Looking to celebrity athletes for fitness inspiration can be a hit-or-miss exercise. Sometimes, it leaves us yearning for physical achievements we can’t hope to attain, simply because professional athletes have access to routines, equipment, and coaching that most of us do not.

For instance, it’s commonly said that LeBron James spends $1.5 million a year on his body! 

At the same time though, if we accept that there’s a degree of almost superhero dedication and capability associated with pro athletes, many of these figures can still provide useful inspiration. And this is what brings us to a professional tennis player who, in recent years, has proven to be one of the sports world’s greatest examples when it comes to the benefits of personal health: Novak Djokovic. 

Now in the running as one of the best tennis players of all time, Novak Djokovic is known for having completely turned his career and physical health around in 2011. Before then he was a recognized talent with a great deal of potential; since, however, he has won 14 of his 15 total Grand Slam tournaments – and he’s not done yet!

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Several of the UK’s oddsmaker platforms have Djokovic listed among the favorites for upcoming Slams at the French Open and Wimbledon, and particularly after his recent victory at the Madrid Open he may just be the odds-on pick to sweep the major summer tournaments.

Unquestionably, Djokovic has reached this level of success through immense talent and dedication to the skills and techniques of tennis. But the clear shift from 2011 onward is evidence of his fitness as well, and explains why he is currently considered to be one of the world’s most in-shape athletes. He’s very much worthy of following for health inspiration, which is why we’re delving into some of what we know about his dietary health and fitness regimen:

Dietary Health

Test For Food Intolerances and Sensitivities

The importance of diet and nutrition cannot be understated when speaking about Novak Djokovic’s emergence. Djokovic has stated that his body and his tennis career had hit rock bottom before 2011, and that he didn’t bounce back until he met a doctor that tested him for food intolerances and sensitivities. Djokovic found out then that he was highly intolerant to wheat and dairy, and mildly sensitive to tomatoes. He didn’t begin to regain his health and fitness until he removed most gluten and lactose from his diet.

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Adjust Your Diet According To Your Test Results

A lot of people understandably push a gluten-free diet in Djokovic’s name, but Djokovic himself has promoted building your own diet around your own unique dietary restrictions. You should base these dietary restrictions on a test of food sensitivities/intolerances performed by a doctor.

Djokovic is a good example, in that he knows he’s gluten intolerant and thus needs to cut gluten from his diet whenever possible. But not everyone has this same intolerance or needs to avoid gluten specifically in order to maximize his or her health and fitness. The idea is to find what will work for you specifically and adjust your diet accordingly. 

Fitness Habits

Dynamic Stretching Routine

The only thing Djokovic reportedly does before his dynamic stretching routine is some light jogging or a little stationary biking. Then he begins a rigorous, somewhat cardiovascular stretching sequence. Dynamic stretching is not the same as stationary stretching, wherein one stands motionless and holds a stretch for several seconds at a time; dynamic stretching instead entails continually moving your body while performing certain movements and stretches in order to simulate real-world actions. These stretches involve several repetitions of dynamic versions of jumping jacks, high-knee walking, squat thrusts, side lunges, inchworm stretches, and more.

Foam Rolling 

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If you are like most of us and cannot afford an everyday masseuse, Novak Djokovic has spoken of the benefits of utilizing a foam roller to give yourself a healing body massage. This therapeutic process will help to loosen and soothe the tough connective tissue surrounding your muscles. Furthermore, using a foam roller on yourself can improve flexibility, and therefore increase overall mobility. For optimal muscle recovery, Djokovic recommends going over body parts for 30 seconds, and pausing for an extra 10 seconds over especially tender areas.

Yoga Sessions

Djokovic is known to practice yoga for his fitness and physical wellbeing, as well as for his mind, mindfulness, and mental wellbeing. As he’s told it before, he tends to do a yoga session right after a regular workout, and another just before going to bed. During these sessions, Djokovic performs basic yoga poses to bring about flexibility and relaxation, with some of his favorites said to be child’s pose, cat pose, downward dog, and cobra pose.

By practicing these basic poses, Djokovic can achieve a full-body stretch while also increasing his malleability. Yoga also reportedly helps the tennis star to unwind, and undoubtedly enriches his mental wellbeing the way it can for all of us.

Looking over all of this in one place it’s clear that while Djokovic is extremely diligent, and can justify the time he puts into maintaining proper health, he also isn’t doing anything we can’t do. By following these tips and this general lifestyle from the dietary health and fitness of Novak Djokovic, we can all reach our own maximum fitness levels.

Article by Philip V. Hansen

Phillip V. Hansen is a 42-year-old Medical Consultant who enjoys meditation, gardening and reading about almost anything. He is creative and caring, but can also be very boring and a bit moody!

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