Kris Humphries Challenges Himself on the Court—and Off
The Nets star talks to MF about cross-training, moving to Brooklyn, and shutting out off-court distractions.
Let’s start with The Kris Humphries Challenge, because that just kicked off this week. What’s it all about?
This is a turning point in my career. I have started to really focus on health and nutrition. Towards the end of the year I started trying different products and new things to take it to the next level and the 90-day challenge is about me pushing myself to be in the greatest shape possible, especially going out to Brooklyn with a new arena, new location, and all that. I’ve partnered with ViSalus, the company behind the popular Body by Vi 90-Day Challenge, which encourages and supports personal health and fitness transformations.
So is this something that you’re doing over 90 days and then inviting people to do it along with you?
Right. Whether it’s something having to do with nutrition or exercise or just to become healthier—that’s what I’m challenging people to do.
How will you personally measure your progress?
I’ll be testing my max reps for bench press at 225 pounds, total pullups, and the number of pushups that I can do in a minute. I’ll also run a mile and 100-meter dash as fast as I can.
Have you set a baseline for each one? What are your numbers?
I’ve set it for the bench press at 20, and for pullups I think I did 18. I haven’t set numbers for the pushups or dash yet. I ran the mile in about six minutes, so I want to get that down. Those were my baselines for each of those without substantial training.
What are your goals for each?
My goal for the bench will probably be 25. I am always pretty strong on the bench. For the mile I’m thinking I can break 5:40 or 5:30. For the dash I’m going to post my time and challenge people to beat me. Since I did 18 pullups before I started training, I’ll go for 22 or more.
I noticed that one of your weekly prizes is a live video chat. What is that going to be like? It could be anyone!
Yeah, I don’t know. That’s the beauty of the Internet—you never know.
It’s kind of like ChatRoulette on your end.
It is! I don’t know. Maybe I’ll land someone who is a basketball enthusiast or really into fitness. Even if they’re not, as long as they’re working to improve their health, I am excited to speak with him—or her.
Nutrition obviously plays a big role here. What guidelines do you follow in your day-to-day diet?
I stay away from refined sugar, and for years I’ve avoided fried foods. Lately I’ve been experimenting with gluten-free foods, too.
Has cutting out gluten had any impact on the way you feel?
I think I feel healthier in terms of my stomach and being able to eat and process food faster. And obviously avoiding refined sugar is so important. I stay away from that; it’s one of the worst things for you. I also eat fruit instead of drinking juices. That’s something I’ve read up on. I think that if you drink a lot of fruit juice you take in way too much sugar. You’d be better off eating a bunch of strawberries or apples.
What about foods that energize you? What do you eat before a workout or a game?
I am pretty consistent about taking my vitamins. On a game day I’ll typically eat eggs in the morning for breakfast, and then maybe a salad with chicken or a chicken sandwich. Lately I’m eating gluten-free bread with chicken, and some avocado for healthy fats. I’m actually at the track right now getting ready to do a track workout and I’ve got a ViSalus Go energy shot that I’m about to take. I was in the gym last night—I did three workouts and then played pick-up ball until 9:30. Then I got up at six this morning to be at the gym from seven until like 8:15. And then I did Pilates with my mom.
That’s a pretty tight schedule. It sounds like you really diversify your training.
Yeah, with my workouts I try and do a lot of different things. I do MMA, and in the summer I’ll swim a lot and do some paddleboarding. I’ll swim twice a week, do track workouts two to three times a week, and there’s obviously basketball stuff on top of that, which includes drills and playing pick-up ball as well—five-on-five stuff with guys in Minnesota or wherever I’m at.
And then Pilates with your mom. Is that a regular thing for you guys?
Yeah, we do it twice a week. She’s really great at it. It’s so different from any kind of workout. You’re working in a totally different way. It’s challenging. Usually it’s just me and my mom in a private class, but we had a couple of other people in there today, and this lady was just awesome, killing it, and I felt like a total bum cause I was getting tired and these two other women were doing really well. I was struggling a little bit.
It’s one of those things where a guy who can bench 250 can get his ass handed to him by a 60-year-old woman.
Yeah, it’s crazy.
Speaking of weight training, there are a lot of big guys on the court these days. Who’s the biggest challenge in your eyes, and how are you preparing to take them on?
I don’t always match up with guys like Dwight Howard or Andrew Bynum, but when I do those guys are a challenge. Dwight, for example, is quick, explosive, and strong all in one. There are those kinds of guys, and there are also some skilled guys who are taller and tough to match up with. My whole mindset in training is to be explosive and fast, and I try not to get too big and bulky.
You seem to have struck a good balance. It’s a shame that a lot of people outside basketball who know you from the news often don’t get to see you for what you really are—a talented and versatile athlete. Does that get to you?
I’m someone who always comes on the court no matter what’s going on in my life. It’s all about basketball and my teammates and my team. I don’t let any distractions in, and I bring my best every night, regardless of what’s going on or what people are talking about. Because, for me, basketball is an outlet. I always put in the time, and I think the fans respect that.
You’ve moved from team to team before, but now with the Nets for the first time you’re on a team that’s moving to a different state—what’s that like?
I’ve been on the Nets for two and a half years, and we went from the Izod Center in the Meadowlands to Newark, and now we’re in Brooklyn. It’s been interesting to move that many times.
Does it take a toll on the team—getting used to one arena and uprooting to another?
Well, I think that each move was better for the team, for fan support, and stuff like that. It’s been exciting for the players and the organization, especially now. Everything that’s been done has been done to create a really exciting environment. I’m excited because it’s something totally new. To have a team like this is going to be great for Brooklyn and great for the team.
Ready to push yourself to get fitter, faster, stronger? Join the challenge at krishumphrieschallenge.com.