- Lakers sophomore guard Austin Reaves has gone from being an undrafted free agent signer to a steady collaborator.
- He eats a high-protein diet with lots of fruits and vegetables to get through the day-to-day life of the NBA season.
- Reaves also said he learned about elite work ethic and discipline as he tried to beat teammate LeBron James in the gym every day.
One of the bright spots of the past two seasons for the Los Angeles Lakers has been the development of second-year guard Austin Reaves.
Reaves, who was undrafted from Oklahoma and signed as a free agent last year, was thrown into the fire in a roster faced with countless injuries and a lack of depth. And while his crowning moment of his rookie season might have been starring as the accomplice in a LeBron James meme, Reaves has become a consistent contributor. This continued into his second season; His batting average, assists and shot percentage have all gone up, and his game quickly won the confidence of freshman head coach Darvin Ham.
Before missing a month with a hamstring injury, Reaves said his body feels a lot better than it did at this point in his rookie season. A key part of any rookie’s adjustment to the league is navigating the rigors and travels of an 82-game season.
“You basically play a game every other night, and if it’s not every other night, you play every third night,” Reaves said. “Many outsiders don’t understand the amount of time everyone in professional sports devotes to their bodies and all the time in ice baths, gym stretches, or deep tissue massages. This is everyday life. ”
Reaves became more mindful about his diet and learned that he actually loves roasted vegetables
Being more mindful of what he’s putting into his body has become a serious focus for Reaves, who is also a brand ambassador for OWYN (Only What You Need), a vegan protein shake brand. Most recently, he and Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields matched donations from OWYN of up to $100,000 to FARE’s Future Starts Now campaign, a nonprofit dedicated to food allergy research, education and advocacy.
While he does indulge himself here and there, Reaves tries to avoid fried foods or anything that’s heavily processed. Considering how many calories he burns each day during the season, his diet is high in protein, high in complex carbohydrates and fruits, with protein drinks throughout the day. His favorite snacks are pineapple and grapes, with strawberries not too far behind.
On a day off, he recently spoke to Insider about what a typical food day looks like for him. He started his morning with an OWYN pre-breakfast shake consisting of eggs, turkey bacon and a banana before heading to the golf course. After his round was over, lunch consisted of fish, rice and some vegetables. For dinner he ate chicken alfredo.
Reaves recalls that in college he just grabbed whatever was available. But he quickly learned that next-level diets weren’t sustainable and he needed to change something.
“I started loving roasted vegetables and high-quality protein,” he says. “Dark and white chicken, because I need the fat, and brown rice with sweet potatoes are some of my favorites.
“It wasn’t until I got into the NBA that I realized I actually needed to eat some veggies,” he laughed. “Now that I’m eating them, I love them.
“Now that I want to keep up what I do and have a long career, I know my body is an investment,” Reaves continued. “I really try to watch what I put in. Every once in a while I fall short, but mostly it’s lots of fruit, veg and clean foods.”
Learn from “one of the greatest of all time”.
It would be hard to share a locker room with LeBron James and not appreciate the attention and detail that goes into everything the Lakers superstar does to keep his body healthy in Year 20. Reaves recalled towards the end of last season that he would manage it’s a game with himself to beat James to the gym before games, sometimes arriving up to five hours early. He never really won; James would already be in the arena when Reaves arrived, and in the middle of training or with some work on his body.
“He’s one of one, and I’m very real with myself,” Reaves said. “I’ll never be him in terms of his physique and what he could endure. It’s little things, like when I just try to take it for myself and implement it into my routine. His support was incredible. Being able to ask questions and get perspective from arguably the smartest Hooper of all time was tremendous for me. I’m just grateful that I can learn and watch one of the greatest that ever did it.
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