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. You can find the transcript of this episode here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

#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]


The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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24 Replies to “LeBron James and His Top-Secret Trainer, Mike Mancias (#349)”

  1. That’s great, dude! Legit best sports story, can’t wait to listen. I believe a movie could be made starring Steve carrel as LeBron James.

  2. These type of episodes will definitely get a lot of attention and comments – if not here, at least on social media.

    For whoever is first reading the comments first, podcast starts at around the 9:50 mark.

    A great podcast episode and I’m sure everyone agrees that it would be nice to also have a full episode podcast, maybe in the summer.

    ~ Felix

  3. You got one of the best athletes of all time LeBron James! Thank you Tim! I’m won’t lie, I’m disappointed it’s under an hour. I really think a 1on1 3 hour conversation is needed for such a prolific awe inspiring individual.

  4. 1) Hearing, firsthand, Lebron’s intimate portrayal of his values and mind, body, spirit awareness and life balance/training regime.

    2) Understanding the Intention behind LJ’s tattoo

    3) the love and respect he has for his Mother

    4) knowing we share a favorite (Teddy) quote

    5) observing as you respectfully ‘tiptoed’ through the interview so as to not press for information and training details LJ and his trainer had clearly made an (advanced) pact not to reveal. What finesse (and respect) you demonstrated, Tim. Great podcast!

  5. MY favorites quotes that have a lot of meaning to me and the lessons I learned from this episode that I will be applying in my life:

    I’ve been very consistent with the process. I’ve been very consistent with training my body. – LeBron James

    The number one thing for me is always been remain consistent, remain consistent through the ups and downs and everything in between. – Mike Mancias

    Sleeping is when the body heal itself so it’s very very important. – Mike Mancias

    Thank you for this episode Tim! These lessons are exactly what I just need in my life right now.

  6. A phenomenal quote by Theodore Roosevelt is mentioned in this episode.

    ““It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

  7. Great interview. I am a big LeBron fan! It was enlightening to hear how dedicated he is to process and rituals for success. Consistency is King!

  8. Thank you Tim, you provide content and insight that I believe is unmatched. LeBron James is unmatched as an athlete/leader/human that inspires millions of kids/people around the world and what a smart move to bring in his trainer to give everyone a closer look into his life. To add to the organic, clean, plant based portion of the interview, there is a startup out of NYC/LA that delivers extremely high quality prepared foods that a number of athletes use to supplement their own diet. Shoot me an email if you want some more info. Keep up the great work Tim.

  9. Hey Tim, thanks for making this happen. The tremendous research and prep time you put into this is very apparent and made for a very interesting interview.

  10. Tim, Thank you for another amazing interview with insights we can’t find any place else. I wrote about Lebron in the context of Joseph Campell’s mythology.

    If you think Lebron’s life, and this is the first time I’ve learned some of these details, he is on a true hero’s journey. An inspiration: [Moderator: blog link removed.]

  11. My favorite quote or lesson from this episode was the number of times LeBron James used the word “consistency” to explain his success. It reinforced my belief that consistency is where it’s at. I also loved how much importance was given to the quality and quantity of sleep needed to succeed.

  12. Amazing job guys! I love the content and I think the work created by Lebron and all his team is truly amazing and inspirational!

  13. Dear Tim,

    My name is Shin Kawamoto.(I’m Japanese)

    I’m a one of your fan.

    In 2009 I have met your book ‘Four our work week’ and I was very impressed.

    After that I started my company and I have started 21hour work week because of your


    Now I’m enjoying my lifestyle and I am sharing how amazing less work is for Japanese .( Of course, I’m always introducing your book.)

    You know many Japanese worker is on Heavy working.This is very serious social problem.

    But no one doubts this problem even if Government .

    So I decided to suggest new work lifestyle like you. (I wanna be little Tim)

    And recently I published the book “How to work without work”.

    It suggests less work with much contributions.

    Would it be possible to read my book and write recommendations for me?

    I need your recommendation because My book will be sold to many people.

    It is written by Japanese.

    But I will send the book that written by English.(Which email address can I send?)

    Anyway I appreciate you and your books.

    In the future I wanna be your guest on Podcast.


  14. Because you are such a lover and collector of quotations you might appreciate this free and ad-free site with 44,000 quotations, most of which you’ve probably never seen: [Moderator: link to quotationsbywomen(dot)com website removed.] Wishing you continuing success and productivity …

  15. Comparing physical training to mental training has increased my productivity by at least 50%. LeBron doesn’t run gassers until he dies everyday. I don’t need to write articles or code until my fingers don’t work.

    Moderation = Freedom

  16. Lebron is great but somehow the fact that Tim as a guy who celebrates how average he is all the time gets access to people like this is just part of how much of an ongoing inspiration he is. Just thought I’d leave that there 🙂

  17. Dude… in 2003, Basketball, and the demise of TruSan, led me to –> Thomas Isakovich –> Cindi Pham –> married with children… a stroll down memory lane for you. As for the LeBron podcast, the interview had some good moments, but some answers were vague, and felt like Mancias wanted to keep most of his secrets secret… not sharing details so the listener would curiously go research their program, and hopefully subscribe. Cheers to you though Tim… I love much of the content you present.