Martins Licis thriving while social distancing



Martins Licis gained the 2019 World’s Strongest Man competitors and is presently coaching at house whereas training social distancing.


The reigning World’s Strongest Man says he normally wakes up between eight a.m. and midday. He makes a latte. He strolls over to his balcony, which overlooks the Pacific Ocean. And earlier than he does the rest, he spends a couple of moments simply sitting, taking within the view. 

“I take into consideration life,” Martins Licis says. “Hearken to the birds chirp.”

Licis is 6-foot-3, 355 kilos and, by all measures, one of many strongest human beings. He gained final 12 months’s World’s Strongest Man competitors by, amongst different issues, dragging a pair of monster vans and squatting a 750-pound barbell 9 instances.

However because the coronavirus pandemic has swept by way of the nation, grinding a lot of American life to a halt, Licis now spends his social distancing days kind of like the remainder of us. He is says he is cooking extra often, and consuming more healthy. Connecting with family members. And spending extra time on hobbies, like taking part in video video games and portray.

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“Typically I get into these binges of portray,” mentioned Licis, noting that he prefers acrylics to oils. “I like portray folks. … Our brains are wired to see imperfections or discover issues are off within the human face or determine greater than the rest in nature. So I like being challenged by that.”

Licis was born in Latvia however raised in Massachusetts. He now lives in California and represents the US in strongman competitions — which typically mix components of powerlifting and endurance. 

Although his nickname — “King Dragon” — is fittingly ferocious for a strongman, it belies his affable persona. The 29-year-old will usually have a good time a profitable carry by yelling his name, “Martins!” and grinning. He describes himself on his YouTube page as “The Most Critical Goof in Power Sports activities.”

A strongman’s coaching (and consuming) routine appears ill-suited for social distancing, however Licis mentioned he is getting by simply wonderful. Although he is been saddened to see and listen to concerning the widespread impacts of COVID-19 over the previous few weeks — the lives and jobs which have been misplaced to the illness — he is making an attempt to concentrate on the silver linings.

“I get to get well my physique, as a result of I’m not competing in any competitions,” Licis mentioned. “I can cut back from ridiculously heavy weights, focus extra on my rehab, on well being.”

Licis mentioned he is been coping with nagging illnesses in his left knee and proper hamstring for about two years now. Social distancing has given him an opportunity to carry lighter — “I don’t do something over 500 kilos,” he mentioned — and concentrate on transferring extra slowly throughout exercises, and with extra exact method. 

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With the 2020 World’s Strongest Man competitors postponed from Could to November, there is no such thing as a flipping tires or pushing automobiles — at the least at this level in Licis’ coaching routine. And with gyms nonetheless shut down, he normally simply rides his electrical bicycle to a good friend’s storage, the place they take turns utilizing a single barbell for exercises.

“Give me a barbell and a few weights, I’m joyful,” he mentioned. “I can do every thing I have to do.”

Licis, who edged out Poland’s Mateusz Kieliszkowski and Hafþór “The Mountain” Björnsson to win the 2019 World’s Strongest Man competitors, additionally is not consuming fairly as a lot as he in any other case would have been presently.

As a substitute of the 7,000 to 10,000 energy he’d been consuming within the leadup to a contest, his each day consumption is about 5,000. Breakfast is normally eight eggs, English muffins, greens and maybe an orange. Lunches, dinners and different intermittent meals normally embrace steak or some form of burger meat with potatoes, spinach and carrots.

“To start with of this quarantine, (discovering meat) was fairly terrible. However now it’s type of leveled out,” he mentioned. “The one factor is rest room paper. It’s nonetheless unimaginable to get that.”

Along with portray, Licis mentioned he is been spending fairly a little bit of time taking part in video video games, primarily Overwatch, which has change into extraordinarily fashionable on this planet of esports. (“I would like to change into additionally an expert gamer down the road,” he added.) He additionally posts often on his YouTube account, which has racked up greater than 160,000 subscribers.

“We actually attempt to be trustworthy with every thing I’m going by way of, to point out that it’s not all badass and lifting heavy and pedal to the steel,” Licis mentioned. “Plenty of that is troublesome and painful. Plenty of days I’ll have to tug again, or miss lifts. So to painting that and the way I overcome these obstacles, so folks don’t simply suppose we’re all simply genetic freaks and might push by way of every thing. It’s at all times downside fixing.”

Contact Tom Schad at or on Twitter @Tom_Schad.


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