Basketball fever is in full swing. With the NBA playoffs taking over our television screens, we can’t help but notice how seriously fit and toned these pro athletes are. But what does it take to be in that kind of shape? You can follow your fave pro athletes on Instagram for some major fitspiration or you can try out a new basketball-inspired workout, but to really start training like the pros, we had to bring in the people who, you know, actually train the pros.

St. Vincent Sports Performance employees Lindsay Langford and Dr. Chris Carr serve as the Indiana Pacers’ nutritionist and sport and performance psychologist, respectively. And they’re giving us all the details on how to eat and train like real athletic pros.

Indiana Pacers v Toronto Raptors - Game Seven

1. Recover after workouts. After a tough workout, your body is craving key nutrients to keep the burn going. Lindsay says, “Grabbing a protein shake or a meal post workout is key. We give the players recovery smoothies or Gatorade Protein shakes after each workout because protein and carbohydrates are needed to aid in replenishing glycogen stores and protein to rebuild and repair muscles.”

2. Focus on smaller goals that you control. It can be easy for us to get caught up in the larger end goal, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t celebrate the successes of smaller goals. Dr. Carr agrees, adding, “Although you need to know what your long-term goal is — winning the NBA championship, losing 20 pounds, running your first marathon — it’s more important to focus on the daily goals that you control, like doing 15 minutes of cardio or doing pre-practice positive self-talk. Keep track of your process goals to enhance accountability.”

3. Fuel consistently. “Don’t go longer than four hours without eating to help regulate metabolism and prevent overeating at your next meal. If you’re not hungry every three to four hours, you probably over ate your previous meal,” notes Lindsay. She also stresses the importance of having healthy foods close by to help you refuel with the good stuff. “We have a fueling station right outside the locker room with fruit, healthy chips, jerky and a variety of protein and energy bars.”

Athlete eating banana

4. Eat color. You’ve heard it before — eat the rainbow. Lindsay agrees, saying “Color on your plate equals antioxidants that aid with inflammation for athletes, but help fight off illnesses and prevent disease states in everyday individuals. Aim for at least one fruit and one vegetable at each meal — or more! For the players, we provide at least one fruit option and usually two to three vegetable options at every meal.”

woman planking

5. Learn how to stay composed. Even if you’re not playing in arenas filled with thousands of fans, toeing the line at your first 5k or walking into the weight room can be intimidating. But Dr. Carr has some tricks up his sleeve. “Practice relaxation techniques like autogenic training or progressive muscle relaxation three to four times a week in order to master the ability to gain composure and manage your ‘nerves.’”

6. Set a routine. “Create a mental routine that uses your internal motivation and drive to set a consistent routine, or script, for your workout, like practice and games for our players. This will help prepare you to be confident, focused and composed when the competition begins,” advises Dr. Carr.

Tweet us how you train like the pros @BritandCo!

(Photos via Getty)