James Harden Workout and diet

Professional Basketball Player
Born: 1989

Native Californian James Harden had a shaky start on his high school basketball team but eventually went on to become a star and was named a McDonald’s All-American and earned All-American honors from Parade magazine. Harden attended Arizona State University for 3 years and was chosen for the first All-Pac-10 team. He entered the NBA draft in 2009 and was picked up by the Oklahoma City Thunder. Harden was named to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team. He was a member of the team that won gold at the 2012 Summer Olympics and the 2014 FIBA World Cup. ‘The Beard’ was traded to the Houston Rockets in 2012. He was named MVP in 2018. Harden got traded to the Brooklyn Nets in 2020 and the Philadelphia 76ers in 2022. He scores consistently and has been called the best shooting guard in the NBA. Harden had an endorsement deal with Nike, then switched to Adidas. He established the 3 The Harden Way charitable foundation to provide academic financial support to high-achieving students. Harden has millions of followers on social media. He is 6 feet, 5 inches tall and weighs about 220 lbs.

Known For:

James Harden’s Diet


In 2017, Harden added 15 lbs. of muscle and trimmed fat from his already strong body. Even better, he managed to maintain his new physique. Harden is all about clean eating. He favors fish, fresh fruit and veg and high-protein, low-fat meats like turkey, chicken breast, and lean beef. He’ll start off his day with a few eggs and some turkey bacon along with fruit and yogurt. Lunch and dinner are well-balanced meals such as baked chicken with pasta and vegetables or grilled fish, broccoli and a salad. He refuels after his workout with a protein shake and stays hydrated with electrolyte sports drinks.

Estimated Macros

  • Low-Medium Fat 30% 30%
  • Medium Carb 30% 30%
  • High Protein 50% 50%

Diet Details


Nutrition Is King

Harden recognizes the importance of quality nutrition and consistently eats clean to provide his body with the energy it needs to perform at its peak.


Fresh & Healthy

Harden fills his fridge with wholesome options so he always has something healthy to choose from. Top picks include fish, fresh fruit, and yogurt.


Hydration Matters

Harden consumes hydration drinks to quickly replace electrolytes lost during his killer workouts.


Cheese: The Perfect Food

One of the little-kid Harden stories is how he used to run around the house naked eating cheese cubes.


Sizeable Sweet Tooth

Harden is still human, and admits to having a weakness for sweets, including cookies, ice cream and brownies.

What to Eat


‘Real’ Food




Turkey Bacon


Fresh Fruit




Chicken Breast




Lean Beef






Whole Wheat bread




Protein Shakes




Hydration Beverages

What to Avoid


Junk Food


Processed Food


Artificial Ingredients










Harden on Diet

‘Nutrition means everything.’


Harden on Hydration

I drink a strawberry-banana Bodyarmor in the morning and another one pre-game on game days to stay hydrated.’


Harden’s Simple Approach to Healthy Eating

‘[I] usually [have] chicken, or sushi or something somewhat healthy.’

James Harden’s Workout Routine

Weekly Routine

Perseverance Pays Off

Harden wasn’t an instant star when he first picked up a basketball, but he was determined to master the sport.

Focus on Control

Harden pays special attention to stability and body balance when he lifts weights.

Flexibility = Strength

Harden also works out in the pool and does yoga for extra focus on stability, flexibility and strength.

Daily Dose

Harden works out 6 days a week and takes 1 day to rest and recuperate. His routine is varied and includes core strength and mobility drills along with his basketball drills.

Dynamic Warm-Up

Harden likes to make sure his muscles are warm and ready to work. Warming up helps prevent cramps and injury.


Harden is a fan of high-intensity workouts which allow you to keep things short but effective.

Exercise Style


A James Harden Off-Season Routine

Warm Up
Do 2 rounds of each exercise from out of bounds line to midcourt

High skips
Walking hamstring stretch
Quad stretch
Frankenstein kicks
Adductor stretches
Hip flexor stretches

Mobility Drills
Do 2 rounds of each exercise from out of bounds line to midcourt
High skip to deep squat
Quick line to stick

Core Activation
Stability drills
DaVinci plank: 30 sec x 3 sets

Weighted jumps: 3-5 reps x 4 sets
Single-arm dumbbell press: 8-12 reps x 4 sets/side
Rear foot elevated split squat: 6-8 reps x 4 sets

Active hamstring stretch: 10 reps/side
Samson stretch: 3-5 reps/side
90-90 Get-ups: 3-5 reps/side
Kneeling ankle mobility: 8-12 reps/side


Harden on His Approach to Basketball

‘Being in attack mode is something I try to bring to every single game, and that’s what’s making me so successful.’


Harden on his Skills

‘I’m old-school. I’m not the fastest guy or the quickest guy.’


Harden on Teamwork

‘I took a backseat and did whatever it took for the team to win.’

James Harden’s Supplements

Protein Powder


Harden has a protein shake most days after his morning workout and a second one pre-game. Protein boosts metabolism, grows muscle, and curbs cravings. He also sometimes takes his protein in the form of a bar, a smarter choice than sugary snack bars.

Get it here



Harden makes a point to eat nutrient-dense foods, but he still supplements with a quality multivitamin to fill in anything he might be missing.

Get it here

bodyarmor hydration drinks


To stay hydrated, Harden drinks Bodyarmor sports drinks with essential electrolytes and antioxidants before a workout and pre-game.

Get it here

James Harden’s Lifestyle

Recovery Matters

Due to a hamstring strain, Harden missed multiple games with the Nets and an All-Star game before being traded to the 76ers.

Great Trade

Although Harden wasn’t thrilled to be traded 3 times in 14 months, he was excited to get picked up by the Philly Seventy-Sixers because of head coach Doc Rivers.

Practicality Rules

Harden says he’s not flashy like some other players. He won’t buy designer luggage that’s just going to get dinged up in the airport.

Happy Guy

Harden says he’s the same person on and off the court. He likes greeting fans and having fun.

Snap Happy

Harden admits to owning several dozen snap-back hats. He’s also a fan of v-neck shirts.

Boss BBMer

Harden prefers blackberrying over texting or other types of electronic connection. He also admits to being a Twitter addict.


Harden on Going Pro

‘My dream was to be in the NBA. I wasn’t really focused on being a star player on a team. I just wanted to make it to the NBA.’


Harden on Coach Doc Rivers

‘One of the best coaches to ever coach the game of basketball. Why wouldn’t I want to be led by that?’


Harden on Professional Basketball

‘This is a business and everything happens for a reason. I’m going to just play hard, and do whatever it takes.’


Harden on His Reputation

‘I’ve never had much notoriety. It’s fine with me.’


Harden on His Success

‘I just want to thank God for everything He has done in my life.’


Harden on Himself

‘I like to have fun, meet people. I like to give high-fives to the kids courtside.’

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