Thursday November 13th, 2014

Refreshing. That's the word Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love used when describing the change in scenery from Minnesota to his new home in northeast Ohio. The 26-year-old forward made the move with LeBron James and his merry men to the new-look Cavaliers, reinventing himself with a radical diet and inspiring championship expectations for the first time in his career—finally.

Already a prolific scorer and rebounder—Love once put up 31 points and 31 rebounds in a single outing—the three-time All-Star adds another dimension to his all-around game by closely monitoring his diet and overall health. Joining stars like LeBron and Carmelo Anthony, who also dabbled in offseason dieting to better suit their bodies to the grind of an 82-game schedule, Love talked about the weight change as a way to stall Father Time. “There’s always something you can refine and get better at, and it’s no different with your diet,” says the seven-year pro.

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With the stakes higher than ever for a team going into the start of the season, it’s understandable that LeBron hasn’t had time to show Love around his city of Cleveland. There will be an occasion to enjoy things like Slyman’s famous corned beef or a Polish Boy from Hot Sauce Williams, but for now, Love will continue to work on mastering his diet, finding the fastest way to Quicken Loans Arena and how to complement the best basketball player on the planet.

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Inside Kevin Love's fridge

Lean, mean protein: Love often starts his morning off with a healthy dose of protein, cooking up organic eggs or egg whites. After that, he’ll delve into a piscatorial staple from his hometown or the ever-versatile grilled chicken. “I’m from the Northwest, so salmon’s kind of our thing,” says Love. “It’s easy for your body to absorb and [helps] you build muscle. Grilled chicken is very lean, you can eat it in salads, wraps, sandwiches, as is…”

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Fruits and vegetables: The Oregon-native is heavily disciplined in his diet—Love doesn’t indulge in sweets as much but rather replaces those temptations with things like healthy fruits and vegetables. “I’m a big berries guy,” says Love. “I try to mix in fruit [with my meals] two to three times a day. What I’ve learned is that my body doesn’t need much to get by.”

Mom’s legendary cooking: If Love could have the choice to eat just one meal, regardless of his regimented diet, he raves that it would have to be home cooking from his mom’s kitchen: “I don’t eat too much pasta anymore, but she makes a chicken fettuccini Alfredo that’s legendary.”

BODYARMOR: Whether it’s plenty of bottled water or an unlimited supply of his favorite sports drink, there’s always an abundance of fluids on hand for the self-proclaimed heavy-sweater: “Naturally I like to be hydrated, so I’ll have water and BODYARMOR [in the fridge]. I have to refuel and get the proper electrolytes and vitamins,” says Love, a stakeholder in the sports drink company. “As athletes having such a regular schedule, there’s a lot of energy that gets expended.”

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Pregame meal: Before hitting the hardwood, Love eats a concoction of shredded wheat topped with almond butter, jam and applesauce with a cup of coffee. The 6-foot-10 forward explained that he likes to "get his fuel pattern going" before tipoff and the mixture offers the right balance of protein, carbs and vitamins to accomplish that goal.

Postgame meal: After a game, Love opts for his go-to staple of a Salmon filet or white fish, veggies and protein shake. Though he didn't specify the reasons behind the post-game meal, a recurring theme for Love is recovery from the beating his body takes on the court. These high-protein foods will certainly assist with healthy muscle recovery.

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