The Fitness Secrets Of 5 NBA Players Featured On ESPN Mag’s Body Issue

ESPN Magazine recently dropped its latest issue featuring the naked visages of six elite athletes on its covers, one of whom you may recognize—Cleveland Cavaliers star Kevin Love. He’s one of several NBA players to have graced the publication’s annual Body Issue over the past few years. The images of men and women in the buff certainly serve to highlight the inherent beauty of a variety of different body types, but they also help motivate us to hit the gym. Herein, we compiled the exercise and diet habits that the cover stars have revealed during their interviews with ESPN Magazine to help you stay on top of your fitness game.

Kevin Love – 2015 (full interview)

Keeping things light
Love gets into a groove doing lightweight training during the season. He practices yoga and the Cleveland Cavaliers have him doing Pilates. He adds toughness with resistance training and working out in the sand. Lighter exercises keep your muscles fresh and flexible, which makes them resistant to injury.

Serge Ibaka – 2014 (full interview)

The secret to recovery
When Ibaka was told by doctors that he’d be out for a season with a calf injury, he was let down—but he refused to give up. He employed a system of “God and ice” to help him through it. While we can’t vouch for the former, his routine seemed to do the trick: he iced 10 times daily, employed 30 minutes of compression and rested entire days to get back in fighting form.

Full-body workout
Basketball employs the entire body, and Ibaka loves working out. In fact, he wishes he “had more body parts that [he] could work out.” When he’s not balling on the court, he’s in the gym for at least two hours lifting and 30 minutes working on his core muscles. He claims it’s harder for tall people to earn that prized six-pack.

John Wall – 2013 (full interview)

Crunches for breakfast and dinner
Wall’s favourite physical feature are his abs. He gained his “cut up” core after bouncing back from the weight he put on during his knee injury. Now, he maintains his midsection by doing 100 crunches every morning and every night.

Cardio at nature’s stairwell
Wall runs the Runyon Canyon in Los Angeles for some off-court exercise. “It’s tough, especially the first couple times,” he says. The hills get steep and, at points, bear a resemblance to stairs, making for one hell of a cardio workout. It takes the average hiker roughly 60 to 90 minutes to complete the course, but it takes Wall only 30 minutes.

Jump shots all day
Two-time NBA All-Star Wall says he couldn’t live without his jump shot workout, and it shows in his 43.1 field goal percentage. He emphasizes his follow through during drills to improve his shot, and puts in at least an hour of work everyday. If he had a bad day, he hits the court a second time for a 30- to 40-minute re-up.

You get out what you put in
Diet plays an important part in any athlete’s success, and Wall has his dialed in. He’s completely changed his eating habits since his first year in the NBA, when he’d eat fast food. Now, he’s replaced junk with lean meats like salmon and is eating plenty of salad and fruit. Wall also avoids sugar- and fat-filled condiments such as ketchup and mayonnaise.

Kenneth Faried – 2013 (full interview)

Maxed-out training
Faried’s favourite basketball workout, on the other hand, involves being strapped to a platform under the backboard with bungee cords—we’re guessing he means a Vertimax Trainer—and rebounding a ball. The resistance makes moving and jumping after the ball exceptionally tough, but so does going up against elite opponents.

Core control
Like Wall, Faried’s favourite feature are his abs. His favourite exercise involved balancing on a rubber ball while a partner throws him a medicine ball. Catching the weight on different sides of his body helps Faried develop strength, balance and motor control.

Small meals, big success
Faried has always had a problem keeping his weight up, so the 228-pound power forward follows what resembles a body builder’s diet: he eats six or seven meals a day, ostensibly to keep his body burning fat while he packs on muscle-building calories. For protein he typically goes for chicken and turkey—he eats beef once a month at most and avoids all pork.

Tyson Chandler – 2012 (full interview)

Cross-training on the roll

Chandler is an avid cyclist. He rides 17.5 miles to and back from the gym, where he takes care of his strength training routine. Riding your bike is a great way to fit in extra cardio and leg strength exercise without the impact of running on your knees and ankles.
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