Michael Strahan talks family, health and why he'll never work out with Kelly Ripa again

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Michael Strahan Is a Very Proud Dad

BY: GIBSON JOHNS

Michael Strahan is all about living a healthy lifestyle. Ever since he retired from the NFL in 2007, the "LIVE with Kelly and Michael" cohost has made sure to keep active and eat well. But taking care of himself is just half the battle -- it was getting the rest of his family to take after him that required more of an effort.

It took his father Gene Strahan's terrifying heart scare a couple of years ago to get Strahan to really push his father -- and the rest of his family, for that matter -- to get healthy.

Teaming up with Meta, Strahan has been raising awareness for better heart health, a cause that is incredibly important (and emotional) for the star. By advocating for men to have #Heart2Heart conversations with one another, he hopes to promote a more open dialogue about what it means to have a healthy heart.

Following an intimate screening and Q&A with Dr. Charles R. Lambert, a cardiologist, in downtown Manhattan, AOL sat down exclusively with Michael Strahan to discuss healthy living, his family and what he's learned from cohost Kelly Ripa about working out (Hint: He'll never work out with her again.).

Check out our full conversation with Michael Strahan below:

See photos of Michael Strahan and his dad at the Meta #Heart2Heart Q&A:
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Michael Strahan for #Heart2Heart
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Michael Strahan talks family, health and why he'll never work out with Kelly Ripa again
IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR METAMUCIL® - Meta spokesman Michael Strahan poses for a photo with father, Gene Strahan, at the #Heart2Heart video screening on Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016 in New York. Strahan encourages attendees to visit youtube.com/metawellness and share the video with loved ones. (Amy Sussman/AP Images for Metamucil®)
IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR METAMUCIL® - Meta spokesman Michael Strahan debuts the #Heart2Heart video at a screening event during National Heart Month on Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016 in New York. Strahan encourages people to visit youtube.com/metawellness and share the video with loved ones. (Amy Sussman/AP Images for Metamucil®)
IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR METAMUCIL® - Meta spokesman Michael Strahan poses for a photo with preventative cardiologist Dr. Charles Lambert at the #Heart2Heart video screening on Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016 in New York. Strahan encourages attendees to visit youtube.com/metawellness and share the video with loved ones. (Amy Sussman/AP Images for Metamucil®)
IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR METAMUCIL® - Michael Strahan watches the Meta #Heart2Heart video at a screening event during National Heart Month on Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016 in New York. Strahan encourages people to visit youtube.com/metawellness and share the video with loved ones. (Amy Sussman/AP Images for Metamucil®)
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During the Q&A you mentioned that your dad's health scare changed something in you. Was that change immediate or did it take some time to sink in?

Once I was there to see him basically pass out with his eyes open right in front of me, and I'm yelling his name and there was no response, that shocked me. That scared and triggered me but it also scared and triggered me to be more involved. I assumed that he and my mom could completely take care of themselves, but I figured out a way to get them to New York to get more involved and get him to the best doctors.

Is that what also prompted your partnership with Meta?

That, but I'm also a believer and a user of the product. People don't believe it when I tell them I use Meta, because they're thinking about their grandmothers using it. But there;s no age limit on it; You're never too young to care about yourself and your health, and you're never too hold to learn something new.

How important is it for you to use your platform for good?

Extremely. I love talking about heart health and having these #Heart2Heart talks and having my father involved because it makes it real. I think that it's a way to get people to really see that you have to put yourself out there with a loved one to make sure that they're around as long as they can be.

It's not always comfortable, but to end up with good results you have to get a little uncomfortable. It's necessary. Hopefully this resonates with people: Don't give up, start the conversation, continue the conversation -- and bring it up 20 times if you have to -- but make sure that you're gentle and that you listen.

See photos of Michael Strahan in his football days:

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Michael Strahan in his football days
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Michael Strahan talks family, health and why he'll never work out with Kelly Ripa again
New York Giants defensive end Michael Strahan celebrates after sacking Seattle Seahawks quarterback Trent Dilfer during the third quarter Sunday, Sept. 22, 2002, at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. The Giants beat the Seahawks 9-6. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
New York Giants defensive end Michael Strahan (92) recovers a fumble by New York Jets running back Richie Anderson, left, in the fourth quarter at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., Aug. 20, 1994. (AP Photo/Luc Novovitch)
New York Giants defensive end Michael Strahan smiles after practice in the bubble Thursday, Jan. 18, 2001, in East Rutherford, N.J., as the Giants prepare for the Baltimore Ravens in the Super Bowl. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
New York Giants' Michael Strahan (92) flexes his muscle after sacking Houston Texans quarterback David Carr during the first quarter Sunday, Nov. 24, 2002, in Houston. (AP Photo/Richard Carson)
New York Giants Michael Strahan and Tiki Barber share a laugh prior to the start of a combined practice with the New York Jets at the University at Albany, Saturday, Aug. 6, 2005, in Albany, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jon Winslow)
Dallas Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells, right, and New York Giants Michael Strahan (92) greet each other after their game in Irving, Texas, Sunday, Oct. 16 , 2005. The Cowboys won in overtime 16-13. (AP Photo/Amy Conn-Gutierrez)
New York Giants' Michael Strahan reacts to the fans as he leaves the field after the Giants beat the Arizona Cardinals, 42-19, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2005, at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
Michael Strahan of the New York Giants laughs as he answers a question during a press conference to promote the Pro Bowl during festivities for Super Bowl XL in Detroit Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2006. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
New York Giants defensive end Michael Strahan reacts after sacking Washington Redskins quarterback Mark Brunell during second quarter NFL football Sunday, Oct. 8, 2006 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. The Giants beat the Redskins, 19-3. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
New York Giants' Michael Strahan talks to the media after football practice Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2007, in East Rutherford, N.J. Strahan returned to practice for the first time since he decided to end a holdout and play for the New York Giants this season. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
New York Giants defensive end Michael Strahan answers questions during a news conference after practice at Giants Stadium Friday, Jan. 18, 2008 in East Rutherford, N.J. The Giants will play the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship game on Sunday.(AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
New York Giants defensive end Michael Strahan video tapes member of the media before answering questions during a media availability, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2008 in Chandler, Ariz. The Giants play the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII on Sunday, Feb. 3 in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
New York Giants defensive end Michael Strahan walks onto the field at the start of football practice Thursday, Jan. 31, 2008 in Tempe, Ariz. The Giants play the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII on Sunday.(AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
New York Giants defensive end Michael Strahan shows the Vince Lombardi Trophy as he rides through the Super Bowl victory parade Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2008 in New York. (AP Photo/Gary He)
New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, left, and Michael Strahan celebrate the Giants' 17-14 win over the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl XLII football game at University of Phoenix Stadium on Sunday, Feb. 3, 2008 in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
New York Giants Michael Strahan talks about his retirement from football during a news conference at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., Tuesday, June 10, 2008. Strahan says his decision to retire after 15 seasons arose from a desire to leave on his own terms _ and finishing with a Super Bowl title didn't hurt. (AP Photo/Mike Derer)
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Have you had one of these #Heart2Heart conversations with your son?

Well, Michael Jr. is in college, so that conversation has been totally different. [Laughs] We don't need to get into the specifics of that one, but I don't think he would have a problem having a conversation with me about heart health.

It's a different generation now, and my kids see how I handle my healthy lifestyle, and they've already adopted these things. They make healthy choices like going to the gym. It may be out of vanity, but as long as they're active, I'm happy with it. I think this generation is more advanced when it comes to heath and awareness.

What's something that you're still working on instilling in your children when it comes to ensuring that they live healthily?

Sometimes I actually wish they'd eat more. Keep that metabolism going. When you're young, you burn so much of it so fast. But I think kids nowadays get so busy and so consumed that they don't take time to take a break in the middle of the day and slow it down. Don't get so engulfed and so consumed, especially with social media and things like that.

You mentioned the importance of eating a clean and healthy breakfast. What do you normally eat at the start of your days?

Just about every breakfast is egg whites, turkey bacon and Ezekiel Bread, which at first was hard to love. I wanted my Wonder Bread. But now I can't get enough of it.

I love oatmeal as well, and I drink a lot of water. That's one of the most important things you can do -- drink a lot of water.

You also said that you make sure to eat healthily 80% of the time. What's the one vice that you can't resist that other 20% of the time?

I love chocolate; I really do. It used to be ice cream, but I've waned off of it for now. When I have chocolate, it's dark chocolate because they say it's supposedly better for you.

Is there something you keep in your dressing room that helps you to maintain a healthy diet day-to-day?

My dressing room is very boring; the refrigerator has nothing but water in it. When I come in in the morning I bring a protein shake with me from home, though, and I've done my best to stay away from coffee, so we have green tea in there as well. I was surprised -- I was a coffee lover -- but once you kick coffee, you really kick it.

Kelly Ripa recently passed a major milestone, being on "LIVE" for 15 years. You haven't been hosting for as long as she has, but what has been the best part about working with her over the last few years?

The best part of working with Kelly is that it doesn't feel like work with her. This is my fourth year on the show, and it goes by so fast. I can't imagine 15 years. To be there for 15 years and do it as well as she does it -- and to be fun and entertaining -- it's amazing to me.

It doesn't feel like work -- she makes it easy.

Obviously Kelly also lives a very healthy life, too. Have you learned anything about working out or eating well from her?

Yeah I learned something from her -- don't ever workout with her! That's what I learned. Man, I've made that mistake before. We made a Super Bowl bet that if she won, I had to do her workout, and if I won, she had to do my workout. Well, unfortunately, I freaking lost.

So, I go to do her workout with her, which is like a dance workout with weights. The heat was jacked up in that room for Kelly, and I was instantly drenched. No breaks, no nothing. It was unreal. I refuse to do a workout bet with her ever again. Lesson learned for me.

But, in all seriousness, she's very conscious of what she eats and cooks very healthily for her family. She's a workout junkie!

Happy times on a happy birthday for my angels

A photo posted by michaelstrahan (@michaelstrahan) on



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