UK Strongman Lloyd Renals has only been on the strongman scene for a few years, but already this newbie, is rising up the ranks, culminating with a trip to the 2013 World’s Strongest Man heats.
Phil Burgess: Firstly can you give us your basic stats?
Lloyd Renals: I’m 28 years old, 6’2″ and weigh between 150 and 165 kg depending on my diet and at what stage of my training I’m in.
Phil Burgess: How did you get involved in Strongman?
Lloyd Renals: Well, about 3-4 years ago I finished my degree in physiotherapy and started training with a friend of mine at a local gym in Brighton known as Cheetahs (Kelvin Gardner, who now lives and competes in Wales).
I then started training events at the weekend down at Strength tec gym down in Portsmouth owned by Rob Frampton. Since then I haven’t really stopped training.
When I started I wasn’t sure if it was for me, I liked the weekend event stuff but didn’t think I had any real potential.
In my first year of training I competed in 2 novice comps and won one which was 2010 Britain’s Most Powerful Man and the other I came second on count back, I loved both competitions.
In 2011. I competed in about 10 competitions and won England’s Strongest Man along with winning one other open competition that year. This was the turning point for me and realising I wasnt all that bad.
I went on to come 2nd at UK’s Strongest Man the year after and this year I was fortunate to compete and win London’s Strongest Man which gave me the opportunity to compete in Norway Giant’s Live , Britain’s Strongest Man and got me to World’s Strongest Man.
Phil Burgess: What did it feel like to be involved in 2013 World’s Strongest Man finals, and how happy were you with your performances?
Lloyd Renals: To be part of World’s Strongest Man is anyone’s dream when you compete in this sport, it’s the only competition you want to be a part of.
To be in the top 30 athletes in the world in your sport is a massive achievement, let alone being in the same competition and up against the elite.
I had the likes of Mike Jenkins, Misha, Eddie Hall, Nagy Ákos and Warrick Brant in my group, all very experienced boys, all come from strong sporting backgrounds, and all really nice guys. So before I had even started I knew my chances considering I had only been in the sport 3 years and only sport I did before that was club rugby on the weekends.
Overall I was happy with how it went, I will always want to be better at everything, so even events I did well in I still wasn’t happy with myself.
It was nice to try events I hadn’t done before like the keg toss, reverse vikings and the axle squat. WSM is completely different to any comp I had ever done so just being there and seeing how everyone prepares is always interesting.
However for my first year I just wanted to get the experience, get to know the guys I had watched for the past 3 years and admired, and get any tips and advice I could.
Phil Burgess: What competition result is the one you are most proud of, and what are your competitive plans for 2014?
Lloyd Renals: Without a doubt winning 2011 England’s Strongest Man is my best title, 2010 Britain’s Most Powerful Novice was my first win, so a really important competition for me.
Coming 2nd at 2012 UK’s strongest man and winning 2013 London’s Strongest Man will always be the competition that started my WSM journey.
I have learnt something from every competition I have done to date.
Next year I would like to get back to World’s Strongest Man and get more experience but next year I’ll be a bit stronger, faster, fitter and wiser.
I always want to win England’s Strongest Man, South of England’s Strongest Man and win UK’s Strongest Man. They are always good titles to get and they make the hard work worth it.
Ultimately my goals for next year aren’t really competition results, they are my lifts so I want a 400kg deadlift, 360kg squat, 190-200 overhead press, 400 yoke under 25 secs for 30 m, 100kg+ dumbbell, and many more.
Phil Burgess: What do you want for Christmas? And how will you be spending Christmas this year?
Lloyd Renals: I’ve been asked this alot and I can honestly say all I want for Christmas is”
- Loadable Giant Dumbbell
- Texas deadlift bar.
Sounds sad probably, but strongman has become a massive chunk of my life and it’s all I think about when I’m not at work.
This year like every year I’ll spend Christmas with the family and relaxing for the last time before next years competitions.
Phil Burgess: What areas/events are you concentrating on improving for 2014? And which competitors past or present do you go to for advice?
Lloyd Renals: So for next year I’m going to concentrate on everything, this isn’t a sport you can be a one trick pony in.
Specifically for me, my raw strength, stones, my speed, keg toss and my fitness as these are areas I have lacked in.
This is due to my fast progress in this sport and due to working full-time, I don’t have the time to rest or train in the day-time.
I get advice from everyone to be honest, the experienced and inexperienced. That’s why I enjoy watching all competitions and different weight categories because you can learn off anyone cause everyone has their ways of doing things and some without knowing it.
Mostly I get advice from top boys like Terry, Loz, Eddie, Felix, Shaw, etc.
Strongman in general is all about finding how you can do an event better, because we all have different strengths and different body shapes so you really need to get to know who you are and where your strengths lie. That’s where my physio degree has really helped.
Phil Burgess: How does being a Physiotherapist help in your training, and what recuperative measures do you think strongmen should take regularly and after events?
Lloyd Renals: Physiotherapy is the only reason why I have done as well as I have. You are grilled throughout university about muscle attachments, anatomy, human kinesiology, healing and recovery.
So a perfect start to anyone wanting to excel in the sport, granted it’s an extreme way to learn as its a very intense course, and you genuinely would not have the time to train properly.
I know the limits and I know when to push through a pain or when to stop, so it’s a massive advantage.
The one and only thing that everyone should do which I tend to find no-one does is stretch after training.
It’s vital for longevity in this sport.
This along with a healthy diet and adequate rest is the the key to keeping up with the top boys.
Phil Burgess: What are your best events ? and what are your best lifts in the gym?
Lloyd Renals: I have never been a competitor that is good at one event, I tend to be okay, good on most which is how I do well in competitions, but there are definitely events that I hate like the Conan’s wheel. In my opinion it’s a hideous event along with front hold just awful events haha……
My best gym lifts are probably:
- 380kg deadlift, 340kg squat (both suited)
- 230kg bench (which was close grip),
- 90kg dumbell press and 160kg overhead press seated.
These granted are when I have trained up to them and if I’m having a good day as I don’t tend to max in the gym too much just purely to prevent over training.
Phil Burgess: Outside of Strongman and being a Physio, what do you do in your spare time?
Lloyd Renals: Between working 8am-5pm and training 5pm-7pm most days, by the time I come home I tend to eat stretch and go to bed.
When I get days off I always spend it with my wife. Im lucky to have someone so understanding and supportive, so she is one of main reasons why have done well so quickly.
Every man needs a strong woman in his corner if he’s going to excel in this sport.
Phil Burgess: Final question – What three things do you think a strongman needs to do, to increase their popularity with the public?
Lloyd Renals: I don’t know to be honest I’m only new to the sport so learning still.
However from what I’ve seen, other than being ridiculously strong, you need an image or a likeable personality. But ultimately the boys that shine through are the ones that are either very gifted or very passionate about the sport and their training.
I don’t think anyone who competes in strongman to be fair is in it for the popularity, they ultimately do it for the win, the desire to be the ultimate man or women in their sport.
I appreciate the support and will always be grateful for any appreciation and I am overwhelmed with people who want their picture with me, cause to me I’m nothing special, yet.