The post retirement fitness struggle for professional athletes is a real one. Not every player wants to or is capable of maintaining a Shannon Sharpe type glow up. A good portion of these guys lean more towards the Shaq nutrition/fitness retirement plan. Two-time NBA champion Matt Bonner didn’t want to be among the latter, so upon announcing his retirement in early 2017, he embarked on a journey to stay in shape.
“I was in relatively good shape because I had been working out every day, staying in good shape, staying sharp, staying ready, in case I could get signed on a team,” says Bonner. “I didn’t put in all that work to get in this type of shape [for nothing], I got to maintain it someway. So, I figured it would probably be easier to keep trying to work out and keep it like that”
While his fellow retired buddy Tim Duncan is off doing his MMA thing (it’s pretty amazing that he’s able to do that type of competition and training, but if anyone’s able to do it, it would be Timmy), Bonner has traded in his jersey for a microphone as an analyst for the San Antonio Spurs,
It would be virtually impossible to duplicate the fitness level that Bonner achieved playing 82+ games per year for over a decade, especially when he’s sitting behind a desk instead of running up and down the court.
Along with athletic support company Futuro, Bonner set out on a “Brace for Adventure” (get it?), in which he tried a bunch of different activities to meet his fitness goals. I think most people like to experience new things and that includes with exercise. I go back to my home state of New Hampshire for the summers. We stay up in the White Mountains, and I love all the hiking up there, climbing, kayaking, swimming, all that kind of stuff. Anything that you can do to get some physical activity and have fun at the same time, I think that’s great,” says Bonner.
Ironically, Bonner didn’t start using Futuro products after his playing days were over. After having knee and calf issues throughout his career, he says the brand helps him tremendously with ligament issues. “They keep my knees warm which helps loosen them and ease the pain when I’m exercising and then also their compression socks and sleeves have been huge. I wear them when I’m doing my broadcasting for the Spurs and they help with the circulation and help keep my calves loose,” he says.
As anyone who has ever tried to get in shape knows, exercise is only half the battle. Nutrition is just as, or even more important than gym time. Bonner, is a documented foodie, so much so, that he wrote a sandwich blog during his playing days called “The Sandwich Hunter: Quest for the Hoagie Grail.”
On the blog, Bonner broke down nearly 30 of his favorite sandwich spots in NBA cities. He awarded 1-5 basketballs in several categories ranging from bread, meat and cheese to condiments, desserts and atmosphere. Bonner also ended each piece with a sandwich quote of the day and song of the day. This guy really loves his sandwiches.
Burning off all of those sandwich carbs and calories, was easy when he was playing ball, but Bonner has had to scale back his eating post retirement. “In retirement, I have to stay away from the steak and cheeses and some of those less healthy sandwiches options,” says Bonner. “They’re kind of a once in a while treats. Now I have to get the whole wheat bread and light mayonnaise and hold the cheese and extra vegetables, all that kind of stuff.”
It looks like the “Red Mamba” has this post retirement thing down to a science.