Interview with NBA/WNBA FIT Team Member Caron Butler

During the NBA season, you are constantly staying active between team practices and games. What do you do during the off season to stay in shape and improve your skills for the next season?

One of the things I really like focusing on during the off-season is cycling. I like to bike ride and I do a lot of bike trails Ė 20 miles every other day. I like to do a lot of skill development Tim Groverís gym (Attack Athletics in Chicago). I work on enhancing my game. I am always looking for ways to get better.

When you were growing up, how important was it for you to stay active and play sports? What sports did you play?

I played football and was an avid bike rider. I also liked to skateboard. I did it all - playing AAU basketball and traveling. I really tried to do a little bit of everything, stay busy and keep occupied.

During a basketball game or a workout, you sweat a lot. How important is it to drink plenty of water, not just during your workout or game, but all throughout the day?

I think that it is very important to stay hydrated and keep water in your body. When you exert yourself out there on the court, you can have dehydration issues, cramping and tightness and it limits your performance. So, it is very important to have a lot of fluids in your body.

With such a busy travel and game schedule, how do you manage to eat healthy? What does your diet look like on a typical game day?

On a typical game day I try to get pasta in me before I take my pre-game nap. Then I get up and have a light snack - maybe a Gatorade bar. I keep it real simple. I try not to eat too heavy. I'll eat a little starch, like some bread - justsomething that will stick and hold me over through the game.

How does that help translate over to the court?

It helps out a lot because it is hard to perform with nothing in the tank. High-level athletes are just like cars Ė if youíre running on a full tank youíre going to be able to perform at a high level for a long time. If youíre running on empty, eventually youíre going to be running on fumes and you need to have something to draw from.

During a basketball game you need to be alert and focused. How does eating a healthy diet and staying active help keep your mind healthy?

It is all repetition. You hear so many people say that the majority of this game is mental: 70% mental, 30% physical. It really is. You have to develop a routine and stick with it despite having a good game or a bad game. Keep the same ritual. If youíre fatigued, thatís when you need to do even more and try harder Ė push your way through the brick wall.

When youíre tired or busy how do you motivate yourself to workout? What do you do to keep your workouts from getting boring?

If youíre a competitive person, you have to play games with yourself. After having four games in six nights or whatever the case may be, you have to challenge yourself. It is all psychological. For example, you can say the last time I came out here and did my usual routine I made 17 shots in 45 minutes. Now, let me try to not miss more than 17, or let me try to set a new record. If you play games with yourself like that, it helps.

Staying active is a lot more fun when the whole family is involved. What types of activities did you use to do with your family to stay healthy when you were a kid?

One of my biggest hobbies was roller-skating. Going to the roller rink with my mom and brother was something we did a lot of.

A healthy breakfast is a very important meal because it fuels your body with energy to help you focus and perform throughout the day. What do you eat for breakfast to get you going for the day?

It varies. When I am on the run, I usually get an ice-chilled smoothie with many healthy things in it. My chef will add bananas and other fruits to build me up and keep me feeling fresh. It is important to have a full stomach to get through the shoot-around. Then I come back and have some pasta. Otherwise, I change breakfast up and get some oatmeal, a banana and a side of egg whites and turkey bacon. I top it off with a glass of OJ.

As a basketball player you have to run up and down the court a lot. What type of exercises do you do to help build your endurance?

During the off-season I do a lot of skill work. I work on sprinting, strength and agility. I make sure my first three strides are lengthy strides. It helps me out a lot in transition.

As a professional athlete, it is very important to do your best to prevent injuries. What types of activities do you do to build strong muscle and prevent injuries that could occur on court?

I try to take care of my body as much as possible. After the game, I make sure to get treatment and get into the ice tubs. Before the game, I use the hot tub and get some stretching done. And all goes back to what you put in your body. You donít want to damage it. Your body is your temple. So, itís just taking care of your body.

It is easy to cut down on sleep when you have a busy schedule. How important is it to your body to get a solid amount of sleep every night?

Itís very important to really be on top of your game. You may even need assistance from your supporting cast to encourage you to eat healthy and to get the fluids you need. Sometimes you may backslide during the course of the season with so much going on. I am very lucky to have a great support staff.

Whatís your favorite cardio exercise?

How much can you bench press?
Over 340

Push-ups or sit-ups?

Bike or elliptical?

Swimming or running?

Water or Gatorade?

Fruits or vegetables?

Favorite fruit?

Favorite sport outside basketball?

Twitter or Facebook?