Love him, hate him, he is still one of the best tennis players that have ever graced the court with their presence, one that may even surpass Roger Federer in his achievements and claim the ultimate title. Yes, Novak Djokovic is a beast on the tennis court, and not by chance at that.
Between his rigorous training routine, caring for his rackets, and a strict meal plan only the most devoted to the sport can uphold, there is little room left for anything but a stellar performance. Here’s how you can eat and train like the tennis superstar and increase your chances of following in his footsteps.
Start the day with water and honey
If you’re not in the habit of drinking plenty of aqua, then this one might be hard to get used to at first. As he’s outlined many a time in interviews and especially in his 2013 book called Serve to Win: The 14-Day Gluten-Free Plan for Physical and Mental Excellence, our protagonist states that the first thing he does every morning is drink a couple of glasses of room-temp water. This helps him rehydrate for the day ahead.
Next, you want to follow the two glasses of water with a hearty dose of honey – two spoonfuls to be exact. Simply put, your body needs fructose and a healthy dose of carbs to keep the energy levels up, and honey provides all the nutrients and slow-digestive sugars you could want.
Eliminate gluten and minimize dairy
For years, the world watched in utter bafflement as our star nearly collapsed time and time again on the court, seemingly unable to muster up the strength to carry on, let alone win the match. Not only did this cost him plenty of titles, but it also made him doubt his trainers and nutritionists.
After a bit of trial and error, he discovered that he was intolerant to gluten, and that dairy didn’t sit well with him. Nowadays, he doesn’t go near the stuff and his performance has never been better. Hey, it’s doesn’t hurt to try it yourself, does it?
Aerobic fitness should be your focus
When it comes to training, there is no denying that Novak puts many of the greatest athletes in the world to shame. His training regime is strenuous to say the least, and he makes sure to supplement his court training with plenty of aerobic workouts throughout the week.
For cardio, endurance, and warm-ups, stationary exercise bikes are his go-to tools, as they provide a steady state of increased energy production over a longer period of time. This boosts his cardiovascular strength while priming his entire body for the training session at the court. With a few explosive movements for that anaerobic effect, he is ready to take up his racket.
Snack throughout and finish the day with a bang
One of the key elements of Novak’s nutrition is balance. Balance in everything. Throughout the day, he eats what most people would call snacks instead of meals, only to finish it off with a hearty dose of healthy proteins and carbs for dinner.
But before dinnertime comes, he usually munches on healthy carbs such as granola, various fresh veggies and fruits, and of course, some healthy dark chocolate in between sets. When dinnertime does come, you want to fuel up your body with a lean protein source like salmon, and some serious carbs like chickpeas or even pasta.
Eliminate tight spots and restrictions
Lastly, Novak focuses greatly on dynamic stretching and proper post-workout recovery. Before every training session, he will spend upwards of 20 minutes mobilizing his entire body from head to toe, working on tight areas and making sure every joint is able to move the way it should.
After a workout, he will not miss whole-body foam rolling and myofascial release, which helps him loosen up the tightness, eliminate muscle spasms, and prevent injuries down the road. You will do well to take such preventative measures yourself if you want to have a long and healthy career.
Novak Djokovic is, without a doubt, one of the fittest athletes on the planet. As such, he really is someone you want to mimic closely in order to try out his secrets yourself and boost your game in the long run. Let these five habits help you become a better tennis player and build a thriving career you can be proud of.