Basketball (and sports in general) has always been a huge part of my life, especially growing up playing competitively. So, when I had the chance to interview Bar Malik, the Director of Performance for the New York Knicks, I knew it would be a great opportunity to learn more about high-performance training.
How did you get into health & fitness?
“I got into health and fitness at a very young age because I played all sports as a kid growing up. I was very active and I just felt comfort in being fit while playing varsity sports. From my childhood and adolescent experiences led me to majoring in Exercise Science while in undergrad and progressing to Human Movement Science for my Master’s. I was always intrigued about the performance of pro athletes, and what they possessed that the average person lacked, or what type of training they adopted to make it to the highest level in their sport. So I made a commitment to work in health and fitness early on by starting out cleaning fitness center equipment in college and working my way up to the Director of Performance of the New York Knicks as a professional.”
How do you go about building your workouts?
“I believe in an individualized approach to building my workouts. Every human being is different. Different backgrounds, training history, experience, weaknesses, strengths, etc. So it’s extremely critical that I start our training with assessments and tests to figure the best way to start all workouts. Every workout consists of balance drills, more pulling versus pushing exercises, total body strength, core awareness, and interval cardio to end the session.”
What’s your biggest tip for gaining muscle? What about weight loss?
“For gaining muscle, I think the biggest tip would be to make sure you’re eating enough calories to support the training. So a consultation with a dietitian is critical because it tells the athlete about how many calories they burn at rest and also how many calories is needed to gain weight. Another tip would be to get 8-10 hours of sleep at night when in a hypertrophy state of training.
For weight loss, I believe in heart rate training. There is a HR Zone where our bodies burn the most calories. Long periods of slow state cardio training will yield results but I’m a proponent of high intensity interval training for weight loss. It will yield longer results, and due to the lack of oxygen present at those higher zones your body will continue to burn calories when you are done to make up for the lack of oxygen that was present during training.”
Are you a big proponent of intermittent fasting?
“Yes, I’m a proponent of intermittent fasting. I’ve been doing it for 3 months now and I feel the best I’ve felt in years. It has helped me control my appetite and I also feel more mentally sharp. My performance continues to improve and my body fat stays at a level I’m happy with at the moment. I don’t think it’s for everyone but it’s one of many ways to effective improve health, wellness, and performance.”
What benefit do you see that comes from HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)?
“There are a number of benefits that come with HITT (high-intensity interval training) training. It’s all out, short bursts of training that trains the nervous system like no other mode of training. The benefits include decrease in body fat, improvement in conditioning, increased VO2, and increased metabolism by increases in Growth Hormone production.”
What’s your favorite piece of gym equipment?
“I love the Kettlebell. It doesn’t take up a lot of space, it’s iron, and it’s the only tool that you can use to improve power, strength, and cardiovascular endurance.”
What’s the best part about working with a professional NBA team, aka the Knicks?
“The best part of working with the Knicks is that I get to educate and train some of the best athletes on the planet. These guys are so talented in basketball that any increase physically or mentally immediately makes them a more effective basketball player, and I get to witness that daily. That’s special to me.”
Thanks, Bar! 🙂