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:
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:
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.
%shareLinks-quote="Sit down, eat a meal, turn your phone off." type="quote" author="Michael Strahan" authordesc="" isquoteoftheday="false"%
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!
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