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???”
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.”