IT Hopes Lifestyle Changes Allow Him to Flourish

WALTHAM, Mass. – Isaiah Thomas’ goal is to play in the NBA until he’s 40 years old. While that may seem like a lofty aspiration given the grueling nature of the NBA schedule, the Celtics point guard is taking all the right steps to enhance his chances of reaching that objective.

Thomas is still just 27 years old, heading into the prime years of his career, but he understands that it’s inevitable that his body will eventually break down.

He’s trying his best to delay that process.

Over the summer, IT made some major adjustments, not to his on-court habits, but to his off-court routine, with the hope that they will impact his production this season and extend his career in the long run.

The first step was addressing his diet. Before heading into the offseason, he told the media that he was going to try to limit his junk food intake and bid adieu to Ronald McDonald, so he hired a personal chef this summer to help him change his eating habits.

Thomas reported back to the media Monday and had some positive results to share.

“I'm eating vegetables for the first time in my life other than when my dad used to make me,” said Thomas. “I eliminated fast food, eating out and things like that. I want to play until I'm 40, and I know it starts with little things like that."

Not only did Thomas change his eating habits, but he also took steps to improve his sleep routine. Having a full-time job in the NBA, along with the responsibility of taking care of his two sons, takes a toll on Thomas, so he recently met with Harvard “sleep doctor” Charles Czeisler for advice on how to better manage his sleep schedule.

“It’s not going to be easy so I’m taking baby steps now,” Thomas told Celtics.com. “But I’ve got to get into a routine of sleeping more, because not only does it help you play better, but it also helps your reaction time and all those little things that I need to become MVP one day.”

Thomas often finds himself staying up late watching basketball or playing video games, so now he’s trying to curb those activities around bedtime.

“The doctor also did something to my phone where at 10 p.m. the light goes down a little bit, and that’s the key,” said Thomas. “I didn’t know the phone can really mess up your sleep, so the doctor did little things to my phone that’s going to help me be able to sleep at night and not worry about being on it all night.”

Following Boston’s first training camp practice Tuesday morning, coach Brad Stevens reflected on Thomas’ recent lifestyle changes and says he hopes the entire team is willing to take similar steps so that they can flourish on the court.

“This is a long, grinding season and if you don’t take all that stuff really seriously, then you can’t maximize yourself,” said Stevens. “We spend a lot of time talking about it. We’ve got every resource available to help guys maximize that stuff.

“It’s great that [Thomas] is so conscious of it. It’s great that he’s really taking that seriously, and we expect all of our guys to.”

Only time will tell if Thomas’ lifestyle changes will impact his energy and awareness on the court, but he’s already noticed some differences in terms of how his body feels.

“I’m healthy and I’m in really good shape, so I feel a lot better,” Thomas said after Tuesday’s practice. “And I’m lighter, so I feel that the diet change has helped. So we’re just gonna keep it going.”

Thomas enters this season fresh off of the best campaign of his career, during which he averaged a career high 22.2 points per game and earned his first All-Star appearance.

He accomplished all of that despite an iffy diet and an inconsistent sleep schedule. Just imagine what he can achieve now that he’s eating right and sleeping tight as he heads into the 2016-17 season.

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