman supplements taken by four of the strongest men in history: Eddie Hall, Brian Shaw, Hafthor Bjornsson, and Tom Stoltman. We’ll also take a quick look at their diets and personal bests. 

Eddie Hall: Supplements, Diet, and Best Lifts

Eddie Hall’s Strongman Supplements

As with most strongmen, protein shakes represent a crucial component of Eddie’s diet. When still competing, he’d even get up in the middle of night to have a shake to ensure his body was never short on protein. 

Strongman supplements help with the atlas stones.

As well as protein shakes, Eddie takes branch-chain amino acids (BCAAs), which have a range of benefits, such as reducing fatigue during workouts and supporting muscle growth. He also takes taurine, which can promote fat oxidation (1), glutamine, which can prevent muscle breakdown (2), and coconut oil, which can assist with recovery (3).

The Eddie Hall Strongman Diet

To maintain his 160-kg bulk while competing in strongman Eddie would get his protein from eggs, chicken, steak, sausages, and bacon, his carbs from oats, fruits, and beans, and his fats from peanut butter, yoghurt, and coconut oil. 

During workouts, Eddie can often be seen necking litres of cranberry juice, which not only helps him to stay hydrated but also provides him with atrophy-inhibiting antioxidants (4)

Eddie Hall’s Best Lifts

Also known as The Beast, England’s Eddie Hall won the World’s Strongest Man in 2017 and set a Guinness World Record in 2019 for deadlifting 500 kg

“It's that great feeling, like the first man on the moon, the first man to run a mile in under four minutes. And now, I'm the first to deadlift half a ton. It's history, and I'm very proud to be a part of it.”

Eddie’s other best lifts include a 216 kg axle press, a 405 kg squat, and a 225 kg incline bench press for 7 reps. 

Brian Shaw: Supplements, Diet, and Best Lifts

Brian Shaw’s Strongman Supplements

Like Eddie, Brian relies on whey protein to ensure he’s never short on muscle-regenerating protein. Creatine, which has a multitude of benefits, including muscle growth (5), is also one of Brian’s go-to strongman supplements. He also uses a weight gainer so that he’s also in an anabolic state. 

The Brian Shaw Strongman Diet

Standing 203 cm (6 ft 8 in) tall and sometimes weighing over 200 kg, Brain has been known to eat up to 12,000 calories to maintain his size while training. 

“I’m eating to be the strongest human being on the planet.”

As well as getting protein from shakes, he enjoys turkey, grass-fed beef, and eggs, while his carb sources include blueberries, pasta, and cereal, and one of his main sources of fat is peanut butter. 

Brian Shaw's Best Lifts

Being a five-time winner of the World’s Strongest Man, Brian has some incredible personal and world records. Besides being able to squat 410 kg and bench press 240 kg for reps, he once set an unofficial (and unplanned) world record on a rowing machine, completing 100 metres in just 12.8 seconds. 

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At the 2021 World’s Strongest Man competition, he set a world record for the keg toss, launching the 15-kg keg 7.75 metres into the air. 

Hafthor Bjornsson: Supplements, Diet, and Best Lifts

Hafthor Bjornsson’s Strongman Supplements

Like other strongmen, “The Mountain” makes use of BCAAs, creatine, and glutamine, but also takes a range of vitamins and minerals. For instance, Hafthor takes vitamin B12 for bone health (6) and vitamin B9 for heart health (7), as well as potassium to regulate his blood pressure (8) and magnesium to promote protein synthesis (9). 

The Hafthor Bjornsson Diet

When competing in strongman, the 205-cm (6ft 8.75 in) Hafthor would often walk around at 205 kg, a weight he’d maintain by eating every 2 hours and by consuming about 10,000 calories per day. 

“I am now very conscious of what I put into my body. My mindset has changed to think about what I can eat to become a better athlete, not just a bigger one.”

For protein, Hafthor’s go-to sources include red meats, egg, and Salmon, while his carb sources include white rice, potatoes, and red peppers. As with Eddie and Brian, peanut butter is one of the Icelandic giant’s main sources of fat.  

Hafthor Bjornsson’s Best Lifts

In 2020, Bjornsson became the first person in history to deadlift 501 kg. He’s also been known to squat 440 kg and in the 2015 World’s Strongest Viking competition he set a world record by walking with a 650-kg log on his back. 

Tom Stoltman: Supplements, Diet, and Best Lifts

Tom Stoltman’s Strongman Supplements

Besides the staple supplements, like BCAAs and creatine, used by most professional strongmen, the winner of World Strongest Man 2021 uses sodium chloride and potassium chloride to prevent cramps (10).

The Tom Stoltman Diet

A similar height and size to both Shaw and Bjornsson at 203 cm (6 ft 8 in) and 174 kg, Stoltman usually eats 8,000–10,000 calories per day, getting his protein and fat from sources like mince, eggs, bacon, and sausage, and getting his carbs from rice, pasta, cereal, and porridge. 

Tom Stoltman’s Best Lifts

The massive Scot’s best lifts include a 420-kg deadlift for 2 reps and a 215-kg log press. He also set an atlas stone world record, having lifted a 286-kg stone over a 121-cm (4 ft) platform.  

“Since I started this sport, I’ve had that one eye on World’s Strongest Man. I write it down every single day of my life. I write it in the kitchen, I write it in books, I write it everywhere, World’s Strongest Man, World’s Strongest Man.”

About the Author

As well as BSc, MSc, and PhD degrees in life science subjects, James Roberts has over 10 years of experience in strength and endurance training. He loves to write in order to share his expertise in healthy eating, training, and supplementation

As an affiliate, the site earns from qualifying purchases. 

References

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2. Clemens, T. L. (2014). Vitamin B 12 Deficiency and Bone Health . New England Journal of Medicine, 371(10), 963–964. https://doi.org/10.1056/nejmcibr1407247

3. Eichner, E. R. (2007). The role of sodium in “heat cramping.” Sports Medicine, 37(4–5), 368–370. https://doi.org/10.2165/00007256-200737040-00024

4. Francaux, M., & Poortmans, J. R. (1999). Effects of training and creatine supplement on muscle strength and body mass. European Journal of Applied Physiology and Occupational Physiology, 80(2), 165–168. https://doi.org/10.1007/s004210050575

5. Legault, Z., Bagnall, N., & Kimmerly, D. S. (2015). The influence of oral L-glutamine supplementation on muscle strength recovery and soreness following unilateral knee extension eccentric exercise. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 25(5), 417–426. https://doi.org/10.1123/ijsnem.2014-0209

6. McKeag, N. A., McKinley, M. C., Woodside, J. V., Harbinson, M. T., & McKeown, P. P. (2012). The Role of Micronutrients in Heart Failure. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 112(6), 870–886. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jand.2012.01.016

7. Powers, S. K. (2014). Can Antioxidants Protect Against Disuse Muscle Atrophy? Sports Medicine, 44, 155–165. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-014-0255-x

8. Rutherford, J., Stellingwerff, T., & Spriet, L. L. (2006). The Effect of Acute Taurine Ingestion on Endurance Performance in Well Trained Cyclists. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 38(Supplement), S127. https://doi.org/10.1249/00005768-200605001-01458

9. Sinaga, R. N., Sinaga, F. A., Elvana, A., & Manalu, N. (2021). Antioxidant Potential of Virgin Coconut Oil Reduced Creatine Kinase Levels in Non-Athlete Students receiving Submaximal Physical Exercise. Journal of Physics: Conference Series, 1819(1). https://doi.org/10.1088/1742-6596/1819/1/012019

10. Terasaki, M., & Rubin, H. (1985). Evidence that intracellular magnesium is present in cells at a regulatory concentration for protein synthesis. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 82(21), 7324–7326. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.82.21.7324