Creative in association withGear Seven

The World's Strongest Man Opens Up on Autism for Reign Total Body Fuel

Production Company
London, UK
Tom Stoltman explains how the gym saved his life in documentary shot by Kode director David Barr

Award-winning production studio KODE and Monster Energy brand, Reign Total Body Fuel have created ‘The Gym Saved my Life’ a four-minute short that captures the personal struggle, Tom Stoltman aka The World’s Strongest Man in the World has had with autism. Directed by David Barr and produced by Kode as part of a trilogy of short films, each focusing on an emotive, inspirational, and authentic story that focuses on athletes overcoming barriers - either personal or professional, to achieve their goals. 

Shot in one day, on location in Invergordon, Scotland; Tom is joined by his brother Luke, as they discuss the impact that autism has had on his life. Beginning with the troubles he experienced as a child, his diagnosis and the sanctuary that the gym and working out has given him.

“With the autism, the gym saved my life… Everything’s quiet. Like, I’m floating in my own head” said Tom Stoltman, The Word’s Strongest Man.

Matt Fleming, executive producer, Kode commented “To be able to go in-depth and spend time with these two incredible brothers was a joy. Unpicking the strongman exterior and delving into the more fragile, human aspects of Tom’s battle growing up with Autism was only possible through the brothers being so open and honest with us on camera. By letting their guard down and inviting us into their lives for a day, they’ve allowed us to tell a story that we hope resonates with and reverberates through the sporting industry and the Reign audience, inspiring those with seemingly unsurmountable obstacles in their way.”

“Tom’s autism means that he sees the world differently to most of us. Inspired by this, I wanted to create a stylised documentary that places the audience inside his head for a few minutes. Working with my long-term DOP Aadel Nodeh-Farahani, we created a visual language that combined portrait-style compositions, macro photography and ‘memory flashes’. Coupled with Mike Bovill’s sound design, this hopefully creates an immersive experience.” said David Barr, director, KODE. Barr added “I think you’d be hard pushed to find a family in the country that hasn’t been affected by mental health issues and voices like Tom’s help bring the conversation to new corners. His openness that you can quite literally be the strongest man in the world, but still spend your life trying to overcome mental barriers is hugely inspiring, and will no doubt be a great comfort to many – especially those who live within the spectrum.”

Music / Sound