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The difference between Michael Jordan's and LeBron James' diet and workout regime

Michael Jordan and LeBron James' diets are similar to each other but the way they recover and workout is different.
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James and Chicago Bulls guard Michael Jordan

LeBron James and Michael Jordan

Like in any sport, an athlete’s body should be his priority. Investing in a good workout and diet plan is crucial in prolonging their career. No matter how good you are, if you’re constantly injured, there’s no point. Michael Jordan and LeBron James are considered the GOAT in basketball because they were able to produce great performances regularly. Their secret: strict diet and workout plans.

Michael Jordan’s diet and workout

Michael Jordan played in an era with less focus on having a strict diet and workout routine. Blame it on the technology or lack of specialty on diet plans but compared to the current generation, Mike’s era could be considered pretty basic. However, his discipline in workouts enabled MJ to dominate on the court.

His day typically started with omelets, strawberries, blueberries, and orange juice. His next meal was berries, Gatorade, and a whey protein shake. Jordan’s pre-workout meal, meanwhile, consisted of chicken breasts, pasta, and a green salad. Mike would have a protein shake and Gatorade as his recovery snack. MJ would feast on beef patties and baked potatoes as his 5th meal of the day while he gets his reward for his 6th and last meal: he could eat anything he wanted. Mentally, it gave the Chicago Bull legend a reprieve from following a strict diet. And it worked as Jordan won six championships in his legendary career.

Jordan was also known as a gym rat. His routine typically involved high reps of 10-15 each set workout: bicep curls, deadlifts, good mornings, power cleans, and bench presses. Personal trainer Tim Grover also maintained that Michael did core workouts twice a week and would do a lot of squats to improve core stability and balance.

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LeBron James’ diet and workout

LeBron James spends millions maintaining his body that still looks and runs like a tank. So it’s no wonder James still puts up MVP numbers despite pushing 40 years old. LeBron realized early on that when you take care of your body, it will take care of you and your career. Here’s what James consumes on a typical day.

LeBron cut out sugar from his diet in 2014. He ate nothing but meat, fish, veggies, and fruit. The difference in his appearance was evident as the Cavs star looked slimmer. But he changed his diet now, and pregame would consist of some chicken breast and pasta. Sometimes, he would eat salad, a protein shake, and some fruits. After games, The King would have water, a special recovery fluid prepared by his trainer, and high-quality protein and carbs. James is a fan of wine based on his Instagram stories and posts. While excessive drinking has negative effects on athletes, controlled consumption can also do wonders.

The L.A. Lakers star is also a known gym rat. Even in the offseason, James uploads Instagram stories of him working out. The King adds variety to his routines, such as upper body workouts with dumbbells, plyometric and spin classes, grip pull-ups, calisthenics, and vertical climbers. His versatility means he has to have the speed of a point guard and the strength of a power forward to finish around the rim despite the contact.

As for recovery, James was among the first to try cryotherapy as it speeds up injury recovery, relieves pain and soreness, and reduces lactic acid build-up, among others. Now, a lot of NBA players also do the same.

Difference and similarities

MJ and LeBron played in different positions, hence the difference in dietary and workout requirements. Both consumed high-quality proteins and fruits in their diet. Also, both enjoyed cheat days as a reward for hard work. Because of the faster pace in today’s game, LeBron incorporated routines that would make him faster and more flexible, while Jordan’s focus was strengthening his core and stability so he could absorb fouls and still finish around the rim.

James enjoys the advantage of having different ways to recover, which were not available yet in Jordan’s time. These two set the standards high when it comes to preparing the mind and body in the offseason, so when the regular season started, they were more than ready to face the grind.

There are no shortcuts to success, and millions won’t matter if a player isn’t willing to undergo the rigorous process to improve their body. Instead, MJ had Tim Grover while James had his chefs and personal trainers. These two wanted to become the best ever, so they worked to get to that level that others only dreamed about. 

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