If LeBron James Needs Rest and Recovery, You Probably Do Too

Hustle culture isn’t doing you any favors

Niklas Göke
Forge
Published in
7 min readApr 9, 2019

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Photo: Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

LLeBron James told the productivity guru Tim Ferriss on his show that he sleeps eight or nine hours each night. Sometimes 10. If the basketball star can’t get that stretch in at night, he’ll catch up with a two-hour nap.

And it’s not just sleep that’s vital to James’ regime: As he chatted with Ferriss, you could hear some rustling in the background. His trainer of 15 years, Mike Mancias, explained that the athlete was applying ice to his knees.

“Recovery never stops,” Mancias said. That’s the sentence to remember.

“If LeBron plays 40 minutes one night, if he plays 28 minutes one night,” said Mancias, “we’re still going to keep recovery as our number one focus, whether that be in nutrition, whether that be in hydration, more flexibility exercises, stuff in the weight room. It’s a never-ending process, really. And I think that’s the approach that we must take in order for us to be successful.”

James isn’t the only top athlete who’s obsessive about quality shut-eye. Usain Bolt, Venus Williams, Maria Sharapova, and Steve Nash also cite lots of sleep as crucial to their performance. It’s obvious that sleep is essential — not just for physically demanding activities like sports, but also for knowledge work and creative professions.

But sleep, and the lack of it, isn’t the only issue. Rest and recovery are also key — and not just for professional athletes. We all know how tough it can be to host a long meeting, or how exhausted we are after hours of creativity. So, why are we so reluctant to give ourselves the time we need to recover?

Sleep is still a hard sell

It’s not just that we can’t stand the idea of working less in order to sleep more — it’s working less for any reason at all that petrifies us. This deeply embedded cult of busy isn’t something you can combat with a long vacation and a few pills. It requires a huge shift in societal attitudes and awareness.

Our hunter-gatherer ancestors “worked” about 3 to 5 hours per day. Many people today could probably get away with less work than that to ensure their survival, yet we keep busting our…

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Niklas Göke
Forge
Writer for

I write for dreamers, doers, and unbroken optimists. Read my daily blog here: https://nik.art/