By: Gibson Johns
Michael Strahan is one busy man, but that doesn't mean that he lets his health and fitness fall by the wayside. In fact, he does quite the opposite.
During the summer, Strahan allows himself to indulge in all of life's sweet temptations -- like ice cream and Peanut M&M's -- which actually helps to fuel his efforts during summer workouts. While he admits he doesn't change his regimen too much during beach season, he does point to post-dinner walks and pool time with his kids as welcome additional physical activity.
We got a sneak peek at Strahan's summer fitness routine at the Gramercy Park Hotel in Manhattan this week alongside celebrity trainer Latreal Mitchell in honor of their partnership with Meta, introducing their newest product Meta Appetite Control.
After he kicked our butts, we chatted over delicious smoothies about his 80-20 approach to eating, how he stays on top of his health and fitness during the summer months, why he loves to eat at home so much and all of that pizza he ate when he was playing football.
See photos of Michael Strahan from the rooftop workout and throughout his career:
Check out our full conversation with Michael Strahan below:
Last time we talked at SoHo House a few months ago, you told me that your biggest vice is vanilla ice cream. How do you resist such temptations, especially during the summer when ice cream is essentially unavoidable?
I do indulge every once in a while, but you're not supposed to deny yourself enjoyment! It's a matter of eating 80-20 -- that's the way I look at it. 80% of the time I try to eat clean and make sure I am where I need to be, but 20% of the time I let myself indulge, and I let myself have my Peanut M&Ms, stuff like that. What's the purpose of working out and doing all of these things if you can't have a reward at the end of the day? It's about a lifestyle, and I think that my lifestyle allows me to do that. I don't look at it as a diet of any sort, it's just the way I live.
When is it hardest for you to stay on top of your fitness and diet regimen?
Traveling. I used to travel and never go to the hotel gym -- I just felt like I couldn't get a good workout there -- but now I've really committed myself to it. I think lack of commitment was really the root of my excuses. But, now, I workout in the hotel gym, and I probably pack more workout clothes than I do regular clothes.
I make sure that I eat as healthy as I can eat when I'm on the road, as well. It's very easy when you're on the road to just go, you know, "Give me this burger!" Or lather butter on the bread that's on the table at a restaurant and eat that. You just have to guard against those things, and realize that you can indulge yourself 20% of the time, but that other 80% you have to stay on top of whatever your plan is and not set yourself back.
What was your eating schedule like when you were playing football? Did you eat a ton of food every day?
The funny thing about football is that they tell you to gain weight, but they don't tell you what to do to gain it, so you just eat. You eat a lot of fast food and sweets and everything. I was bigger back then, but I was also very lethargic and didn't have the energy I needed to compete at that level. I had to completely change the way that I eat. Back then it was a lot of pizza -- imagine eating whatever you want and then blaming it on your job. [Laughs] That's what it was!
How do your fitness routine and diet change during the summer?
My diet and the way that I eat are pretty much consistent throughout the year, but there are times during the summer, when I'm going on vacation, and there's a beach involved and the shirt probably has to come off, where I may put a few extra core exercises in there to make sure I look a little better. During the summer I probably give it a little more attention than I would during the winter time.
What are your favorite summer workouts? Do you ever workout in the pool?
Yeah, I love working out in the pool. Even when I was a player, we got in the pool because it takes so much pressure off of your joints. I also love getting in the pool with the kids, too. One of my favorite things - which I look at as almost like shoulder presses - is throwing the kids up into the pool. For them, it's fun and, for me, it's a workout. It allows me to get a workout in but also have time with the girls. I am a big proponent for summer workouts, and another good thing about the summer is just being outside, you know? Here in New York, it's about getting to the park.
Do you run a lot?
I'm not a big runner, but even just using those pull-up bars in the park and trails help. Sometimes at night after I have dinner, I just walk for an hour. I find that I sleep better [when I do that]. It's not just eating and then going to bed, it's being more active during the summer outside.
What do you like to cook in the summer? Are you into grilling at all?
I love to grill, and I cook a lot. I try to eat at home at leave five days a week, almost like I'm a kid and my mom's at home cooking. I think that also helps in trying to maintain healthy eating, because you have a little bit more of a hand in preparing it. I love that, and I'm a big grill-aholic.
I love a good chicken, but on the weekends I'll throw some burgers on there and, you know, a little steak here and there never hurt nobody. [Laughs]
Do your kids like to help you grill or cook, too?
The kids love to help me cook! They were just here a few weeks ago, and they always cook dinner once a week and help me in the kitchen. It's fun, though! It's great to have kids that are really into that, and it's fun to have time with them in that way. I would love if one day, when the girls graduate from high school and college, that they could go spend six months or a year learning how to cook in France or Italy. That would be awesome.
RELATED: Watch Michael Strahan reflect on his career and time on "LIVE with Kelly and Michael":
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