“Off-season” has become such a fictitious term for an athlete. While NBA training
camp is still nearly two months away, training for a grueling NBA season has become a nearly year-round necessity. And dividing game time, training time, and family time sometimes becomes a challenge. Newly married Phoenix Suns point guard Eric Bledsoe may have found a win-win solution—by including his wife and two children as training partners, thereby tweaking the old adage: The family that trains together, stays in shape
“I definitely still get my workout on, just because the season is off doesn’t mean I’m off,” says Bledsoe, who in early July tied the knot with his longtime girlfriend Morgan Poole. “But most importantly, I get the family time in. We spend a lot of time together. We work out together.”
Bledsoe dishes out his time with his family like he does with his Suns teammates—as equally as possible. Whether it’s taking the dogs for a walk in the park or movie night, sharing time together is essential for Bledsoe. And now that includes gym time. His cardio sweat sessions
are with Morgan, “She loves to spin,” Bledsoe says. Post-workout, daughter Ariana will often join her father for yoga, getting her stretch on. Bledsoe has been enjoying the benefits of stretching on his body. “Yoga has been really awesome for me. It has taught me how to stretch and relax my body in the correct way,” says Bledsoe, who averaged career-highs in both points (21.1 ppg) and assists (6.3) this past season with the Suns.
By his own admission, Bledsoe, at 6’1’’, 208lbs, isn’t a fan of weightlifting. “Sometimes I’ll skip it,” he says. But there’s no opting out of on-court hoops drills
—son Ethan won’t allow it. “He loves to shoot the ball with me,” Bledsoe says. After warming up with dribbling drills, Bledsoe heads to the free throw line, playing his own version of “21.” “A swish is worth three points, hitting the rim is two, and a bank shot is worth one,” Bledsoe says. He’ll also mix in more cardio during the week in the form of either a 45-minute treadmill run or sprints—up and down the basketball court.
Diet has also become a year-round family routine. In a perfect off-season, Bledsoe would be dining on his favorite—fried chicken and mac & cheese. But when you’re in the fourth year of a five-year, $70 million contract—and cooking for a health-conscious wife and two active children—healthy eating is the only option, even when it’s grill time—another element of quality time the family shares together. Salmon and vegetables have become a stable of his, and on occasion he’ll toss a steak or burger on the flame, but these days Bledsoe has added Beyond Burger
—a plant-based burger that looks, cooks and satisfies like a real burger.—to his menu.
His family’s varying tastes allow him to show his creative culinary side. Cheese and jalapeños are a must for Bledsoe. “I like to add the heat,” he says. As for the kids: “My daughter doesn’t eat cheese so she loves hers plain with lettuce and pickles. As for my son, he loves food so we have to mix it up sometimes with cheese, pickles, lettuce, and tomatoes. He eats it all!”
Eric Bledsoe’s jalapeno- & cheese-stuffed beyond burger
1 small jalapeño, seeded and diced
2 Beyond Burger patties
1 slice vegan jack or provolone cheese
1 tbsp. olive oil
2-3 tbsp. soft almond cheese, (“We used truffle chive and dill flavor but plain works nicely too, Bledsoe says.)
2 brioche buns, toasted
Handful of arugula
1. Cut jalapeño in half, remove seeds, then dice.
2. Flatten patties, and, in the center, add jalapeños and vegan cheese inside. Mold burger around added ingredients, then reform burger patties.
3. Add oil to pan, then cook burger to desired doneness.
4. Place soft almond cheese on top of burger, then broil for 1-2 minutes until melted. (Make sure you watch carefully because broilers cook quickly.)
5. Toast bun, then stack burger, arugula, and additional diced jalapeños and crumbled cheese if so desired.