Injuries are very common when it comes to professional sports, then, things don’t work out and they quit. The whole proposition is quite unusual and it happens all the time. But for Kristaps Porzingis, this was not the end. Although he missed a whole season because of ACL, he did not let it wrap up his career. And right after this incident, all he thought about was recovery and hitting the gym hard to be prepared for his next big game. He is totally active on all his social media handles and keeps on posting some crazy details about his workout.
Kristaps Porzingis is clearly desperate to play basketball and make his next big break. In 2015, Porzingis was all about stuffing his face with anything and everything. He was 7 feet 3 inches in height and he had a big appetite. He wanted to bulk up but now, he practices mindful eating with a new high protein and low carb diet, which has definitely shown major results in his physique. He gave up dairy products, which also includes his favorite cottage cheese to becomes leaner, nonetheless, not lose his muscles and be more energetic and bombastic on the court.
Since then, he has appeared in a number of interviews and shared a lot about his recovery period and the period after that and what routine has he implemented to get back in shape.
He was at least 230 pounds on the draft night and under his team’s advice and a lot of support from them, he put on almost 11 pounds before he started the training camp. But how did he do that? All thanks to a 5,000 calorie diet per day and a lot of strength training sessions.
It was after he went through all this that he was finally reported at 240 pounds by the Knicks. Although he had dropped some of his weight around the end of the last year, he has been gaining it all back by consuming heavy breakfast. “I didn’t pay as much attention at the beginning of the season to breakfast,” Porzingis said. “I wanted to get to the gym. I’d eat something quick and go to work out. So now I’m getting up one hour, 1½ hours earlier and having a big breakfast so I have the energy for the whole day. I’m really focusing on breakfast.”
But even at 233 pounds, his coach, Derek Fisher was really satisfied with how things are working out. “He’s put on the amount of weight that’s good for where he is now,” Fisher stated preceding a January loss to the Clippers. Fisher further commented, “It’s always hard to hold or gain weight during the season because of the workload and how much energy you expend. It’s proportionate to your overall strength in terms of how much weight he can carry and strength ratio. He’s 20 years old, and as he physically matures, he’ll gain weight naturally…We’ll try to do what we need to do this summer.”
By the start of this season, Porzingi had targeted himself to a goal weight of 245 pounds, which sounds pretty reasonable. It would help him deal with the rigors during the NBA season. It would also help him not to put too much pressure on his joints either.
The Strategy Behind Gaining Weight
According to Dr. David Chao, an orthopedic surgeon and medical expert who works for Sirius XM Radio, every pound of increased weight can put an additional 5 pounds of force on the body. And because of the playing style of Porzingis, where he crashes the offensive side and dunking obsessively, it would be advisable not to gain too much weight. It would, otherwise, put him at additional risk for ankle and back injury and would probably end up his career.
The doctor also made a note that men who are bigger in stature have suffered injuries when they were pretty young and had quite an amount of time left to play. It is what happened with players like Yao Ming and Zydrunas Ilgauskas. Porzingis, who is also in his 20s, is at the brink of having injuries which could cost him his career if he did not take care.
Kristaps Porzingis’ Diet Plan
He was once asked in an interview about the comparison of his previous diet which included consuming 5,000 calories a day versus now and what difference does he feel. To which Porzingis replied-
“It has changed completely. The stuff I know now—I didn’t know 10 percent of it back then. I’m still having a lot of calories, but my diet now is low-carb and high-protein. I work out on an empty stomach, so I’m fasting in the morning, and that’s really gotten my energy levels up. My whole life has been about trying to put on weight because I’m so skinny, but at the same time, I used to eat five or six meals a day, and I would just feel sloppy. You’re eating so much that your body is digesting food all the time, and you don’t really have energy. I’ve changed that. I eat three times a day, big meals, and give myself more time in between each one. It’s a big, big difference—I feel way better.”
He also said that he has a fast metabolism but he is still focusing on eating much cleaner, which includes a lot of protein in his diet for a faster recovery. “Yeah, that’s just how my body is—I can live normally and eat normally and still get skinnier. I have to eat a lot to stay on top of that. For skinny guys, it’s just how our metabolism is, I guess. Right now, I can focus more on rehab. I’m eating clean and making sure I have enough energy to work out multiple times a day.”
What does clean eating for Porzingi involve? He answers it for all of us to know. He says,
“I’ll have a coffee in the morning first thing before I work out. I’ll have my first meal around noon. That will be high in protein and good fats, and very low in carbs—sometimes even no carbs. Avocado or salmon, tuna, all that kind of stuff. After that, I’ll rest, and I’ll have my second meal around 3:00 or 4:00. It’s kind of the same stuff—maybe a few more carbs. At night, I’ll have a similar meal. I’ll take vitamins and supplements on top of that. No sugars, and almost no dairy products.”
He still has cheat days once in a while and that is Ben and Jerry’s ice cream which he truly adores. Cookie Dough is his favorite flavor. “Yes! Oh my God, it’s so fire. That’s one of my favorite things to eat when I’m cheating.”
Kristaps Porzingis’ Rehab Workout and Training
When he was in rehab, his typical day would structure something like he tells us,
“It’s hard to say what a typical day is like. Sometimes I have workouts where the knee doesn’t feel as good. Mentally, that’s the most difficult part, because you want to keep going and you want to do more, but there’s something holding you back because you shouldn’t push it too much. I’m always trying to be smart and patient with it, but at some point, you get anxious and antsy. I’m already doing some contact drills and things where I’m competing against somebody. It’s good that it’s coming to an end, but in many ways, it’s been a blessing in disguise. I’ve learned so much about my body and myself. My vision is much clearer on many, many things.”
He had specific workouts that targeted specific muscle groups to make it much stronger. He tells the interviewer, “Of course, of course. A big part of this rehab is not only my knee, but also stability in my core, my hips, my feet, and my ankles. I want to be strong—not only big and heavy, but also compact, explosive, and athletic. I can feel the improvements just by doing the exercises. I’m excited to finally show that on the court.”
He even chose to have a specific location for his rehab training which was in Spain at Real Madrid and at Latavia, which is also his hometown. He explained the reason why choosing these locations was better for his health and recovery. He says, “I wanted to get closer to home, so I wanted to be in Europe when the season was over. Real Madrid was the best place over there for my knee and my rehab. I had already lived in Spain before, too, so I was comfortable there. And then I went home to Latvia, where I’m the most comfortable, and I just kind of disconnected from everything else and locked in on the rehab. I ate clean, slept well, and didn’t worry about anything else going on.”
So with this, we come to an end about how Kristaps Porzingis managed his workouts and diet during and after his rehab period.