Shaun Clarida Competes for a More Important Reason
“To be asked by Jim himself was a big moment and definitely surreal,” Clarida says. “I had a lot of fun, and hopefully it won’t be my last one.”
Clarida has had several life-changing moments in his four decades on this planet, including recently relocating from New Jersey to Texas. However, none of them were as important as this past January. That was the day that his daughter, Amiyah, was born, and he earned a new title that he will carry for the rest of his life—father. Even with the usual excitement that comes with a child being born, Clarida said that the biggest surprise is he has been even happier than he already anticipated being.
“It has been joyful. I get to wake up every morning and see this little human being laughing and smiling when she sees me and I’m holding her.”
Amiyah’s arrival also means his first Father’s Day is coming up, and even though he didn’t give it much thought, he’s still proud that he has a bigger reason to enjoy it this year.
“It wasn’t something I thought about too much besides my own dad, but to be the dad in this case being celebrated, it’s awesome. I don’t know what we’re doing yet, that is up to (his girlfriend).”
“I really haven’t felt overwhelmed at all, honestly,” he said. He has given himself time away from the sport, though, because he wants to enjoy his new daughter as much as possible.
“I obviously took a break after the Arnold because it was such a long season,” he shared. He also confessed that mama has changed many more diapers between the two of them, but he has had his opportunities as well.
“I think I’ve changed one or two so far, maybe more,” he said with a laugh. “Of course, I don’t mind changing diapers at all, though, but she’s around her more often during the day. I do get to put her to sleep when I get home, though.”
When asked if they plan on growing the family even more, the “Giant Killer” said he would rather be present in the moment with his daughter that is here with him now.
“I just want to take the time to celebrate her and have fun with her for right now. Time will tell, though.”
With the move, traveling, settling into parenthood, and a lot of other business ventures behind him, Clarida is now committing more time in the gym, and he said he’s the biggest and strongest he’s ever been. He revealed on one Instagram post that he weighed 215 pounds in early June. Amiyah can be credited for that in part as well. Many pros in the bodybuilding world have become parents in recent years, and that feeling of joy and excitement is expected. What Clarida didn’t expect is how much it has fired him up to get even better as a bodybuilder because his performance as an athlete will now directly impact someone beyond himself.
“That’s a whole other level of motivation for me. I’ve been doing this for almost 20 years now, and it’s been all about me, me, me. Now, everything going forward isn’t for me. It’s for her,” he explained. As is the case with most parents, Shaun Clarida wants to ensure that his daughter has the best childhood possible.
“Everything going forward is to make sure she has a great life, has everything she needs, and make sure that she and my girlfriend are taken care of. There were things I didn’t have growing up, and I want to make sure she has everything she needs and wants. She won’t ever need to struggle or worry.”
WIth that newfound motivation and success in the gym, he’s considered the favorite to win his third Olympia title in Orlando, FL on Nov. 2-5. He’s feeling optimistic about his chances of joining Flex Lewis and Kevin English as three-time champions in his division. He revealed that he almost didn’t do the 2022 Olympia because the due date was so close, and he wanted to be there for his expecting girlfriend, but she was the one who encouraged him to compete.
“She said ‘hell, no’ you’re doing the show,” he recalled when suggesting he may not enter the contest. “This year will be different, though, because she will be there, and as I said, that motivation is going to be at its highest.”
Clarida said that he feels great as he begins to plan his prep and is expecting a smooth transition between now and prejudging on game day.
“I’m excited to now just coast into the Olympia this year. I know I’ll be even better this year than I was last year, and I still plan to bring that razor sharp conditioning. Now, when I do that cardio and get ready for that next set, I’m not just thinking about winning. I’m thinking about my daughter as well, and I found a whole new gear.”