The Tim Ferriss Show – LeBron James and His Top-Secret Trainer, Mike Mancias

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  • LeBron James is regarded by many as the best basketball player of all time
  • Mike Mancias (@mikemancias1) is LeBron James’ athletic trainer and recovery specialist, a position he’s held for 14 years and counting

How did LeBron and Mike meet?

  • Mike was an intern with the Cleveland Cavaliers during LeBron’s second year in the NBA
    • They became friends, the relationship grew, and the rest is history

Recovery and Injury Prevention

  • LeBron has played more than 50,000 minutes in his career (most players start to decline in health after about 40,000 minutes)
  • “Recovery never ends” – Mike
    • It’s always the number 1 focus
  • What do the first few hours after a game look like?
    • Mike does a quick Q&A with LeBron, about how certain things felt during the game
    • Then Mike has LeBron focus on hydration and nutrition
      • This might involve drinking a protein shake, a sports drink, and some good high quality food
    • From there, LeBron does cryotherapy, hops in a cold tank/ice bath, or just wears ice bags, depending on what’s available in the arena they’re playing
  • LeBron credits his longevity in the league to his consistency in training and recovery
    • “Play hard, have fun, and stretch”

Who does LeBron admire when it comes to leadership?

  • “I never grew up looking for other leaders saying, ‘I want to be them,’ or copy what they did, and incorporate that into my life”
  • LeBron’s mom had him when he was only 16, and raised him as a single mom, so LeBron always looked up to her
    • Because of this, LeBron has vowed to himself, to always be a part of his kid’s life
  • He admires a few famous leaders – like Martin Luther King Jr, Mohammed Ali, and Barack Obama

What significance does Theodore Roosevelt’s quote about “The Man in the Arena” have for LeBron?

  • Here’s the quote
  • LeBron keeps this quote in his locker, and he also writes a shorter version of it on his shoes before every game
  • “There are always going to be people out there, who are going judge and critique you”
    • You need to be mature enough to trust yourself
    • The more and more you listen to outsiders, the more they creep into your mind and you start to believe what they have to say
  • “It truly doesn’t matter what anyone says, because they’ve never stepped inside the arena. They’ve never had the blood, sweat, and tears or paid their dues. They can’t understand or critique what’s going on in your life.”


  • The body recovers most during REM and deep sleep
    • “You need your sleep, and you must sleep in order to recover” – Mike
    • “Sleep is when the body heals itself”
  • What does Mike recommend?
    • Be comfortable – create the right sleep environment
      • A temperature of 67-68 °F is optimal
      • Make sure the room is completely dark
      • Turn off all electronics 30-45 minutes before bed 
      • “You owe it to yourself, and you owe it to your recovery, to commit to creating the optimal sleep environment”
  • LeBron uses the Calm app for white noise at night, he sleeps using the “Rain on Leaves” sound
  • Sleep has become more important to LeBron as his playing career has progressed
    • It’s the best way to recover
    • Sometimes he gets 10 hours
    • If he doesn’t get 8-9 hours of sleep, he’ll often take a nap during the day

LeBron’s Diet

  • What did LeBron eat yesterday?
    • Breakfast – Egg white omelet with smoked salmon, and gluten free pancakes topped with blueberries
    • Lunch – Whole wheat pasta, salmon, and vegetables
    • Pre game meal – Peanut butter and jelly sandwich
    • At half time during last night’s game – Sliced apples with almond butter on top
    • Post game – Protein shake (immediately after – it’s a plant-based protein powder with almond milk)
      • “The first 30 minutes after activity, like a game or a practice, the body is like a sponge, and it’s going to absorb whatever you give it”
    • Dinner – Chicken parm with a “rocket salad”, and a glass of Cabernet red wine
  • LeBron’s favorite wines
  • What won’t LeBron eat (particularly during the season)?
    • Artificial drinks
    • Sugar
    • Fried foods
    • He tries to avoid non-organic food


  • What does LeBron say to himself before a big game?
    • He’s thinks about the game plan given to the team by the coaching staff
    • He also thinks about what he in particular needs to do to make the team successful
  • How about after a bad loss?
    • He’ll replay how the game played out, and search for things he could have done better

Working with Teammates

  • LeBron explains something interesting…
    • He has 3 kids, and he’s learned that in order to get the best out of them, he can’t approach them all the same way, because they’re all different
    • “I had to find out how to tap into each one of my kids, to get the same result, but teach them differently”
    • LeBon has this same way of thinking on the court – “You can’t talk to everyone the same way and expect to get the most out of them, because every personality is different. One thing I may say to one player, may trigger a different response in another player.”

What’s in LeBron’s pregame playlist?

  • All hip hop
  • It’s pretty random what hip hop he listens to, it pretty much comes down to whatever artist pops into his head at the moment

LeBron’s Tattoos

  • He has “Loyalty” on his side, and on the other side “Family”
  • “It’s a personal mantra of mine, to always be loyal to my family”

What does LeBron’s offseason look like?

  • During the offseason, LeBron uses a VersaClimber a lot
  • He also loves running on the football field – mainly just because it allows him to be outside, and it takes him back to his high school days when he played football
    • He’ll typically do 100 yard sprints, until he feels like he’s had a good workout, or Mike calls it quits


  • This is Mike and LeBron’s new business venture
  • It’s a supplement line, check the link for more
  • It was born out of Mike and LeBron “scratching their own itch” as Tim likes to say


  • LeBron was wearing ice bags on his knees during the interview
  • “The best teacher in life is experience” – LeBron
  • LeBron has woken up in the middle of the night before, and called Mike to get a workout in
  • LeBron would love to play in the NBA long enough to play in the same game as his son
    • LeBron James Jr. is currently in 8th grade – LeBron says he could be in the NBA in 5-6 years
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Notes By MMiller

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