How NBA Players Live a Healthy Lifestyle for Optimal Performance

Professional sports players don’t make it to the big leagues without paying a great deal of attention to their lifestyles. If someone wants to be at the top of their game, then they need to eat right, train right, and avoid injuries at all costs. Concentrating on these three categories helps NBA players to reach their full potential.

Here’s how the pros do it.


NBA players burn a ton of calories each day in their games, workouts, and practices. They need to ensure that they are eating enough calories to offset this and give their bodies enough fuel to perform at their highest level. NBA players such as Iman Shumpert have spoken out about what they choose to eat to enhance their game. USA Today reported Shumpert’s recommendations, where he stated that he eats five meals a day to keep up his caloric intake.

Foods to Stay Away From

Certain foods are better to eat than others when it comes to getting in shape for the NBA. Let’s dive into some of the foods that NBA players avoid.


Limiting sugar helps lower the body’s blood glucose level and enhance performance. While candy and sweets can be acceptable in moderation, they only contain empty calories that do not give the body energy. Players especially avoid processed sugars.


Simple starches also tend to fall into the category of empty calories. They make you feel full and stagnant instead of full of energy and ready for a game. Limiting things like bread and pasta can help to get your body ready for peak performance. However, there are healthy complex carbs, such as sweet potatoes and brown rice, that help provide calories that come with energy.

Every NBA player is different, and they must each find something that works for them. For example, Michael Jordan structured his diet to be 10% protein, 20% fats, and 70% carbohydrates.

Foods to Eat Freely

NBA greats often eat the following foods because they are nutritious and provide them with the fuel they need to perform at their best. One of the most important things that players keep in mind is that eating a balanced diet is crucial. Every player’s diet should contain a little bit of all of the following foods. Even if something is considered “healthy,” players will not be in top shape if they exclusively eat that one thing.

Lean Meats

Red meat contains a lot of protein, but it also includes a significant amount of fat. Instead, many NBA players opt for leaner meats like turkey or chicken. These meats allow the players to still get their protein without as much of the saturated fat.


Fish also provide a fantastic way to get much-needed protein without weighing yourself down. Fish are a substantial source of healthy fats and oils, such as omega 3, that your body needs to function.


Veggies provide many different essential vitamins and minerals, including potassium, folic acid, and fiber, just to name a few. Players often consider trying to eat the rainbow by eating a variety of different colored vegetables to get all the nutrients they need.


Nuts are perfect for snacking. They provide a perfect late afternoon pick-me-up to help players get through long hours of practice.


Fruits also provide many vitamins that help the body stay in great shape. Many players opt to consume fruit in the form of juice, offering a refreshing and tasty way to get these essential nutrients.


To make those three-pointers look easy, NBA players need to put in a ton of work before the game. To become the best of the best, professional athletes must train year-round. Take a look at the training regimen of 15 NBA players here. Otherwise, the following are some of the physical areas that NBA players focus on to help their bodies perform on the court.


Playing in the NBA requires having strong arms that can loft a basketball far through the air. Karl-Anthony Towns uses chains while he does push-ups to give himself an extra challenge.


NBA players need strong legs to propel themselves into the air to take shots and make slam dunks. Moe Harkless challenges himself in this area by completing one-legged squats with kettlebells.


Core strength and stability are critical to success in professional basketball. Lebron James tackles this area by balancing on a ball and holding hand weights.

Avoiding Injury

In addition to making sure they are training enough, NBA players must also ensure that they are not preparing too much and putting themselves at risk of injury. It doesn’t matter how great of shape a player is in if a severe injury strikes; they will be unable to play.

To stave off injuries, players must ensure that they drink enough water, allow their body enough time to rest, and refrain from dangerous activities. Pushing to the limit is always a recipe for disaster. Smart athletes know to take a rest instead of persevere.

Drinking Water

When people are dehydrated, their body pulls water from the skin and muscles to protect internal organs, leaving other areas prone to problems. Staying hydrated reduces the risk of issues, ensuring that NBA players can play longer and harder.


Sleep is when the body recharges and heals itself. If NBA players do not get enough sleep, then small problems will not resolve and become significant issues. Specifically, when people are sleep deprived, their bodies produce fewer growth hormones that work toward healing. Any athlete will tell you that a good night’s rest is part of their success.

Refraining from Dangerous Activities

During their careers, many NBA players try to stay away from doing things that could potentially hurt them. These activities might include extreme sports like skydiving or drinking too much alcohol.

NBA players work extremely hard to get to where they are today. They need to craft their whole lifestyle to reflect their goals on the court so that their bodies are in the best possible shape to play. Throwing away hard work on a stupid, reckless mistake is not in the game plan.