A Training Lifestyle Takes Planning – LeBron James and His Trainer, Mike Mancias, on TRAINED, Hosted by Ryan Flaherty

Key Takeaways

  • A consistent 8 hours (or more) of sleep is perhaps the most crucial reason for LeBron’s career longevity
  • Hot/cold contrast baths are LeBron’s go-to recovery method
    • Typically, this involves 5 minutes of each, cycled for 3x
  • In regards to nutrition, LeBron focuses more on what he doesn’t put in his body, as opposed to what he does
  • “When the world and everything around you is at a rapid rate, or you feel like the pressure is mounting up… or you’re thinking ‘I don’t know if I can do this,’ it’s always important to take a moment to sit back, relax, calm your mind, take a couple deep breaths… and envision yourself in a better place”LeBron James
  • “Training isn’t just for professional athletes… Training is a lifestyle. It makes your mind fresh, it makes your body feel great, and it increases your focus.” – LeBron James

Intro

  • Host – Ryan Flaherty (@FlahertySpeed)
  • LeBron James (@KingJames) is regarded by many as the best basketball player of all time. He currently plays for the Los Angeles Lakers.
  • Mike Mancias (@mikemancias1) is LeBron’s 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 trainer with the Cleveland Cavaliers during Lebron’s second year in the NBA
    • “Right away, they noticed they shared a similar mindset. They were determined to succeed and eager to take on the work necessary to be the best.” – Ryan Flaherty 
    • They became friends, the relationship grew, and 15 years later, the rest is history

The Importance of Sleep

  • “One of the things we’ve always focused on, perhaps the number one thing, is sleep… Specifically, REM sleep, as much as I can.” – LeBron James
    • “It’s gotten to a point now where if I don’t get my 8 hours, I don’t even want to talk to you. You don’t want to be around me. You just get so much more out of your day when you wake up fresh with those 8 hours. And that’s just the bare minimum. Sometimes I get 9 or 10 hours.” 
  • Sleep is not only essential for physical recovery but also mental recovery
    • “At the end of the day, your body is like your phone… At night, when you go lay in that bed, the first thing you do is plug your phone in. When you wake up, it’s at 100%. If you don’t, you’ll wake up and your phone will be dead. That’s the same thing that happens with your body.” – LeBron James
  • “The number one performance-enhancing drug in the world is sleep”Ryan Flaherty

Recovery Tactics

  • As soon as the NBA schedule drops, LeBron and Mike sit down to study the travel schedule and make a plan for full optimization (flight times, hotel locations, etc.)
  • LeBron does lots of:
    • Hot/ice contrast baths 
      • Typically, this involves 5 minutes of each, cycled for 3x
      • If LeBron’s on the road and for some reason doesn’t have access to a typical ice bath found in many NBA locker rooms, he’ll fill up his hotel bathtub with ice and cycle it with standing in a warm water shower
    • Stretching
    • Foam rolling
  • “When the body feels fresh, the mind feels fresh as well” LeBron James

Nutrition

  • LeBron focuses more on what he doesn’t put in his body, as opposed to what he does
    • This has become even more important as he’s gotten older
  • When it comes down to it, when faced with a food temptation, LeBron will ask himself: “Is it worth it?”
    • That said, moderation plays a role as well. If LeBron makes healthy food choices 80-90% of the time, that’s success in his eyes.
  • LeBron’s weak points: Chocolate chip cookies and vanilla ice cream

LeBron Loves the Challenge

  • “I love a challenge. If someone comes to me with a challenge they think I can’t do, I live for those moments.” – LeBron James
  • Where did this mindset come from?
    • “I think it started when I was a kid. When you grow up like I grew up… I grew up knowing everything is earned, and nothing is given.”LeBron James
      • Growing up quite poor, LeBron knew from early on: “I didn’t care what the statistics said, I was going to get my mom a better situation. That was my challenge.”

How LeBron Blocks Out the Noise and Stays Focused

  • The basics: Meditation and breathing exercises
    • 🎧 “When the world and everything around you is at a rapid rate, or you feel like the pressure is mounting up… or you’re thinking ‘I don’t know if I can do this,’ it’s always important to take a moment to sit back, relax, calm your mind, take a couple deep breaths… and envision yourself in a better place”LeBron James
  • LeBron meditates every morning, and stops to pause and focus on his breathing throughout the day as needed
    • He also starts out a lot of his training sessions with focused breathing – this serves as a bit of a reset, helping LeBron to set his intentions for the upcoming workout

Looking Forward to Next Season

  • Having not made the playoffs, LeBron and Mike have 5 months to prepare for next season
    • “We’re stripping down like a Formula One car… How can we improve? What can we tweak? What can be maintained? And how do we get better?” – Mike Mancias

Training is a Lifestyle

  • 🎧 “Training isn’t just for professional athletes… Training is a lifestyle. It makes your mind fresh, it makes your body feel great, and it increases your focus.– LeBron James

Additional Notes

  • “Being around people who share your goals gives you the stable foundation that makes achievement possible” – Ryan Flaherty
    • “If you can get someone else to work with you towards the goal, you’re more likely to reach it. Support and accountability matter.”
  • When it comes to weight loss, be process-focused, not outcome-focused
    • If you master the process, the results take care of themselves