Brian Shaw’s strongman diet used to consist of a whopping 15,000 calories in a single day. Even for the 6’8 tall, 440+lb 4-time World’s Strongest Man (WSM) champion, that’s a lot of food to consume. What kind of diet consists of that many calories, you ask? According to Shaw, it was a pretty simple:
Shaw, who recently pulled his pec during a 575lb bench press attempt, decided that he would try to do his old strongman diet for a single day as an eating challenge — something he is no stranger to.
We here at BarBend have done a few eating challenges ourselves, including Terry Crews’ 5,000 cheat day and replicating Bjornsson’s 8,000 calorie diet. They are really difficult.
For context, other strongmen who have won the prestigious WSM title like Hafthor Bjornsson and Eddie Hall ate diets that were arguably tame by comparison. Bjornsson’s daily intake ranged between 8,000 and 10,000 calories, while Hall maxed out at 12,000 calories — an amount Brian Shaw also used to match.
So how did Shaw do eating 15,000 calories in a day again? Check out the video below from his YouTube channel:
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As this day of eating progresses, you’ll notice that unlike many other strongman diets, like Bjornsson’s vertical diet that is made up of primarily of leaner meats, rice, and veggies, Shaw’s former diet was a lot more open to fattier foods and take out.
Meal 1 — Breakfast
His training partner, Tyler, said that Shaw’s physique “definitely evolved” since his early days in strongman. Shaw put it a tad more bluntly:
I used to be rounder.
That set the stage for what was likely to be a very difficult day of eating. For reference, Tyler’s normal daily intake is 2,000.
Breakfast consisted of:
- 6 eggs
- Turkey Sausage
- Pancakes topped with 1 cup maple syrup and 6 tbsp butter
- A liter of milk
Total Calories: 3,474
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[Related: What does the “World’s Strongest Gay” eat? — Rob Kearney’s strongman diet]
The second meal, which was referred to as a “snack” by Shaw, consisted of:
- Spaghetti noodles
- Red sauce
Total calories: 1,770
Shaw went on to note that the bison used to be whatever kind of meat he could afford earlier in his career — chicken, ground beef, tuna, or whatever else was on sale.
For both athletes thus far, the large volume of milk was what they found most challenging.
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Meal 3 — Chipotle
The first meal eating out was at the Mexican grill chain Chipotle:
- Chicken burrito with extra chicken
- Barbacoa tacos
- Large coke
Total calories: 2,565
The real champion right now is this chair…I don’t know how it’s holding me up.
After the meal, Tyler questioned how Shaw was able to consume this much food on a daily basis. Shaw responded that in order to gain weight, a person has to “eat hard”, even if they aren’t hungry.
ABG. Always be gaining. It’s a lifestyle.
Meal 4 — Smash Burger
After a training session, both men tackled meal 4, which was take out from Smash Burger delivered right to the gym:
- Double bacon cheeseburger
- Large fries
- Chocolate milk
Total calories: 1,940
Chocolate milk used to be a go-to for me post training. I feel really gross right now.
Just to convey how much this amount of food actually is, Shaw pointed out that he has “always been able to tie his shoes” but heard stories of other strongmen who can’t.
[Related: Vertical diet, intermittent fasting, and paleo: how are they different?]
The final meal of the day was a large pizza, of course!
- Barbecue chicken pizza
- Large coke
Total calories: 4,270
Total calories overall: 14,292
Both men at this point were going through laughing fits while trying to take down the cheesecake. Tyler, whose previous daily calorie PR was 10,000, was hurting.
Is it appropriate to cry?
They didn’t quite hit that 15,000 calorie mark as there was a bit over half of the cheesecake left. It goes to show just how tough volume eating is for elite strongmen.
Featured image via Brian Shaw’s Instagram page: @shawstrength