It’s not yet time for New Years’ Resolutions, but Shaq isn’t waiting for January first – he’s starting a new self-improvement program by eating better and hitting the gym, in a big way.
In a recent interview with Men’s Health Magazine, the big man says he was getting just a little too big, and starting to look – in his own opinion – a little too old. In fact, O’Neal said his diet itself was starting to look old, and that was something he wanted to change.
Eating habits? Kinda weird, truth be told. Shaq said he had gotten into the habit of eating sandwiches for just about every meal, and snacking on junk food in between.
The big ah-ha moment came when he had a selfie-inspired experience with his own Instagram account. “So I said to myself, I want to take my shirt off on Instagram one last time,” O’Neal said. “I saw this 70-year-old guy on there, and he had muscles everywhere. So I just decided to switch it up.” Trying to look like a 70 year-old? Hmmm… whatever works, right?
As a result, O’Neal made some diet and lifestyle changes, completely cutting out bread, late-night lemon Oreos, and Entenmann’s snack cakes. Not only that, he’s hitting the gym. Check out the video below – click here to see the full version.
The moment of change came about six months ago (as of this writing). Since then, Shaq says he’s been eating “fruit, protein shakes, salads, fish, chicken and asparagus or other vegetables…in “very small portions.”
Results? So far, so good. The big man has “released” between 25 to 30 pounds. More than that, he’s getting back a nice (huge) set of six-pack abs… something he hasn’t “seen in 20 to 30 years.”
How about the muscles? “I haven’t had one of those since I was on the 2006 Miami Heat.”
O’Neal told Men’s Journal the past year has been tough for him personally. He says motivation waned after the loss of his sister, Ayesha Harrison-Jex, and the tragic loss of good friend and former Lakers teammate, Kobe Bryant early in the year.
Shaq: “My sister passed away before Kobe. And then Kobe passed away and then I had 28 other people pass away.  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.”
O’Neal says it was a matter of making better decisions. “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.
Changing eating habits isn’t the only thing the big man is doing. There’s a good amount of gym work as well. “I do 20 minutes of cardio, I’ll do some chest, bi’s, tri’s, sit-ups, back and then I’m gone. Thirty to 45 minutes a day, plus cardio — so about an hour a day. I still got the bad hips and the achy joints, so I can’t be jumping and running around,” O’Neal said. “Next thing I’ll try is jogging.” Not sure how that’s going to work with the hips and joints, but we’re sure to get updated reports in the future.
It’s pretty simple, according to O’Neal. When it comes to his personal philosophy on health and fitness: “An hour a day will keep the Charles Barkley belly away.” Ouch!