Shaquille O'Neal says the last time he had abs, he was playing for the Miami Heat in 2006.
O'Neal said his newly sculpted torso is thanks to a strict high-protein, low-carb diet.
For 6 months, he only ate small portions of fruits, vegetables, protein shakes, fish, and chicken, he said.
Shaquille O'Neal says he has his Miami body back.
After a rough 2020, in which 28 people close to O'Neal including Kobe Bryant and his sister Ayesha Harrison-Jex passed away, the 49-year-old NBA Hall-of-Famer told Men's Journal he lost any drive to exercise and eat healthy.
Jumping back into the gym, and starting a new high-protein, low-carb diet, helped him to regain a sense of control, he said. By June, O'Neal said he was feeling better than ever — and he was even able to see his abs again for the first time in 15 years.
"I've been doing this for six months and just eating fruit, protein shakes, salads, fish, chicken, and asparagus or other vegetables," O'Neal told Men's Journal.
"Very small portions and eating that every day has helped me lose 25-30 pounds. I started to see stuff that I haven't seen in 20 to 30 years — like a six-pack. And I haven't had one of those since I was on the 2006 Miami Heat."
O'Neal added that he also followed a workout routine that emphasizes cardio with a lot of jogging and some strength training mixed in.
Meat, fish, and protein shakes can help speed up the weight loss process
Eating high amounts of protein and reducing carbs can be an effective weight-loss method when paired with exercise and a caloric deficit, which O'Neal alluded to with his smaller portions.
An active person should consume 0.5 to one gram of protein per pound of their body weight to lose weight and build muscle, sports dietitian Nancy Clark told Insider's Gabby Landsverk. O'Neal — who is listed at 7-foot-1 and said he weighed 375 pounds during an episode of "Inside the NBA" in May — would be recommended to eat 187 to 375 grams of protein a day to lose weight.
While protein shakes aren't a silver bullet for muscle gains, they can be a very effective tool for cutting weight while preserving muscle mass, Kristi Veltkamp, a registered dietitian with Spectrum Health, previously told Insider. Replacing a 500- to 700-calorie meal with a 200-calorie shake may help people achieve the calorie deficit to aid weight loss.
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