With the U.S. Open starting in New York this week, all eyes are on the tennis world again, particularly Novak Djokovic, ranked No. 1 in the world. Having been brought up in the U.K., I'm an Andy Murray fan first and foremost, but this year I’m tempted to back the Djoker!
This week, as well as his regular appearances for sponsors and endless practice, Novak is out promoting his new book. Unlike your typical player autobiography, it's actually a health book; its full title is Serve to Win: The 14-Day Gluten-Free Plan for Physical and Mental Excellence.
Djokovic’s rise to #1 in the world is an incredible story, and his ditching of gluten is also well-known, so much so it has been mentioned on MindBodyGreen before, in 2011 when he had perhaps the greatest year of any tennis player ever. He has maintained his high standards, and this new book gives amazing insight into the mind of an elite athlete who has climbed to the top of a brutally competitive sport during its arguably most competitive era.
Djokovic discovered his gluten sensitivity after being "muscle tested" by a Serbian nutritionist in Cyprus. This was particularly interesting to us at Revive Primary Care, as we have a nationwide network of practitioners using similar innovative assessments.
Once he started his new diet, he says, “My allergies abated; my asthma disappeared; my fears and doubts were replaced by confidence." He adds, "I have not had a serious cold or flu in nearly three years."
Here are seven tips that help Novak Djokovic — and can help you — change your diet and change your performance:
1. Start the day with a glass of water.
Make sure it's room temperature. Cold water slows digestion and diverts blood from where he wants it — his muscles
2. Cut out gluten.
3. Eat lots of avocados and cashew butter.
Good fats are key.
4. No caffeine and very little refined sugar.
No alcohol during the tournaments, either.
5. Two spoons of manuka honey daily.
Mostly known for its antibacterial properties for wounds, this is a pretty eccentric addition.
6. Sleep eight hours a night and supplement with melatonin.
Seems like a sensible strategy!
7. Reduce stress: yoga, tai chi, biofeedback and meditation.
He takes these as seriously as his tennis practice.
Tennis is a sport where the difference between success and failure is minuscule, and it's obvious these changes have made a massive difference. If you know an athlete who needs an extra nudge to improve performance, you might want to share this with them!
Enjoy the U.S. Open!