Scott’s 10 year journey – Scott Cummine – Canadian Strongman

Canadian Strongman Scott Cummine
Scott Cummine (photo courtesy of Per Gunnar Roalkvam)
Canadian Strongman Scott Cummine
Scott Cummine (photo courtesy of Per Gunnar Roalkvam)

It may have taken 10 years but in September 2013, Canadian Strongman Scott Cummine achieved his dream of competing at the  World’s Strongest Man competition.

Here is his story and what he learned.

Phil Burgess:You started in Strongman in 2003 and 50 competitions later you achieved one of you goals to compete at WSM 2013, how did you feel and what did you do when you go the invitation to the competition?  And how happy were you with your performance at the qualifying finals?

Scott Cummine: My dream since the age of 19 was to compete in World’s Strongest Man.

There were a few moments within these ten years that I wasn’t sure I would ever compete there. I started strongman with a very poor skill level, and little talent, so the idea of ever competing there when I was 19 was a huge deal. It seemed impossible, and a lot of training partners, and people close to me told me it would never happen.

When I received the invitation I felt very relieved. I had put alot of pressure on myself for so long to get there. I didn’t do anything different that day and I didn’t tell anyone until the next day.

At 2013 World’s Strongest Man, I was very disappointed with my performance. I’m realistic with my expectations for how I should perform. Although I did not expect to make the final,  there were some events that I could have given more of an effort.

Phil Burgess: In 10 years of competing what are the biggest lessons you have learnt in the sport?

Scott Cummine: After approximately seven or eight years of competing I started utilizing sport psychology methods. It wasn’t until then that I realized how powerful positive thinking, and visualization was.

Prior to that, whenever I didn’t do well at a competition or an event, I would be very negative towards the situation. After learning how to properly utilize positive thinking my results in competition and life changed.

In 2010 I placed third at Canada’s Strongest Man, behind JF Caron and Christian Savoie. Since then I have applied those methods daily to every situation and have steadily improved.

The biggest lesson I have learned is that feeling sorry for yourself, being negative in any area of life, being angry, and jealous, is a waste of energy.

In my opinion it can hold back even the most talented athlete from reaching the top.

2013 WSM Scott with the Atlas Stones (photo by Per Gunnar Roalkvam)
2013 WSM Scott with the Atlas Stones (photo by Per Gunnar Roalkvam)

Phil Burgess: What areas do you need to work on to do better in 2014 World’s Strongest Man?

Scott Cummine:  I asked myself this question the day after I failed to make the finals in Sanya. I came into WSM in awe that I was actually there. After ten years of trying to achieve my dream I had failed to plan how I would prepare mentally once I was actually there.

I also may have been satisfied in just being there in the moment, and wasn’t entirely focused on what had to be done. ———– This was a major mistake.

Although I had been traveling for two weeks prior to the competition I still felt physically strong,  that wasn’t the case however.

After a few weeks de-load upon returning home, I have been focusing on my weak areas, which I think EVERY strongman should do.

My yoke was sub par to say the least. I attributed this to weak core muscles and not stimulating the Central Nervous System with heavy yoke runs prior to leaving for Giants Live in Poland. My yoke training was done every week with runs of up to only 600lbs for 160-200ft.  I have since dedicated a day to leg/core strength and recently started doing short heavy yoke runs every 10-14 days.

I also suffered in the extreme heat in China like every other athlete. Prior to competing in Las Vegas to qualify for Giants Live, I trained in a sauna once or twice a week.  My training would consist of high repetition work for for 15-60 min in approximately 40-60 degree heat. This prepared me more so mentally for the heat in Las Vegas. I did not do this prior to Giants Live and WSM, and it may have been a factor. I have slowly started sauna training again, sitting in the sauna and trying to keep my heart rate down(while wearing a heart rate monitor).

As I come closer to March I will start weight training in the sauna again. The one area I need to focus the most on is body weight. I competed at 290lbs in Sanya, I believe I was one of the lightest athletes. My goal is to compete in WSM next year(if I get invited) at 310-315 lbs.  Body weight does play a factor in numerous strongman events in my opinion. I have also started using Heart Rate Variatability, which reads certain waves within the heart daily and can give an athlete an idea if he is headed to a state of over training. Being over trained had been a big issue for me for numerous years.

2013 WSM Scott Keg Tossing (photo by Per Gunnar Roalkvam)
2013 WSM Scott Keg Tossing (photo by Per Gunnar Roalkvam)

Phil Burgess: WSM 2014 is in March next year I believe, so what is your plan to get there, what competitions will you compete in to qualify and what does your training and eating program look like to prepare for this?

Scott Cummine: I am hoping to be invited to one of the Giants Live held prior to WSM. My training will be focusing on weak points like yoke, and high platform stones. I have already started training both events. I would like to have my deadlift up to 870-880lbs and my overhead to 420lbs. I think those numbers are somewhat of a standard in the sport now at WSM. Most athletes in my group could perform either numbers.

My eating has changed a bit. I was always very focused on eating healthy. I realized that if I want to reach 310lbs I will have to eat the odd bowl or two of ice cream, the occasional pizza before bed and a weekly buffet which I have no problem doing. I have began keeping a running number on how many calories I have eaten throughout the day which I used to do years ago.

My goal daily is now between 6000-8000 calories. If I’m a bit short before bed I’ll drink a liter of 2% milk and eat 10-15 tablespoons of peanut butter. I often get up during the night and will drink more milk and eat a avocado or banana. Following this so far has brought me over 300lbs.

Phil Burgess: You have dominated the Western Canadian Strongman scene for several years, how is the sport going in this region?

Scott Cummine: The sport in Western Canada is growing steadily. There is a competition held in Regina Saskatchewan annually July 1st. The support from the fans within the city is what keeps the competition happening every year.

This year there was a crowd of 4000+.

There are new athletes starting out every year in Western Canada, athletes like Jon Wade, Steven Halladay, and Quinton Falk to name only a few are up and comers in Western Canada, and on the National scene.

2013 WSM Scott Truck Pulling (photo by Per Gunnar Roalkvam)
2013 WSM Scott Truck Pulling (photo by Per Gunnar Roalkvam)

Phil Burgess: What do you do for a job, and what do you do to relax?

Scott Cummine: I work at a correctional centre full time. I often take extra shifts in the off season to compensate for the extra time I have to take off during the summer for competitions, so my job keeps me very busy. I enjoy my job, and the co workers so it’s a nice break from competition.

I don’t like to relax but I sometimes need to do more of it.  When I’m not at the gym or busy doing something I feel like I’m not accomplishing anything. There is always something that can be done, cooking, eating, stretching, logging workouts etc. Although I recently purchased a Jeep SRT8 and look forward to working on it in the summer.

Phil Burgess: What recuperation techniques like massage, yoga, acupuncture etc do you employ and how frequently do you do these things?

Scott Cummine: I utilize deep tissue massage, electrical acupuncture, ART, and shock wave during the season.

Year round I foam roll during my breaks at work and at night.

I also try and stretch for a total of 30 min a day. I struggle with stretching daily but find I am always in a better position to deadlift, squat, and press when I have been stretching.

Flexibility is very important in strongman.

Phil Burgess: Do you train events once a week, or do you these more frequently?

Scott Cummine: During the off season I train events once a week. My main focus during this time is to gain weight, bring up weak points and get stronger in the press and deadlift.

During the season I will train events up to three times a week. It sometimes becomes a bit much and usually leads to over training because the sessions can last for five hours. I think simulating how a competition will feel is important and the main reason we train events so frequently in the summer.

Phil Burgess: What three things do you think if done would really help the popularity of the sport with the public?

Scott Cummine: Strongman is a difficult sport to get into.

It is very hard physically and mentally and a lot of people wont do it for those reasons.

Popularity can still be brought to the sport.

1. I think one way would be to have a reality show similar to what the UFC has. Showing the public what the athletes are really like would bring more light to the sport. Most of the athletes are great guys.

2. The sport has a lot of TV exposure but more could be had. The more it is seen on TV, the better.

3. There are a lot of athletes like Nick Best, and Mike Jenkins that appear in sport magazines, this is one of the other ways the sport could get more exposure.

All of these ideas cost money, and either way I know that the promoters of WSM do their best to make the sport popular with main stream public.

2013 WSM Scott with Friends
2013 WSM Scott with Friends

Phil Burgess: Final Question, What do you want for christmas and how will you spend christmas day?

Scott Cummine: I would love a turkey dinner or two, I would also like a tuner/programmer for my SRT8!

I will more than likely be spending Christmas with my family, and if possible I will get a quick training session in!