Horse meat and eight raw eggs? This is everything 'Ireland's Strongest Man' eats in just one day
Meet Ireland's Strongest Man Patrick O'Dwyer who eats an incredible 10,000 calories each day in the weeks ahead of a competition.
The Newcastle West man (31), who weighs 23st (146kg) was crowned Ireland's Strongest Man for the second year in a row in May and has ambitions of one day becoming the top competitor in the sport.
Along with a gruelling training regime, the athlete's hardcore daily food diary ranges between 8000 and 10,000kcals and his lunch alone packs a punch with more than a pound of mince as the main ingredient.
The Limerick man's weekly shop sets him back an eye-watering €300 to €400 - vital fuel to continue the high intensity training needed to reclaim his All-Ireland title and also have a shot at competitions across the water.
The athlete admits that he favours horse meat or venison when it comes to animal protein and he eats eight eggs, 1lb of mince, 450g of chicken and a large steak every day as part of his mammoth eight meals.
"I prefer horse meat or venison because there's a higher quality of protein and there's less saturated fat. I get it off chef who does a lot of hunting for the venison and he gets the fillet of horse from an abattoir where they deal with horses and send them to France generally. He's believes you are what you eat and I believe him. It's helped me a great deal eating all that meat."
To increase his calorie intake Patrick awakens at 3.30am to drink the first of three mass gainer shakes, which each clock in at 1200kcals, and every day the athlete consumes more than 1.5 litres of whole milk.
After a long day's work Patrick heads to his local -the Bodybuilding Gym in Raheen - where he trains five times a week.
"I do three weight sessions, one strongman session where I practise the things that will be coming up in the competition and one stretching, mobility and foam rolling session."
Despite his size, Patrick reckons he is on the smaller scale when it comes to his international rivals, whose muscles tip the scales at 28st on average. Although he has dreams of one day competing in Britain's Strongest Man, one of the toughest competitions in the world, Patrick can't commit his full time to the sport as he currently works between 50 and 60 hours a week as a truck driver.
"Many of the athletes excelling in this sport are training full-time, four to five days a week, because they are sponsored. Right now I'm working full-time along with the training. I drive a truck around Munster so it's particularly difficult. I would be up at six or seven in the morning and then not back until five or six in the evening. I train between 6PM until 8PM or 9PM, and when I get home I set about making food for the next day," he said.
"The goal I would look towards is Britain's Strongest Man, however, many of these athletes are able to commit to it full time because they have sponsorship. Working full-time, driving 50 or 60 hours a week, it doesn't allow me the recovery time that many competitors have, which is a vital part of their performance."
However, Patrick is keen to hold onto his title of Ireland's Strongest Man for as long as possible and is currently preparing for his next competition, the UK's Strongest Man.
"It's something you definitely have to be passionate about because outside of the gym you don't really have a social life. I'm very lucky to have such an understanding and supportive girlfriend, because as with any sport, it takes a lot of commitment," he said.
This is Everything Ireland's Strongest Man Eats in Just One Day
250g of organic oats
750ml protein milk
1tbsp of honey
1tbsp cashew butter
1 protein shake with chocolate protein milk
8 raw eggs
1 Mass Gainer shake (1200kcal)
1lb of horse meat or venison mince
Stir friend vegetables
450g of chicken
3 pieces of fruit, usually a banana, apple and orange
1 protein bar
2-3 tbsp of cashew butter and coffee
Mass Gainer shake and a banana (1200kcals)
Large steak (usually venison or horse meat)
Mass gainer shake at 3.30am
Throughout the day
5litres of water
1litre of cranberry juice
1 litre green shake made with wheat grass and spirlina