Swimming has Helped Eddie Hall Stay Laps Ahead of His Competition
Eddie Hall has dropped somewhere in the region of 100 pounds of bodyweight since winning the World’s Strongest Man in 2017, but “The Beast” loves to pump iron just as much as he ever did. In an exclusive interview with the man who once broke the deadlift world record at 1,019 pounds (462 kilograms), the 34-year-old from Staffordshire, England, opened up to Muscle & Fitness on a wide range of topics. Speaking at the MyProtein LABS Live fitness expo in London, Hall reflected on the incredible requirements that strongmen have for calories, and discussed the ways in which he now keeps his weight down. “The Beast,” who also won medals in his early teens in freestyle swimming competitions in 50, 100, 400 and 1,500 meters In the U.K. shared how the sport made an important impact on his overall fitness.
How important are live fitness events like this to you?
They are very important. Obviously, yeah, the online presence is great but I think that one-to-one interaction is super important, keeping that connection with the people. Covid, and sort of the lockdown has made people lose touch really; a little bit of that one-to-one connection. You see all these people on your screens, on the bodybuilding shows, and on the TV, and on the strongman and everything, but I think to sort of have that one-to-one is what these people want and it’s nice to give back a little bit you know, doing the pictures, doing the autographs. I remember back when I was sort of a young teenager going to these sorts of events and meeting (people that I looked up to). They do inspire you and just those little moments of meeting your heroes can make big differences.
Talking of social media, we love your Instagram and enjoyed watching you swim, and that’s a part of your story that people may not know about. What was your background in swimming?
I won the U.K. national from, I think, ages 11 to 13 — it was a long time ago and I don’t keep track of it. I set a few British records but yeah, I was on the world-class potential squad, which is basically like the GB Junior Olympic Team, and that was something. When everyone else was at school studying for their GCSEs, I was in a pool. You know, two hours in the morning and two hours at night, most days. So yeah, It was a very hard thing to go through as a child, but I think it taught me a lot of self-discipline, and what you put it in what you get out. I think that’s a great blueprint for the rest of my life.
You’ve cut your weight over the last few years. Swimming is great for that. Have you increased the level of cardio that you undertake?
Cardio has become a bit more of a staple of my routine. Walking is the main one, you know, [I put a] weighted vest on; 20, 30 kilos. I just take my dog for a mile and a half, most mornings, a good pace,
and that tends to keep me quite fit. The heart rate gets up to like the 140s, 150s for about 15 to 20 minutes and for me that’s all you need to do, is get the heart a good rhythm every day, but yeah, weights is definitely my number one staple, and probably always will be. You know, I like to keep in shape but I also like to keep fit as well, it’s important.
What was your calorie intake like at the height of your strongman career, compared with where you are at now?
I mean, back when I was World’s Strongest Man size, in American terms, I was 433 or 434 pounds. So, you know, I was a giant of a man. And, I actually did a study with (Staffordshire) University once (in 2016) in which I sat in a chair and wore all this breathing apparatus and they were able to measure the expenditure of oxygen, carbon dioxide, and they can work out how many calories you are burning just sitting in a chair. And they worked out for me to just sit in a chair, for 12 hours, I would burn 5,000 calories at that size. So, you’ve gotta think, how many calories do I need to put in to not only fuel that, but to fuel the [training] sessions. You know, I was moving a lot, training a lot, two to three times a day, so at my biggest you’re talking 10,000 to 12,000 (calories), more so the 12,000 on most days. Nowadays, it’s more like 4,000 to 6,000. So, almost halved but I’m not half the bodyweight. I suppose it was that sheer mass that made the difference of how many calories in and out.
Your wife, Alexandra, would help you to meet those high-calorie requirements. What were some of the tricks that you guys used?
I mean, food was a chore. When you are being a strongman, food is an absolute chore. You know, you don’t enjoy your food at some points. So, it’s [all about] a good healthy diet, you’re talking your normal porridges and your steak and rice and chicken for dinner, and vegetables, the same for the dinner and for the evening meal, but I suppose with a strongman it’s [about] adding those little calories in, so if you have a chicken curry with rice, you know, you chop up a back of bacon in there to add a thousand calories. Breakfast, you’d have like a smoothie, you wouldn’t make it with water, you’d make it with ice cream. Then for dessert, lunch, and dinner you’d have half of a family cheesecake for dessert, half a family cheesecake for dinner. You know, just the cheesecake alone is like 3,000 to 4,000 calories, so you have the healthy foods, but you’ve also got to add in the junk to bulk up and get that energy in there.
I wanna get back on to my YouTube channel and start doing more funny stuff there because I feel like that was my bread and butter. And then, sporting wise, I’m just taking a step back. I’m just taking it as it comes. I’ve got no contracts, no offers under my nose as of yet. You know, there’s no point me going and boxing Joe Bloggs down the road, it’s gotta be a big name, it’s gotta be someone really up there, or it’s not worth doing in my opinion.
But you obviously stay ready.
Yeah, I mean I’m always gonna keep at it. So, I mean I’m just waiting for another opportunity but until then, I’m booking in TV shows, I’m getting back to the YouTube business, and just staying fit and active. That’s my main goals right now.