Brian Shaw is a professional Strongman athlete from the United States. He’s a four-time winner (2011, 2013, 2015, and 2016) of the prestigious World’s Strongest Man competition, and three time Arnold Strongman Classic champion. This is his complete profile, biography, training regime, diet plan, and more.
|Full name: Brian Shaw|
|385–440 lbs (175–200 kg)||203.2 cm (6 ft 8 in)||40 years|
|Date of birth||Era||Nationality|
|February 26, 1982||2010, 2020||American|
Brian Shaw was born in Fort Lupton, Colorado USA.
His parents, Jay and Bonnie Shaw were on the taller side at 6’0” and 5’11” respectively. He also had really tall uncles which explains his towering 6’8″ stature.
The 3x Arnold Strongman Classic champ was almost 300 lbs in high school before any type of weight training. However, his goal was to earn a scholarship to play college basketball so he knew had to get in the weight room to get stronger and more athletic. This opened up a new world to the young talent.
He said the following about his experience starting weight training.
“I could walk in there and train and get results, and then come back and do it again and get more results, and so it was like an immediate addiction to I want to work harder because it’s making me feel better and I’m seeing what’s happening but also it’s going to open the door for me to go play in college.”
Well, he did play in college and at one point had aspirations to play in the NBA. But being from a smaller school, he wasn’t looked at like the players from larger schools. Additionally, while he had some offers to play D1 and go overseas, Brian’s life ultimately shifted toward the direction of strength training. He all of the sudden lost his love for basketball.
He also had the goal of becoming a strength coach during this period but little did he know what was to come and that he’d become the World’s Strongest Man champion four times.
Strongman was an outlet for Brian after basketball and was a great fit for his natural strength ability plus he could be competitive. He’s dedicated his life to the sport and is still competing at the top level against the best in the world.
“At some when you’re competing, if you put the work in, you’re going to be successful.”
Career and Competition
Brian Shaw is one of the most successful Strongman competitors in the sport’s history.
His four World’s Strongest Man titles are one less than the winningest champion in history Mariusz Pudzianowski, and tie him with with three other champions including Žydrūnas Savickas, Jón Páll Sigmarsson, and Magnús Ver Magnússon.
Shaw won the World’s Strongest Man contest in 2011, 2013, 2015, and 2016.
He also won the second biggest Strongman event, the Arnold Strongman Classic, three times.
Brian Shaw was the first Strongman athlete to win the World’s Strongest Man and Arnold Strongman Classic in the same calendar year.
He won the Denver Strongman Classic in 2005, his first competition, with no prior training. From there, it only took him seven months to achieve professional status.
Shaw qualified for the World’s Strongest Man contest in 2008. He was edged out by the legendary Zydrunas Savickas at the 2010 World’s Strongest Man but got his revenge in 2011, overcoming Savickas for the title, a feat he repeated in 2013, again edging out the Lithuanian Strongman champion.
The athletic giant did not win his four titles consecutively, as he placed 4th in 2012 and 3rd in 2014.
Since then, his best placing was 2nd at the 2021 World’s Strongest Man of which he was disappointed in the outcome.
* Below we’ve included the legends competition history courtesy of Wikipedia.
World’s Strongest Man
- Qualified 2008 World’s Strongest Man
- 3rd 2009 World’s Strongest Man
- 2nd 2010 World’s Strongest Man
- 1st 2011 World’s Strongest Man
- 4th 2012 World’s Strongest Man
- 1st 2013 World’s Strongest Man
- 3rd 2014 World’s Strongest Man
- 1st 2015 World’s Strongest Man
- 1st 2016 World’s Strongest Man
- 3rd 2017 World’s Strongest Man
- 3rd 2018 World’s Strongest Man
- 6th 2019 World’s Strongest Man
- 5th 2020 World’s Strongest Man
- 2nd 2021 World’s Strongest Man
Arnold Strongman Classic
- 5th 2010
- 1st 2011
- 4th 2012
- 2nd 2013
- 2nd 2014
- 1st 2015
- 2nd 2016
- 1st 2017
- 2nd 2018
- 8th 2019
All Arnold Pro Strongman World Series
- 1st 2015 Arnold Australia
- 1st 2016 Arnold Europe
- 1st 2017 Arnold Australia
- 2nd 2020 Arnold USA
World’s Ultimate Strongman
- 2nd 2018 Dubai
- 4th 2019 Dubai
Strongman Super Series
- 1st 2009 Los Angeles Grand Prix
- 4th 2009 Bucharest Grand Prix
- 1st 2009 Gothenburg Grand Prix
- 1st 2009 Overall Champion
- 2nd 2010 Mohegan Sun Grand Prix
- 1st 2010 Viking Power Challenge
- 1st 2010 Swedish Grand Prix
- 1st 2010 Overall Champion
Jón Páll Sigmarsson Classic
- 1st 2010
- 1st 2011
- 3rd 2009
- 3rd 2009 Mohegan Sun Grand Prix
- 1st 2010 South Africa
- 2nd 2010 Istanbul
- 1st 2011 London
- 1st 2015 Sweden
North America’s Strongest Man
- 2nd 2007
- 1st 2014
America’s Strongest Man
- 1st 2013
- 1st 2016
SCL North American Championship
- 1st 2014
All-American Strongman Challenge
- 1st 2009
- 1st 2020
- 2nd 2021
- The following details are courtesy of Wikipedia.
Done in the gym
- Squat – 904 lb (410 kg)
- Bench press – 530 lb (240 kg) × 2
- Deadlift (from blocks) – 1,091 lb (495 kg)
- Rack Pull – 1,365 lb (619 kg)(weight resistance measured at very top of rack pull. The lift was done using resistance bands and a belt squat machine.)
- Long Bar Deadlift – 1,031 lb (468 kg)
- Log Press – 465 lb (211 kg)
- Indoor Rowing – 100 meters in 12.8 seconds (unofficial world record at the time, since beaten by Loren Howard with 12.6)
Grip training records
- Little Big Horn Handle – 238 lb (108 kg) – previous record was 236.53 lb (107.29 kg) by Laine Snook
- 2nd furthest Dinnie Stone carry – 11.54 ft (3.52 m)
- One of the few men in history to pinch grip and lift a pair of York 45lb plates
Strongman done in official Strongman competition
- Deadlift (with straps) – 1,014 lb (460 kg) (World’s Strongest Man 2017)
- Rogue Elephant Bar Deadlift (with straps) – 1,021 lb (463 kg) (Arnold Strongman Classic 2016 & 2019)
- Hummer Tire Strongman Deadlift (with straps) – 1,140 lb (520 kg)
- Log Lift – 440 lb (200 kg) × 2
- Axle Press – 452 lb (205 kg) (Giants Live London 2011)
- Atlas Stone/Manhood Stone – 560 lb (250 kg)
- Keg Toss – 8 kegs in 16.59 seconds (World’s Strongest Man 2014)
- Keg Toss – 7.75m (World’s Strongest Man 2021, world record)
As with all Strongman athletes, Brian Shaw has followed many different training programs throughout his career. It’s perfectly normal to make adjustments depending on many different factors.
We’re currently weeks out from the 2022 World’s Strongest Man competition and Brian has been sharing training updates of which we’ve included the details for below.
Brian explained that he felt he had a lot of momentum going into 2022 and he’s going to continue to keep this up as he trains and prepares for competition.
He’s now working with top-level strength coach (a different coach) Joe Kenn who he actually got his start under back in 2005 and credits him for a lot of his Strongman success.
Intense high volume Strongman workout session
This workout was extremely high volume and grueling but Brian has been working his way up to this level of training volume.
To start, Shaw did a warm-up using three triceps band exercise variations that include:
- Band overhead triceps extension
- Band pulldown
- Flex Fitness conversion chest press
He performed 4 sets of 25 reps each.
- Prone incline dumbbell row superset w/ elevator press – sets of 15 reps each
For the elevator press, Shaw starts with a shoulder press for the first set, then goes to a high incline, followed by incline, low incline and finally the flat bench. This exercise gets easier each time he lowers the bench.
Brian finished off with a medley of exercises of which he did 4 sets x 15 reps each.
- Single arm cable lateral raise
- Single arm standing overhead press
- Seated single arm shrug
- Single arm rope overhead triceps extension
- Single arm dumbbell curl
Shoulders and chest
- Smith machine shoulder press using band and chains
- Prone incline dumbbell rear lateral raise – 2 sets x 10 reps
- Barbell bench press
- Cable standing shoulder press drop set
Sumo deadlift focus
As he prepares for the 2022 World’s Strongest Man, Shaw shared a training session that involved something he’s never done, sumo deadlifts. This was his trainer Joe Kenn’s idea. Sumo deadlifts require different body position and mechanics compared to the conventional deadlift and the goal was to utilize the uniqueness of the movement to build and improve on the hip hinge in hopes it will carry over to competition.
The workout included other movements as well.
Single-leg Romanian deadlift onset load (6 reps per leg)
Power runner (slow and controlled one leg at a time)
Diet and Nutrition
Brian Shaw was a literal behemoth in his earlier competitive days at a body weight of 450 lbs. Well, that was due to his insane 15,000 calorie daily eating regime! He once said in an interview that eating is a job and it really is when you’re at that level.
“Eating is a job. You’re basically married to it in a way.”
He also explained that you simply cannot miss a meal leading up to a competition because you cannot make it up. When you’re consuming a goliath number of calories everyday, it’s really not possible to miss a meal and think you can add more food to the next one instead.
Brian would eat at most seven meals per day in prior years but nowadays he can fit all of his calories into five to six meals.
An example of what he’d eat for breakfast is 8 ounces of bison, 6-8 eggs, 4-6 waffles, and fruit.
Of course, his diet does not involve quite as much food these days, but it’s still a lot. We’ve included his 15,000 calorie diet below.
Check it out…
Meal One (Breakfast)
- Total: 3747 calories
Meal Two (Snack)
- Bison (or whatever meat he can afford)
- Red sauce
- Total: 1770 calories
Meal Three (Lunch)
- Chicken Burrito (extra chicken)
- Barbacoa Tacos
- Large Coke
- Total: 2568 calories
Meal Four (Post-Workout Snack)
- Bacon Cheeseburger
- Large Fries
- Chocolate Milk
- Total: 1940 calories
Meal Five (Dinner)
- Large Buffalo Chicken Pizza
- Total: 4270 calories
Grand Total: 14,292 Calories in one day
Current 9,700-calorie diet full day of eating
Now let’s talk about his current diet that consists of 9,700 calories per day. Brian chooses the convenience of Trifecta meals (meal service company) for a lot of the foods he eats throughout the day.
Meal 1 – breakfast (Two parts)
Part 1 – 8 oz Bison from Trifecta, 4 eggs, 1 cup chopped spinach
Part 2 – 4 blueberry waffles w/ butter and syrup, and blackberries
Meal 2 –
Three packs of grits and a protein shake (3 scoops whey isolate)
Meal 3 – pre training
10 oz Bison with duck fat, entire bag of sweet potato fries, rice crispy treat
Meal 4 – post training
14 oz Bison, 2 cups of white rice, 1 cup spinach, marinara sauce
14 oz beef salmon, 5 oz mashed sweet potatoes, bowl full of spring mix (salad) with dressing, Honeycrisp apple
3 scoops whey protein shake w/ mini cheesecake treats
Personal life and Challenges
Brian and his wife Kerri have two boys together.
Shaw runs a YouTube channel with over 1 million subscribers. His content includes training, diet, business endeavors, day in the life, and more. He also has 1.4 Instagram followers.
Brian has admitted that his biggest obstacles in life are due to his large size. At 6’8″ and 400+ lbs, the entrepreneur wears a 5x t-shirt, and size 18 shoes. He also has to have a lot of his clothing custom made.
Fitting into vehicles and also airplane seats is also a challenge for him. He’s always wanted a sports car but could never fit and so has to settle for larger vehicles that he says are his version of a sports car.
Brian Shaw owns Shawstrength.com where he sells apparel, merchandise, and nutritional supplements under the label Undefined Nutrition.
Shaw described his vision for the supplements brand on his website.
“I’ve always said that necessity drives innovation. As a proud husband, father, and career athlete, my vision is to create a brand that I can be proud of in every way—a brand that not only meets and exceeds my performance expectations, but a brand that I am proud to call my own.
To push my body to its limits, I needed supplements custom-tailored to fit my needs inside the gym and out. It’s from this need that Undefined Nutrition was born—to help myself and others like me redefine their limits, and define our journey and story. As we have grown, our mission has become more than just about me—now Undefined Nutrition creates products to help others from all levels and walks of life define their journeys and become their best.”
Learning sewing, Evolution Athletics line, and headquarters
Many people don’t know but Brian sews. This stemmed from the need to have gear that would protect him and give him a good grip when lifting stones. He invested in a commercial sewing machine and taught himself how to use it through trial and error.
He then started to modify his own gear and has done it for several years. After sewing gear for other people, Brian came to the realization that he was good enough to start using his sewing experience to make his own gear. He was no longer interested in doing it for others anymore as he felt as if he was being taken advantage of. because of his knowledge.
As a result, he started his own line of gear called Evolution athletics.
Shaw is currently in the process of building his dream home gym, which will also be the headquarters/warehouse for his companies and the home of his podcast.
The big man has his own Strongman event called the Shaw Classic.
The Strongest Man in History
Brian Shaw was part of a History channel reality TV series The Strongest Man in History in 2019 alongside fellow Strongman athletes Eddie Hall, Robert Oberst, and Nick Best. The series followed the men around the globe as they investigated and attempted spectacular feats of strength performed by legendary figures from different eras and regions.
Brian Shaw is one of the greatest Strongman champions in the sport’s history. He’s an all-around gifted athlete but most importantly, he’s one of the kindest and most respected individuals.
From a college athlete with dreams to make it to the NBA, to changing his focus and winning the biggest titles in Strongman, Shaw is a prime example of hard work, determination and perseverance.
Despite having won many major titles, Brian Shaw is still competing and passionate about the sport that made him a legendary name.