Gym you train at and location: Pro Strength & Fitness in Swindon
Q1. Why did you start training and did you have any goals of competing to begin with?
I started training in January 2005 having just watched The World’s Strongest Man over Christmas. I’d grown up watching it and always admired the strength and athleticism displayed by the athletes. I knew I was strong and I’d always been naturally athletic and competitive, so I started training with the sole intention of competing in Strongman. The gym I joined didn’t have any Strongman equipment and I was put on a relatively basic weight training programme.
A couple of months later, I entered my first novice competition. I found out there was a 220 Kg deadlift for reps, which worried me a bit as the most I’d lifted in training was 230 kg. I ended up getting 14 reps and realised I hadn't been pushing myself hard enough in the gym. I stepped up my game after that.
Q2. Were you into sport growing up? If so, which ones?
Yes, I was always into sports. I was the British junior Kung Fu Champion when I was 11, I played rugby for the South West of England, and at 14 I started playing table tennis which I competed in at a regional level and then turned to table tennis coaching.
Q3. What is your current training schedule like? How does it differ between pre-contest and off-season? Do you do much cardio work?
My standard training split looks like this;
Monday: Back day (deadlifts, back and bicep assistance)
Tuesday: Pressing (shoulders, push press/log, shoulder assistance)
Thursday: Leg day (squats and leg assistance)
Friday or Saturday: Chest/triceps (bench press)
I train 4 days a week for about 1.5 to 2 hours at a time. The only real difference when I’m training for a competition is that my 4th training day becomes an events day where I’ll work on Atlas Stones, Yoke, Farmers etc. I don’t really do cardio but I do throw in conditioning work twice a week. The aim there is to work extremely hard for a short period of time, rest, then repeat. For example, I’ll do 10 minutes worth of deadmill sprints (running on a treadmill while it’s switch off) where I’ll be running for 15 seconds and resting for 45 seconds. The aim is to push yourself to the max for a short period of time and then recover quickly, much like a Strongman competition.
Q4. How long have you been competing?
I did my first Novice competition in 2005, my first Britain’s Strongest Man in 2007 and my first World’s Strongman man in 2008.
Q5. What are your main competitive achievements?
Winning Britain’s Strongest Man twice (2012, 2013)
Placing 4th in World’s Strongest Man 2011
Holding the world records in yoke and farmers walk
Winning the squat 5 times at World’s Strongest Man
Q6. Who are your main sources of inspiration in your training and who do you most admire?
I admire plenty of athletes in different sports, but I couldn’t name anyone that’s inspired me as such. I’ve always had a competitive nature and when I enter a sport I want to do well and be the absolute best that I can be. Being a professional athlete, especially in what I’d consider an extreme sport, you sometimes feel selfish as it’s not something you can dip in and out of, it’s very much a lifestyle. Everything I do needs to work around my training, eating, resting etc. I want to do well for my close family and support network, as they live and breathe Strongman as much as I do. But I want to do well for me, because of the sacrifices I’ve made in order to compete at that level.
Q7. What are your current competitive goals?
I want to be a European and World powerlifting champion
To be the first British athlete to total 1000kg in a RAW powerlifting comp
To get on the podium at World’s Strongest Man
To win Britain’s Strongest Man a third time.
Q8. Why do you feel you have been able to make continuous gains over the years?
Unfortunately thanks to some injuries, I don’t feel like I have made the gains and realised my full potential over the last 2 years. But fingers crossed that’s behind me now and I can stay injury free. I’ve always concentrated on my weaknesses and worked on different ways I can improve there.
Q9. What supplements do you use?
Extreme Build & Recover
Q10. How much do you feel supplements and sports nutrition help your training?
Supplements help massively in aiding recovery and giving you the energy to train. When you’re competing against the best in the world, you can’t afford to disadvantage yourself, you take the help where you can get it!
Q11. What is it that motivates you through a hard session?
For me, having a goal or competition to focus on is so important. Knowing that I only have X amount of weeks until I need to compete is all the motivation I need. I like to plan my training and I respond well to a strict routine. It’s easy to become a bit lost and demotivated if your training has no direction or structure.
I also need good training partners. The guys I train with don’t care who I am when we’re in the gym, if I’m not working hard enough or my form’s off, they’re not afraid to shout about it! The last thing I need when I’m training hard is people telling me I’m great/doing so well just being I’m moving big weights. I need pushing just like anyone else.
My family motivate me – because I always want to do well for them.
This is Laurence's diet and supplementation program on the run in to Europe's Strongest Man
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