Tim McGraw is in the best shape of his life at 47 after giving up alcohol and drugs and adopting the low-carb Paleo diet and CrossFit workouts. The lifestyle overhaul resulted in an eye-popping 40-pound weight loss, which Tim has maintained for the past six years.
McGraw had an epiphany in 2008, when he realized that his drinking not only made him overweight, but was ruining his life.
"When your wife tells you it's gone too far, that's a big wake-up call," Tim told Men's Health. "That, and realizing you're gonna lose everything you have. Not monetarily, not career-wise, but family-wise. I drank too much. I partied too much. And I did other things too much. Chemically. No needles or that kind of stuff, but use your imagination."
Tim said the turning point came when his three daughters (with wife Faith Hill) began noticing the effect that drugs and alcohol had on him. "That's enough to straighten you out," he said.
McGraw stopped drinking in 2008 and adopted the Paleo diet, an alcohol-free diet that emphasizes high-quality animal proteins, healthy fats, non-starchy vegetables, and excludes gluten, sugar, dairy, legumes, and processed foods.
The Paleo diet is the most popular diet around today, and has a large celebrity following, including Megan Fox, Adriana Lima and Jessica Biel and Joe Manganiello.
Research suggests the Paleo diet accelerates weight loss, reduces blood pressure, and prevents cancer, diabetes, heart disease, depression, and even Alzheimer's. TV star Jack Osbourne (the son of Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne) credits the Paleo diet for his 70-pound weight loss and for treating his multiple sclerosis.
A recent study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition indicates the Paleo diet is twice as effective as other diets for promoting weight loss and reducing belly fat.
“Clinical trials have shown the Paleo diet is the optimum diet that can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, blood pressure, markers of inflammation, help with weight loss, reduce acne, promote optimum health and athletic performance,” said professor Loren Cordain, author of The Paleo Diet for Athletes and The Paleo Diet Cookbook.
Holistic health expert Chris Kresser, author of Your Personal Paleo Code, said Paleo isn't a fad diet because the emphasis is not on calorie restriction, and it provides a healthy balance of protein, vegetables and high-quality fats.
What's more, Kresser said you can customize the Paleo diet to suit your lifestyle and genetic blueprint. The best part is, you don't count calories and don't feel deprived because your body is getting all the nutrition it needs to thrive.
In addition to going Paleo, the country superstar embarked on an intense workout program that includes CrossFit, running, weight-lifting and basketball. Other celebrities who do CrossFit and Paleo include Joe Manganiello, Jessica Biel, and Jessica Alba.
McGraw's CrossFit workouts incorporate kettlebell swings, hammer strikes, tire flips, sled pulling, and strength-training with martial-arts expert Roger Yuan.
"We work with pulleys, bars and do core training, strength and balanced movements to build up the muscles between the ribs and connective tissues," said Yuan. "I have trained a lot of people, and many are hard workers. But Tim is another animal. There is no quitting in him."
The resulting 40-pound weight loss has given Tim the body of an athlete, and he now has rippling 8-packs for the first time in his life — at age 47. Even McGraw is stunned by his transformation.
"I was looking at some old concert shots the other day. Man, my gut!" he laughed. When people remark on his dramatic before-and-after photos, Tim concedes he may have gone overboard with his workout fanaticism.
Still, he said that's better than his previously sedentary lifestyle of couch-surfing and boozing. "I'll be the first to admit I take it to extremes," he said. "I'm not one of those people who can sorta half-*ss something."