Backstreet boys

Backstreet Boys’ AJ McLean Shares Changes That Helped Him Lose 32 Pounds

Backstreet Boys’ AJ McLean is back – with a vengeance. The singer, who has been in rehab since 2001, is celebrating a year of sobriety and an impressive body transformation. He also feels strong inside.

“Drinking made me gain weight, but it also weighed down my mental state,” McLean, 44, told TODAY.

McLean, who said he was “in the best shape” of his life, started by making small changes to his diet. The first two things to go were booze and fast food. It wasn’t easy and McLean struggled at first. In these difficult times, he said he would ask himself a series of questions, including, do I want to feel good about myself? Do I want to inspire others?

“I was like, ‘I’m going to do this, I’m going to do this. I’m going to be the best version of myself,'” he recalls.

Longtime starving McLean now walks straight with his shoulders back and his chest bulging.

“I’m proud,” he said.

What worked for McLean — a former “yo-yo dieter” — was matching his body weight to the amount of protein he consumes in a day.

“That’s a lot of protein – I take 140 grams,” McLean explained. Breakfast usually consists of egg whites and oatmeal or grain-free pancakes. Lunch is a large salad with grilled chicken and for dinner it will have a steak or burger in a lettuce bun with a side of asparagus. When it comes to snacks, McLean gravitates to almonds, protein shakes and apples, which he says are “very high in fiber.”

The 5ft 10in entertainer also works out five days a week. It starts with 30 minutes of cardio, which is then followed by strength training. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays are dedicated to upper body workouts, while Tuesdays and Thursdays are dedicated to lower body.

McLean said he had lost 32 pounds since February.

“I weighed myself this morning and I’m 138,” he told TODAY.

Of course, McLean’s physical transformation is only part of the reason he feels so good. On September 26, he marked 365 days without alcohol. McLean said he was determined to stay on track for his wife, Rochelle, and their daughters, Lyric, 5, and Elliott, 9, née Ava.

The pop star, whose real name is Alexander James McLean, said sobriety helped him reconnect with his pre-fame self.

“AJ is kind of a celebrity who lived the rock star lifestyle and Alex got stuffed,” he revealed. “But now I’ve come to a place where they can both co-exist.”

McLean looks to the future. He’s set to release a solo album in 2023 and is touring again with the Backstreet Boys, or “guys” as he calls them.

“I’m so happy to be where I am today,” McLean said.

McLean opened up to TODAY while promoting his partnership with Mr. Coffee and his #IWantItLatte contest. The brand will give five fans a chance to win a Mr. Coffee latte machine. McLean will also give winners a personalized song to their favorite coffee drink.

McLean said he had fun experimenting with different flavors such as pumpkin spice latte and a cappuccino.

“I made my signature sugar free white chocolate mocha and it was a bomb!” he said.