Ace it like Andy: Wimbledon diet and fitness secrets revealed
The world’s top stars of the sport go to all sorts of extremes to get in shape for the tournament in London SW19.
Here we reveal their amazing diet and fitness secrets and how you can take a lead from the fun of Wimbledon fortnight when it comes to your own health…
FANCY AN ICE BATH?
Temperatures can soar on court, but after a match Wimbledon stars like nothing more than plunging into an ice cold bath to recover. Last year, after grabbing the men’s singles trophy, Andy Murray, 30, was snapped smiling in one, despite temperatures of just eight degrees Celcius. Novak Djokovic, also 30, takes them too. The idea is to reduce muscle temperature and blood fl ow, boosting repair and reducing inflammation and the risk of injury. Andy, who’ll do an eight-minute session in the chilled tub admits: “I might be used to it after all this time but it’s still not nice, believe me.”
British number one Johanna Konta loves tucking into chia seeds, a trendy superfood as she bids for court glory. Packed with omega-3 fatty acids, protein, minerals and antioxidants, they’re a brilliant way to help keep her in top condition. Cheaper sesame seeds are a good alternative. Konta, 26, also loves chicken and cous cous which she says is a good source of lean protein which helps with recovery after long workouts. The dish also promotes slow release of energy.
Experts in the US have found that a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) may actually help reverse the ageing process and seven-time Wimbledon winner Roger Federer, 35, is a fan. He says: “You run 30 seconds, have a break for 30 seconds, then do it all over again. Interval bursts keep you fit, and are fun.”
If you watch Wimbledon on the telly, it won’t be long before you see one of the players munching on a banana during a break. Sexy tennis ace Eugenie Bouchard, 23, says: “All tennis players eat like five bananas a day.” They can help restore potassium and energy levels, plus at 75% water they’re a great way to hydrate. A banana has just 90 calories too. Strawberries, of course, are a staple for the fans, and zinc in them has been linked to boosting sex drive!
Murray enjoys a 45 minute deep tissue massage after a match, while British tennis star Heather Watson gets an hour long one. Along with relieving stress, studies show that massage can help reduce pain and muscles tension and even bolster the immune system. Other research has shown that having a massage can boost your brain and help you sleep better.
FEEL THE BOUNCE
As well as the usual gym and tennis workouts, Wimbledon stars favour some extra exercise regimes. Johanna Konta likes indoor rock climbing and trampolining. Climbing is a brilliant exercise that works your core as well as the muscles in your arms and legs. Plus it can burn 600 calories – the equivalent of three pints – in an hour. Trampolining can typically burn off 500 calories an hour, the same as in a burger.
Top players swear by a post-match meal of sushi. Murray, who eats 6,000 calories a day during tournaments, has been known to down 50 pieces of the stuff at one sitting. The idea is that the food provides the perfect combination of carbohydrates and protein to replenish the body after exercise. Coach Nino Severino says: “The body needs the carbohydrates and protein to replenish the muscles and the liver with glycogen.” Sushi is a great low-fat meal choice even if you’re not a tennis pro.
Danish tennis beauty Caroline Wozniacki, 26, favours boxing to help tone and strengthen her arms and back as well as improve her hand-eye coordination, while fourth seed, Rafael Nadal, 31, famous for his bulging biceps, is a fan of resistance bands, using them to strengthen his shoulders in particular.
Warming up has a different meaning for gluten free fan Novak Djokovic, whose warm food and drink diet is rooted in Chinese medicine. He says: “The first thing I do out of bed is to drink a tall glass of room-temperature water.” The number two seed believes that cold water slows digestion and “diverts blood away from where I want it – in my muscles”.
HAVE A GO…
Want to net a new body this summer? You can play tennis for free at one of the special weekend sessions run by the Lawn Tennis Association or burn up to 600 calories an hour at a cardio tennis workout. The sessions, offered at 900 venues across the UK, include warm-ups, drills, games and cool-downs to combine all features of tennis with cardiovascular exercise. Check out lta.org.uk