Brian Shaw was a natural basketball player growing up in Colorado, and he won a full scholarship to play basketball at Black Hills State University. Still, he always loved lifting weights and in 2005, he entered his first strongman competition in Denver with no prior formal training. By 2006, he had become a professional. He placed in the top 3 in various international strongman competitionsand was tied for first place in the 2010 World’s Strongest Man, but ended up coming in second. Shaw went on to win the World’s Strongest Man competition in 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2016. He also won the Arnold Strongman Classic in 2011 and 2015, the only man to double up on wins in both competitions in the same year. Shaw was featured in the History Channel’s The Strongest Man in History documentary in 2019. His YouTube channel, ShawStrength, has over a million followers. Shaw is 6 feet, 8 inches tall and weighs about 430 lbs.
Brian Shaws Diet
Strongmen need to eat a lot but Shaw’s intake is still eye-popping at 12,000 calories per day. This involves eating every 2 hours. Every meal contains protein and carbs and he makes a point to vary the source of each. Even though he’s eating a lot, he still weighs and measures his food and counts macros. Because he is eating so much, he needs foods that digest easily so he can feel hungry and eat more. Show works with a dietician whom he says he takes orders from and doesn’t question, and sometimes gets a laugh out of his instructions, such as to drink a liter of soda. Shaw says eating is the hardest part of his training because it never ends.
- Low-Medium Fat 20% 20%
- Medium Protein 35% 35%
- Medium-High Carb 60% 60%
Breakfast of Champions
Shaw starts his day with 1,200-1,300 calories coming from the cereal of his choice (Cinnamon Toast Crunch is a fave), followed by a bunch of eggs (up to a dozen) and a scoop of peanut butter.
Some of Shaw’s meals are protein shakes. He’ll have a 1,000+ calorie snack/meal consisting of a protein shake, then extras like granola bars, peanut butter and blueberries.
Shaw eats a lot of beef which he gets from a local Colorado farm that is certified organic and grass-fed. Shaw says grass-fed beef not only tastes better but also digests easier and is healthier. He usually eats ground meat to make it easier to get down.
Simple & Effective
Shaw does most of his own cooking. He says he’s not much of a chef, but he seasons his food to make it tasty and easier to eat. One of his tips for consuming lots of eggs is to leave them a little runny so they’re easier to swallow.
The Power of Cheesecake
Shaw will sometimes have cheesecake as his final meal of the day, along with another 80g protein shake. It’s a tough job but someone’s got to do it.
What to Eat
Organic grass-fed beef
Simple carbs: cereal, pasta
What to Avoid
Shaw On His Diet
‘This diet is to make me as strong as I possibly can be. I’m eating to be the strongest human being on the planet.’
Shaw On Consuming Huge Amounts Of Food
‘It’s a necessary evil.’
Shaw On Eating A Lot
‘You definitely got to try to make it taste good.’
Shaw On Good Digestion
We want the engine burning all day long.’
Brian Shaw’s Fitness Routine
Weekly Workout Routine
Hit the Garage
Shaw mostly works out in his garage. (It doesn’t have stuff like a lawn mower or weed whacker in it getting in the way.)
Shaw says more strength comes from greater flexibility. He recommends factoring a solid 15 minutes into your session for a deep stretch. He also recommends hiring a coach to show you how to move and stretch correctly. It is well worth the money you’ll save by not being injured.
Don’t Train To Failure
Shaw says it took him a long time to accept this but by stopping himself short of his max, it keeps him hungry to come back and up his best the next time.
For a long and successful career, Shaw says it’s important to build a strong foundation, listen to your body, and not try to go full-throttle from day 1.
Shaw does stretching and light cardio to prepare and help prevent injury.
Shaw follows the typical routine of concentrating on one body part or area each day, followed by a day of rest.
Shaw follows the typical routine of concentrating on one body part or area each day,
A Brian Shaw Routine
Safety bar squat: 2-5 reps x 5-8 sets
Good mornings: 8-12 reps x 3 sets
ISO hammer leg press: 8-15 reps x 3 sets
Tuesday: Chest, Shoulders & Triceps
Standing military press: 3-8 reps x 5-8 sets
Incline dumbbell bench press: 8-12 reps x 3 sets
Close-grip bench press: 5-8 reps x 3 sets
Cable triceps extension: 8-12 reps x 3 sets
Thursday: Deadlifts & Back
Deadlift: 1-5 reps x 5-8 sets
Glute-ham raise: 8-12 reps x 3 sets
Lat pull-downs: 8-12 reps x 3 sets
Seated cable row: 8-12 reps x 3 sets
Frame shrug: 20 reps x 3 sets
Saturday: Event Training
Some of Shaw’s personal records:
Squat: 903 lbs.
Tire deadlift (with straps): 1,256 lbs.
Benchpress: 525 lbs. x 2
Deadlift: 1,025 lbs.
Rogue elephant bar deadlift (with straps): 1,021 lbs.
Indoor rowing: 100 meters in 12.8 seconds (unofficial World Record at the time.)
Shaw On His Strength Training Beginnings
‘I first entered a gym with a goal to condition my body to become a better basketball player.’
Shaw On Technique
‘Be obsessive about using the correct technique.’
Shaw On Lifting
‘I’ve always been able to do this. The biggest tire, the heaviest stone…I’ve always been able to walk up and lift it.’
Shaw On His Personal Power
‘Odd strength is what it is, not weight-room strength. It’s brute strength.’
Shaw On Lifting
‘Training is fun. I kinda get to let loose and do what I want to do.’
Brian Shaw’s Supplements
To help maintain his muscle mass, Shaw usually has 3 protein shakes a day. Whey protein absorbs quicker and is easier to digest than some other proteins.
Shaw takes a pre workout supplement that optimizes testosterone to get the maximize muscle growth and strength.
Shaw also takes a post workout supplement with creatine to replenish your system, stimulate muscle growth and improve recovery.
Even with his hefty diet, Shaw still takes a weight gainer to up his mass. He says his supplements help keep him in anabolic state.
Brian Shaw’s Lifestyle
Crush the Retirement Rumors
Despite the chatter that he’s getting on in years, Shaw says he loves what he does, it’s fun, he loves it, and he is excited to win more titles. No retirement plans yet.
Shaw says that although he didn’t start out hoping to be a role model, he is thrilled that people look up to him, so to speak.
Shaw’s wife Keri is no slouch. She played soccer in college and owns and operates a CrossFit gym in addition to raising 2 young children.
Shaw says he wouldn’t warn his kids off the strongman path if that’s what they want to do, but mainly what he wants is for them to try hard to be the best at whatever interests them.
Shaw On The Upside Of Being Big
‘Strength is never a weakness.’
Shaw on the downside of being big
‘Not fitting into “normal” life…Cars and planes and stuff like that can be a big, big challenge.’
Shaw’s Advice To Young Lifters
‘Understand that building strength is a marathon and not a sprint.’
Shaw on life goals
‘What I always wanted to do was surround myself with positive people.’
Shaw On His Wife
‘My wife coming into the picture was very good for me…She didn’t care at all if I was a Strongman…She wasn’t trying to be in a relationship with me for the wrong reasons.’
Shaw On Being A Dad
‘My son has been the best thing ever…People talk about being a father… but you just don’t understand until it happens.’
Power Pak protein pudding
Dark Matter Post Workout
Up Your Mass Weight Gainer