Q&A with Kevin Love
The NBA champion shares his fitness routine, favorite book genre, and more.
As a five-time All-Star for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Kevin Love faces many of the same challenges as everyday athletes. Case in point: he also has to stay positive in the face of injury recovery. The 29-year-old recently broke his hand and has to take some time off. But he isn’t letting his recent setback keep him on the couch. “Ten years ago you may have found me wallowing, but I’ve found ways to make the best of it,” says Love, who is using his time to focus on getting in plenty of cardio. He’s also working with a nutritionist whom he credits for increasing his energy level and physical abilities.
Here, Love discusses why he added more calories to his diet, the latest in his training routines, and how he takes care of his mental health.
For more from the power forward, check out his wellness essentials.
Do you have a secret for working through an injury?
I try to be optimistic about it. Just knowing that it is going to heal and that it could be worse is what really helps to get me through it. Plus, we have great trainers with the Cavs that will help me stay in shape and keep my head right.
Speaking of the mental aspect, how to you keep your head in the game?
I think it’s about finding a healthy balance and a lot of that is actually diet. I’m working with G-Plans, a company that bases what you eat around your metabolic type. But it also helps to do yoga and make sure that I'm sleeping enough throughout the season; we are so sleep-deprived when traveling and playing so many games.
How do your workouts differ in the off-season?
Off-season, I feel like you are always trying to add something new, whether it’s on the court or not. It could be something as simple as tweaking your diet or building a stronger base heading into training camp. That varies and your energy level is going to be a little different. During the season, it’s more so airing on the side of maintenance, just making sure that your upper body is strong and your lower body is flexible.
What does the morning after a game look like for you?
It depends on several factors such as how many games we’ve had that week or how many minutes I’ve played. Our sports performance directors personalize the recovery for each individual player and let us know how much time we should spend lifting, doing drills, or when to prioritize physical therapy treatments.
What’s your regeneration routine?
I get regular massages and take hot and cold baths. I’ll spend time in hyperbaric chambers and do a lot of stretching. There is yoga available for us at our facility. We also have a cryosauna and are in the process of getting a float tank.
What’s the biggest change that your nutritionist made in your diet?
You would never believe it, but they actually upped my calories. They told me to add in 1,200 calories and I said, ‘Are you kidding me?’ I thought I was eating enough, but by adding in extra calories of the right stuff I was able to lower my body fat percentage and get to the exact weight that helps me perform at a high level.
How do you motivate yourself to exercise when you’re not feeling it?
It’s deciding between what you want now and what you want most. And what I want most is to be at the top of my game when it’s needed and be there for my team.
We’re hearing a lot about female body empowerment lately, but why is it important for men to love their bodies as well?
I decided to pose nude for ESPN The Magazine because I believe that it’s important for both men and women to be comfortable in their bodies above all else. And I think style can play a role by helping you feel confident, which is something I'm passionate about.
How do you express yourself through fashion?
The NBA and walking into arenas has basically become like a runway. So you can express yourself and you get to show who you are and what you’re about by what you wear. For me, this is a lot of fun even off the court. It all started three years ago when I began working with Banana Republic. I became their global brand ambassador in 2016 for men’s and now I get to work on my own capsule collection. It’s very me.
Do you have any other hidden talents or passions?
I love music, especially old-school rock. This is going to sound boring but I read a lot of books on the road. I love autobiographies and finding out what makes people tick. I’m currently reading Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen, which is pretty cool. I actually bought the audiobook because he’s the one narrating and the hard copy so that I can make little notes in the book to help me remember and learn.
What inspires you to stay fit and healthy?
I’ve been on the other side of the spectrum when I was younger where I wasn’t the healthiest kid. I would eat until I was stuffed. I wasn’t really paying attention to what was going into my body. I started working with my nutritionist and that really changed my life. Going forward that is something that is also a hobby of mine that I’ll dip my toe into: the health and wellness and fitness world.