Every Friday we will share some key fitness insights from the top players past and present.
This week, be like Novak and take a holistic approach to fitness for better results. In 2010, Novak Djokovic was an established and highly ranked player. He would make it pretty far into tournaments but he would never win a big one. He would often retire from matches with aches, breathing difficulties and/or injuries. In 2011 all of that changed. Novak was on fire. He went on to have one of the best years in tennis history. He won 10 titles, 3 grand slams- the Australian, Wimbledon, and the US Open, and at one point had won 43 matches in a row. Djokovic credited his break through to him taking a more holistic approach to his training. In his book, Serve To Win, Djokovic discusses the changes he made that brought him success. You may not win 43 matches in a row like Novak but follow some of these tips and your fitness will improve.
1) Gluten Free Diet- if you follow tennis you have probably heard of Djokovic's change to a gluten free diet. Gluten is a protein found in wheat that some people like Djokovic have difficulty digesting. Some people think that gluten intolerance is not a real thing. But for Djokovic gluten intolerance was very real. He removed gluten & dairy among other things from his diet. He instantly began to feel better physically and mentally. As he refined his diet his performance skyrocketed.
The main takeaway is to listen to your body. If you feel sluggish, irritable, achy, and/or unable to perform your best physically, more likely than not it has to do with the way you are eating. Humans and animals are not meant to eat processed foods. It's ok to eat processed(packaged) food every now and then but the vast majority of your meals should be lean meats, vegetables, nuts, and fruits.
2) Foam Rolling- All high performing athletes have aches, pains, and stiffness. It is unavoidable. Massage helps to decrease stiffness & improve overall mobility. For the average person getting a massage often isn't practical. What is practical is foam rolling. Foam rolling is a self-massage technique that can really help loosen up your tight muscles and connective tissue. Foam rolling is difficult to describe without visuals. Look up foam rolling on youtube. Try it. It works.
3) Dynamic Warm Up- Djokovic is a big believer in warming up the body thoroughly before tennis. After a few minutes of jogging or warming up on the stationary bike, Djokovic performs a series of dynamic warm ups. These warm-ups take several minutes. His warm up consists of mobilization exercises for his shoulders, hips, trunk, core, legs, and rotator cuffs. Djokovic and his team warm up and mobilize for at least 30 minutes before any intense work begins.
Maybe warming up for so long is not practical for most, but we all could take 5-10 minutes to make sure that we are ready to go.
4) Yoga- Djokovic recommends several basic yoga poses to help stay loose and relaxed. These can be performed either right after a workout, practice session and/or before you go to bed at night. The poses stretch most of the body and help you to unwind. Hold each for thirty seconds and work up to a minute. Remember to breathe while in your yoga pose. Some of the poses that he recommends are the Downward dog, Upward Dog, and Child's Pose.
Don't waste time. Try some of the tips above and take a holistic approach to fitness like Novak.
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