Brian Shaw Addresses Retirement Rumors

It’s been 7 years since Brian Shaw first won the World’s Strongest Man contest, but he’s been competing in the event every year since 2008. That’s eleven WSM competitions, and now that he’s thirty-six years old, hasn’t won the WSM in a couple of years, and has so much experience in one of the most taxing sports on Earth, some of his fans have been asking when he’s planning to hang up his knee sleeves.

For starters, he came third in the World’s Strongest Man for the last two years. The third strongest man on Earth. The guy is still one of the most phenomenal athletes on the planet.

But he went ahead and posted a video addressing the rumors and a variety of other fan questions to set the record straight. We’ve embedded it below, but the retirement question is at the twelve-minute mark.

After a prelude to his response, wherein he says he started strongman because it’s fun and he just loves doing it and still does, he got more specific.

I still think that on any given day I can be the best in the world at strongman and I don’t doubt that at all I still feel like it’s something that’s pretty easy for me to do.

To answer your question fully I think I’ll stop, I’ll kind of hang it up when I’m not having fun. And/or I guess when the point comes that I can’t be competitive or challenged to win World’s Strongest Man or challenged to win the Arnold or things like that. If that day comes then that’s gonna be a time I consider hanging it up. Because for me, I’m too competitive, I don’t think I would ever be satisfied with going to WSM or to the Arnold without the opportunity to even win. If I was going to the contest and knew I had no chance of winning I’m not sure I could go compete if I couldn’t win. I’m not sure that would work in my head.

But thankfully I’m not at that point in my career and I’m still having fun so as long as I’m having fun and enjoying training and enjoying competing and pushing myself I think I’ll keep going for a while hopefully because it’s something I enjoy and I’m not doing this for fame or anything else I’m doing it because I love it. (…)

I plan on adding to my titles and my legacy and everything else. It’s an exciting time I’m really excited about where I can go and what I can do still. It’s great I hope I don’t have to retire any time soon, to answer that question.

There are a few other interesting tidbits in the video, including advice for fathers who are trying to find time to work out (he trains at night after his kids have gone to sleep), what it’s like to navigate life as an enormous human, and there’s a lot of talk about the diet that Stan Efferding has put both Shaw and Thor Bjornsson on. (Read our interview Efferding here.)

But one of the best parts of the video is his number one piece of advice for young athletes.

To understand that building strength is a marathon and it’s not a sprint. The way the world has changed now with social media and so many videos being out there, I think that mindset has kinda gone away and I think that young lifters think immediately they need to be lifting super heavy weights to be relevant and be putting out videos and that sort of thing.

So I think it’s very important to stay in your lane, push yourself, and reinforce positive habits so you can be lifting for a very long time.

Words to lift by!

Featured image via SHAWSTRENGTH on YouTube.


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Nick is a content producer and journalist with over seven years’ experience reporting on four continents. His first articles about health were on a cholera outbreak in rural Kenya while he was reporting for a French humanitarian organization. His next writing job was covering the nightlife scene in Shanghai. He’s written on a lot of different kinds of things, but his passion for health ultimately led him to cover it full time.Shanghai was where he managed to publish his first health related article (it was on managing diarrhea), he then went on to produce a radio documentary about bodybuilding in Australia before he finished his Master’s degrees in Journalism and International Relations and headed to New York City. Here, he’s been writing on health full time for more than five years for outlets like Men's Health, VICE, and Popular Science.Nick’s interest in health kind of comes from an existential angle: how are we meant to live? How do we reach our potential? Does the body influence the mind? (Believe it or not, his politics Master’s focused on religion.)Questions like these took him through a lot of different areas of health and fitness like gymnastics, vegetarianism, kettlebell training, fasting, CrossFit, Paleo, and so on, until he realized (or decided) that strength training fit best with the ideas of continuous, measurable self improvement.At BarBend his writing focuses a little more on nutrition and long-form content with a heaping dose of strength training. His underlying belief is in the middle path: you don’t have to count every calorie and complete every workout in order to benefit from a healthy lifestyle and a stronger body. Plus, big traps are cool.