America’s Strongest Man Athlete Series: Travis Ortmayer

Get to know pro strongman Travis Ortmayer and his mission to be the best.

Travis Ortmayer has bounced all over this country during his life. Born in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, he lived in southern California, Georgia, and Texas before returning to Nevada to round out the complete circle. As a larger kid for his age, Travis dabbled in sports but started lifting at age 11. Realizing that was all he wanted to do, Travis has been lifting ever since.

Coming off the heels of a sixth place finish at America’s Strongest Man, Travis reflects on his journey into Strongman and just how much it has affected his life. While training with a friend, they stumbled upon Texas Strongest Man and thought what could the harm be in competing. After being talked into it by the promoter, he and his friend joked about not finishing last and that competitive edge Travis never knew he had finally emerged. The rest is history. He had a blast with the event, dreamt of Strongman for months after and caught the bug. He also beat his friend.

Travis Ortmayer

Now a pro strongman at the top of the field, Travis reflects on his mentors Jon Andersen, Jim Glassman, and Nathan Payton who helped him figure out training and dieting to be in peak condition. His dad is not only a mentor but a powerhouse strongman himself, who at age 67 won a national title.

Travis was once at the top of the world and Strongman but a dark period forced him into a state of realization and made him see the value in everything he was doing. For years Travis was lost in darkness, his mission to be the best and win top tier Strongman competitions clouding his judgement about what really mattered. Family left, friends fled, his career and home gone, and that passion burned out. Searching deep down he knew he needed a change, a new mission in life to pick up the pieces and live for so much more.

He now has that, seeking a purpose to show people that no matter how hard life beats you down it is your choice to get back up. Keep moving forward and power through whatever knocked you down in the first place to better yourself and prove you can do it. After five years of training to get back to peak shape, Travis is now there. Practicing what he preaches, he is now in the best shape of his life both mentally and physically and has returned to the force that he is.

Travis Ortmayer

Travis’ Routine

Training

Travis runs his training by training hard, training like you love it and really work on those days you don’t want to be there to prove to yourself you can do it. Even if you taper on intensity and allow for extra recovery, you still stay moving. Getting a coach can prove to be beneficial for you because you will have someone to watch your back and keep you from doing something to jeopardize your gains.

Travis loves deadlifting and incorporating anything with stones. His work week typically consists of four days, two upper body and two lower body days. Intensity varies depending on his program. Depending on what the schedule says, he will crush himself to get that hard work done or will be smarter to work on technique and go back to the basics to work on other important factors aside from sheer intensity. He currently trains with two other partners but is picky about who enters that circle. Looking for heart over talent, you don’t have to be the strongest, but have to bring something positive to the table.

Nutrition

Nutrition is as good as you make it. For Travis, eating poorly yields poor results, but eating like a champion only produces a champion. While Travis eats like a champion, after a grueling workout he will have a frozen pizza with steak on top and a pint of Haagen-Dazs caramel cone ice cream. Incorporating supplements into his routine, Travis uses pre-workout from either Blitz 3D or Primal AF, EAAs which are great for muscle growth, and creatine HCL, but other than that he relies on a good exercise routine and healthy diet.

Travis Ortmayer

Travis’ Strongman Journey

When it comes to competing, his best events are the deadlift, Husafell stone carry, and sandbag toss for height. Training these events hard is key for his success and with his training, he has really worked to master these events. He tends to struggle slightly with events like the circus dumbbell. After suffering a tear in his right shoulder, an invasive surgery to reattach his rotator cuff left him working overtime to get this event to where it needs to be. With solid preparation, he is getting back into strong form with this proving his might as a serious contender.

Leading up to events, Travis will drop his volume and focus more on intensity. As an event gets closer, he will shut down heavy training and mix in physiotherapy to keep everything moving properly. Visualization is key for Travis. Imagining the event, keeping a list of mental to-do’s, and seeing himself on the podium are all part of that mental process to get ready to win.

This dream of Strongman began as a curiosity and has turned into a lifestyle. Even when he lost himself, Strongman was there to pick him up. When life got tough, Travis went back to what kept him grounded, what gave him a fighting passion and now he has that. He has now returned to better shape than before and that is a testament to the resiliency of this strongman in learning what it takes to train for one of the hardest sports on Earth. Grateful to be getting back towards the success he had, Travis is one to watch as his physical strength and mental toughness are equally matched by humility and confidence in knowing he has what to takes to be a winner.

Check out the results of America’s Strongest Man and Woman here.

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*Images courtesy of Travis Ortmayer Instagram

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Austin Letorney is a writer, actor, and fitness enthusiast. As a former rower, he has shifted his focus to sharing his knowledge of the fitness world and strength sports with others.