Shaquille O’Neal was one of the most dominant players the NBA had ever seen. Winning 4 NBA championships and being inducted into the basketball hall of fame in 2016, Shaq’s larger-than-life frame made him a superstar, but it’s his larger-than-life personality that has helped him retain his fame after retirement as a beloved television host, businessman and self-proclaimed philosopher. But with his playing days behind him, Shaq’s health took a backseat. Now, the 15-time all-star has revealed a massive weight loss transformation.
It would be an understatement to say that Shaq has lost some weight. The basketball legend says he grew to over 400 pounds, now down to 365, he’s not stopping there. “I’m trying to take it back to 345. I want to have muscles everywhere and I want to do an underwear ad with my sons.” Shaq told Logan Paul on his ‘Impaulsive’ podcast. Shaq’s transformation comes thanks to some motivation from ‘Inside the NBA’ co-host Charles Barkley, “I didn’t want my stomach to be over the belt anymore. I was looking at myself and I had that Charles Barkley retirement body,” Shaq said.
Shaq’s massive transformation went viral after the 50-year-old shared a buff pic mid-workout on Instagram showcasing a toned six-pack. Although the hall of famer has been retired for over 10 years, he recently became determined to stay in shape with a new workout routine and a diet overhaul. “After that pic went viral, now I’ve got to live up to it,” he said.
Shaq told GQ he started taking his health more seriously after a visit to the doctor, something he hadn’t regularly done since his retirement from the NBA. “When you play, you go to the doctor to get checked and a physical, right? But I ain’t played in 11 years, what would I go to the doctor for?” The visit led to a sleep apnoea diagnosis, a condition that increases the risk of high blood pressure and the likelihood of a stroke. “I had to really get checked out. When they hit you with that three-letter word that starts with D and ends with E, it changes stuff up,” Shaq explained to GQ.
The diagnosis was a wake-up call and O’Neal overhauled his diet as result. He cut down on snacking and carbs, switching to healthier meals and eating fruit, protein shakes and salads instead.
O’Neal previously revealed he had lost his motivation for fitness after a difficult year in 2020 which included the deaths of his sister, Ayesha Harrison-Jex and former Lakers teammate Kobe Bryant. “2020 was a really bad year and I didn’t want to do anything. So, when you don’t want to do anything, there’s two things you can do, eat and Netflix,” he said.
After changing his diet, Shaq adopted a strict workout routine to gain some muscle, with the goal of chiselling out a six-pack, something he hadn’t “seen in 20 to 30 years.” Now he says he wants to “become a sex symbol.”
Shaq explained his workout plan to GQ “Just cardio – 30-40 minutes. Then chest, arms, biceps, triceps. A simple old man workout.” With such a large frame, O’Neal still struggles with running. “I still got the bad hips and the achy joints, so I can’t be jumping and running around,’ he explained. “I tried to run the other day and I’m like, how was I the greatest athlete in the world?”. He prefers to use an elliptical machine to get his cardio in.
Shaq says, “I like to create crazy motivation.” While unorthodox, O’Neal’s motivation is clearly working. Maybe avoiding the Charles Barkley retirement body can motivate you for your next workout? Just remember the catchy slogan coined by O’Neal on the Impaulsive podcast: “An hour a day will keep the Charles Barkley belly away.”