Kobe Bryant Loses 20 Pounds For Upcoming NBA Season

October 23, 2007

Kobe Bryant was by no means fat last year. In fact, he has been around 8-10% body fat each year of his career. So why would Kobe decide to “lean down” and purposely lose around 20 pounds, when 15 pounds of that mass is muscle?

Kobe Bryant Loses Weight
[Kobe was already lightning quick last year!]

Too Much Muscle Can Reduce Athletic Ability

Excessive muscle mass isn’t the best idea if you want to become a high level athlete. Kobe, who many people consider the best basketball player hands down, is definitely a high level athlete! The man is as athletic as they get. It is in his best interest, to have the ideal body for his sport. I guarantee you that Kobe will be much effective at this lower weight.

Many Athletes Lose Effectiveness When They Add Much Mass

Can you imagine if Michael Jordan had added 20 pounds more muscle in his playing days? Not only would he have been less effective, he would probably have been too tired to play an entire game. Excessive muscle mass is not your friend if you want to be a high level athlete. The exception would be lineman in football…although I would question how healthy it is to have the much bulk.

Excessive Muscle Taxes Your System Even When You Don’t Play Sports

Kobe lost 20 pounds for quickness as well as having more energy the entire game. Having too much muscle will drain you as well…even if you don’t play a sport. Lugging along all that extra mass is work, don’t let anyone tell you differently. When I was younger I had much more muscle mass, but decided to lose it when I didn’t feel healthy and energetic anymore. Ask any guy who has been big…you will “feel” better at a slimmer size!

Excessive Muscle is Impractical on Many Levels

I believe I have a good point of view when it comes to viewing muscle mass. I have lifted for over 20 years and was a pretty darn big guy for the first 10 years. I leaned down after asking myself what the point was. I dropped over 35 pounds over two years by focusing on cardio and eating a normal amount of protein…most of this was muscle. Once I got to a normal weight, I just felt better and my looks improved. When you gain too much muscle the look of your face changes as well. When I leaned out and slimmed down my face looked better.

Many Young Guys Want to Get Big

I’m not putting you guys down, I have taken the road you are about to travel. If you want to get big and bench 315 and have massive legs I know exactly how you are feeling…just know one thing…there are guys with better insight who are leaner, feel better, can fit into suits and look GQ. Guess what, more women find these guys attractive than the guys obsessed on being big.

With Age Comes Wisdom

A lot of bigger guys, decide to slim down at some point after lifting for 10+ years. I’m certainly not unique in my progression. I know many young guys can’t even believe that someone wouldn’t want to gain as much muscle as possible. Many, many guys reading this don’t have the wisdom yet to understand what I’m talking about…that is fine. A small percentage of young guys will be able to use reason against their raging hormones and understand that it isn’t in their best interest to get big.

Women Have Been “Trying” to Tell Us This for Years

Although not every guy will “get” the point I’m trying to make, I assure you that 90% of women completely understand the point I’m making with this post. Every major poll shows that women prefer men of average size, but with decent tone. Study after study, decade after decade…at some point it isn’t a fluke. This shouldn’t be your only reason for slimming down, but it a nice side benefit for sure!

Note: Sorry if people thought this was strictly a Kobe Bryant post. I like to tie in sports with fitness philosophies. I’m a HUGE NBA fan, but I am author of a fitness site so I wanted to stay with the proper subject matter. If you are an NBA fan, do you think Kobe is better than Michael Jordan was…or even close? I’m one of the few people who thinks Kobe is a better offensive player than Jordan was, but not as good overall.

----> (New) Facebook Comments..."Cause all the cool kids are doin' it!"

{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

mido October 23, 2007 at 7:18 am

I’m actually trying to think of any women I’ve ever heard say they prefer guys bigger and can’t really think of any. If they mention famous guys who are on the bigger side they’re usually still in proportion with their height, like The Rock or someone who’s had a period of athleticism.

admin October 23, 2007 at 10:10 am

Mido,

Yeah, there are definitely a few bigger guys that women find attractive, but like you said…they prefer the average sized guys for the most part.

Rusty

Jackson October 23, 2007 at 2:52 pm

Watch some Kobe clips. Then watch some old Jordan clips. See which ones give you goosebumps.

(Hint…23…Air Jordan)

fitmom October 23, 2007 at 2:59 pm

Hi, my husband and i have talked about this a lot and i always tell him women prefer fit and slim guys. my girlfriends all agree.
Anyway, what is the best way to lose the last 5 pounds of flab. Should i alternate every other day of low calorie with also doing the warrior diet. I run 40 minutes 3 times a week. i truly hate weight lifting, so i’d prefer not to do that (it’s negotiable, i guess!) I do the warrior diet, and keep my calories around 1700. I’m thinking i need to cut this down to around 1200-1400. I gained 65 pounds when i got pregnant b/c i stopped running and was so nauseous that all i ate was bagels and bread. I have lost 60 pounds, and am stuck with the love handles and the lower belly flab. i hate it. I just order the Anti Estrogenic Diet b/c i heard that addressed women’s problem areas.
Any advice?

Johnson October 24, 2007 at 2:38 am

MAN I LOVE BASKETBALL!!

kobe bryant is such an athlete…i reckon basketballers in the NBA have the best physiques….very “defined” and low body fat!

I think kobe bulked up ALOT during 05 and 06…he looks bigger and thicker…

MJ was an athlete..the reason he could jump so high i reckon was because his legs were strong, genes AND HE WAS AT 4% BF!!!!

please do more articles on NBA players and anything thing related to them!!!

thanks

admin October 24, 2007 at 9:54 am

Fitmom,

Just like you mentioned, you probably just need to cut the calories back a bit. If you are doing the warrior diet, then it should be pretty easy to hit the 1,200 calorie mark. Once you reach your target weight, then you could be a bit more lenient.

Rusty

admin October 24, 2007 at 9:57 am

Johnson,

Basketball players do have great physiques. And Jordan was amazing no doubt. I have to be careful to not do too many sports articles, but the NBA is my favorite professional sport to watch, so I will naturally do more articles on the NBA compared to the other professional sports.

Rusty

Robert October 27, 2007 at 6:45 pm

Hey Rusty…..i was wondering what kinda green tea you drink. The ones i have are the lipton tea green tea and they are not particularly tasty. Do you add splenda to urs or are you getting some other kind?

admin October 27, 2007 at 7:41 pm

Robert,

I drink the Lipton kind as well. I just drink it plain. To be honest, if you don’t like Green Tea, black tea is good for you as well. The thing about green tea is that more long-term studies have been done on it, but if you can’t stand green tea…try some other types of tea.

Rusty

Eric Jones October 30, 2007 at 1:15 am

Hi Robert.
Try Matcha from an asian market. It is Japanese green tea powder using the whole leaf
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matcha

Vita-Matcha-Green-Powder-Snack

Please do not use boiling water. The boiling water will cook the tea and ruin the flavor, and if you steep tea leaves too long the tea will become bitter.

In addition:
University of Colorado researchers determined the amount of catechins and EGCG found in matcha green tea and compared it with other varieties including Chinese green tea. Results indicated that the concentration of EGCG available from drinking matcha is 137 times greater than the amount of EGCG available from China Green Tips green tea, and at least three times higher than the largest literature value for other green teas.

Enjoy.

admin October 30, 2007 at 2:28 am

Eric,

Awesome info…I love it when other readers add to the mix. I have never heard of matcha green tea…I’ll have to give it a try.

Rusty

Roger November 4, 2007 at 6:52 pm

Awesome article! I also love watching the NBA, and I actually play basketball 5-7 days a week. Anyway, I am 18 yrs old, 5’9, 171 lbs. What should be my target weight? And could you suggest a specific workout routine and diet? I would love to have Kobe’s physique. I’d probably be a lot more effective out on the basketball court too. Thanks!

admin November 6, 2007 at 10:36 am

Roger,

If you are 5’9″ and want to play basketball, I would recommend being a bit lighter…maybe drop 10 pounds.

The focus for you now should be on cardio. Here is a great way to lighten up and increase your ability to sprint in the same workout.

A Cardio Workout That Forces Your Body to Burn Fat

As far as eating goes…keep it simple. Eat around 1,600 calories per day, but don’t eat anything 4-5 hours before your workout.

Hope that helps!

Rusty

Roger November 8, 2007 at 3:13 am

Do I have to eat healthy for the big meal in the evening or can I eat whatever I want so long as I don’t exceed the 1600 calorie count?

J.L January 8, 2008 at 11:04 am

Hi Rusty,
I really Liked how you explained how kobe loses weight to have a better perfomance in his basketball carreer.
Now although I’m not an proffesional sportsman, I also like to train to look great and feel great and be good in different sports, like fitness,basketball,football and cycling.
Now Since last september i have bulked up and gained 15 pounds.
I feel good about my body proportions, it’s now time to cut and stay cut forever. I want to lose about 7 pounds and hopefully most will be fat.
I do Weight training 4 times a week for 1 hour and 20 minutes aprox.
and I was thinking of doing cardio 5times a week to loose the last fat, I have the most fat on my legs and Under abs.
My fat percentage is 10.5%, @ 9% I would be satisfied.
Right now you can see my 4 upper abs, but the 2 last you can’t see because of the little fat layer on it.
So you think i’m doing a good approach?
4 times weight training
5 times cardio for 25 minutes max 30 minutes, after the weight training.
a protein shake after my cardio workout to not lose any weight.
my nutrition is good I always eat a lot of vegetables/proteins in food like chicken/eggs and tuna and fruit and I have a cheat day once’s a week.
So I just wanted to know your feedback about it.

Thanks,

Greetings,

J.L

admin January 9, 2008 at 1:24 am

J.L,

What I would do is I was you is to almost what you described, but shorten the lifting part of your workout to around 45 minutes…60 minutes tops. Then follow it up with 30-45 minutes of cardio. Bottom line is that you don’t want to spend much more than 1 hour and 30 minutes in the gym. I actually think you could probably do a good weight lifting workout in 30 minutes, but that may be too drastic of a change for now. Also…do that workout on an empty stomach to maximize the release of your natural fat burning hormone (HGH)…this will also utilize the protein in your protein shake after your workout.

That should work extremely well,

Rusty

smack daddy April 13, 2008 at 9:45 pm

I don’t have a lot of muscle mass for chicks. I’m married and couldn’t care less what all the hoes out there think. Firstly, a 315 bench is a complete joke. That’s not a strong guy. I bench 550 RAW. Secondly, when I’m in the local college gym and it’s full of basketball players playing rap music, and I yell out “turn that s@$! down now boy” and I watch these players scramble to turn it down, I feel good and powerful. That’s why I have muscle mass. That’s why I seek to be as big and strong as possible. It’s f’n awesome.

admin April 14, 2008 at 12:11 am

smack daddy,

If you told me to turn the music down, I’d probably turn it up. Then run for my life, because if you caught me I’d be toast 🙂

I’m a lover not a fighter,

Rusty

PS: Good thing I’m fast as lightning!

Frank May 31, 2008 at 12:25 am

Rusty,

Thank you so much for posting this among others. It really does go to show that the ideal performing body is not what most young men have in mind when they go to the gym. In college I would always see people straining their vertebrae in the gym to lift what was definitely more than they should be trying to bulk up asap, and prepping protein shakes etc. I was caught in that mindset briefly in high school but i’ve realized for a while now that feeling light, having energy and having functional athleticism is far and away more rewarding! i look forward to learning a lot more from your site man.

Frank

Frank May 31, 2008 at 12:26 am

oh yeah, and i’m a big kobe fan… hope he gets one without shaq!

admin June 1, 2008 at 3:03 am

Frank,

Kobe is delivering big-time! I did this post right before the NBA season, so I have proof that I’m not just jumping on the bandwagon. Nobody thought the Lakers were going to the finals when the season started. I’m so glad I don’t have to watch San Antonio in the finals again…they are an incredible team, but kind of dull.

If young b’ballers are reading this post…don’t bulk up! Seriously, stay lean and explosive.

Rusty

charles June 5, 2008 at 12:49 pm

I’m a big NBA fan and have always been active in the sport. My question is my son wants to know what workouts work best to develope his calf muscles. He really likes the way Ray Allen calf muscles are developed. Can you help?

charles June 5, 2008 at 12:54 pm

Do you have any workout information that these NBA players use? I know these guys have trainers but I would like to pattern a workout from one of the greats say a Kobe, Micheal or Kevin Garnett. I also think Ray Allen is one of the top fittest guys in the NBA.

admin June 5, 2008 at 8:43 pm

Charles,

You know what really gets these guys in great shape? Actually playing basketball. Seriously, I know it is too simple of an answer, but it is true. It is like an intense interval cardio session on and off for 48 minutes.

A great exercise to develop calves while building endurance and working the “leaping muscle” is jumping rope. Here is an article on that:

Jump Rope Workout

Rusty

Josh June 28, 2008 at 6:08 pm

dwight howard and lebron both have very high verticals they hit the weights hard they te. Dwight Howard the best big man in the leauge. Lebron second best player to Kobe in the league what do you have to say to that.

admin June 29, 2008 at 5:09 am

Josh,

Some of the weight training is just for these guys to have the size to post up. They just need to have the weight to body up to the big guys. Both of these guys were “jumping out of the gym” long before they put on all of that size.

I’m a HUGE NBA fan…it is by far my favorite sport to watch (even though I suck at basketball). Check out this video of Team USA Warming up and having fun…Number 17 is Dwight and Number 6 is Lebron…both wearing dark jerseys. The kids taping this are going nuts! I think Team USA should do well this year. Ridiculous talent!

Good comments as always,

Rusty

ChuenSeng July 1, 2008 at 7:00 am

I’m a huge Lakers fan. pity they couldn’t beat boston in the finals. gotta admit boston were the better team. I guess the team really missed andrew bynum and the young team folded under pressure. looking forward to the olympics!

admin July 3, 2008 at 3:10 am

ChuenSeng,

Boston was amazing. I’m a huge Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett fan, so I was pumped they finally got to win a championship!

Rusty

big man on campus November 21, 2008 at 10:14 pm

you’ve a good point, but is there any scientific proof that added muscle hypertrophy reduces muscular/cardiovascular endurance?? i can’t imagine lebron james being more effective if he trimmed down the muscle from 260 to say 230 or dwight howard either and he’s got delts the size of cannonballs (you’d at least have to agree with me that big men would need the added mass for such a physical position)

all i’ve ever been told is strengthening my muscles will INCREASE my performance, and if they grow so be it.
are you suggesting kobe’s still getting stronger while losing the weight or…?

Avin January 12, 2009 at 12:16 am

Hey,

Awesome article! I love watching the NBA and i actually play basketball 4-6 days a week. Anyway, I am 18 yrs old and I’m 6’5 in hight and i weigh 95 kgs.
What should be my target weight and could you suggest a physique. i’d probably be a lot more effective out on the basketball court too, oh and another thing what do you actually mean by doing more cardio.

Thanks,

Avin

Keenan January 29, 2009 at 11:37 am

KObe Bryant is better hands down jordan shot when he had to he mostly drove to the basket kobe does both to where no one on the floor can stop him point blank

Keenan January 29, 2009 at 11:41 am

Man Jordan did all that when the nba defensive was garbage Kobe is doen all that now when the pro level is at it’s best look what happen to Jordan when he came back it was way to much for him. JUST KEEPING IT REAL

Frank May 11, 2009 at 8:56 pm

Big man on campus,
I hope Rusty doesn’t mind me responding to you as well, but my opinion of adding muscle and athletic performance in high activity sports like basketball is that added muscle is good…. to a degree. just because you have muscle hypertrophy definitely does not mean your performance will suffer. Like Rusty says a lot, you want to have excellent strength and enough muscle for you to have maximum mobility in sports and life. If you look at a guy like lebron and his skeletal frame vs. a guy like kobe, lebron is naturally the much bigger guy ( 2 inches taller, bigger head, wider shoulders and torso, etc.).
I agree big guys like Dwight Howard do need to add more mass to deal with getting knocked around every night, but Dwight I think actually has trouble with his free throws in part because he’s got too much muscle above his chest.
As for lebron… i don’t have a whole lot to say other than he’s just a physical freak, i thik he was born on krypton or something lol. But seriously, from what i read on lebron his muscle growth has been all natural, he doesn’t do much heavy lifting, just yoga and bodyweight strength training, ball work and running. He’s just a naturally big guy since he was 6-8 240 lbs at age 17-18, when he didn’t even condition very seriously. Hope that helps.

Mikel June 28, 2009 at 7:06 pm

Know I’m replying to an old post, but had to add my thoughts. First off a couple of things. Basketball players should not focus on cardio training. They do not jog, they sprint then rest then sprint…. That is how they should train. It is a totally different energy and muscle system, and focussing on cardio will actually make some of their explosive muscle fibers cross over and become less powerfull. Look at 100m runners, they are almost always huge. More size = the potential to produce more power as long as the right type of training is done once that size has been achieved (strength, power, and plyometrics).
I agree that having too musch muscle can limit certain movements such as shooting, but I don’t think many people would tell us that Kobe was struggling to shoot the ball! As far as why Kobe lost the weight, I’d say part of it might be to reduce the load on his joints, although some of it may well be a mental thing. Who knows, I’d be really interested to hear what his trainers recommended though.

Chris Conklin June 23, 2010 at 4:57 pm

This is a missleading article. As a personal trainer I train athleates for diffrent sports and they need diffrent body types masses and abilities. Of cours a basketball player like Kobe doesnt want to have too much mass but a Running back or other sports may need mass. Thck legs shoulders and arms are a must for most football positions. It also depends on how you train that muscle if you keep it flexible and train it for speed and quickness. Id like to see Kobe run through the middle pf a defensive line and then tell him he doent need muscle mass. Its good info for a Basketball player but get it right dont blanket all athleates with this article.

Peter May 31, 2011 at 11:33 pm

This is the most misleading, nonfactual articles on muscle mass I’ve read in a while.
1) Look at an olympic weightlifter, not only are they extremely strong, they are also considered to be the second most flexible athletes in the olympics.
2) Strength has a huge factor in sports, even in basketball, Pau Gasol would be a much more dominant player if he was stronger, just look at his much stronger and bigger brother marc.
3) Look at Dirk as he improved his strength (and mass also) he became a much more dominant player.
4) There are many ladies that perfer larger stronger men and there are many ladies that like skinny emo kids, and there are also women that are into abusive men, so that’s not really a valid point.
wow this is the oldest article i’ve ever replied to

Charles Okoh October 6, 2011 at 11:49 pm

Because Kobe dropped 20lbs he’ll be able to jump higher which is important for his jumpshot.

josephus jabbie November 5, 2011 at 11:00 am

This is very true i remember those days when i was average size everything felt good i had more energy on the court i was faster never ran out of energy fast either it was the best feeling ever and last year i decided to workout alot and take some weight gainer protein shakes and put on a little muscle mass i did gain at list 20 pounds or more and i felt like shit on the court with all that muscle i always ran out of energy faster i was getting tired really fast and also not able to last for as long on the court i regret it now now i am looking on dropping that 20 pounds or more on me so i can feel as good as i use to. i am very glad and appreciated that i read this post.

Rodney B. Jackson January 5, 2015 at 6:09 am

I agree with Rusty on this one. I’ve trained and ate in a bodybuilding style for about 20 yes now I’m trying to lose some of my bulky muscles for a leaner body.

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