Northumberland strongman enjoys world championship success
It’s a tough job putting away 4,800 calories a day but someone’s got to do it.
That man is Connor Cowens who tucks into high protein steaks, chicken breast and much, much more on a daily basis.
And it’s paying off as the Wooler gym fanatic enjoys success in strongman competitions.
Connor recently took third place in a world championship strongman contest in Finland.
The feat is all the more remarkable as it was the culmination of his debut season.
“I’m pretty pleased with how it’s gone,” he says modestly.
"I wasn’t really expecting third place in a world championship event so it gives me something to build on for next season.”
The 27-year-old competes in World Heavy Events Association (WHEA) events, which place an emphasis on anti-doping work in strength events, offering opportunities to train and compete without performance enhancing and other drugs.
He got into it when some football mates suggested he would be good at it.
"I’ve always enjoyed going to the gym and some friends said I might be quite good at it,” he recalled. “During lockdown I was still training but needed a goal and to feel like there was a purpose to it so that’s where it started.
"In my first competition I came second but that got me into a northern qualifier where I came third. That got me into the British championship where I was third again and that got me into the worlds.”
Connor competes in the under 80kg or under 85kg category, depending on the competition entry requirements, and thinks the front hold – raising a 20kg kettle bell to waist height – is probably his strongest event.
But how does he do it?
"Lots of training, plenty of food – and a good mind,” he says. “I train for two hours every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday and three hours on a Saturday.
"And I’ve got a nutritionist who has me on 4,800 calories a day.”
To put that into perspective, the NHS’s recommendation for men is 2,500.
In a typical day, he will begin with oats and natural yoghurt, peanut butter, blueberries and milk. He follows this with a bagel, more peanut butter and Snack a Jacks.
Lunch will usually be chicken breast with pasta, with more chicken and sweet potato in mid-afternoon.
He tucks away a few sweets after gym sessions to top up his sugar levels before a dinner of steak and rice.
Supper will then normally be ‘four or five’ Weetabix.
"It does cost a lot to keep me going,” he admits.
He has some lofty goals for the coming season.
"I’m trying to get stronger for my next competition and my target is to be ranked in the top 10 in Britain and to win the natural worlds,” he says. “It’s important to me to be competing without performance enhancing drugs.”
The WHEA is the world´s first strongman/woman organiser with a WADA-level anti-doping programme and its athletes have committed to the clean sport principles by signing an anti-doping contract.