LeBron James' Supplements List (Secrets of an NBA Icon)

James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Published by James Cunningham, BSc, CPT | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: February 1, 2024
FACT CHECKED by Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
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With four NBA championships, four MVP Awards, and two Olympic gold medals, LeBron James stands out as a remarkable player in the history of the NBA.

One thing he's done to unleash his full potential on the basketball court is diligently adhering to a rigorous regimen consisting of a strict diet, a meticulous workout routine, and a carefully curated selection of supplements.

Intrigued by his commitment to optimizing his athletic performance, I spent several months of thorough research.

Then, I teamed up with a dietitian to examine LeBron James' supplement list, shedding light on the scientific basis behind its efficacy and how it contributes to his continuous reign as a top-tier athlete.

Lebron James' Supplement Stack

Close up shot of supplement pills of lebron james

Supplements that James Lebron takes are plant-based protein, pre-workout supplements, hydration supplements, green supplements, and plant-based protein shakes.

1. Plant-Based Protein

James LeBron takes Ladder's 100% plant-based protein with pea protein.

This supplement was formulated by LeBron and Arnold Schwarzenegger with the help of top fitness and health experts for professional athletes.

It contains protein, including: 

  • Branched-based amino acids (BCAA) - Research by the National Institute of Health (NIH) has shown that incorporating quality BCAAs into one's supplement routine can effectively alleviate the discomfort associated with delayed onset muscle soreness [1].
  • Essential amino acids (EAAs) - Research by NIH has demonstrated that EAAs may help support performance and prevent muscle fatigue [2].
  • Colony forming units (CFUs) - According to ScienceDirect, this supplement has two billion CFUs to support protein absorption and enhance gut health [3].

2. Pre-Workout - Ladder Pre-workout

Close up shot of pre-workout Ladder

LeBron James uses Ladder Pre-Workout to increase his energy and improve mental focus and concentration during intense workouts.

This supplement is a mix of green tea leaf extract and the following: 

  • L-citrulline - According to NIH supplementing with L-citrulline may reduce fatigue and improve concentration immediately after physical activity [4].
  • Creatine - As noted by NIH, good creatine supplementation is proven to increase strength gains and the performance of high-intensity exercises [5].
  • Beta-alanine - While supplementing with quality beta-alanine does not increase strength, according to study from the National Library of Medicine (NLM), it may delay fatigue and improve high-intensity anaerobic performance [6,7].
  • L-theanine - Research by NIH has proven that l-theanine may promote mental health, decrease stress-related symptoms, and improve sleep quality problems [8].
  • Caffeine - As noted in a study from NLM, it may impact the central nervous system and improve how long muscles can keep going during intense exercise before getting tired by about 5 minutes [9].

“Because of its ability to stimulate the central nervous system, caffeine may increase metabolism by up to 11% and fat burning by up to 13%. Practically speaking, consuming 300 mg of caffeine per day may allow you to burn an extra 79 calories daily.”

- Alina Petre, Dietitian

3. Hydration Supplement

Close up shot of hydration supplements

LeBron James uses Ladders’ Sport Hydration to maximize hydration and support his active lifestyle.

This supplement contains:

  • Sodium - A study in NLM notes that, athletes must consume 300–600 mg/h to prevent muscle cramps and hyponatremia [10].
  • Calcium - Calcium has been scientifically proven to be vital in promoting strong and healthy bones. Additionally, according to the Harvard Scool of Medicine, it plays a crucial role in blood clotting and facilitating muscle contractions [11].
  • Magnesium - According to NIH, this vital mineral is intricately involved in various essential processes such as energy metabolism, cardiorespiratory function, and muscle actions [12].
  • Potassium - Adequate potassium supplementation may help athletes reduce muscle cramping and fatigue.

“Potassium is one of the most important minerals in the body. It helps regulate fluid balance, muscle contractions, and nerve signals. What’s more, a high-potassium diet may help reduce blood pressure and water retention, protect against stroke, and prevent osteoporosis and kidney stones.”

- Ryan Raman, Health Editor

4. Green Supplement

Close up shot of green supplements

LeBron James takes Ladders’ Sport Superfood Greens containing nutrients that help keep him healthy.

Some of them are:

  • Spirulina - A study from Frontiers in Nutrition shows that it may increase oxygen uptake and improve exercise tolerance [13].
  • Matcha - As noted by NIH, regular matcha intake positively affects physical and mental health [14].
  • Rhodiola root - As per a study from NLM, it has been associated with potential benefits such as reducing oxidative stress, alleviating muscle pain and injury, enhancing skeletal muscle recovery during training, and improving explosive power in athletes [15].
  • Vitamin D - According to NIH, adequate vitamin D intake is crucial for athletes to minimize the risk of stress fractures, acute illnesses, and suboptimal muscle function [16].
  • Zinc - Research from NIH notes that maintaining an appropriate level of zinc is crucial for elite athletes to prevent conditions such as anorexia, significant body weight loss, latent fatigue with reduced endurance, and the risk of osteoporosis [17].
  • Vitamin B (B1, B2, B3, B6, B12) - Insufficient B vitamins can impact an individual's exercise performance. These essential vitamins play a critical role in facilitating the release of energy within the body by supporting the metabolism of fats, carbs, and proteins [18].

5. Whey Protein

Close up shot of whey protein

LeBron James takes Ladder's 100% whey protein isolate after training so that his body can use protein o muscle building.

This supplement is formulated with the following: 

  • Whey protein - As per a study by NIH, supplementing with whey protein enhances anabolism and improves recovery after intense workouts [19].
  • Tart cherry - Research from NLM has demonstrated that tart cherry positively impacts endurance exercise performance due to its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative capacity and blood flow-enhancing effects [20].

“Tart cherry juice may interact with some medications. For example, medications used to control blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Speak to your healthcare provider if you are concerned about medication interactions with tart cherry juice.”

- Kathleen M. Zelman, Nutrition Expert

Celebrity Stats

  • Age: 38
  • Height: 2.06 m
  • Weight: 113 kg
  • Waist: 36 inches
  • Chest: 46 inches

His Workout Routine

Lebron James at the gym doing a workout routine

We found that Lebron James works out seven days a week, playing basketball every single day.

Monday

  • Incline dumbbell bench presses - 3x10
  • One-arm dumbbell military presses - 3x10
  • Wide-grip lat pulldowns - 3x10
  • One-arm dumbbell rows - 3x10

Tuesday

  • Spin training - 30 minutes to an hour
  • Yoga or plyometric exercises (lunges, push-ups, step climbing, skipping, jump squats, and push-ups hops) - 30 minutes to an hour

Wednesday

  • Barbell deadlift - 4x12
  • Chin-ups - 4x12
  • Standing bicep curls - 4x12
  • Babell bent-over rows - 4x12
  • Wide grip pull-ups - 4x12
  • Wide grip push-ups - 4x12

Thursday

On Thursdays, LeBron repeats his routine on Tuesdays (yoga/plyometrics and spin).

Friday

  • Leg press - 4x12
  • Calf raises - 4x12
  • Back squat - 4x12
  • Jumping lunges - 4x12
  • Box jumps - 4x12
  • Weighted jumps - 4x12

Saturday

  • LeBron dedicates Saturdays to yoga/plyometrics and spin.

Sunday

Close up shot of a bedside table

During the off-season, LeBron designates Sundays as his rest days, prioritizing adequate hydration.

On this particular day, he places special emphasis on maintaining optimal hydration levels.

Additionally, he uses a cryotherapy chamber and hyperbaric chamber as part of his recovery routine, aiding his body in recuperating from the demands of the previous week.

“I have trained my body to excellence. I push it as hard as I can and rely on science to make sure I let no stone unturned in maximizing what I can do.”

- James LeBron, Basketball Player

His Workout Principles

LeBron James' workout principles focus on a holistic approach to fitness, emphasizing strength, endurance, agility, and recovery.

He incorporates high-intensity interval training (HIIT) for cardiovascular health and explosiveness, and strength training for muscle building and injury prevention.

LeBron also prioritizes flexibility and agility exercises, enhancing his on-court mobility.

Core workouts are a staple, ensuring stability and balance.

Nutrition plays a crucial role, with a diet rich in lean proteins, vegetables, and healthy carbs.

Recovery is equally important, involving adequate sleep, hydration, and practices like cryotherapy and foam rolling.

LeBron's regimen is about maintaining peak physical condition and longevity in his career.

His Diet Plan

Close up shot of a healthy diet

LeBron follows a meticulously designed diet plan that contributes to his success.

His dietary choices prioritize whole foods, ensuring he nourishes his body with the proper nutrients for optimal performance.

Here is a breakdown of LeBron James' robust diet plan:

  • Breakfast - Egg sandwich, avocado, whole-grain muffin, fruit, and low-fat Greek yogurt smoothie. This combination provides a balanced mix of protein, healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, and essential vitamins.
  • Snack - LeBron incorporates a protein shake as a mid-morning snack. This helps repair and rebuild his muscles while providing a convenient and easily digestible source of protein.
  • Lunch - LeBron typically eats chicken breast, pasta, and superfood greens for his midday meal. This selection offers a quality protein source, energizing carbohydrates, and a variety of essential nutrients from nutrient-dense greens.
  • Snack - LeBron stays fueled throughout the day by snacking fruits or taking vitamins. These choices provide him with additional vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to support his health and well-being.
  • Dinner - LeBron opts for salmon, vegetables, quinoa, and olive oil. His dinner plate often features salmon, vegetables, quinoa, and olive oil. Salmon is a good source of protein, while vegetables and quinoa provide fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Late-night snack - His late-night snack consists of a veggie omelet and turkey bacon. This combination offers a satisfying and protein-rich option while keeping the intake of high-fat foods in check.

Can You Train Like LeBron James?

If you aspire to model your routine after LeBron James, there are certain aspects you can certainly emulate, such as his diet, supplement stack, and workout regimen.

While nutrition and training are most important, incorporating quality supplements can also be beneficial.

While you may not achieve the same level of athleticism as LeBron, it is worth paying attention to his approach.

If your goal is to build muscle and strength like him, you may also consider trying one of the proven pre-workout supplements listed below:

Drawing from our expertise, these supplements can enhance your energy levels, boost endurance, and assist you in pushing through your limits.


References:

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30938579/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6107748/
  3. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2772502222001457 
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC475986 
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12701815/
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20479615/
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17136505/
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6836118/
  9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8904583/
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8955583/
  11. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/calcium/
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5622706/
  13. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnut.2022.1048258/full
  14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7796401/
  15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9021834/
  16. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7071499/
  17. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11475319/
  18. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/327166
  19. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5537849/
  20. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31986108/
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About The Author

James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
James Cunningham, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Sport & Exercise Science from University of Hertfordshire. He's a Health & Performance Coach from London that brings a unique blend of academic knowledge of health supplements and practical exercise experience to the table for his readers.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC is an ex-National Soccer player turned MMA and Kickboxing champion, with ACE CPT and PN1-NC certifications. His advice is rooted in education and experience, ensuring that readers receive scientific and battle-tested insights. His mission is to empower his clients and readers to realize their potential and become the best versions of themselves.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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