Five years removed from professional football, Strahan still approaches workouts with the same energy as when he was gunning for his first Super Bowl. He works out five days a week with friend and former bodybuilder Latreal Mitchell, who also serves as Strahan’s nutritionist. In the gym, their workouts are fast and explosive, incorporating everything from kettlebells to the TRX, to make the exercises as varied and functional as possible. Strahan’s not conditioning his body for hits anymore; now it’s about staying healthy in the long run. He pays more attention to recovery than ever, utilizing stretching and foam rolling to bounce back faster from intense workouts. Injury isn’t a major concern anymore now that he’s not throwing his body around a football field a couple of times a week, but the lack of football training and games has made it necessary for Strahan to consciously (and consistently) get his cardio in. To burn fat and keep his cardiovascular health in check, Strahan covers a fixed distance on a Concept2 rower and tries to beat his previous time with each workout. He also does intervals on the stationary bike, riding hard for 20 seconds and then backing off for 40 for a total of 10 rounds, making sure to stay above 100 rpm for the duration of each 20-second round.
Mitchell is tasked with making sure that Strahan’s diet is substantial enough to fuel his taxing workouts but also lean enough for him to see the results that he’s working toward (in 2013 Strahan is aiming for 5% body fat). “After years of bodybuilding I know what works,” Mitchell says. The magic formula she’s fine-tuned for Strahan is a high-protein, high-fat diet with 35% of calories coming from protein; 40% from healthy fats like avocado, almond butter, and coconut oil; and 25% from complex carbohydrates. He eats five to six times a day, avoiding processed ingredients and sugar whenever possible, and as long as his meals fit into the above blueprint, Mitchell is cool with it. “I don’t count calories, because if you are eating the right foods I believe you don’t have to,” she says. Clearly, it’s working, and judging from the way that Strahan breezed through the workout portion of his MF photo shoot, he truly is either in—or very close to—the best shape of his life. Even now, wrapped in a black hoodie, sitting at the table, and leaning forward on crossed forearms—he towers. “I think as we get older, you become more conscious of health,” he says. “I just want to be around, man. I’ve got a lot of stuff to do. I don’t want to go too early.”