Added: Mar 13, 2024

In this podcast episode, Brian Shaw, who is known as one of the strongest men in the world, discusses various aspects of strength training and the importance of discipline in achieving success. He emphasizes the significance of grip strength in overall strength and highlights the correlation between grip strength and overall health, especially as individuals age.

Key takeaways


Discipline and hard work are crucial for success in strength training and life, requiring consistent effort over time.


Grip strength is a vital component of overall strength, playing a key role in lifting heavy weights and contributing to functional movements.


Transitioning from professional strongman to MMA training involves a mental shift, a structured training system, and learning from experienced coaches.


Despite the disappointment of a cancelled MMA fight, Shaw values the learning experience, trust in the process, and remains open to future opportunities.


Retirement from professional strongman competitions allows Shaw to pursue new challenges, reflect on his successful career, and organize events like the Shaw Classic.

Discipline and Hard Work

Shaw stresses the importance of discipline and hard work in achieving strength goals. He mentions that strength cannot be faked and that one must put in the effort and dedication to see results. He compares strength training to other aspects of life, where success is not achieved overnight but through consistent effort over time. He believes that discipline is key to success in strength training and in life in general.

The Role of Grip Strength

Grip strength is a significant component of overall strength, according to Shaw. He explains that grip strength is essential for lifting and holding heavy weights, and it serves as a connection point between the individual and the weight being lifted. Shaw discusses various feats of grip strength, such as lifting heavy dumbbells and plates, and highlights the importance of grip strength in functional movements and overall health.

Challenges in Strength Training

Shaw talks about the challenges and risks associated with strength training, particularly when using specialized equipment like figure-eight straps. He explains how certain equipment, if not used properly, can lead to injuries and compromise the integrity of the lift. He emphasizes the importance of maintaining proper form and technique in strength training to prevent accidents and ensure safe and effective workouts.

How Strength Training Shaped Shaw's Life

Shaw reflects on his personal experience with strength training and how it has shaped his life and career. He shares his experience of getting into weightlifting to improve his athletic abilities for basketball. He highlights the positive impact of weight training on his confidence and overall well-being. He discusses how strength training became a source of fulfillment and purpose for him, leading him to pursue a career in strongman competitions.

Shaw emphasizes the importance of setting goals, putting in hard work, and continuously striving to improve oneself. He believes that training not only enhances physical strength but also contributes to mental resilience and personal growth.

The Role of Critical Thinking

Shaw discusses the significance of critical thinking in navigating the abundance of information available, especially on social media. He encourages individuals to question and research information before forming opinions. He believes that critical thinking is essential for making informed decisions and avoiding falling into the trap of misinformation or manipulation. He stresses the importance of being able to back up one's opinions with research and personal understanding.

Societal Issues and Division

Shaw delves into the societal issues of division and polarization, particularly in the context of recent events. He highlights the dangers of blindly following narratives without critical analysis. He emphasizes the need for open-mindedness, dialogue, and finding common ground to bridge divides and foster unity. He notes the influence of money and power in shaping public opinion, especially through content creators who cater to specific ideologies for financial gain.

Shaw and the host explore how platforms like social media can amplify echo chambers and reinforce existing beliefs, leading to further polarization. They also discuss the spread of misinformation and the manipulation of public opinion through targeted content and ads.

Standing Up for Beliefs

Shaw shares his experience of standing up for his beliefs, particularly during challenging times when he faced opposition when he decided to keep his gym open during the pandemic, despite restrictions. He emphasizes the importance of staying true to one's convictions, even in the face of criticism or adversity. He advocates for individuals to have the courage to voice their opinions, do their own research, and not succumb to societal pressures or groupthink.

Authenticity and Integrity

Throughout the podcast, Shaw emphasizes the value of authenticity and integrity in all aspects of life. He stresses the importance of being true to oneself, maintaining consistency in actions and beliefs, and not compromising values for external validation. He believes that genuine connections and positive impact stem from being authentic and transparent in one's interactions and endeavors.

In the podcast, Brian Shaw discusses his experience preparing for a potential fight in the world of mixed martial arts. He talks about how he transitioned from being a professional strongman to training for a fight, highlighting the challenges and differences in training for both sports. Shaw mentions that he had to shift his focus from strength training to fight training, which required a different set of skills and conditioning.

Training for an MMA Fight

Shaw talks about the intense training regimen he underwent to prepare for an MMA fight. He mentions working with experienced coaches like Cody Donovan and Vinnie Lopez for fight training and Lauren Landel for strength and conditioning. He emphasizes the importance of having a structured system in place for his training, which helped him progress in his skills and techniques. He also mentions the mental shift he had to make in prioritizing fight training over strength training, which was a significant change for him.

Learning from the Experience

Despite being a novice in the world of fighting, Shaw expresses gratitude for the opportunity to learn and train with experienced fighters like Gordon Ryan. He acknowledges the level of skill and dedication required to excel in the sport of mixed martial arts, and he gained a newfound respect for fighters and their training regimen. He mentions that he was able to bridge the gap between his strongman career and fighting, which provided him with a new challenge and mental stimulation.

Disappointment About the Fight Being Cancelled

Shaw shares the disappointment of the fight not coming to fruition due to the promoters missing the payment date. Despite the setback, he remains grateful for the experience and the opportunity to train and learn from the process. He mentions the initial excitement and belief in the fight being legitimate, given the contract and the potential financial incentives involved. He reflects on the lessons learned from the experience and the importance of trusting the process while remaining open to new opportunities in the future.

Retirement from Strongman

Shaw talks about his decision to retire from professional strongman competitions after nearly 20 years in the sport. He emphasizes the importance of walking away from the sport at a high level and on his terms, rather than prolonging his career and risking injury or decline in performance. He expresses gratitude for his successful career in strongman and the opportunity to compete at the highest level before transitioning to other endeavors.

Future Possibilities

While Shaw has no plans to return to competitive strongman competitions, he remains open to the possibility of fighting in the future if the right opportunity arises. He acknowledges the commitment and dedication required for such a venture and the need for a legitimate offer to consider stepping back into the fighting arena. He reflects on the excitement and interest generated by the potential fight and the support he received from fans and followers throughout the process.

Competitive Background

Shaw talks about his competitive background in strongman events, starting in 2005 and finishing in 2023. He emphasizes the importance of training and preparation for competitions, highlighting the physical and mental challenges of the sport. He mentions his dedication to being the best he can be in any endeavor he pursues, whether it's competing in strongman events or running his businesses.

Shaw Classic Strongman Competition

Shaw shares his motivation for organizing the Shaw Classic, which focuses on providing a platform for strongman athletes to showcase their skills. He mentions that the competition offers significant prize money, surpassing other major strongman events in the industry. His goal is to create a well-rounded competition that tests every facet of strength, ensuring that the most well-rounded athlete emerges victorious.

One of Shaw's priorities in organizing the Shaw Classic is to show appreciation for the athletes who participate. He emphasizes the importance of treating athletes well, from arranging their travel and accommodations to ensuring they feel valued and respected throughout the competition.

Challenges in Strongman Events

Shaw reflects on the challenges faced by strongman athletes, particularly in terms of event selection and competition structure. He acknowledges the need for events that test athletes' overall strength and skills, rather than favoring specific strengths or weaknesses.

Potential MMA Fight with Thor

The conversation takes an unexpected turn as the host asks Shaw about a potential MMA fight with Thor, another former strongman athlete. Shaw considers the possibility of such a fight, noting that both athletes would need to be willing and the circumstances would have to make sense for both parties. He reflects on the competitive history between him and Thor, highlighting the mutual respect and rivalry that exists between them.


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