Kyle Lowry’s trainer breaks down off-season transformation

Getting to know Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry, who's still trying to live down his nickname, and is apparently related to Pinky and the Brain.

Joe Abunassar wants to get one thing straight: Kyle Lowry’s off-season makeover is not the stuff of weight-loss reality-TV shows, because his client was never fat. “He was kinda chunky,” he says.

The transformation of the Toronto Raptors point guard, aided in large part by a program Abunassar put together, has been a key talking point around the team coming out of the off-season. Lowry got the basketball world going when a photo appeared on Instagram in August showing him looking slim in a tight black tank top and black shorts. L.A. Clippers guard J.J. Redick had to ask: “Bro is that Kyle Lowry???”

A photo posted by Kyle OQuinn (@kyle.oquinn) on

Lowry has been working with Abunassar, the founder of Impact Basketball, since 2008. At 29 and coming off a season in which his production tailed off after the all-star break, Lowry wanted to play lighter. “It’s no different than if a 40-year-old said, ‘I’d like to lose weight,’” Abunassar says. Except that this is Kyle Lowry.

Two days a week, training started at 6:30 a.m. at the bottom of a hill, which Lowry repeatedly ran up in minute-long bursts. He worked out on-court twice a day and finished with weights or extreme Pilates. Lowry rode his bike to and from workouts, and off-days didn’t exist. “We say ‘off,’ and it’s getting a 30-minute sweat in,” Abunassar says. “We couldn’t kill him the whole summer.”

Meals weren’t what you’d call enjoyable, either. They involved egg whites, lean meat, a lot of kale and many a salad, and excluded dessert, butter and oils. Abunassar wasn’t by Lowry’s side 24 hours a day, but he’s confident Lowry didn’t eat cookies or ice cream all summer: “He didn’t want that stuff.” Abunassar is happy to see that Lowry—now weighing in at a little more than 190 lb.—has everyone talking. “It was pretty sweet to see a guy at that age really bring his whole body together,” he says. “It’s an inspiration for anyone trying to get their body together, basketball player or not.”

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