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Health & Fit: NBA star Zach LaVine shares his day on a plate, from high carb breakfasts to protein-filled dinners

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  • Chicago Bulls star Zach LaVine said he has adjusted his diet since joining the NBA.
  • Now he focuses on eating carbs like pancakes and pasta early in the day and before games.
  • Then his dinners are strictly protein like fish, steak, or chicken.

Zach LaVine earned his second straight NBA All-Star nod this year and has led the Chicago Bulls back into the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference.

The 27-year-old star shooting guard is currently one of the NBA's top scorers, and he said a big reason for his growth and success since joining the Bulls in 2017 is the attention he pays to his diet these days, in an interview with GQ.

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"Mine has changed a lot," LaVine said of his diet. "From getting up and eating fast food on game days coming out of college and high school to having your own chef who understands how many calories and carbs you need, I'm definitely taking it more seriously."

LaVine said his diet strategy revolves around eating carb-heavy meals earlier in the day, whether it's in the morning for breakfast or before a game or practice, then eating a strict protein dinner that may include fish, chicken, or steak.

LaVine said he still adds protein to his earlier meals, but the basis of the meals is mostly carbs. This includes adding a side of sausage or eggs to his pancakes or french toast in the morning or mixing some grilled chicken or fish in with his pasta dishes for lunch. On gamedays, LaVine said he will often have a piece of toast before the game to get some last-minute carbs in his system.

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  I've heard it's important to eat protein right after a workout — even if I'm not lifting weights. Is that true? Regardless of the type of training you're doing, consuming enough protein over the course of the day is important, dietitian Alix Turoff said.Eating high-carb diets rich in plant protein is a defining feature of the "Blue Zones," the five places in the world where people live the longest, healthiest lives — typically reaching, or surpassing, 100 years old in good health.

Carbs provide a burst of energy


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LaVine's carb-heavy approach for before games and practice is similar to what a marathon runner might follow before a long race.

Eating lots of carbs increases glycogen in a person's tissues, which gives them more energy that can be used for intense physical activity, according to Healthline.

As an NBA shooting guard, LaVine has to do a lot of running to keep up with the flow of the game on fast breaks. His position also requires a lot of lateral movement along the perimeter of the back-court on defense and sprinting around defenders to get open on offense.

LaVine has handled the workload well this season, as he currently leads the Bulls in minutes played per game with 34.8, so his endurance and energy levels have made him one of the team's more dependable players.

Registered dietitian Bonnie Taub-Dix previously told Insider that eating carb-heavy meals can help an athlete make sure energy is released in their body so they can play with high intensity throughout the course of a game.

"Carbohydrates are the nutrients that provide the quickest energy and they are digested and absorbed the fastest," Taub-Dix said.

The benefits of only eating carbs earlier in the day

Cutting out carbs later on in the day and night may help to prevent blood sugar spikes, bloating, and poor sleep quality, according to Cleveland Clinic, since the glycogen created by carbs isn't being put to use in physical activity.

Eating protein later can help rebuild a person's muscle tissues and promote muscle growth and recovery as muscle fibers are often broken down over the course of a day, according to Healthline. Protein intake is especially important after intense physical activity like a basketball game to prevent muscles from becoming depleted and potentially damaged.

Read the original article on Insider

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