Originally from Brownsville, TX, Mike Mancias began his career in athletic training as the student manager of the University of Texas-Pan American men’s basketball team. In the summer of 2001, Mancias landed an internship with Tim Grover of Attack Athletics, where he had the opportunity to work with Michael Jordan during his NBA comeback. Three years later, Mancias became an assistant trainer with the Cleveland Cavaliers in LeBron James’ second season in the league. For the past decade, Mancias has served as James’ personal trainer.
We recently caught up with Mancias in New York, fresh off a red-eye flight from Hong Kong. A loyal WHOOP user since 2015, he was kind enough to sit down with us and share his thoughts on Strain, Sleep, and Recovery.
1. Describe your workout regimen on high-Strain days.
MM: On high-Strain days we’ll do three different workouts. We’ll start in the morning with a cardio session, maybe on a treadmill or a versaclimber, for 30-45 minutes. Then we’ll do weightroom activity for another 45 minutes. Then obviously we’ll do some basketball on-court work, probably for an hour-and-a-half. By the time we’re done with all three, it’s definitely a high-Strain day.
2. What training tip do you give most often to amateurs?
MM: If you play a sport, you want to have fun and be competitive, but also take care of your body. Be smart when you’re out there playing.
3. Who in your profession would you most like to work with, all time?
MM: I’ve been blessed to work with some of the greats in the game of basketball, obviously. I guess there’s one athlete who transcended sports, and that’s Muhammad Ali. That’d be who I’d love to be around. Working alongside his trainer, the late Angelo Dundee, that would’ve been an honor to be involved with those guys, to see what their training was like and what Ali’s motivation was every single day.
4. How often do you nap?
MM: I try to nap every day for about 20 minutes. Sometimes we don’t have that luxury, but ideally I’d like to get in 20 minutes a day.
5. What’s your bedtime routine?
MM: At home it’s different than when I’m on the road because I have a 14-month old son. My routine is his routine. If he goes to sleep at a decent hour, then we can get a good night’s rest too.
6. What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
MM: If my son’s not awake already, I like to go out for a quick walk on my own, get out of the house and start the day off with some exercise. I use it to clear my head and get my mind ready for the day.
7. How do you handle jet lag?
MM: Jet lag is a physical thing, but it’s also mental. If you know you have a long trip, prepare yourself. Do the little things like hydrate throughout your trip, get up and stretch if you can, and when you finally get to your destination maybe ride a bike or do some quick treadmill work for about 20 minutes. “Sweat out the plane” is what I call it.
8. When did you have your worst WHOOP Recovery?
MM: During the 2016 NBA Finals. My son was born the day before we won the championship. He was born in Cleveland, then I had to fly to Oakland the very next morning, then fly right back to Cleveland. I was jet-lagged, I was tired, I was sleep deprived, my Recovery was shot. But I was very, very happy.
9. Finish this sentence: WHOOP has made me realize…
MM: …that no matter how good you are, no matter how prepared you think you are, you have to listen to your body. WHOOP is the one device that can read your body and give you the right feedback on what you need to do to get that edge and be a better athlete.