The Gameday Eating Schedule Of An NBA Player
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Like most people, Mike Muscala thinks carefully about what he eats and keeps a close eye on how much he weighs. Unlike most people, Muscala's challenge is keeping the weight that he already carries on his 6'11" frame.
On a typical game day, Muscala eats several times per day with meals 'sandwiched' around a schedule filled with shootarounds, pre-game routines and game play.
He used to be concerned with adding weight, but now says that his main goal is to maintain the weight he has.
"I'm about 238 (pounds) right now," he said. "I really realized that it wasn't about putting on weight. I think it was more about getting stronger and being more versatile. Part of my game is that I can play the 4 (power forward) and the 5 (center), and even now I've been working a little bit at 3 (small forward) in the offense. It helps me to move better on defense and to be able to move my feet better and be stronger -- and not just put on weight."
Muscala has also worked with Marie Spano, a sports nutritionist that the Hawks work with.
"She helped me a lot two summers ago," Muscala said. "She gave me sample meals that I could could base off of. And the biggest thing I learned from her was when to eat."
Muscala added that breakfast and right after games are the two most important times for him to eat. Here's a meal-by-meal breakdown of what Muscala eats on a typical day. (Since the frequency of meals makes traditional labels like 'breakfast' and 'dinner' difficult to assign, here's a breakdown by number instead.)
Meal 1, 9:00 a.m.: "For a game day, I'll get a room service breakfast at like 9 a.m.. I like omelets or sausage-and-egg biscuits or waffles or fruit.
"That's the biggest thing for me. I have to eat breakfast, and if I don't, my metabolism just isn't working and it's not good for me. I find it I miss breakfast, it's hard for me to keep weight."
Meal 2, 1:00 p.m.: "After shootaround, we have a team brunch, so I'll eat lunch there."
When at home, and often on the road, the Hawks typically do a Whole Foods catered brunch or lunch. It's a common sight after shootaround to see players headed out of Philips with a boxed lunch.
Meal 3: 4:00 p.m.: "When I wake up from my nap, I'll eat a sandwich."
Meal 4, 6:00 p.m.: "Before the game I'll have a granola bar or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich."
Meal 5 (and sometimes 6), 10:00 p.m.: "After the game, I'll have a recovery drink and dinner."
"And then when I get home, if we're at an away game, I'll have some more food right before bed."
Even though Muscala strives to keep weight on, he has to compete with the best athletes in the world, so there are a few foods he tries to avoid in the interest of adding good calories and not just empty calories.
"I've learned that it's better to eat something than not," he said, "even though it might not be the healthiest. I like staying away from white pastas. I've always been good about avoiding candy and stuff, but the biggest thing is the pasta."
Muscala noted that his weight maintenance plan is working.
"I didn't even lose weight on this road trip," he said of the Hawks' trip to Cincinnati and Jacksonville. "I think I even gained a pound."
Story by KL Chouinard