Strongman Brian Shaw Is Cutting Weight Eating 5,513 Calories Per Day

The 2020 Shaw Classic champ's daily calories are a third of what they used to be.

Four-time World’s Strongest Man (WSM) champion Brian Shaw’s diet has gone through some significant changes. Rather, the amount of calories has significantly dropped. In a recent YouTube video, the inaugural Shaw Classic winner is working on a “personal transformation.” That involves getting leaner, becoming more athletic, and changing his body composition. 

This isn’t the first time the elite strongman has gone through the process of slimming down. Early in 2020, there was talk that he might face off against 2017 WSM champion Eddie Hall in bodybuilding. Both Hall and the 6-foot-8-inch tall Shaw weighed well over 400 pounds at the time of their respective WSM victories — gigantic humans. Had that bodybuilding showdown happened, they might have made even “mass monsters” in that sport like 2020 Mr. Olympia champion Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Ellsbiay look normal by comparison.

During Shaw’s prime in strongman — arguably the near-decade from 2009 to 2018 when he scored four gold, a silver, and four bronze medals on the WSM podium — Shaw’s diet consisted of a whopping 15,000 calories per day and 31 pounds of meat every 5 days. Nowadays, it’s about a third of that. A diet that hovers around 5,000 to 5,500 calories would certainly not be a cut for most non-strongmen; it would likely be closer to an amount used for those trying to bulk.

Check out the full day of eating that Shaw shared in the video below from his YouTube channel:

Meal One

Breakfast for Shaw is pretty simple as it is comprised of only three ingredients.

  • Six ounces of bison — 300 calories
  • Six eggs — 360 calories
  • One and a half cups cooked rice — 309 calories

Total — 969 calories.

Shaw weighed the meat and measured the rice before dumping it all into a bowl and crushing the meal. He did not show or share whether or not he added any spices and did not use any sauce. His beverage for the meal was a tall cup of water without ice. Shaw appeared giddy to eat this first meal as he noted that this diet makes him “feel like [he’s] pretty much starving all day.”

[Related: Study: Breakfast Pre-Exercise May Increase Nutrient Metabolization]

Meal Two

The first thing that jumps out about meal two is the preparation. It is not that there was anything unusual he did to the food, it is that his microwave might be one of the larger microwaves on the face of the earth. It looked like a fully legit oven floating above his countertop. Upon review, one could argue that it is, in fact, actually an oven, but Shaw simply referred to it as a microwave. 

The protein source of choice for the second meal was again bison, this time paired with a choice of fruit.

  • 10 ounces of bison — 500 calories
  • One cup of blueberries — 85 calories
  • Two rice cakes — 180 calories

Total — 765 calories


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A post shared by Brian Shaw (@shawstrength)

[Related: What Does The ‘World’s Strongest Gay’ Eat? – Rob Kearney’s Strongman Diet]

Meal Three — Pre-Training

Meal three is varied depending on whether or not it is a training day. The difference is the addition of two large Rice Krispies® treats on days where he hits the gym. It happened to be a day primed for training during Shaw’s video recording. Here is what he got to consume beforehand:

Total — 1,145 calories

[Related: We Tried To Eat Hafthor Bjornsson’s Normal 8,000 Calorie Training Diet]

Meal Four — Post Training

Shaw switches up the protein source from bison to chicken for this meal. He incorporates the most decadent item so far of the day in terms of calories with sweet potato waffle fries and balances it out with some vegetables of choice.

  • 12 ounces of shredded chicken — 570 calories
  • Four ounces of asparagus — 25 calories
  • One bag of sweet potato fries —  1,120 calories

Total — 1,715 calories

The three-time Arnold Strongman Classic (ASC) champion discusses how vital it is for him to not cut out carbs completely even when on a cut. 

I have so much muscle tissue…I’m burning through a ton of calories. I need carbs. I’m not going to cut out carbs completely, that would be ridiculous because my body would not respond well to that.

Although these meals have significantly less calories than the meals of his prior strongman diets, the volume of food still feels like a lot. The amount of chewing that Shaw has to do to eat these meals offers some “satisfaction” in that the meals feel like more food even though they are less calories — an emotional state to live by on a diet.

[Related: The Ultimate Insider’s Guide To Thor Björnsson’s Diet]

Meal Five

The final meal of the day sees Shaw move back to bison.

  • 10 ounces of bison — 500 calories
  • One and a half cups of rice — 309 calories
  • One bowl of spring mix salad — 0 calories
  • Drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette — 110 calories

Total — 919 calories

Full day total — 5,513 calories

The Future Brian Shaw

The day Shaw recorded his day of eating, it was his tenth day in a row following it to a tee. He has not yet weighed himself since starting the diet, so how much weight he may have already lost thus far is not known. He has been taking pictures of himself on a daily basis and believes he is seeing changes in his body composition. He also mentioned that he is testing an unnamed fat burner on himself to see how he responds to it — so far so good.

He ended the video with some advice for any other athletes who may be performing a difficult diet, cut, or transformation by saying, “Keep it up. Do it on a daily basis. Say motivated, stay hungry, stay excited.”

Feature image from Brian Shaw’s Instagram page: @shawstrength