Four-time World’s Strongest Man Brian Shaw is well-versed in the trials and tribulations of being one of the world’s most recognised strongmen athletes. Competing at the highest level of this sport requires a larger-than-life diet — consisting of a constant stream of calorie-dense meals to fuel the gruelling training sessions — smart recovery sessions and, of course, unfaltering mental strength.
At 39-years old, Shaw is still at the top of this game and finished as a runner up at the 2021 World’s Strongest Man competition in Sacramento, California. In order to have the strength to drag planes, max out a deadlift at 464kg and yoke-walk a half-tonne weight (and countless other events), Shaw has to match his strength on the strongman circuit with his culinary skills in the kitchen.
In a recent YouTube video, Shaw shared the adjustments that were made to his diet in the run-up to the 2021 Rogue Invitational, which hosted its first-ever strongman contest. Having eaten well over 10,000 calories a day earlier in his career, Shaw has since whittled down that figure to a more modest 9,700 calories to accommodate his training. In the video below, Shaw walks you through what a typical strongman food shop looks like. You’re going to need a bigger trolley…
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Despite being one of the most sought-after athletes on the strongman circuit, Shaw admits in the video that he feels “beat up” ahead of the Rogue Invitational and shares that the change in diet was to ensure that he could accommodate enough calories to prevent soreness during his pre-competition training.
At his first stop, Shaw hits Costsco — a large supermarket for an even larger guy — and starts filling his basket with Honeycrisp apples, blackberries, blueberries, spinach and spring mix salads. “Getting the fruits and the veggies and the leafy greens is very important,” he says. Next up, the meat: Shaw picks up some steak fillets to cook on the grill and three cases of alkaline water. “I’m a big fan of drinking that when I can,” he says. “It does a really good job of keeping me hydrated.”
Moving on, Shaw espouses the benefits of flushable wipes in the context of your stomach churning through a high-calorie diet. “You’ve got to stay clean and you’ve got to stay fresh,” he admits during the video. “We all know, it’s part of what we all do every day.” Shaw moves onto the frozen section, stockpiling a few “cheesecake treats” along the way for a future cheat day and goes on to pick up a 50-pound (22kg) bag of rice and some pasta sauce before hitting the checkouts.
“It’s going to be a lot of eating,” Shaw says while loading his truck with his Costco haul. “I feel it’s going to help my performance and help my recovery. That, right now, is the name of the game going into this next contest.”
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