Miami Heat shooting guard Ray Allen lost 10 pounds over the summer on a gluten-free, Paleo diet and is now down to his college playing weight.
While weight loss was not Allen's goal when he embarked on the Paleo diet, he said he feels great heading into the 2013-2014 NBA season.
“The first three or four days, it was a task because I was getting headaches, my body felt achy," Allen told the Miami Herald. "But I just started living on salads and fruit and protein and salmon and chicken. I didn’t have soda, any Gatorade. I had unsweetened iced tea and water, and that’s it.”
The 6-foot-5 Ray slimmed down from 206 pounds to 197 pounds by following the Paleo eating plan, which emphasizes high-quality animal protein, fat (including healthy saturated fats), vegetables and fruits, and excludes sugar, gluten, dairy, legumes, starches, alcohol and processed foods.
At 38, Allen said it's important to be able to recover quickly from rigorous training sessions and NBA games. Interestingly, he began the Paleo diet just days after the Miami Heat won their second NBA championships last June.
Ray, whom teammate Shane Battier called "the most disciplined guy I’ve ever played with," had always prioritized working out but never made eating well part of his training routine.
I’ve always prided myself in coming back in great shape, burning myself out conditioning-wise, running the treadmill, riding my bike, finding different ways to push myself. And never have I added the nutrition part of this.
Recovery for me now is so much more important now that I’ve gotten older. I’ve learned how to manage my body from an eating standpoint. And I’ve always done it, but now I realize there’s another level."
Allen says eliminating sugar and gluten may be better for his health, but he misses some of his favorite comfort foods. "I haven’t had a pizza at all this year, so I miss it," he said. "This past week, I just added pancakes back into my routine because I can’t go through a season without carbs."
Meanwhile, teammate LeBron James had his best year ever last season after adding cycling to his cardio-conditioning regimen. LeBron, 28, began cycling back to his Coconut Grove, Fla., home after NBA games at Miami's American Airlines Arena last year, and now the 30- to 45-minute bike commute has become a regular part of his routine.
The four-time MVP said biking home after a long NBA game isn't tiring, but he makes sure to put safety first. "I got lights on my bike," he said.