The most talked about thing when it comes to Brandon Ingram is his skinny frame. Adding weight is what could be the difference between superstardom or bust. He is a skilled wing that has an insane wingspan that not many have. It gives him potential on both sides of the ball. The problem is that he is skinny all around, and that offers issues when playing with stronger players. He gets knocked off balanced and can get backed down easier on defense which makes him a sort of liability.
Ingram is eating 5,000 calories a day and going to the weight room in order to add some more mass on his arms and legs. In a recent article from Baxter Holmes, Brandon’s older brother Bo said this wasn’t his first time eating a lot:
During all those years spent sprouting skyward, Ingram “never missed a meal,” Donald says. “He was always in the kitchen,” adds Bo, Brandon’s older brother. But nothing seemed to work. “I tried to eat more,” Ingram says, “but I wasn’t getting any thicker.”
Being chubby early in his childhood (something I can relate to), growth made his body transform and the weight started to level out causing him be to become lanky. It has been a struggle since his high school days, but it has been something that he hasn’t ignored.
David Thorpe, a writer for ESPN and executive of a training facility, elaborated on whether gaining weight is even that important to the development of the wing:
“Adding weight presents way more risk than reward. It’s not going to make him jump higher, run faster or quicker. It might help him hold his position in the post, but did the Lakers draft him to put him in the post? If the biggest problem Brandon Ingram has in the next five years is that he can’t hold his position in the post, I think the Lakers will be very happy.”
The issues is that there are some athletic, strong wings that do work well in the post and on potential switches on a 4 or 5, he wouldn’t be all that effective unless he was stronger. It is about finding a healthy medium and Tim Grover, former trainer of Michael Jordan, elaborated on the struggle to add weight and be comfortable:
“That’s why I say, put on the weight real slow,” Grover says. “If you can put on 5-8 pounds of quality muscle [in a year], which is very hard to do, and see, ‘How do you feel at this weight? How are you performing at this weight? Do you like it?’ Great. OK, let’s try to maintain this weight through this season.
“OK, next season, you want to try to bulk up a little bit more? Let’s try to put on a little bit more weight. How do you feel? ‘Ah, I’m not feeling right. My movements are a little bit slow.’ OK, let’s back off a little bit.
Ultimately, it’s about how much Ingram can put on without hindering the way he moves. He shouldn’t force it that much, just let the weight come naturally with the addition of weight lifting and eating to accelerate it a bit.
Grovers continued to share some more details on what calories mean for an athlete looking to add muscle:
Just as player must train to play basketball or lift weights, so too must one train to consume large quantities of food. “And a mistake a lot of individuals make is they try to go from eating what they normally eat to all of the sudden trying to eat 6,000 to 8,000 calories [per day],” Grover says. “It looks good for TV. It looks good for the magazine when you take a picture that shows all the food that’s in front of me, but you cannot just consume that amount of calories if you’re not accustomed to it. You have to work your way up to it.”
“Because what’s going to happen is: When you take out all the empty calories, or the bad food, and you put in the good food, the initial process is the person is going to end up losing weight,” Grover says. “You’re going to increase their metabolic rate. They’re eating better calories that get burned a lot quicker, that don’t store as fat. So the process is, when you start this high-calorie diet, you end up actually losing weight before you end up putting on weight.”
Since he is such as competitor, he will want his body in the best shape to be the best version of himself on the court. Ingram himself said as much:
Ingram, for his part, has changed — dramatically. No longer does he consume 5,000 calories every 24 hours. “I tried before, but I just eat what I can during the day,” he says. “Whenever my reminder comes up, if I’m not hungry, I still try to eat a little something just to get through the day.” And no longer does he aim to weigh 210 by the fall. “I actually don’t have a goal right now,” Ingram says. He preaches patience. He tells himself the weight will come. “I know we have good trainers,” he says. “I’ll just listen to them.”
Ingram is starting to understand the process of the NBA, and how everything may not come as easily or quickly that he would want. Heck, even Mitch Kupchak understands how the process works:
“Obviously, the kid needs to get stronger, and he will, but the important thing is that [Ingram] is fearless and he competes.”
“It’s going to happen,” Kupchak says. “Naturally.”
For Lakers fans, they will need to be patient. If his body does change the way they would like, he will be doing what he needs to so that he gets better. Doing it safely and the right way is also key. People joke that he needs to get stronger, and he does, but it won’t be a per season basis in which the increments shine. It will be over 4-5 year span. Until then, he will work on polishing the skill that he already has.
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