LeBron James and His Top-Secret Trainer, Mike Mancias (#349)

Photo by Eric Ray Davidson

“I try to put myself in a mental state of, ‘How do I learn from that defeat? How do I learn from that loss?’” — LeBron James

“Recovery never stops.” — Mike Mancias

This episode represents the first time that LeBron James has been interviewed alongside his very below-the-radar, some might say top-secret, athletic trainer about details of training, recovery, diet, and even how much longer he hopes to play in the NBA.

LeBron James (@KingJames) is widely considered one of the greatest athletes of his generation and regarded by some as the best basketball player of all time. James’ accomplishments on the court include four NBA Most Valuable Players Awards, three NBA Championships and three NBA Finals MVP Awards, two Olympic gold medals, and an NBA scoring title. He is the all-time NBA playoffs scoring leader and has amassed fourteen NBA All-Star game appearances, twelve All-NBA First Team selections, and five All-Defensive First Team honors.

Throughout his career, James has used his platform to inspire and empower others through his LeBron James Family Foundation that supports at-risk students in his hometown earn life-changing educations (culminating in the recent opening of his I PROMISE School); SpringHill Entertainment, the entertainment company he co-founded with Maverick Carter that produces compelling and aspirational content for a cross-cultural audience on a variety of platforms including digital, film, and television; and UNINTERRUPTED, the digital media company he and Carter co-founded that provides athletes a platform to tell their stories.

James’ diverse business portfolio of innovative endorsements and investments has established him as one of the most influential figures in all of sports. James has appeared on Forbes’ list of the world’s most powerful celebrities, TIME’s annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world, and Bloomberg BusinessWeek’s 100 Most Influential People in Sports.

LeBron, along with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Cindy Crawford, and Olympic gold medalist Lindsey Vonn, has founded Ladder, a health and wellness platform and brand launching today. The site, weareladder.com, is a resource for reaching fitness, nutrition, and health goals with tools and scientifically supported insights for addressing any frustrations or roadblocks along the way.

Mike Mancias (@mikemancias1) is LeBron James’ athletic trainer and recovery specialist, a position he’s held for 14 years and counting. A veteran in the world of training professional basketball players, his experience also includes working with NFL, MLB, PGA, and top NCAA athletes. Throughout his tenure with LeBron, Mike has quietly developed a winning human-performance blueprint that encompasses everything from preventative medicine, strength training/rehab, nutrition, and the latest in recovery techniques. Mike’s philosophy is one that is now commonly accepted by many athletes and trainers as the ideal 360-degree approach to wellness and performance. It was through this focus on nutrition to performance and recovery that Mancias aided in developing the Ladder brand and its products.

Originally from Brownsville, Texas, Mancias attended the University of Texas-Pan American and graduated with a degree in Health Education. He is licensed and nationally certified by the Accredited National Athletic Trainers Association and is a 14-year member of The National Basketball Athletic Trainers Association.

Please enjoy this interview with LeBron James and Mike Mancias!

Listen to the interview on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Overcast, or on your favorite podcast platform. 

#349: LeBron James and His Top-Secret Trainer, Mike Mancias


Want to hear my first conversation with LeBron’s business partner Arnold Schwarzenegger? — In this episode, we discuss psychological warfare and much more (stream below or right-click here to download):

#60: Tim Ferriss Interviews Arnold Schwarzenegger on Psychological Warfare (And Much More)


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QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…


  • Connect with LeBron James:

Website | LeBron James Family Foundation | I PROMISE School | Twitter | Facebook | LeBron James Family Foundation Twitter | LeBron James Family Foundation Facebook | I PROMISE School Instagram | I PROMISE School Twitter

  • Connect with Mike Mancias:

Twitter | Instagram


  • How did LeBron and Mike meet? [09:57]
  • What does Mike do to help LeBron prevent injury and recover between games? Are there any exercises he feels are crucial for injury prevention — or should be avoided as too risky? [11:41]
  • To what self-care does LeBron attribute his career longevity? [16:11]
  • Are there any particular leaders LeBron admires or looks to and studies? When did he begin leading? [17:54]
  • How has LeBron’s mother affected the way he thinks about parenting or being a father? [20:21]
  • What significance does Theodore Roosevelt’s quote about “The Man in the Arena” have for LeBron? [21:47]
  • What is Mike’s policy toward sleep as part of the recovery process — or just daily life for anyone from professional athletes to businesspeople? [23:41]
  • How does LeBron optimize his environment to get a good night’s sleep? [25:36]
  • What sleep app does LeBron recommend? [27:04]
  • What has become most important to LeBron from a health or wellness perspective as he’s become older and more seasoned? [27:32]
  • After experimenting with different diets over the years, what does LeBron’s food intake look like on a typical day currently? [29:04]
  • What are some of LeBron’s favorite wines? [30:40]
  • Food and drink that LeBron and Mike avoid. [31:53]
  • What does Mike put in LeBron’s post game protein shakes? [33:27]
  • LeBron’s self-talk in preparation for a big game — or after a hard loss. [34:37]
  • How does LeBron most effectively lead his team when things go sideways and frustration is rampant? [36:45]
  • What’s in LeBron’s pregame playlist? [38:43]
  • LeBron explains the meaning behind two of his tattoos. [39:54]
  • How does Mike support his athletes when they’re going through a difficult time — whether it’s an injury, an unexpected setback, psychologically having trouble contending with someone that has happened — on or off the court? [41:15]
  • How do Mike and LeBron’s priorities change during the offseason? [42:58]
  • What are LeBron’s favorite exercises or forms of physical recreation in the offseason? What might these workouts look like? [43:59]
  • What lessons has Mike learned about working with high caliber athletes from legendary trainer Tim Grover? [45:30]
  • LeBron and Mike tell us about their new business venture: Ladder. [48:20]
  • Why is it important that all Ladder products will be NSF (National Sanitation Foundation) certified for sport? [51:21]
  • Who is involved with Ladder, and what do they bring to the team? [52:56]
  • With the staggering number of business pitches LeBron gets every week, what makes Ladder important to him? [53:52]
  • How will Ladder’s website serve athletes and other people looking to get the most from their bodies? [55:57]
  • How many more years would LeBron like to play basketball? [58:27]
  • Parting thoughts. [59:25]