How Aussie Basketballer Aron Baynes Trains and Eats To Be At The Top Of His Game - Men's Health Magazine Australia

How Aussie Basketballer Aron Baynes Trains and Eats To Be At The Top Of His Game

Plus how he's preparing for his upcoming Olympic campaign.

Basketball veteran Aron Baynes is ready to fire for the Boomers at the Tokyo Olympics. With a fruitful career in basketball, playing a total of 522 games since he began in 2012 with the San Antonio Spurs, the 34-year-old hasn’t let anyone – especially Covid – stop his rigorous training schedule.

“I flew back to Australia a couple weeks ago from Tampa, Florida where I’ve been playing with the Toronto Raptors in what was one of the craziest seasons of my career, so right now I’m spending as much time in Brisbane with my family as possible before I head back over to the Boomer’s training camp in LA at the end of this week. Because of COVID restrictions, they won’t be able to watch any of my games in person so it doesn’t make a lot of sense for them to join me. When I’m not training I’m trying to make the most of my time with them,” he tells Men’s Health.

Following the retirement of Andrew Bogut, 34-year-old Baynes is now the Boomers most experienced big, and believes the Boomers possess the pieces to field Australia’s finest team at this year’s Tokyo Olympics.

“Realistically, we have the pieces this year that, if we come together as a group, will be strongest team we’ve ever assembled, and I can say that because I’ve been on some really good Boomer teams in the past. I’m looking forward to getting out there and playing on the floor with my brothers because we’ve got a lot of confidence in ourselves and the group, and as long as we all stay healthy and work together, we don’t see why we won’t reach our goal.”

Here, he breaks down just how he’s planning to get there.


“While training is definitely important, it’s also super important that I give my body and mind enough time to rest and recover, especially having just come back to Australia from one of the craziest NBA seasons ever in the US where I’ve been playing with the Toronto Raptors in Florida. I’ve been looking forward to spending time with the family and refreshing my mind before ramping up my training again ahead of Tokyo. I played over 50 games this season and every NBA player picks up a few niggling injuries throughout the long-season – it’s inevitable – so for me and Australia I need to make sure that I’m 100% healthy going into the Olympics and I can’t afford to risk aggravating anything by not taking any time to rest.”

Developing Chemistry

“We’re less than 2-months out from the Olympics now and that means we need to make sure that we’re clicking together as a team.

Every one of the players from Joe (Ingles), Patty (Mills) and Delly (Matthew Dellavedova) our passion to put on the for green and gold only grows each year. We’ve played together as a core group for a lot of years now and with the young guys being so talented, we can’t wait to get together and start cracking.”

Diet and Exercise

“The most obvious way I’m prepping for the Olympics is by training hard and sticking to a balanced diet that’s going to help me get the most out of my training. This is a full-time job for me, so I train for hours a day, and I need to eat at set times throughout the day to help my body recover from sessions and to maintain my strength.

“I’m doing a lot of individual workouts which are more focused on injury-prevention, maintaining cardio, and building strength and power.

“In terms of my diet, I’ve been using my Vitamix blender to make smoothies for when I need something quick and healthy, as well as shakes for pre-and post-workout meals. I’ve also been making meals on the go, using them to make heaps of soups with the Vitamix machine – especially now I’m coming back to the cold here in Australia! – and have multiple meals prepped throughout the day. I’ve even been making some protein bars and balls too, so I’ve got some tasty and healthy snacks.”

Mental Preparation

“Part of my preparation has been about getting mentally prepared for the Olympics. It’s been delayed by a year now so it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster for all of us, we’re just excited that it will be going ahead and as a group have our sole focus on the task at hand. More than that, we need to go into this tournament with 100% confidence, because Australia has participated in the most Olympic basketball tournaments without winning a medal and we’re not shying away from it.

“We want to change it this time around. Arguably, we have the strongest team in the world, currently – and we need to play with the kind of swagger that says “we’re the best” when we’re on the court.”

A day in the life

“While I’m here in Australia, I’m focusing on individual workouts, doing a lot of strength-and-conditioning work for injury prevention, making sure my cardio levels are still high before the tournament, and lifting weights to maintain my muscle mass.

“I usually wake up early in the morning to eat breakfast and use my Vitamix to prepare a couple of meals, snacks, and drinks for my various sessions throughout the day. My first training session in the morning is a bit of light work for warm ups, going through some basic exercises for proprioception and flexibility. Followed by rehab specific work.

“After an hour and a bit I’ve usually worked up a bit of a sweat and use that time to refuel with bars and power balls that I’ve prepped for the higher intensity workouts later in the day. My cardio sessions usually involve sprints and some high-intensity basketball drills so I’m running sets and building my skills at the same time as I’m working out. While nothing prepares you for how gruelling a real game can be, I find it’s helpful to put myself in typical basketball situations while I’m tired. I always remember a coach told me I should never be as tired in a game as I am in practice, so I should always make practice harder!

“After some of the cardio sessions it’s really important that I fuel up with carbs, so I’ll usually have a carb and protein-heavy lunch so I’m getting the most out of my training, and also refuelling for some strength and conditioning sessions later in the day. For these I like to do a lot of weight-bearing exercises for maintaining bone strength and density, which is super important for basketball, as well as a lot of unilateral weight lifting for balance and coordination, as well as for building strength.

“By around 3-4pm, I’m done with training for the day and then for me it’s just about relaxing and spending as much time with the wife and kids as I can. I like to let go of basketball and be completely in Dad zone after my day’s work so I can stay mentally sharp as well. If you’re stressing about what happened during the day and what the next day is going to be like you’ll burn out really quickly.” 

By Nikolina Ilic

Nikolina is the former Digital Editor at Men's Health Australia, responsible for all things social media and .com. A lover of boxing, she has written for Women's Health, esquire, GQ and Vogue magazine.

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