September 30 Philadelphia Daily News:
“After yesterday’s morning workout on the second day of training camp at Saint Joseph’s, forward Thad Young walked across the court with a Twizzler in his mouth and another in his hand.
He didn’t get the candy from teammate Elton Brand. Brand has sworn off the treats. And fried food. And a lot of other goodies that would add to his waist line.
Brand reported to training camp more than 10 pounds lighter than the 265 he carried last season. Now 31 and entering his 12th NBA season, Brand knew after last year’s disappointing run that changes were needed.
“It was funny, coach [Doug Collins] told me the number [weight of 255] and I’m like, ‘I don’t know if I could do it,’ and I was already under that number. Eating right, that’s the first thing,” Brand said. “I gave up Twizzlers, gave up fried foods. I like all types of good meals, so yeah, I had to give up a little bit. It was hard at first, but after a while you know you have a goal, so the urges start to dissipate a little bit.”
And so did the pounds.
Last season may have been one of the worst in Brand’s career. He and coach Eddie Jordan never seemed to be on the same page, often times not reading from the same book, even. Though Brand said he felt great all season, he was coming off his second straight summer of rehab, this time to correct a shoulder injury. The year before, he was coming off an Achilles’ injury. He never could get into a rhythm last year, partly because he never knew his role, partly because his body wouldn’t allow it.
So, this summer, he took more time away from basketball, and because he didn’t have to rehab any injuries, he took up a new hobby – bicycling.
“Usually, I start playing basketball early in the summer and play well into the summer,” Brand said. “But, this year, I didn’t start till late July. I went out and got a Specialized bike, with a 64-inch frame. I never biked before, except with the kids, but not for training. I enjoyed it.
“This is a different level of biking. There’s a heart-rate monitor, you have to keep up your speed, you’re doing hills. I did a time limit. I’d have 2-, 2 1/2-hour rides. I’d ride in Santa Monica. I’ve ridden on the East Coast a little and I’ve looked for parks, but you have to look out for cars a little bit more.
“But I feel good. I feel the wear and tear but having the time off and not playing definitely helps. I was in tip-top shape and felt great earlier in the summer last year but kind of burnt out with all the rehab. So we decided to start a little later with the on-the-court playing. I feel the effects now. Training camp, I’m not going to say it’s easy ’cause if coach reads that in the paper it will never be easy again, but I’m doing pretty well.””
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