Vegan who trains at city gym wins Natural World's Strongest Man

Tom Butts, from Whiteley, won the Natural World's Strongest Man in Ediburgh <i>(Image: Tom Butts)</i>
Tom Butts, from Whiteley, won the Natural World's Strongest Man in Ediburgh (Image: Tom Butts)

A vegan strongman competitor who trains at the Barbell Division gym in Bitterne has won the Natural World's Strongest Man competition.

Tom Butts, 24, from Whiteley, competes in the under-90kg category and he overcame some tough competition to take the crown in Edinburgh.

He had to compete in events such as the Sandbag 'Hell' Medley, deadlift, bag toss, and Fingal's Fingers.

The event is drug-tested, unlike a lot of World's Strongest Man competitions, which is why it is referred to as being natural.

Speaking to the Daily Echo, Tom said: "I got a bit emotional because the title is really cool. The Natural World’s Strongest Man in the 90kg. That’s mega.

"I’ve worked hard for it over the last few years, training four hours a day, five or six times a week.

"It’s just all that hard work that has really paid off in the end. It was a stressful competition.

"That’s been my goal for a long time to be the best in the world at something and to finally achieve it is special."

Tom studied Economics at Loughborough University and began training at the same gym as swimmer Adam Peaty and boxer Dillian Whyte.

He added: "Watching these people lift so much more weight than I could really inspired me to push myself."

Tom won Hampshire's Strongest Man in 2022, while he finished runner-up at the UK event earlier this year.

His accomplishments are made even more impressive by being vegan, which means that he avoids eating some of the foods that people will often turn to when training.

The 24-year-old personal trainer continued: "I think it is a misconception that it is difficult to achieve high levels of protein or to be strong on a vegan diet.

"There’s no magical ingredient in meat that you can’t find in plants. There are certain vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that are harder to find.

"I have been vegan for three years so when I first started lifting, I found the transition into eating plant-based very natural.

"I did it for my own ethical reasons, not because I thought it would give me an edge in performance."

Butts has now set his sights on the Chaos Classic next summer which he qualified for after winning the competition - where a £10,000 prize is up for grabs.