Shaquille O’Neal says he prefers to let his actions speak for themselves when it comes to his quest to lose weight. The 51-year-old former NBA great recently gushed to PEOPLE about his progress in diet and exercise, saying that he has lost 40 pounds so far.
O’Neal acknowledges that as a young athlete, he didn’t put much thought into the nutritional worth of his food. Now that he was in the league, he could get away with eating McDonald’s, fried foods, and fatty snacks as long as he kept up his impressive on-court performance.
The ex-Lakers star claims he could eat whatever he wanted, train for five hours straight, and not gain any weight. He didn’t realize the significance of learning how to prioritize a healthy diet until much later in life.
“I wish I would’ve paid more attention to it. I was such a mental warrior that none of this stuff mattered to me. We had this guy on our team who had 2% body fat. Coach says, ‘You gotta eat healthy.’ I would tell my coach, ‘I’m going to go eat a couple of burgers, he’s going to eat a couple of salads. And I’m still busting his ass on the court tomorrow.”
“If I had paid attention, I probably could’ve been like Udonis Haslem and played 20 seasons, but I did it my way. And my way was a good way, but I didn’t really take it seriously until I looked in the mirror six, seven years after I retired. I looked terrible. I had no definition and basically, I was fat. I was really fat.”
“I get a little jealous when I see these young guys on Instagram with their little six-packs and so my goal is to one day be able to do an underwear ad with my sons — 51 years old, just muscles everywhere.”
“I have more energy. I feel really good. I get to do stuff that I haven’t done. And it helps you discipline yourself much more. eat about four or five times a day, but four of those meals used to be junk meals.”
“So now I can wake up and say okay, meal one is a shake and then I’m going to go work out. Meal two will probably be little egg wraps. Meal three will be a salad and then meals four and five will be chicken and steak.”
“I still get to eat as long as I eat healthily. And you gotta cut out the little stuff. No more Cheetos, no more cupcakes, no more stuff like that. So the more and quicker you can discipline yourself, the better and quicker you’ll see the results.”
“When I got introduced to Novex Biotech, I was around 410-415 lbs. I’m into the low 370s right now, but my ultimate goal is 350-something.”
“I’m not one of those diet freaks right now and I’m not telling everybody you gotta be a gym rat, rah rah rah in the gym. But be active, eat as healthy as you can.”
“I’ve always had…I call it PJM, Professional Jealousy Motivation. For example, if I’m talking to you and you got more followers and all that, I can take that and help propel me into being your competition by trying to do it better than you, rather than hating.I would study everything you would do and then add a little Shaq to it, just to try to be like you or be better than you.”
“So I look for something that’s going to make me mad, but not really mad, just going to motivate me.That’s what competition’s all about.The crazy thing is I have my own workout stuff, but when I see these guys looking all ripped on the Gram, I be like, ‘Damn, I’m going to try that.’ So to me, it’s just all motivation.”
O’Neal says he is returning to his home gym after taking some time off to recover from his recent hip surgery so that he can shed his final 20 pounds. ‘Just ripping it up is my sole remaining objective,’ he tells PEOPLE.
Right now, I’ve got a small 4.9 pack, but I want the world to know how pleased I am with it. I’ve been teasing you with snippets here and there, but now is the time for the full month. “I’m about to really chop it up,” O’Neal says. Just take my word for it.
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