Retired NBA star Kobe Bryant still wakes up at 4 a.m. every day to work out—here’s why

After 20 seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers and five NBA championships, Kobe Bryant retired from basketball in 2016. But the 40-year-old still wakes up before the sun to go to the gym at 4 a.m., he told podcast host and best-selling author Lewis Howes in a recent interview.

There are a few reasons the retired athlete maintains such a strict workout routine: “When I first retired, I let myself go a little a bit. … And then the challenge was, can I get back in shape?” Without an end goal, like an NBA Championship or an MVP award, “it’s really hard,” added Bryant, who now runs a venture capital fund with business partner Jeff Stibel.

To motivate himself, Bryant set specific, measurable goals. “For me, it was, ‘OK, I have to aim for something,'” he told Howes. “So I said, ‘I want to aim for size. I want to aim for bulk. So that’s a tangible thing. I’m going to go for that.'”

And, as a father of three, he has extra motivation: “Your kids can’t see how hard you work. You go to the office. I come to the studio. They don’t really see the effort. So how can we teach our children what it means to work hard? You do it through training.”

That’s part of the reason Bryant’s 15-year-old daughter Natalia joins him for his early morning workouts.

“When I get up in the morning [to exercise], my daughter goes with me,” he told Howes. “She goes with me before school and it becomes a daddy-daughter thing. Through that process, she understands the value of hard work.”

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