In 2017, Russell Westbrook won the league MVP award and became one of just two players in NBA history to average a triple-double for a season, along with Oscar Robertson in 1962. The feat is a staggering one, requiring a player to average double-digits for points, rebounds and assists. Robertson only did it once in 1962 and now, Westbrook is just three triple doubles shy of passing his record for the most in NBA history. That such an accomplishment can only cement Westbrook’s position as one of the greatest in the game is obvious, you need only look at the 32-year-old on the court to see a kind of prowess that only a select few possess. But where other athletes might be slowing down, Westbrook seems to be going from strength to strength and as he’s recently revealed, a lot of it comes down to a dialled-in diet and, most importantly, two pregame peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
In an interview with GQ UK, Westbrook revealed that he’s an early-riser and likes to start his mornings with push-ups to wake his body up, knocking out 25 to 50 just to get the blood flow moving. But though you’d expect the world’s top athletes to have their lives planned out to the very minute, with a strict routine of exercise, fuelling and recovery, Westbrook seems to defy the odds. The NBA star only gets about five or six hours a night, saying, “I feel like when I sleep longer, I don’t feel the best. Going nonstop, that’s kinda how my life is. That’s kinda how I function.”
Crediting breakfast as his favourite meal of the day, he goes big in the morning. It’s during breakfast that he consumes fruit, green juice and orange juice, and anything ranging from omelettes, avocado toast, pancakes, waffles and hash browns. As for the rest of his diet, Westbrook tends to eat fish and salad for lunch and a ton of veggies and pasta for dinner. His go-to snacks are peanuts, parfaits, yoghurt and smoothies where he can.
As much of the world has taken up vegetarian or vegan diets in light of documentaries like The Game Changers and Cowspiracy, Westbrook credits fish as helping him lose weight. “I wanted to change up some things. I wanted to lose some weight, but also keep my strength and body together,” he tells GQ. “Especially throughout the season, as I get older, I have to figure out better ways to keep my body in the right shape and healthy, to be able to do what I want to do, especially while playing.”
With age, Westbrook has learned the importance of fuelling his body with the right foods to perform at his peak. It’s led to a consistent routine when it comes to diet and the timing of his meals, based around his playing schedule and games. One thing Westbrook has improved though, is his hydration. He now drinks an alkaline water and believes it to have enhanced his recovery significantly. “I love drinking juice, but I don’t drink hardly any juice, only water pretty much all day. I’m drinking Flow [alkaline water] all day long just to stay hydrated. That’s kind of the new thing for me,” he told the publication.
“I still have a lot of energy. But that’s why my diet and how I take care of my body is very, very important, because of how I play and how I operate. So to keep this up for as long as I can, that’s the main goal.”
For recovery, Westbrook drinks shakes and smoothies and consumes a lot of peanut butter. His shake doesn’t boast an elaborate list of ingredients, just the essentials which to Westbrook are peanut butter, protein and banana. Though he’s learned things along the way when it comes to diet and recovery, his pregame meal hasn’t changed since high school: two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, some fruit, and plain pasta with no sauce.
“I just like peanut butter,” explains Westbrook. “It creates a consistency on how your body feels, that’s the most important part. At least for me, I know how my body is going to react to it, I know how much I need to eat to feel like I’m in a good position. A peanut butter and jelly, to me, holds on to your body throughout the game – you don’t feel hungry and you don’t feel like you don’t have enough energy. It’s something that works for me.”
It might just be time to revisit the PB&J sandwich.