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Tim Grover explains Michael Jordan’s obsession with bigger biceps, pregame steaks

Michael Jordan

As MJ's trainer, Grover had to make sure his body ran smoothly

Tim Grover worked with Michael Jordan for many years, knowing what worked and what didn't work. As MJ's trainer, he had to make sure his body ran as smoothly and as ready as a tank prepared for wars. Grover shared Jordan's weird choice of pregame meal and his obsession with bigger biceps in his book "Winning."

Jordan's obsession with bigger biceps

When he came into the league, MJ was not as muscular, so that had to change. The Detroit Pistons abused and took advantage of Mike's leaner frame. So the goal of making the biceps bigger became the main goal. It's purpose? Intimidation.

"The theory was biceps were just for show and didn't really make someone a better basketball player. And that was probably true. But we were going for that 0.0001 per cent, which included the intimidation factor of his biggest, stronger, more dominant physique."

Grover and Mike knew having bigger biceps might not actually help. Instead, they went for it because bigger biceps intimidated the opponents. That proves his competitive mentality of wanting to dominate the opponents even before the games started. Along came with the improvement in his physique were the wins. So the training and time spent in the gym paid off in the end. 

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Also, Grover was responsible for tweaking Jordan's pregame meals. It was common for players to load on carbs to have that energy in the game. Grover added a steak to Mike's pregame meals, and it worked since it slowed down digestion of the food consumed by the Chicago Bulls star. 

These minor changes in details brought massive success to MJ. Credit to his trainer for providing the support his premium client needed to win. Without Tim Grover, would Jordan enjoy as much success? Probably not.

Do muscular athletes really have an advantage?

Do additional muscles really help? It depends. Now, advanced technology, data, and nutrition are readily available for trainers and players. In the era when MJ played, where physicality trumped flair and footwork, those with bigger and stronger bodies had an advantage. With advanced analytics, players usually adapt their game to their physical attributes in the current NBA.

Nikola Jokic and Luka Doncic are examples. They don't look as fit as other athletes but can dominate the game anytime they want. The game changed from being a physical battle to a mental one. Even if Jokic and Luka seem slow compared to other players, they can still be effective by playing at their own pace and controlling the game by sticking to their strengths rather than weaknesses. 

Did the added bulk and heft help Giannis Antetokoumpo become a champion and 2-time MVP? Certainly, as his game focused on attacking the basket and terrorizing smaller defenders. Can bigger biceps help Luka or Jokic improve their game? They don't need it, but they should probably start talking to their personal trainers to improve their confidence and self-esteem, like how it did with Michael Jordan.

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