FIT­NESS Meet Mon­k­lands’

Brian aims for top-two fin­ish at UK Mas­ters

Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser - - Fitness - An­drew Bargh

“I’ve cre­ated a mon­ster”, the in­fa­mous phrase from Mary Shel­ley’s mas­ter­piece was mut­tered in Mon­k­lands last week – not by Vic­tor Franken­stein, but Louis Kuhn, owner of the Stone Crazy gym in Coat­bridge.

Be­cause within the walls of his se­cluded Green­hill in­dus­trial es­tate fa­cil­ity Louis has in­deed helped make a man moun­tain – in the hulk­ing shape of his client and pal, Brian Rat­cliff.

“Big friendly gi­ant” Brian and his wife Lee-Ann em­i­grated from Zim­babwe to Coat­bridge in 2006 and, af­ter only start­ing strong­man train­ing in 2014, the 6’4” 19st dadof-two now com­petes in events all over Great Bri­tain.

The 41-year-old elec­tri­cian par­tic­i­pated in the Scot­land’s s t rongest man con­test last month but an ill-timed shoul­der in­jury put paid to any hopes he had of tak­ing the ti­tle.

Now, the strap­ping strong­man has set his sights on a top-two fin­ish at the UK mas­ters – an achieve­ment which would see him qual­ify for the world fi­nals.

Dur­ing a de­mand­ing work­out at Stone Crazy, Brian took time out along­side Louis to ex­plain his train­ing and com­pet­ing regime.

He told the Ad­ver­tiser: “I just aim to keep pro­gress­ing and im­prov­ing.

“I work out four days a week and when I have an event com­ing up I’ll prac­tice what­ever dis­ci­plines they in­volve.

“They con­sist of loads of stuff; At­las Stone lifts, keg toss­ing, Her­cules holds, sand­bag throws and even truck pulls.

“For ex­am­ple, a Her­cules hold in­volves hold­ing around 150kg [24st] in each hand for a pe­riod of time.

“There is also an event called the yoke race where we have to run with 380kg [ 60st] on our shoul­ders.

“I’ll build my strength in my work­outs with ex­er­cises like bench presses, squats and dead­lifts.

“I man­aged to squat 292kg [46st] last week so I’m hop­ing to reach 300kg pretty soon.”

Brian, who is com­pet­ing in the High­land strong­man event in In­ver­ness this week­end, con­tin­ued: “I missed out on go­ing to the world mas­ters by one place but I’ve won com­pe­ti­tions and claimed podium fin­ishes be­fore.

“I won a tour­na­ment in Fort Wil­liam last year and came third in my first com­pe­ti­tion in Kent in 2015.

“My aim is to reach the mas­ters world fi­nals so I’ll have a good crack at that again next year.

“It’s just an­other day for me ev­ery time I train but it’s good to have an aim and some­thing to work to­wards.

“There’s no money in strong­man com­pe­ti­tions; it’s all about the pas­sion for the sport.”

Brian con­sumes around 6000 calo­ries ev­ery day in or­der to gain mus­cle mass and strength – nearly three times the calo­ries re­quired by the av­er­age per­son to main­tain their weight.

Around a kilo­gramme of meat is chowed down by the strong­man each day along with a cock­tail of pro­tein shakes and sup­ple­ments be­fore his work­out.

He re­vealed: “I can eas­ily eat six chicken breasts with rice, pota­toes and veg­eta­bles to keep up with my train­ing.

“I’ll have eight pieces of Weetabix with pro­tein mix be­fore 9am and the rest of my meals are split through­out the day.

“With­out the diet I fol­low then my train­ing wouldn’t work.”

Gym owner Louis, 47, who hails from South Africa, has also com­peted in strong­man events in the past and ex­plained why he asked Brian to get in­volved.

He said: “We met at a South African em­i­grants in Scot­land gath­er­ing or­gan­ised by an on­line so­ci­ety.

“I was al­ready train­ing by that point and when I saw Brian I could see he had nat­u­ral size and strength so I in­vited him to train with me. “I think I’ve cre­ated a mon­ster!” “Re­ally though, he is a ridicu­lously ma­cho man but also one of the friendli­est, down to Earth peo­ple you will ever meet.”

I man­aged to squat 292kg there and hope to do 300kg soon

Brian with pal and Stone Crazy owner Louis Kuhn Brian hands over his At­las Stone to Ad­ver­tiser re­porter An­drew Her­culean ef­fort Each of these weigh around 20st

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