Michael Strahan’s Giant Second Act

Michael Strahan’s Giant Second Act
Peter Yang

This is a preview of our September 2014 cover story, “Michael Strahan’s Giant Second Act.” For the full version, download the Men’s Fitness app for iPhone and iPad or pick up the issue on newsstands. 

He should not be this nimble.

After 15 years of NFL football—all of them on the defensive line, one of the more punishing positions in sports—42-year-old Michael Strahan should be slow. He should be gimpy. He should at least have a limp. But, no. Strahan is agile. He is spry. He is light on his feet, especially for a 250-pound man who spent two entire decades propelling himself into the man-mountains that are offensive linemen, play after play, game after game, year after year. His job was to chase and tackle the quarterback, and he did that as well as any person who’s ever played the game, which is why the Pro Football Hall of Fame inducted him into its ranks this summer. But in the pursuit of those 141½ sacks and 429 tackles, he played thousands of snaps, most of them resulting in violent contact between him and other giant humans. Somehow he did that without major injury and without doing harm to the body he has to live with for the rest of his life. 

“I feel better than I did when I was playing,” Strahan says, flashing the goofy, gap-toothed grin that is as much his signature as the quarterback sack. “And not only when I was playing [pro], but when I was a young player, in my early 20s.”

VIDEO: Behind the Scenes with Michael Strahan>>>

He says this while lying on his back atop a foam roller, stretching out in an empty yoga room in the Upper West Side high-rise where he rents an apartment. Any minute, Strahan’s trainer, Latreal Mitchell (who also lives in the building, for convenience, after being convinced to relocate from L.A.), will arrive for the second of the two daily workouts she oversees for her increasingly famous client on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. 

The morning workout is shorter—a half-hour of high-intensity training with an emphasis on body weight that Strahan does around 7 a.m., before jumping in the shower and walking two blocks to the set of Live with Kelly and Michael, the smash-hit syndicated show he has now been co-hosting five mornings a week for more than two years. (He lives so close that he can see the audience line and studio building from the window of his upper-floor apartment.) Earlier in the day, they’d done kettlebells—three rounds of seven exercises, with minimal breaks. “I hate kettlebells, but I did them,” he says. Other days, they might rotate intervals between the rowing machine, the bike, and the treadmill, which they don’t turn on. Strahan pushes the belt with his own power.

Twice a week, Strahan has no time for the morning session, because he now has to be on set at Good Morning America, which officially added him to its roster of hosts in April. Those days, he heads straight to GMA, performs his hosting duties, then hops in a car for the 17-block trip back uptown to Live.

Strahan looks trimmer than he did when he was playing football, but he actually weighs about the same as he did when he retired—“between 247 and 252 pounds”—after winning the 2008 Super Bowl with the New York Giants, the only team he ever played for. “I’m leaner,” he says. “The weight is distributed differently, but it’s still there.”

To read the rest of “Michael Strahan’s Giant Second Act,” download the Men’s Fitness app for iPhone and iPad. 

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