Shaquille O’Neal has transitioned into his post-NBA career smoothly over at the TNT studios in Atlanta. Alongside veteran NBA analysts Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley, Shaq’s naturally vibrant personality and trademark deep, monotone voice seems to work for the seven-footer, making his transition into retirement look seamless.
But one aspect of his new sedentary lifestyle that has ballooned out of control is his weight. Shaq admitted to Men’s Health that after he walked away from his 19-year hall-of-fame career, he didn’t do anything for six months. Obviously, this wasn’t the best move for the former-Los Angeles Lakers star, as Shaq said his weight swelled to well over 300 pounds.
Shaq is not the only athlete to gain a significant amount of weight after retirement. Infamously, Shaq’s co-host on the Emmy-award winning Inside the NBA, Charles Barkley, tipped the scales at over 300-pounds for much of the last decade since his retirement. However, Barkley finally got serious about his health — with the help of a “healthy” check from Weight Watchers — and now has lost so much weight, he was slim enough to endorse the weight-loss company in a form-fitting dress.
Meanwhile, when challenged by Barkley to a shirt-off competition to be held this May, Shaq’s new intentions became abundantly clear: “I’m going for the title of sexiest 40-year-old.” And this apparently means Shaq’s goal now is to cover the pages of Men’s Health by the end of the year, showing off his new chiseled frame he hopes to achieve after adhering to a consistent workout regimen and a high-protein diet for the rest of 2012.
Men’s Health caught up with Shaq and asked the “Big Aristotle” how he plans to stay fit at 40:
Now I’m on an all-protein diet and working out twice a day. When I was playing, I was a burger and bread eater, and you can’t really do that every day if you’re not getting exercise. So now I pick two to three exercises that keep my heart up, so I can keep burning calories. My advice for all the guys out there: Walk to work. Walk with your wife around the neighborhood. Walk to your gym, get on the treadmill for 30 minutes. If you stick with exercise, you can still have a burger every now and then. Put it this way: The more junk you eat, the harder you have to work to get weight off and keep it off.
Vanity aside, Shaq apparently wants to get serious about his health, and judging from his active off-seasons when in competition with various athletes on his former reality show Shaq Versus and from his acrobatic relationship with former hooper and Flava of Love winner Hoopz, he’ll have plenty of motivation to shed the weight and adopt a healthy lifestyle, something he admitted at his retirement news conference he never really could commit to while in the NBA.