Fit For Life Features 2010-11

Stressing the Warm-Up
By Daniel Ramirez

It's moments before game time and the Los Angeles Lakers are gearing up to face their next opponent. Some players are on the court shooting jump shots. Others are lightly jogging and stretching to loosen up their bodies. Whatever it may be, they all take the necessary step of warming up before competition.

"You've got to get the joints and get the blood flowing first so you're not going out there and shocking your system," Lakers veteran forward Joe Smith explained. "For the most part, it doesn't matter how long you warm up, as long as you get your body loose a little bit."

Simple low intensity exercises like jumpers and light jogs reap important benefits. First, it fuels blood flow to the arms and legs, which helps muscles to contract quickly and properly when needed.

Plus, proper warm-up time can assist in keeping an individual physically healthy.

"That's the main thing," Shannon Brown stressed, "for preventing injury, getting the muscles going and the body flowing."

The energetic and agile Brown, who is often needed to be a quick scoring spark off the Lakers bench, added that a warm-up helps improve his flexibility. Without his body maintaining some elasticity, he might not be as prepared to make the electrifying plays his teammates are accustomed to.

"You want to get loose before you start running and jumping," the 6-foot-4 guard said. "Since your joints are banging against each other, you want your body to be warm and your limbs to be flexible."

Forming a routine is the first item that should be addressed for people who want to work out on a regular basis. Perhaps begin with a brief ride on an exercise bike or a short, low intensity session on an elliptical machine. Then move on to upper and lower body stretches before any demanding muscle exertion.

While it would be convenient for the Lakers training staff to tell people to warm up exactly the same, it's not realistic. Every person could have their own unique routine that works best for them.

"I think everybody is different," said Alex McKechnie, the team's Athletic Performance Coordinator. "Some people like to stretch, some people like to have a little bit of a slow warm-up, some people like to do dynamic stretches [moving and stretching at the same time]. So I think you need to find out what is most suitable for yourself."

One person who has found a perfect formula before a workout is defensive powerhouse Ron Artest. The 6-7 forward is often asked to guard the opponent's top scoring threat, meaning his body needs to be revved up and ready come tip-off.

"I work a lot with our training staff." he said. "I do a lot of core stuff with Alex McKechnie, while Chip Schaefer (Lakers Director of Athletic Performance / Player Development) gets our muscles firing."

Artest continues, "It's important to warm up your muscles, while not overstretching. I might stretch a lot during the week, but on game days I like to keep my muscles a little tight, quick and strong. Overstretching can actually make the muscles weaker before performing."

Some experienced players take extra steps in order to prepare. Smith's personal routine emphasizes several techniques. And considering he has played in over a thousand NBA games over a 16-year period, it's fair to say his methods have worked pretty well in keeping him on the court and healthy.

"I do a lot of stretching," Smith explained. "I jog up and down the court just to get my body going. I also lift before every game to get the blood flowing a little bit and find it valuable to get the joints and the muscles moving."

Even after taking time to stretch and lift weights, the body may still be a little tight. So one option that Smith might use to loosen up, along with Brown, is a foam roller to release muscle tension. The foam roller concept is simple: it's a piece of foam where people use their body weight to massage their muscles.

"It gets those muscles loose and flexible," Brown pointed out. "You find a point where it's really tight and you focus on that point and it loosens it up. Everything in your body, every muscle, every joint plays a major part into something else; they are all connected. So if your hamstring is hurting, that could affect your back, so it is important to try to loosen up every muscle."

For those who have been skipping a warm-up before working out, take advice from the Lakers and start doing so.

"Be smart about it," Brown concluded. "Be sure you warm up before you jump right into a workout or else you're going to increase your chances of injury, stiffness and soreness."

Embracing the NBA Lifestyle
By Josh Tucker

A seamless transition from college student-athlete to professional NBA player is never guaranteed and not easy to achieve. College athletes that are fortunate enough to make a deep run into the NCAA Tournament may play approximately 40 games in a season. In the NBA, teams play 41 games – on the road alone. Even lottery teams play 82 regular season games. In the last four seasons alone, “Lakers Iron Man,” Derek Fisher has played in over 380 games.

This season, Lakers rookies Derrick Caracter and Devin Ebanks have played in 40 games and 20 games respectively, but acclimating their bodies to a relentless travel and practice schedule, along with a new lifestyle and a new home, has been key for them to help contribute to a team that is attempting to three-peat as NBA Champions.  Now, they eat, sleep, and breathe basketball.

“I’ll have McDonald’s one day, Pizza Hut the next,” Ebanks joked. At the age of 21, Ebanks still has the luxury of a fast metabolism, but his recommendations for making a successful transition to the NBA are about diet and fitness. “All jokes aside, you need to eat right, because your body needs nutrients to be able to perform,” Ebanks said. “I try to eat things that are going to keep my body fueled and ready to go on the court.”  

Both Ebanks and Caracter claim they are probably the last people you would find in the kitchen. “I’m not a big time cooker; my cooking talent is pretty raw,” Caracter said. Fortunately, Caracter is gradually adjusting to California cuisine. “Wherever you go, there’s more access to healthy choices on the menu,” Caracter said. “Where I’m from back east, there is fast food and fried chicken on every corner. But it’s a healthy lifestyle out here and I’m slowly starting to embrace it.”

Power, flexibility, agility, speed and endurance are all elements of athleticism and Ebanks trains utilizing workouts that maximize power and explosive strength to enhance his performance on the court. “The training staff has been helping me with muscle endurance and muscle balance using workouts that involve squats and lunges,” Ebanks said. These types of workouts improve groove movement patterns to build a frame that is both strong and stable. Before Ebanks went down with a stress fracture to his left tibia in early March, he was in the process of composing a highlight reel with teammate Steve Blake, with the two connecting on multiple alley-oops this season.  Since his injury, Ebanks has focused on training individual muscle groups because he now understands that they are all interconnected.

Caracter’s transition to the NBA has been about individual growth and embracing his new role to provide a youthful energy to this year’s Lakers team.

“I’m learning how to cope with not playing as much as I’m used to playing,” Caracter said. “That’s one of my biggest battles. It takes me back to Louisville where I had limited minutes. Out here I’m not playing as much, so I have to take the initiative to get in that extra activity.  Whether I’m doing my duties as a rookie or pushing the guys during practice, I want to help this team win for a long time.”

Caracter is a firm believer that individual hard work outside of practice pays off and he hopes that it will eventually translate into more playing time. But until then, Caracter is dedicated to putting in extra time to maximize his potential.

“I get to our workout facility an hour before practice every day to get some cardio in,” Caracter said. “Then, I come in later in the afternoon or at night and do some more cardio.  After that, I take 300 to 400 jumpers to keep working on my shot. I’m in the gym working hard every day, conditioning my body and conditioning my mind at the same time.”

The 22-year-old Caracter is still learning how to understand his 275-pound frame. “Basketball shape is an interesting thing with all the fundamentals and different skills you have to possess to compete at this level.  You need a combination of finesse, agility, explosiveness and footwork,” Caracter said.

The rookies are beginning to embrace the NBA lifestyle, Los Angeles and their roles within the organization. The two have the opportunity to be a part of something special with this year’s Lakers team, and they both look to relish in the good fortune of playing with a competitive Lakers team for years to come. Caracter put it best, “It’s a once in a lifetime chance. I’m playing with the champions; veterans who have been a big part of the NBA over the last decade.  We’re here to help the team win this third championship.”

Tips from Ron Artest and Shannon Brown
By Chelsy Tarango

When defending back-to-back championships, one of the biggest keys to success is having good health. Staying healthy requires a combination of eating right, working out and maintaining consistent sleep patterns. All three of these things will boost one's energy, help fight off illness and increase mood levels. Shannon Brown and Ron Artest reveal the importance of eating healthy, sticking to diet plans, forming workout routines, and upholding sleep patterns to help them perform well on the court.

Maintaining a strict and healthy diet is pivotal to an athlete's success. Brown explains the importance of eating right and staying hydrated, especially as a professional athlete. "I make it a point to drink a lot of water. It not only replenishes your body, but it also keeps you hydrated and quenches thirst." Aside from water intake, eating fruits and vegetables plays a big factor in sticking to a healthy diet. "I eat plenty of fruits, especially pineapples, oranges and bananas. Also, I make the effort to eat enough vegetables and salads." Fruits and vegetables are filled with healthy antioxidants and contain good amounts of vitamins and fiber. While Brown explains the importance of fruits and vegetables, Artest offers his unique diet plan. "I try to stay away from pork and red meat, avoid any fried foods, and limit my intake of dairy," states Artest. "I even take a blender with me on road trips to make smoothies."

While the Lakers spend hours running up and down the practice court, supplemental workouts also benefit the performance of players. While Brown focuses on arriving to practice early or staying late after practice to take extra shots on the court, Artest believes that lifting weights plays a big role in performance on the court. "I do a lot of weight work, especially with my legs. It's all about the legs in basketball," Artest explains. "I also make sure to do a lot of pushups. They are my favorite exercise because you get so much out of them and you can do them anywhere." In addition to weight work and extra reps on the court, Brown notes the importance of stretching and flexibility in order to prevent injuries. "I focus on keeping my hamstrings and my quadriceps stretched," states Brown. "If my quads aren't stretched they get tight and I start getting knee tendonitis, while stretching my hamstrings keeps my back and core loosened up." Stretching is not just critical pre-workout, but it is also essential post-workout, as it prevents injury and helps minimize muscle soreness.

Another major component to staying healthy is obtaining enough sleep each night. Proper and consistent sleep patterns provide the ability to function properly and even helps fight off illness. For a professional athlete, getting enough sleep and sticking to a normal sleep schedule can be tough, especially with late games and continuous travel through different time zones. "My sleep schedule fluctuates during the week," admits Brown. "But even with the late games and travel, it's important to always aim for around eight hours of sleep. Also, never underestimate the power of a nap."

With the playoffs around the corner, maintaining a healthy diet, exercising and getting proper sleep will help the Lakers stay at the top of their game. Yet, these staples for healthy living are vital for everyone, not just professional athletes. Whether you are in school or at work, eating right, exercising and being well rested increases alertness, memory, mood and performance. These habits can help lead to a longer, healthier and happier life, and for the Lakers sake, hopefully they lead to a third consecutive championship this June!

Lakers Extreme Travel Survival Guide
By Katie Kroopnick

For those of us that travel extensively over the course of a year, we know that going through airports, checking in and out of hotels and eating on-the-go meals can take a toll on our bodies. Add to these typical unpleasantries a few red-eye flights, encounters with flu season and unpredictable weather, and you have the basic recipe for a travel nightmare. It's safe to say that there is one item that is not part of our typical itineraries: 41 regular season NBA road games. So what do the Lakers do when they hit the road traveling across the country and bouncing between time zones? Each trip is a challenge in which the team must avoid succumbing to fatigue, hold on to a well-rounded dietary regimen and keep their mental stamina and focus a priority for each and every game. Though the Lakers are athletes with finely tuned bodies, we can all learn something from the players who experience the same rigors of the road as those encountered by most active travelers. Some of the Lakers let us in on their health and fitness secrets. So, for those who have often felt like a ping-pong ball bouncing between cities, shifting time zones and a multitude of hotels, we present to you:

The Lakers Extreme Travel Survival Guide:

Avoiding Fatigue:
How do you stay energized with little sleep in between periods of intense activity?
Tip: Try to stay on a consistent sleeping schedule.

"The most important thing is keeping a good sleep pattern and eating healthy. I make sure not to sleep on the plane so that I can go to sleep once I get to the hotel. If I did sleep on the airplane I would be up until 4am trying to go back to sleep. While flying, I try to eat something healthy on the plane, so I don't eat junk food when we arrive at the hotel at 1am."– Luke Walton

"Dealing with the time change is the worst! If we fly to the East Coast we go ahead three hours, but I try to find a balance by sleeping on Pacific Time regardless of whatever city we are in. That way, when we come back to Los Angeles my whole sleep schedule isn't ruined." – Ron Artest

"We fly to the next city after each game, so since we are flying late, we usually do not get to the hotel until 2 or 3am. I find myself almost inadvertently staying on West Coast time wherever we may be. If we are in the East Coast, I'll go to bed at 2 or 3am, which is 11pm or midnight here in Los Angeles. Obviously you have to do whatever you have to do in terms of your travelling or your obligations to your business, but if you can make modifications with that, let your body be your guide." – Chip Schaefer (Lakers Director of Athletic Performance/Player Development)

Stick to a Healthy Diet:
Don't compromise your healthy eating habits. Being on the road can be a tempting time to eat more junk food than usual and losing track of normal eating habits.
Tip: Stay on track by eating foods that keep you feeling healthy and give you strength and energy.

"On the road I bring a blender with me to make sure I get all of my nutrients for my body. I actually travel with Whole Foods bags, and either shop there before I leave or find a Whole Foods in the city we travel too. I can't give away all of my food secrets, but yes I really do travel with a blender!"-Ron Artest

For those of us who can't travel with a blender, you can still eat healthy away from home. Try traveling with some nutrition bars or choose healthy options when dining at restaurants.

Water, Water, Water:
It's important to stay hydrated whether you are home or traveling. Drinking lots of water not only increases energy levels but also helps the body to flush out toxins. Particularly for a professional athlete, staying hydrated is vital.
Tip: Remember, if you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated.

"It's so important to drink lots and lots of water. Drink plenty of water, eat your greens and make sure to get plenty of rest." –Lamar Odom

"I eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, along with chicken and protein. Also, I always make sure to drink lots of water to flush out my system and get that renewed energy."-Shannon Brown

A simple fitness regimen can help fight road fatigue. Most traveler friendly hotels have fitness rooms. Schaefer also encourages cardio workouts that get you out of the hotel and moving through a city.
Tip: Combine simple workouts with a little sightseeing

"For people who like to take it outdoors, I would recommend researching some running routes. A lot of times the hotel concierge will even have running maps. For those that don't run, you can also walk these routes," states Schaefer. "When you visit a city like Philadelphia, Boston or New York, you can go through the historical areas, which allows you to combine history and learning about cities, while getting a cardio workout outdoors at the same time."

Schaefer believes that "exercise may be the most essential thing for helping people adapt to changing time zones." For those who are not avid runners or gym rats, he offers a few additional simple tips. "Do the little things. Try taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Also, you can travel with a yoga mat and do yoga or stretching in your room."

The Lakers know the importance of taking care of their bodies when on the road and at home. The healthy habits they have created carry them a long way to staying strong and warding off fatigue and illness. Optimum health is about balance - and keeping a balance of sleep, healthy diet and a consistent fitness routine will carry anyone through a hectic week of work or travel - even if you don't happen to be an NBA Champion.

Working-out Without a Gym
By Brantley Watson

When walking into your local gym or weight room, whether it is at a school or your neighborhood fitness center, you are likely to be overwhelmed.

Not by those working out or by the price for a membership, but by the large, daunting exercise machines that are scattered across the gym floor.

And many times, even learning how to operate these machines is a workout in itself.

Luckily, there is a machine always available to the avid exerciser, one that is at your disposal and quite easy to function, that being your own body.

In most cases, people overlook the value of the most basic exercises, including push-ups, sit-ups, and pull-ups. While these exercises alone may not give you the body you ultimately desire in the long run, they are a great starting point to becoming fit and in shape, as well as adding muscle.

"For many people, their own body weight is all that they can handle, so it is actually an ideal place to start," said Chip Schaefer, the Lakers director of player development and athletic performance. "Exercises such as push-ups, pull-ups, step-ups, lunges, and sit-ups are beneficial."

Those just beginning to get fit are sometimes inclined to jump right onto the most daunting of machines with hopes of quicker results. But the body does not operate in that way. Instead, doing simple exercises around the house or at the gym should be the first step to accomplishing one's fitness goals, whether it is to increase muscle, burn fat or maybe, be better on the basketball court.

"For that high school kid who wants to become a better basketball player but has no equipment at all to work with, all he may really need are push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, body weight squats and lunges, things like that," Schaefer said. "Those things will help tremendously."

Lakers forward Lamar Odom commented that some of his preferred exercises are the ones that are most basic.

"I always do push-ups and sit-ups, those are my favorite," Odom said. "I actually do those before each game. It helps me control and manage my own body weight, along with my endurance. Push-ups and sit-ups are something that I hold close to my heart. I do them as much as I can."

In regard to Lamar's affinity for push-ups and sit-ups, the 11-year NBA veteran recalled times in his childhood when these specific exercises became means for fun amongst him and his companions.

"A lot of times when we were growing up playing basketball in the summertime, my friends and I would have a deck of cards and whatever card you turned over, that's how many push-ups you had to bang out," Odom said. However, despite the effectiveness of exercising using only one's body weight, Schaefer is adamant that one must first have a specific roadmap to follow once planning to alter their body.

Schaefer advocates meeting with a specialist who can guide you in the correct direction to adding muscle to your body.

"With regard to young people starting out, I would suggest consulting a qualified professional to point out the proper exercises including technique and program design, and supervision for a minimum of 8-to-12 weeks before training on one's own," Schaefer said.

As Schaefer stated, one's body weight may be an adequate load to manage in the beginning, but once the body begins to strengthen, there is need for an increase in the weight being managed. That increase can only be achieved by employing materials outside of the body.

However, this does not mean machines. Basic free weights such as dumb bells, elastic bands or bench press tables are all adequate and reasonable ways to increase weight without jumping on to a complex machine.

"The problem is once the body adapts to these loads, the only way to increase the demand on the body is by increasing repetitions, and true strength gains, the ability to produce force, can only be achieved by increasing the resistance whether through weights, elastic bands or other forms of resistance," Schaefer said.

"We use some machines here, but we prefer more free weights," Schaefer added.

But, even though Lakers players have access to world class athletic performance machines and other technology, a lot of times, especially in Odom's case, a late-night push-up session can surprisingly do wonders.

"The reason why I love push-ups and sit-ups is because they're something that you can just bang out," Odom said. "When you're at home, whether it's 2pm or 2am, when you're watching TV, you can just bang them out."

Stability is Key
By Daniel Ramirez

With the Lakers spending countless hours on the court playing, jumping and training, proper muscle fitness becomes important for athletic performance and physical health. The Lakers training staff understands this, which is why they place a major emphasis on muscle stabilization.

"Without stabilization, it's like shooting a cannon from a canoe," Alex McKechnie, the Lakers athletic performance coordinator, explained. "Stability is about creating a proper sequence of contraction. It is really about being able to function from a solid base."

The base, or foundation, he is referring to begins at the center of the body. This means muscles that are closer to the body's middle need to be strong and enduring so the levers (arms and legs) can strengthen properly.

"Muscles don't work in isolation," McKechnie said. "They work collectively to produce power, strength, and coordination. It's all about sequence."

In other words, muscles are always firing. Even ones that aren't being directly used in an exercise or movement contract to help stabilize the body.

For example, if a player is doing a bicep curl, the shoulder muscles and abdominals, among others, are also working. Or if he is doing squats, the abdominals, hamstrings, back and other muscles are working hard to help maintain proper posture.

"The key to stabilization muscles starts from the core basically," guard Sasha Vujacic said. "Once you get your core and everything around it stronger, then you can focus on different things. If you want to be successful, it's important to work on even the littlest muscles."

Benefits from focusing on proper stabilization training include better workouts, improved body movement, and less likelihood of injury on the court.

Forward Luke Walton knows from personal experience the importance of proper muscle training and stabilization. Unfortunately, he played in just 29 regular season games in 2009-10 due to injury, but this season he is back on the court.

"A lot of people in this league don't have some of the issues that I have so I've noticed if I slack off just a little bit with my training, it really affects the way I can perform, play and practice," he said. "It's something that's a part of my daily routine."

Muscle stabilization is also important for basketball players for another reason: control.

"Injuries take place in transition," McKechnie said. "Flexibility, balance, and the ability to control your own body weight are essential. And when you deal with basketball force, it becomes much more difficult because the levers are longer and the forces are magnified dramatically."

Vujacic, who is known for his sharp-shooting from three-point range, understands that a professional athlete needs to be in command of every movement they make, starting with a proper muscle foundation.

"When you're building a house, or when you're taking a shot, everything's similar because you have to start with the base," Vujacic said. "It's very important. It makes you feel in control of your body."

Vujacic, Walton and the rest of the team work to improve stabilization in part through McKechnie's "Core-X" program. The regimen was designed 15 years ago by McKechnie, and has benefited the Lakers health, most recently during their back-to-back championship runs.

Specific methods to measure and rectify any muscle imbalances are complex because it varies from player to player.

"The key is that we want to look and try to identify dysfunctional patterns of movement that can be detrimental to movement," McKechnie said. "So when we adapt our exercise programs, we adapt them accordingly. We look to see if something's going to be dysfunctional. Then we can actually feed off that pattern doing certain types of exercises."

While the Lakers continue to exercise properly and work on their quest for a third-straight champagne shower, they recognize the important roles balance and stability play in fitness. However, they want people to know that proper training extends beyond the basketball court.

"Health is the most important thing you have," Walton said. "I realized that when I was hurt all last year. I couldn't even sleep at night, I couldn't travel. It's much more than just sports, so you need to do that exercise, that activity to just maintain a healthy life and make sure you don't lose that health."

Trying to Three-Peat with a Rejuvenated Roster and a Focus on Fitness
by Josh Tucker

What does it take in the offseason in order to complete a three-peat? For any other organization, coaching staff or team this would be a unique experience, but Phil Jackson, Kobe Bryant, and Derek Fisher have been here before. In fact, this is the fourth time that Phil Jackson will attempt this implausible "three-feat" and whenever Phil Jackson wins two championships he unequivocally turns it into three. They have grown accustomed to short offseasons after playing well into June for three consecutive seasons. Long seasons with a short recovery period can place a lot of wear and tear on athletes' bodies. Naturally, the importance of physical fitness in the offseason is paramount to this Lakers team's chances of three-peating.

Some Lakers spent this summer touring the world. Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum took time to heal from a grueling post season by watching the FIFA World Cup in South Africa. Over in Europe, Pau Gasol acted as an ambassador for UNICEF and Lamar Odom played a pivotal role in the US national team's Gold medal win in Turkey. To manage the truncated offseason, Lakers forward Ron Artest was in the gym early and often.

Artest, former Defensive Player of the Year, said he balanced weeks where he rested with weeks where he was going to the gym four times a day. "You need to rest but still push yourself during the summer. I work harder and prepare my body for physical activity even tougher than an NBA game," said Artest. Artest is the Renaissance man of fitness, partaking in yoga, swimming, weightlifting, and running. "I couldn't take as many trips this offseason. I had to refocus sooner," said Artest when asked about the sacrifices of getting back into shape.

Balancing rest and relaxation with focus and fitness was a sentiment echoed by other Lakers. Shannon Brown, who re-signed with the back-to-back champions this offseason sounds like a seasoned veteran.

"I let my body rest a little bit. I was lifting weights, but nothing with a basketball. I always focus on basketball, and on the task at hand. I don't let too many outside influences get involved in what I'm trying to do on the basketball court. I'm a little bit older, a little bit smarter, a little bit wiser, not only in life but in the game of basketball. I'm trying to tune in to what is really going on, on the court."

With the quiet additions of rookies Derrick Caracter and Devin Ebanks, and free agent signings Steve Blake, Matt Barnes and Theo Ratliff, the Lakers have revamped their roster and are focused on the season ahead.

The rookies are also dedicated to making an immediate impact this year. They aim to contribute whether it is minutes in games or hustle in practice. Rookie forward, Caracter, said that he changed his college lifestyle to prepare for the NBA.

"I'm grinding, working, working. I got with a nutritionist and cut down on what I was eating and dropped my college diet," Caracter said. "I'm eating more efficient meals and found out through different research the proper way to train. I'm doing sprints instead of longer runs. Shorter, harder, and increasing the intensity of my workouts. It is a whole different type of conditioning to get ready for this level; physically and mentally preparing for the new situation, while keeping my confidence up. I'm leaner and meaner than ever before."

Caracter has already cut down from almost 315 pounds to around 270. Devin Ebanks shared a similar sentiment.

"I'm doing a lot of running, calisthenics, and ab workouts, along with eating right," Ebanks said. "I'm eating a lot of pastas and potatoes, and have cut down on fast foods. The coaches have me trying to keep my body fat count down."

Ebanks, who turns 21 at the end of this month, has great admiration for the Lakers veterans.

"It's amazing how they keep their work ethic. They are in their early 30s, yet continue to work. The way they still work and the drive they have keeps me motivated."

Steve Blake and Matt Barnes find themselves in new colors, and in new cities, but neither have found the transition to be too difficult. Blake, whose last championship came with the University of Maryland Terrapins in 2002, spent the summer doing a variety of workouts. "I worked as hard this summer as I have always worked. I started my mornings in the weight room doing plyometrics. Then I would take a break, eat lunch then get back to basketball; two-a-days pretty much every day."

Blake said it has not taken him long to adapt the triangle offense or Los Angeles lifestyle.

"It has been a pretty smooth transition. I appreciate the focus on the team and the offense rather than individual skills," he said.

Matt Barnes, who is notorious for his passion, saw his 2009-2010 season extend longer than ever before. "I went to the Eastern Conference Finals [with the Magic] last year, which went to the end of May. This year I took a little more time off to let my body heal. In years past I got to work a little sooner. I'm thrilled to be part of great team that has won two championships in a row, so I'm just trying to fit in."

While Pat Riley patented the term three-peat, Phil Jackson owns it. This year the Lakers embark on a journey to make history and reclaim their title with a rejuvenated roster and a focus on fitness.

The back-to-back NBA Champion Lakers and Anthem Blue Cross have teamed up to educate the community about the importance of physical fitness and nutrition in an effort to help fight child obesity and encourage all fans to be fit for life.

The Lakers Fit for Life Webpage will provide you with various resources to get you started with your commitment to lead a happy, healthy and active lifestyle. Make sure to visit periodically for new fitness tips, healthy recipes, exclusive player editorials, photos, videos and more.

Check out features from the 2009-10 season.