Hey, guys. This is a quick heads up before we get into this very fantastic video about the Stoltman brothers’ diet. The Stoltmans are very, very Scottish and the audio quality is very just OK. If you have any trouble understanding them, just make sure you switch on the subtitles below.
TOM: I don’t take any carbs on my first two meals. So I don’t start eating carbs till about 1:00 PM in the afternoon which again, for a strongman is weird but yeah, it works. Well, it works for me, so. 8,000 calories a day, diarrhea medication, saltwater, and CBD form just part of the unusual dietary regimens of two of the
World’s Strongest Man athletes Luke and Tom Stoltman. Tthe diarrhea medication
isn’t actually for diarrhea though, it’s because the combination of minerals and electrolytes is actually good for reducing cramping and meeting the hydration needs of very, very large, strong men and these guys are worth paying
attention to. I actually watched these guys compete at
the 2019 World’s Strongest Man — I’m Nick, by the way, I work at BarBend,
that’s why I’m in this video — and we saw history in the making in 2019 when the
Stoltmans became the first brothers to compete against one another in the World’s
Strongest Man competition and then again in October when they came second and
third in World’s Ultimate Strongman so today we’re talking about calories,
carbohydrates cycling, competition prep, and supplements. So right off the bat,
Luke is about 6’3″ weighs about 340 pounds and Tom is about 6’8″ but
weighs roughly the same in the area of three hundred and forty pounds. So how
many calories they consume? About the same.
LUKE: When I’m working offshore my
calories go down quite a lot. We get fed three times a day on the oil rigs, so it is what it is. But when I’m back home, well yeah i’m kind of 6 to 8,000
calories. 8,000 calories on a good day, 6,000 when I’m a little bit lazy and all the excuses come into play, you know.
It’s hard, it’s tough to eat 8,000 calories consistently, day in
day out, you feel so bloated so horrible eating that food. Some guys can do it. You see Brian Shaw when we’re competing with Brian and Hafthor and stuff, and they do it for fun now.
TOM: I’m on six to seven (thousand)
a few weeks out from a comp and I’m up to nine to ten (thousand) til I’m into ten closer to a competition.
NICK: Wwhat’s interesting is that Tom has a a nutritionist and chooses his foods
pretty carefully whereas Luke kind of eats a bit of
everything. Here’s a standard breakfast for him. I’ll have a big bowl of porridge with some fruit, some honey and jam — extra calories there. Eggs, and a lot of meat, I guess around a kilo of meat a day, one to 1.2 kilos of meat a day I probably consume on average. I’m probably the same in carbs as well. Again, whatever frozen veg we happen to have the freezer I’ll just throw that in for your fiber and stuff. Tom, meanwhile keep things a bit stricter and he noticed since he started eating so many calories he has a bit of trouble
digesting certain foods.
TOM: Wheat and rice and pastas. I can’t eat bread or nothing
because my belly swells out.
LUKE: Tom’s got a bit of intolerance to it. Yeah it’s like dairy
stuff as well, my belly goes a bit funny. last few months when I started eating
all the calories, bread wouldn’t sit well yeah
dairy wouldn’t sit well even shakes don’t still well with me sometimes. So now white rice, white rice, yeah
I can’t eat brown rice or other egg rice or whatever it is. Just white rice.
We did a burger challenge two days before Iceland and I could not get off
the toilet so. My guts were bad so yeah like my body doesn’t take
very well to changes, changes in food. yeah I stick with what I know and it works for me. It’s actually a very common thing to hear strong men and
other athletes who eat a lot of food to report that when they were eating more
“normal” amounts of food — you know, two or three thousand calories a day —
they didn’t have any issues with stuff like wheat and brown rice and beans but
when they increase their calorie intake to you know six seven eight nine ten
eleven twelve thousand calories they suddenly found that had a little bit of
difficulty with certain foods like that the basic idea is that like little
digestive hiccups that like might go unnoticed and don’t cause any problems
when you’re eating again more “normal” amounts of food they can get magnified
when you magnify the amount of food you’re eating and suddenly you start
picking the food you consume a little bit more carefully and this is why the
Vertical Diet is so popular amongst strongmen and other athletes eating a ton of food so
this is a diet devised by Stan Efferding is a very very strong bodybuilder and
it’s followed by World Strongest Man winners Hafthor Bjornsson and Brian Shaw along with a lot of other athletes out there I actually did a whole video based on
the Vertical Diet right there you can check out but the basic idea is to limit
foods that could cause issues like brown rice, like wheat, even cruciferous
vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower I’m not a doctor. This is not medical advice,
but a lot of people have found that emphasizing red meat white rice and non
cruciferous vegetables and fruit and like whole fat dairy these are like the
cornerstones of the Vertical Diet a lot of people find that it helps to keep
digestion running pretty smoothly helps the stomach empty a bit more quickly and
make more room for more of the calories you’re consuming now the Stoltman brothers
they don’t actually follow the Vertical Diet to a tee but they did pick up a few
lessons from it when they were hanging out with Hafthor Bjornsson and paid
attention to the kinds of foods that were fueling his performance.
LUKE: For Iceland’s Strongest Man and speaking to Hafthor, that’s what he tends to eat. A lot more potatoes, spinach, kind of high-potassium based — TOM: Tomatoes, fruit.
LUKE: Talking to him, he said he’s that since he’s upped his potassium levels his strength’s increased, as well. That coincides with Stan Efferding’s, you know, the Vertical Diet so we are
also trying to incorporate a lot more spinach a lot more potatoes into my diet
rather than just your rice meat and veg. The brothers also find that emphasizing red
meat over white meat helps to improve their performance and they just find it
a bit easier to chew. And red meat is another food that’s really strongly
emphasized on the Vertical Diet but the Vertical Diet aside which again they’re
not exactly precisely following, the main nutritional challenge for the brothers
is just getting in enough calories which is especially difficult for Luke because
he works offshore in the North Sea a lot of the time,
so getting in 8,000 calories a day can be really really difficult so this is
why the brothers have what they call a cheat day twice a week, like every two or
three days. They have what they call “big dirty calorific meals” just to help get
in all these extra calories and it’s more likely they’re going to have a
cheat day when they’ve been training all day like at a competition and they’ve
got to kind of back-end the calories to get in all those calories at the end of
the day .
LUKE: Again I mean that sounds like we eat clean all the time. Don’t get me wrong,
we’re gonna have takeaways with our pizzas you know those are the days that
were struggling to, you know consume that food, that kind of bland food day
in day out. So maybe, maybe a couple of days you know we go through
a kind of dirty bulky meal usually after an event day, an events day takes up you know four or five hours of training and you’re not eating
anything of great substance when we’re training so after that I need a high
calorie meal so that’s for your takeaways, your Indian, your Chinese, whatever that just big dirty calorific meal that can really sort us out after a heavy events session.
NICK: So we’ve come to calories we’ve covered the foods they do and don’t eat but when
it comes to the macronutrients — the protein carbs and fat — the brothers don’t
track that part of their diet as religiously as a lot of other elite
athletes do. They’re mostly trying to get in enough calories.
LUKE: If I was tracking
it too much I think I would get a little bit too beat up on myself, I think, because I can’t follow that you know a set target like I couldn’t
follow that it just wouldn’t work for me. NICK: That said, Tom — whose diet is a little
bit more finely tuned with the help of a nutritionist — he does practice an
unusual form of carb cycling in that he goes lower carbohydrates on days he’s
working out and high carbohydrates on rest days. Normally it’s the other way
TOM: I know that on days I train, my protein’s high and my carbs are medium
and fats are medium. Then it’s opposite when I’m not training so on rest
days protein’s low and carbs are high just to
get the extra fuel in so I can recover as well so.
NICK: but the high carb
rest day thing actually makes sense when you consider the fact that Tom trains
late in the afternoon, so he’ll have a high carb meal after he works out at
nighttime but the carbs he eats the next day, which is technically his rest
day, he’s eating those carbs to recover from the workout the night before. So
basically he’ll go lower ish carbs leading up to training, and then put all
this carbs after his training, and you can say that the carbs the next day on
the rest day are still “post-workout carbs.” That’s the way you can look at it anyway.
Another thing I wanted to mention the last thing about the carbohydrate intake
here, is Tom actually goes completely carb free three days a week leading up
to a competition. Three days of no to very very very little carbohydrates and then
three days with very very high carbohydrates, then he competes.
TOM: If I’m a week out from a competition I’ll do, say the comp’s on a Saturday. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday I’ll do no carbs at all. So it’ll just be like instead of chicken and rice
it’ll just be 100 grams chicken, 100 grams chicken, 100 grams mince (ground beef) five times a
day for a few days. And then Thursday Friday Saturday I’ll carb load so like
everything will be tripled and my calories go sky high as well. So
I’ll be doing like nine meals a day just eating like 700 grams of cereal a day a
chicken rice everything will just be high. And I don’t know why (my nutritionist) does it is it but
it’s worked for… it worked for LUKE: It worked for one show.
TOM: It worked for Britain’s it worked for Europe’s it worked for World’s it worked for Scotland’s! NICK: It’s possible that what’s going on here
in the way that he structures carbohydrates and the week leading up to
a competition has to do with insulin sensitivity a lot of people find that
when they restrict carbohydrates over a period of time they get more sensitive
to insulin they digest the carbohydrates a bit more effectively they get more
energy from them so then when they do take carbohydrates they’re processed more
effectively and they get more energy from them that’s just a theory
anyway I don’t know if that is what’s going on but whatever is going on it
seems to be working for Tom. Finally, let’s talk about supplements. So the guys
take a lot of pretty normal supplements like they’ll make meal replacements out
of like whey and oats and spinach, they also take pre workouts and creatine, but,
you know, who doesn’t? An interesting thing is that even though branched chain
amino acids have fallen out of favor in some areas of the fitness industry, Tom
does take them throughout the day because he finds they really do help
with his recovery.
TOM: Just yeah I just my energy levels stay higher than I
would if I was just to drink normal water. It adds flavor to the water as well, doesn’t it?
NICK: What’s a bit
more interesting than branched chain amino acids which are like the third
most common supplement in the industry is the fact that these guys really like
CBD that’s cannabidiol it’s a kind of cannabinoid found in cannabis, and CBD
has really interesting links with improved levels of
inflammation, improved recovery, improved sleep, less anxiety, all this kind of
stuff. And the Stoltmans find that it really does help with sleep. They like to spray about a hundred milligrams of the stuff under the tongue before they go to
bed and they also use a CBD based ointment to rub on their joints when they
LUKE: I used to get quite bad tendinitis on my elbows and i was just
just applying every day again i wasn’t really that optimistic at all to be
honest but since then the tendon pain, tendinitis, has really
really improved quite a lot.
NICK: The last thing i want to talk about here is
hydration. So the Vertical Diet and most good sports nutritionists tend to feel
that athletes really undervalue the importance of sodium. This is a really
important mineral and electrolyte it helps to maintain fluid balance it helps
like boost intracellular water attention it helps muscles to contract. Contrary to
popular belief, sodium is actually really important for keeping you hydrated. It’s
your balance of sodium and water that’s really really important here and
athletes can lose many times the recommended daily intake of sodium
during tough workouts. So for context the recommended daily intake is about
2.3 grams of sodium but some research has found that athletes who are working
out for like about an hour or so, like football players, they can lose up to
seven grams of sodium. So that does need to be replaced.
LUKE: Pink Himalayan salt, throw some salt in some water a couple times a day and that just
transformed my body it was, it was pretty incredible I was quite shocked at how
much that changed for me. But other areas of hydration come into
play here as well which is why the Stoltmans take the unusual strategy of
taking Dioralyte which is a sort of sachet of rehydrating minerals and
electrolytes that’s intended to treat diarrhea — of which like millions and
millions of people die every year because it’s so dehydrating — but these
guys also find it simply taking this Dioralyte product helps them to stay
more hydrated and helps to reduce muscle cramps as well.
LUKE: I use it to up my minerals and electrolytes maybe three days out before
a competition and that seemed to kind of stop the cramping which was there which is
awesome because, I mean everyone’s had a cramp before it’s just brutal when you’re cramping up, you know, deadlifting or doing a log press or
whatever as you know it’s not what you want to be doing. Just lots of things
we do like that that do help I mean I guess those supplements aren’t
your kind of traditional supplements as such but that’s just something that Tom
and I can incorporate pre comp maybe a week or so before I can’t
there’s some of these stuff. I mean the CBD oil, the additional
minerals, that’s just a consistent kind of thing that we can apply to our bodies
and again it’s certainly giving us a little more of a performance boost I think.
NICK: And that’s it, that is the nutrition plan of Luke and Tom Stoltman two of the world’s
strongest men definitely Scotland’s most successful and famous strongmen right
now these guys really loves CBD and salt and diarrhea meds, I don’t know, maybe
they could help you as well I don’t know but most of all remember this is not
medical advice do not take it as such speak to your doctor if you’re
considering changing your diet and supplement regimen also make sure you
subscribe to the Stoltman brothers’ YouTube channel it’s really really good you can see
the full video of them trying to eat as many burgers as humanly possible it
looks really uncomfortable and make sure you subscribe to this channel as well because we’ve
get a whole lot more nutrition and fitness content coming up.