How Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe Stays Sharp at 50

There are no off days for Shannon Sharpe. From the time he rises at 4:45 am until he lays it down at 10 during the week, some part of his duties as co-host of Fox Sports’Skip and Shannon: Undisputed“is consuming him. Even with having to analyze games and formulating stances to attack the takes of Skip Bayless, Sharpe doesn’t let many a day go by without making sure he gets a good sweat in.

Working out and training is not only a passion for the soon-to-be 54-year-old Hall of Fame tight end, it’s been a lifestyle choice for over 30 years. Even with such a dedicated weightroom regimen, it was just a few years ago, he noticed that the usual zest and energy he had for getting after it in the gym had begun to wane. This began to affect him mentally since it was a huge part of his routine.

The wife of a friend of his worked at Tru Niagen and the friend recommended Sharpe try the supplements to help give him a boost. After a few weeks of trying them, he’s been taking them ever since, and just recently begin taking Tru Niagen Immune, which is a first-of-its-kind combination of proven immune-boosting nutrition.

“I’ve recommended it to a lot of my ex-teammates and friends that are around my age,” Sharpe says. “I still watch what I eat, still go to the gym. I don’t go six times a week anymore. I’m down to four, maybe five if I’m feeling like it. I’ve definitely noticed a difference in my energy levels since I started taking the product.”

We spoke to Shannon Sharpe about his passion for fitness and how his training philosophy has changed in retirement. He also speaks of overcoming not being able to train due to having both hips replaced and why he has to be at his best working alongside co-host Skip Bayless.

Courtesy of shannonsharpe84/Instagram

Learn To Be Still

I love training and everything about it. I love the way it makes me feel, the way I look, and it keeps me motivated because of the way I feel. I had both of my hips replaced in the last year, but I feel so much better. I was really depressed because working out is something that I look forward to doing, and when you have your hips replaced, you can’t do anything for three months. There was a rehab, PT, and that didn’t do it for me. I need to hear the weights dropping on the floor, iron moving, and the assault bike going. I need to get a sweat and for three months, there was none of that.

Having played a very demanding sport, I wreaked havoc on my body and now I’m kind of paying for it. I’m not mad and would do it all over again. Having the surgeries at my age, you just sit up and let the process take its course, and that was the hard part for me because I don’t like to sit around. I love to work out. I go to the occasional movies but I’m not the biggest vacation guy. As a matter of fact, I haven’t gone on a vacation in a very long time. Working out and training is my true passion. I get the most excited knowing I’m going to come home, eat, feed the dogs, take a nap and I’m going to get up and either go to my gym or the gym that I’m a member of.

Shannon Sharpe Changed Focus For Training

My mindset has changed because I don’t feel I need to move maximum weight. When you’re a professional athlete, especially a football player, you have to move bigger men than you are. So, it was always how much can I bench? how much can I leg press and everything was always about max effort. Now, I don’t want to put my body through those rigors. I’ve had both of my hips replaced and it’s now about maintaining. I’ll go into the gym and I’m not trying to bench 500 anymore. I’m not trying to leg press 20 plates or deadlift 600 pounds. Now, I’ll bench 275, maybe 315 for six to eight reps. With dumbbells, I’ll probably go up to 105. I don’t need to be the strongest 54-year-old in America.

I focus a little more on cardio [now] Whereas before it was always lift, lift, lift. Once I left football, I went straight to TV, and you know TV adds weight. My suits are custom and when you get custom suits, you can take up, but you can’t let out. You start spending the kind of money for custom garments, you make sure your eating is on point

I didn’t look at [working out] as just a part of my job. It was something I would do if I wasn’t a professional football player. A lot of people work out because it’s a part of their job and once that job is done, they don’t want to do it. But they’ll still keep the same eating habits. Well, you can’t eat 4,000 to 5,000 calories a day if you’re not burning them and that’s why it’s easy to put on weight. Some guys have knee, back, and hip issues, but if you have those issues, you definitely need to work out.

[Working out] was probably the part that I enjoyed the most and that’s what the teams paid me for. They didn’t pay me for the games. They paid me to get ready to be able to play at a high level in the games. Everyone loves playing in front of 80,000 fans. That’s the easy part. It’s the grind when there aren’t 80,000 to cheer you on that counts.

Shannon Sharpe Does Recovery Right

During my playing days, I tried it all. I did some of everything because I wanted to make sure I left no stone unturned if I thought it could help me. At the tail end of my career, I started getting in a hyperbaric chamber. In the offseason, there were the ice baths. For me, it’s hard to sit still. I have a really tough time now at my age with yoga and Pilates. I still stretch on my own but it’s hard for me to stay focused for 35 to 45 minutes for the length of a class. I used to do it all, though three times a week — Pilates, and sprinkle in a yoga class. I would get a massage, hit the track four days a week, lift five days a week, and keep my nutrition on point. As long as I can get some cardio, do a few weights, that’s enough for me.

Shannon Sharpe Doesn’t Skip Out On The Intensity

Skip works out in the morning and he’s up about 2 in the morning to do an hour of cardio, so even before work, he’s done an hour of cardio. I’m not getting up that early to do cardio. Those machines will still be there once I get off work. Just to know the dedication, and sacrifice that he has to maintain his level of fitness — because it’s a grind. People say they can do that, but can you do that two and a half hours a day, five days a week, 50 weeks a year, over and over again? I know how passionate he is about everything that he does. You know you’re going to get his absolute best, so you better be ready to bring your absolute best. I know how motivated and dedicated he was when he was a columnist. He brings that same passion now.

I don’t want him to ever call me out of shape because that’s a part of my brand. My whole life, I’ve been in shape and I want to maintain that level of fitness. That’s one of the reasons I had both of my hips replaced, because it was getting to the point where it was painful to do anything. Once I had my hips replaced, it was like the clouds went away, the sun was out, the birds were chirping, and it was like a burden was lifted off of me. I feel better going to work. My hips don’t hurt from sitting down for a long length of time or when I stand or walk. This is the best I’ve felt in the last five years. I just know that I have to be at my absolute best, physically, mentally, and emotionally to deal with Skip every single day because I know the time, effort, and work he puts into it. I have to match his intensity, purpose, and desire.

It’s Not A Diet, It’s a Lifestyle For Shannon Sharpe

I don’t do a diet because they have a start and an end. I have a lifestyle and my lifestyle is I watch what I eat. I eat egg whites for breakfast, chicken, and turkey. Beef for lunch with carrots, rice, and broccoli. I’ll do Brussel sprouts occasionally. I’ll do mixed greens with apples on top, and balsamic vinaigrette. If I want a burger, it will be plain, maybe some ketchup. On the weekends, I’ll have French toast, and pancakes but that’s not five days a week. I have cheat meals, not a cheat day. I don’t wake up and eat pancakes, French toast, and sausages and turn around and have fried chicken, hamburgers, and pizza. I’ll have a couple of cheat meals a week. Eating as strict as I was, it was just really tough on the relationship. Do you want to be with someone and be happy or do you want to be miserable by yourself? You make sacrifices because everyone is not on your program and doesn’t want to look like you. It took me the longest time to understand that. Everyone doesn’t want to work out five days a week and doesn’t want to eat plain chicken and turkey. Once I realized that, life became a lot easier for me.

How Shannon Sharpe Stays Fit Into His 50s

People say they want to be in shape, but they really don’t. “Shannon, tell me how to do this but I have to have my beer, pizza, doughnuts, and wings.” You already told me what you’re not going to give up. It’s hard-ass work to maintain a level of fitness year-round. It’s hard ass work. It has to be a lifestyle. You see the way Steve Harvey dresses? That’s a lifestyle. LeBron, Kevin Durant, Kevin Hart, and the way they do things, it’s a lifestyle. I’m willing to sacrifice because without sacrifice, dedication, and discipline, you’re nothing. I don’t care how well intended the idea is. Without those principles, it’s going to fail. I don’t post a lot of my workouts, but it’s hard. You’re also not always going to be motivated, but will you always be consistent? I tell people don’t call it a diet because those have a start and stop time. A lifestyle is how you live, how you are, and it’s embedded in you. Yeah, you might have a day where you’re off, but you hop right back on it.

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