The Staggering 9,700-Calorie Strongman Diet Of Brian Shaw - Men's Health Magazine Australia

The Staggering 9,700-Calorie Strongman Diet Of Brian Shaw

It goes without saying that if you want to lift big, you’ve got to eat big and for World’s Strongest Man veteran Brian Shaw, his calorie-dense diet is proof that food is necessary to fuel these machines.

If you’ve ever watched a Strongman competition, you would be familiar with the feelings of awe and disbelief that accompany every task at hand. From lifting stones repeatedly to towing trucks and  tossing logs, each feat is one of superhuman strength and impossible power. The physique alone of a Strongman is one that seems to suggest it’s not for the faint hearted. These are men who devote their entire lives to the pursuit of physical strength, with the kind of bulging muscles and legs that give away their sporting prowess before they need introduce themselves. It makes us wonder though, just what does one have to eat to sustain the energy required to perform as a Strongman? If food is fuel, just what is fuelling these machines?

For four-time World’s Strongest Man, Brian Shaw, the calorie-dense diet of a Strongman is one he’s not only familiar with but come to master. Having garnered a reputation as one of the world’s most recognised strongmen athletes where Shaw competed at the highest levels of the sport, his diet consisted of a constant stream of high-calorie meals to fuel the impossibly tough training sessions, recovery and also boost his mental strength. 

He might be 39-years-old, but Shaw is proof that a good diet and smart training can see you achieve longevity in sport as he is still at the top of his game. He recently finished as a runner up at the 2021 World’s Strongest Man competition in Sacramento, California. But in order to drag planes and max out a deadlift at 464kg, Shaw needs to consume a lot of calories. In a recent YouTube video, he showed the adjustments that were made to his diet leading up to the 2021 Rogue Invitational, which hosted its first-ever strongman contest. 

Shaw used to consume well over 10,000 calories a day in his career, but has since brought that figure down to a respectable 9,700 calories. He explains that a lot of the changes to his diet were to ensure he could accommodate enough calories to prevent soreness during his pre-competition training. 

At Costco, he fills his basket up 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. But make no mistake, Shaw is no vegetarian. He then loads up on meat, picking 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.”

Shaw also talks about the benefits of being regular while churning through a high-calorie diet. “You’ve got to stay clean and you’ve got to stay fresh,” he admits. “We all know, it’s part of what we all do every day.” Moving onto the frozen section, he stockpiles on “cheesecake treats” along the way for a future cheat day and then picks up a 22kg bag of rice and some pasta sauce before hitting the checkout. 

“It’s going to be a lot of eating,” says Shaw. “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.”

By Jessica Campbell

Jess is a storyteller committed to sharing the human stories that lie at the heart of sport.

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