Burnley College Powerlifter Goes from Strength to Strength in National Strongman Competition

Billy Deurden - 400 x 600

Aged just 16, Billy Duerden was the youngest competitor. But his skill, strength and determination has seen him grab a place in the national finals of a leading strongman competition. 


Now he’s sharing his expert technique and training advice in a new role leading classes at Fitness Evolution, Burnley College’s on-site strength and conditioning gym. 


Billy, a former pupil at Rossendale All Saints’ RC High School, is currently studying an Advanced Vocational Diploma in Sport, Fitness and Personal Training at Burnley College Sixth Form Centre, the Number 1 College in England*. 


The competition, the Kaos Teen Strongman League Under 19s Boys, took place in Preston, with Billy being placed fifth. 


Billy says preparing for a competition like this normally takes several months: 


“I only found out about this competition two weeks before, which meant some intensive preparation.  


“For a competition, I normally train around three to four hours per day: the work is very strength focused. 


“For a strongman competition the most important thing is calory intake. I’m usually looking to take on 3,000 to 4,000 calories per day – which is a lot. I don’t just have one bag of crisps, I have three. Outside of that, it’s the basics – like lots of steak and wheat.” 


Billy says it important to understand your end goal when you start training, as his sport of powerlifting is very different from body building: 

“Bodybuilding is about creating a look. You’re lifting weights, but to create shape. You’re doing lifts, but it’s not about the big numbers. 


“As a strongman, it’s about building overall strength and power without being concerned about physical appearance – and that’s why the diet is so calorie intensive. 


“That’s how you get to lift the type of weights you need to succeed on a national and international level.” 


Billy started going to the gym when he was young: 


“It was while I was training at the gym, I met an actual strongman. Learning from him really made me want to do it. 


“I was always chubby, so wanted to get into shape. I’d developed a thick skin about my physique though. 


“I used to think ‘If someone says something mean to you, they’ll forget it 20 minutes later, so why should you bother remembering it.’ 


“That’s what it’s about. It’s you versus you. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. 

“My heroes in the world of strongmen are Eddie Hall, Brian Shaw and Larry Wields.” 


And what now for Billy? 


“I’ve got another competition coming up in June and then the final for this competition takes place in September. 


“I’m also very excited to be asked to lead classes at Fitness Evolution. The facilities are excellent, so to be able to share my knowledge with other people who share my passion for lifting will be fantastic. 


“Ultimately, I want to work in the world of physical training and I see myself continuing to compete as a strongman for as long as I can.” 


At Burnley College we offer sport and fitness courses for everyone, from those completing their GCSEs to degree-level study, as well as professional qualifications for adult learners and those looking to upskill. Learn more: https://www.burnley.ac.uk/search/?i=sportfitness 


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