Vince Carter Adheres To Cardinal Rule Of Nighttime Eating To Help Him Stay Fit At 40

Vince Carter Adheres To Cardinal Rule Of Nighttime Eating To Help Him Stay Fit At 40
  • Tanya Ray Fox

Vince Carter was drafted into the NBA in 1998, and 19 years later, the eight-time All-Star is still playing. Carter was one of the most dominant basketball players in the world for the first decade of the new millennium, but in his later years, he’s learned a lot about becoming a role player and a veteran leader.

He’s also realized how much his physical fitness and nutrition have contributed to a longevity in basketball that surpasses most who play the sport. In a recent GQ interview, Carter noted the difference between his current mindset compared to when he was younger, explaining that he listens to his body more.

“If my legs are heavy, that’s my body telling me I need more sleep or to stretch,” he said. “I have to listen to that now and be more attentive to the nutritionist and the body load numbers that comes from games and practices.”

He’s also adjusted his diet on a regular basis and before games – applying the lessons he’s learned through years of working with nutritionists and athlete specialists.


“I try to eat lots of vegetables and greens. I like foods that fuel. I’m a sweater, so I prefer pasta for my pre-game meals most of the time… don’t really eat as much fried food as I would have when I was younger because my body can’t shed it as fast. I’m able to have more bad days than the average older guy with just the way my body works, but I don’t take advantage of that…For me, playing in this league and playing a lot of minutes, I make sure I have the energy foods that kind of help me perform.”

Everything that Carter’s doing has made him the definitive elder in this era of the NBA – only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, John Stockton and Robert Parrish have recorded played more minutes in a season at the age of 40+ than Carter has in the 2016-17 season thus far.

Of course, even the best NBA players can’t always stick to their perfectly curated meal plans. Unlike Tom Brady in the NFL, Carter is on the road for 41 games a year. Sometimes the kale salads and green juices aren’t available, and the only thing to grab after a game is pizza or chicken wings. So what does he do then? You’ll be surprised to know that he just follows the cardinal rule that most of us have grown up with: don’t eat right before bed.


“The one thing my mom told me—and I hated it—was when I eat, whether it’s bad or good, not to go right to sleep, said Carter. “Sit up for 30 minutes. I think that’s an issue for us because we eat late at night. I don’t care if you go out or not, you go straight to bed afterward because we’re getting into cities late at night and you’re ready to get to bed, so the food sits there. You want to stay up, so the food can run its course and digest. That’s been a big thing for me over my career. It might sound stupid, but that’s something I’ve always done. I don’t care how tired I am, I just try to sit up instead of laying down, so the food doesn’t sit in my stomach.”

So there you have it folks. You too can have the body of an elite athlete at 40-years-old if you just eat your pizza more than 30 minutes before laying down for bed…

That’s how that works, right?

Read the full GQ interview here.

Tanya Ray Fox

Tanya Ray Fox is a sportswriter and producer who has worked for nearly 7 years in both digital and television sports media. She has previously worked in TV production experience for Comcast SportsNet New England, NFL Network and Time Warner Cable Sports. In addition to her work for SportsGrid and appearances on the affiliated FNTSY Sports Network, she is also a contributor for USA Today's Rams Wire.