LeBron James, current superstar forward for the, Los Angeles Lakers was recently interviewed by Tim Ferriss, New York Times best selling author of the Four Hour Work Week, Four Hour Body, Four Hour Chef, Tools of Titans and Tribe of Mentors.
This caught my eye because James is arguably the best player in the NBA over the last 14 years and Tim doesn’t really interview current sports athletes.
Turns out LeBron is launching a new supplement and lifestyle company, similar to Tom Brady’s TB12, called Ladder.
You can look it up for yourself, but here are 3 takeaways from listening to what one of the greatest basketball players of all time does to stay on top of his game from a health and fitness point of view.
LeBron and his trainer of the last 14 years, Mike Mancias, (how did I not get spotted as an intern for my hustle), talked a lot about consistency, leadership and routines. The basketball season is 9 months long and they practice the same things almost everyday. He credits it as one of the reasons he has played 16 seasons and hopes to play 5-6 more. He sees it as one of the biggest leadership skills he tries to show and teach younger teammates. He also tries to practice it with his family as he was born to a 16 year old single mom, so he wants to give his kids what he didn’t have.
Mike and LeBron talked about training and its importance, but they talked more about knowing the individual, the unique body type, the training age, the current movement patterns, the injury history and checking in. They didn’t delve much into his strength & conditioning routines, but I could tell that they do them a lot, what they did focus on was the recovery. LeBron is such an elite athlete, who has played more minutes at a high level than probably anyone, ever, in the NBA, and as such, he needs to be able to recovery as quickly as possible to be able to do it again.
Here are some things they prioritized to aid in his recovery.
- sleep 8+ hours: I’ve heard / read LeBron often sleeps 10 hours / day
- naps: LeBron said he was going home after the 60min interview to nap for 2-2.5 hours
- hydration: Mike says he’s in James’ face immediately after games with a water bottle, to start recovering asap)
- shakes: right after the water bottle is a custom, plant based protein shake to help LeBron recover
- nutrition: James and Mike were all about organic, clean eating, no artificial foods or drinks during the season
- accountability: James is 100% in, but just like anybody, he can get distracted sometimes and lose focus, and Mike, great name by the way, keeps him focused with texts, calls, and actual face time.
- modalities: LeBron was icing during the interview, so its obvious he uses that. He also has his own cryochamber, uses ice baths, massage, manual stretching, does yoga and I’m sure he foam rolls.
- stretching: LeBron is all in on stretching to recover and has been doing it since high school
LeBron and Mike as noted above, eat clean, as they call it. All or mostly organic and no artificial foods or drinks during the season. They have their particulars and didn’t delve to far into it, but they’re starting a supplement company with the Arnold Schwarzenegger, Cindy Crawford and Lindsey Vonn, so you know he values them.
He shared his breakfast for the previous day, which was an egg white omelet with smoked salmon, and gluten free pancakes with berries.
His lunch was salmon again and his dinner was a chicken parm with a cabernet wine. He loves his red wine and drinks it in season.
Key points for nutrition
- set meals and snack schedule (doesn’t miss meals)
- practices it 7 days a week for 9-months
- doesn’t participate in splurge or joy foods that are artificial (fake ingredients or fake sugars) during the season
- prioritizes nutrition around workouts, especially immediately after to accelerate recovery
- prefers plant based protein shakes vs. whey protein after games as they feel the body accepts them better and absorbs them easier (I don’t know if this is true or not).
- he’s all in on “clean eating”. It’s not worth it to him to eat any other way as he knows it aids recovery, which helps him be consistent, which helps him stay at the top of his craft after so many years. He also knows its an advantage over people who don’t do this regularly.
- he enjoys all foods during the off season, when he’s on vacation and not working.
You already know all 3 of these tips: consistency, recovery and nutrition to become and stay your best. It’s the laser focus practice of them, having a strong why for doing them and having reaped the rewards of doing them for so long, while refining them, that makes it even easier to buy in and be consistent.
We can all do this. We all work, just like him. We all take time off, just like him. We all know life is so much better when we feel, are and perform at are best. We have to eat foods that make us feel good so we can perform at a high level and recover from that performance. We have to build all kinds of recovery methods into our lifestyle so we can recover from kicking butt, and start them asap after our work day finishes, including sleep because of all the methods, with nutrition as a close 2nd, sleep has the biggest bang for recovering; and we need to be consistent, 7 days a week, 365 with our practice. You can always take days or weeks, off, but outside of those times, its all in, if you want to reach your full potential.
Listen for yourself
Go ahead and listen to the interview as it’s only 60min vs. Tim’s usual 3-4 hour interviews, to hear for yourself how LeBron does it.
Finding joy in routines,