Many of us remember the year 2020 as the most challenging period of our lives. From losing jobs and loved ones to simply losing the sense of normalcy, the year left most of us with some lasting scars. A series of personal losses led Shaquille O’Neal to lose motivation and it took a major toll on his fitness too.
However, Shaq managed to get his motivation back and set himself on the path to get back in shape. As a result, the 49-year-old went through a massive body transformation. In a recent interview with Men’s Journal, Shaquille O’Neal spoke candidly about this chapter of his life and shared some valuable insights for those looking to adopt a healthy lifestyle. While speaking about the reasons that led to him losing motivation, Shaquille O’Neal said:
“My sister passed away before Kobe. And then Kobe passed away and then I had 28 other people pass away. (2020) was a really bad year and I didn’t want to do anything. So, when you don’t want to do anything, but you need to stay out of trouble, there’s two things you can do: eat and Netflix.”
Shaq alluded that the pain of losing his loved ones refused to let him sleep. As a result, his eating habits went out of hand and Shaq found himself eating round the clock.
“My problem is, I’ve always been a sandwich guy. Sandwich for lunch, sandwich for dinner, sandwich for snack. And when all of that was going on last year, I couldn’t sleep. So, I’d wake up at three in the morning and make a sandwich, five in the morning and make a sandwich,” he explained.
The effects of overeating started to reflect in his physique and the four-time NBA champion said to himself:
“So I said to myself, I want to take my shirt off on Instagram one last time,” O’Neal said
Shaquille O’Neal decided to switch things up after watching a fit old man on Instagram
By a chance encounter, Shaq came across an Instagram post of a 70-year-old muscular man that motivated him to break out of the prison of unhealthy life.
“I saw this 70-year-old guy on there, and he had muscles everywhere. So I just decided to switch it up.”
“No more bread, no more late-night lemon Oreos, no more Entenmann’s cakes, none of that. I’ve been doing this for six months and just eating fruit, protein shakes, salads, fish, chicken and asparagus or other vegetables. Very small portions and eating that everyday has helped me lose 25-30 pounds.”
After making some amendments to his lifestyle, Shaq felt better and able to make better decisions.
This resulted in a 25-30lbs weight loss in the months that followed and the 49-year-old started seeing abs. Shaq says they last appeared in 2006 when he played for Miami Heat! Things are incredibly simple on the workout side as well. Shaq does not follow a very structured training plan or cross-train in various disciplines. Instead, he only hits the gym like an average person for about an hour every day.
“I do 20 minutes of cardio, I’ll do some chest, bis, tris, sit-ups, back and then I’m gone. 30-45 minutes a day, plus cardio––so about an hour a day.” Shaq told Men’s Journal.
Shaq added that he is unable to run due to knee and other joint issues. However, he is planning to try jogging in the time to come. Shaq advises men in their 40s and beyond to treat the body as a temple and make time to spend an hour in the gym to ‘feel better, look better and do more things during the day.’