You may have noticed that LeBron James is in pretty good shape.
As a professional athlete he has a team of people helping him become the very best version of himself – at least physically – that he can possibly be.
Today we’ll take a peek under the hood and see what it takes to make a body like LeBron’s run so well.
Workout Like the King
Stan Kellers, strength and conditioning coach for the Cleveland Cavaliers, put together a workout for Men’s Health that can help King James (and the rest of us) improve quickness and explosiveness on the court.
Kellers says to begin each workout with calisthenics and core moves, and then performs the day’s exercises.
Do each superset described below three times, resting for 45 seconds in between sets.
- Pushups – do as many reps as you can
- Pullups – aim for 10 reps
- Dumbbell stepup – do 10 reps with each leg
- Single-leg standing dumbbell calf raise – do 12 reps with each leg
- Single-arm dumbbell shoulder press – do 6 to 8 reps each arm
- Single-arm neutral grip dumbbell row and rotation – do 10 reps each side
- Dumbbell side lunge – do 10 reps each direction
- Unstable jump rope – skip rope for 45 seconds on stretching mat; the instability will strengthen your ankles
Eat Like a King
After putting in a solid day’s worth of exercise, you’ll need to refuel your body.
During the summer of 2014 LeBron put himself on a strict diet.
James told SI.com, “I had no sugars, no dairy, I had no carbs. All I ate was meat, fish, veggies and fruit. That’s it. For 67 straight days.”
One day he enjoyed “Arugula salad with chicken, strawberries, mango, cashews and olive oil/lemon vinaigrette dressing.” On the side he had a “bowl of squash and zucchini.” (Pictured above).
Another day LeBron enjoyed “lobster salad with asparagus and mango chutney.”
This type of diet is not recommended if you do not have a team of nutritionists and doctors monitoring your progress. In fact, eliminating whole food groups could be quite dangerous.
Torey Jones Armul, a registered dietitian and the spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietitics told Business Insider:
“To lose weight, increase energy levels, and improve performance, your best bet is loading up on fruits and vegetables, choosing whole grains and lean protein and making exercise a habit throughout the week.
Cutting out entire food groups is extreme and puts people at risk for nutritional deficiencies, to to mention it’s nearly impossible to sustain in the long-term.”
Even LeBron only lasted 67 days on this diet.
Amul suggests the following meals:
Veggie omelet with a side of turkey bacon, fresh fruit and sweet potato hashbrowns.
Spinach salad with veggies, grilled chicken and a light balsamic, vinaigrette or olive oil dressing. Pair with a side of fresh fruit or add sliced berries, apples or mandarin oranges as a salad topper.
Chicken or shrimp soft tacos with whole-wheat tortilla, shredded spinach, black beans, avocado, diced tomatoes or chile peppers and salsa. Top with plain Greek yogurt for a lower-calorie sour cream substitute.
You can see alternate meal options here (scroll down).
Lean Out Like LeBron
Dr. Cate Shanahan, dietitian and consultant for the LA Lakers, suggests that James and the rest of us follow 50/30/20 guidelines. “Aim to get 50 percent of your calories from healthy fats, 30 percent from protein and 20 percent from healthy carbohydrates, ideally fruits and vegetables.”
If your current diet is way out of whack, you’ll want to ease into your new eating regime.
Shanahan suggests making small adjustments over the course of 4 weeks to lean out like LeBron:
- Week One: Make breakfast a zero-carb meal. Try having two eggs scrambled in extra-virgin olive oil, topped with avocado. Or cold leftover chicken.
- Week Two: Pack your lunch. Don’t worry about what you put in it, just get in the habit of packing it. Mid-day restaurant and cafeteria meals are often too jumbo-sized and loaded with carbs and trans fasts.
- Week Three: Low-carb your lunch. Make yourself a salad with chicken, tune, steak or even a hardboiled egg, plus copious walnuts, avocado and extra virgin olive oil.
- Week Four: Low-carb your dinner. Try having roasted, pan-seared or grilled lamb/chicken/steak/fish with sauce and a heaping helping of vegetables or salad, some cheese and fresh fruit for dessert.
While you’re making lifestyle changes to be healthier, remember that LeBron James is an elite athlete. His workouts and diet were put together for him and may not work for you.