Robert Oberst claims he’s the strongest man on the West Coast, and that may very well be true. His job is literally just picking up heavy things — and then eating a ton of food, often up to 20,000 calories a day.

Oberst is a professional strongman competitor, or a strength athlete who competes in weightlifting and powerlifting. Strongmen are able to pick up, push, and toss some ridiculously heavy items, and thus have a "freak show" appeal. They often compete in World’s Strongest Man competitions. “I travel around the world, and lift up heavy, weird objects, and that’s my job,” Oberst says in a video produced by VICE/MUNCHIES.

While Oberst’s body is already massive — he’s 6-foot-8 and weighs 400 pounds — being big and strong isn’t enough when he’s competing in strongman competitions. In the video, Oberst describes how important it is for him to use food as fuel, and to maintain a steady diet of carbs, nutrients, and protein: “My body is a machine; it’s a vessel for work,” he says in the video. “If you want your car to run well, you put fuel in it. Same with your body.”

In order to get through his intense workouts, Oberst eats up to 20,000 calories per day. He mainly eats rice and turkey for dinner. Facebook
Oberst makes sure to eat copious amounts of protein, relying mostly on meat and protein shakes to get his fill. Facebook

When it comes to his diet, Oberst mostly sticks to “clean” foods, consuming plenty of spinach, rice, turkey, eggs, and any form of meat — from sausages to beef. He’ll eat about 8 to 10 eggs for breakfast, then boil several more for snacks throughout the day. All of this adds up to about 15,000-20,000 calories per day. But when you eat a lot, you spend a lot: one trip to the grocery store can lead to a price tag of $450 for enough food to last Oberst only a few days.

But all of this is worth it for Oberst, who truly believes that eating the right foods makes all the difference — whether you’re a strongman like him or just a regular gym-goer. “When you go to the gym and your body’s fueled up on good food, nutrients, and protein,” Oberst says, “when you get to the point in your workout where you’re working hard, you’re hitting the last reps, you’re burnt out, there’s something else in there driving you. Instead of reaching down and there’s nothing there, you’ve got some power left.”

If you’re interested in Oberst’s “Strongman Pasta Asciutta,” check out the recipe here.