When Channing Frye started his career with the New York Knicks, then coach Isaiah Thomas envisioned his young power forward as a banger; someone who could take up space in the block while also being able to step out and hit the mid-range jumper. Frye, doing what any good player does, followed the instructions of his coach: he added weight; tried to be a banger.
The style of play didn’t take. The weight did.
Then Channing got lucky. First, he was traded to Portland, getting out from under the expectations of Thomas and the New York media. Second, the NBA trended toward a league that featured more up-and-down play, deemphasizing the need for lead-footed post play. Channing could go back to being Channing.
But the weight he added also made the trip from New York to Portland. The extra baggage served Frye well for a bit, allowing him play center in the second unit while the thin-framed Travis Outlaw played power forward. And when Joel Przybilla went down toward the end of the season, Channing and his extra lb’s proved valuable in the starting lineup. But Frye knew his role would change in ’08-’09. With Przybilla and Greg Oden returning from injury, all 48 minutes at center would be taken. And with Nate McMillan stating that Outlaw would play the majority of his minutes at small forward, the back-up power forward spot became available.
In slides a new-old look Channing Frye. With the need for horizontal size no longer necessary, Frye hit the gym hard in the offseason, changing his game while also changing his diet.
“What I try to do -- I got it from our nutritionist -- I just try to cut back on a lot of cheeses, eating right, and it’s helping me sustain energy with all the workouts I have,” said Frye. “I really want to take care of myself and my body. Changing my diet was just the next step. And I wanted to get my weight down so I could be a little more athletic. As you see, I’m trying to work on moves, just dropping to the hole, making moves like that. For me, the lighter I am on my feet the better I think we’ll be off.”
So what does an average day of Frye’s diet taste like?
“Today I woke up, had one glass of low-fat milk, two English muffins -- whole wheat English muffins -- with peanut butter, a bowl of oatmeal and a banana or a bowl of mixed berries or something like that. And then after that, a lot of water, of course. Then after that -- after a workout like we had today -- a Gatorade, just one Gatorade, then even more water. Then for lunch I’ll have 18 pieces of sushi and a cucumber salad and then some snacks, like granola or yogurt with granola.
“For dinner, I’ll have 5 ounces of salmon, steamed rice, vegetables and another glass of, not so much milk with fish, but like, a water or whatever you want to drink. Then maybe for desert or a snack, almonds or something like that. You can mix it up.”
A diet like that might be fine for the average person (maybe), but is it really enough to sustain a professional athlete through two-a-day workouts? Could a few English muffins, some peanut butter and less than a third of a pound of fish really carry a 6-11 guy like Channing through the day without feeling hungry all the time?
“I thought I would be hungry, but once you do it for a week and you eat what they say on the chart that I have, amazingly, you’re full. Most the time I can’t eat half that stuff. It’s crazy, proportion wise, if you eat the right proportions of stuff and the right foods how amazingly full you get. After breakfast I can barely eat half that stuff, but I still have the energy to do what I’m doing. I feel like I’m leaning up and getting better.”
It’s obvious when you see Channing that whatever he’s doing is working. The quickness and definition that Frye had when he came into the league is back, maybe even more so than before. But that’s not to say Channing doesn’t let loose every now and then.
“The thing about my diet,” says Frye, “is that I still have my one day a week, maybe two, were I completely break it and just go and have a burger with gobs of cheese and all types of stuff. You’ve just got to do that sometimes.”
This is the third of a three-part blog series (read part one and part two)To read more about Channing Frye's offseason, click here.