Being a former World’s No. 1. is no easy feat, especially when it comes to maintaining your sportsman’s physique. But for Swiss tennis superstar Roger Federer (he currently sits at a still remarkable no. 41), it’s all about dedication, determination, and diet.
Federer has stayed at the top of his game for a very long time, with 20 Grand Slam titles under his belt. He achieved all these by training like crazy to meet the brutal demands of the competitive sport. At least his diet isn’t as rigid as the rest of his colleagues. Let’s take a sneak peek at Federer’s training routine and nutrition.
Roger Federer has been training under the watchful eye of Pierre Paganini for the past 20 years. The world-renowned fitness coach makes Federer do a Rolodex of training exercises daily, all of which are designed to enhance all muscle groups of the body. While the routine can be quite challenging, Federer has managed to minimize the number of serious injuries during his career.
Exercises to boost strength, speed, balance, agility, and endurance are on top of Federer’s priorities. This runs the gamut of usual tennis exercises like racket drills to medicine ball tosses. Weight training is also crucial, and Federer performs plenty of leg presses, bench presses, the fly, leg squats, bicep curls, and tricep curls. He reportedly hates doing push-ups but does them anyway at Paganini’s behest.
Here’s a complete rundown of Federer’s daily exercise routine. Some of these he takes off, depending on his mood and condition. To start things off and get the blood pumping, Federer does a series of warm-up exercises, which typically include stretches, jump rope, butt kicks, and sideline sprints. He follows these with some side lunges with a medicine ball, ideal for core strengthening and balance improvement. Next, he does medicine ball shuffles, which work wonders on the upper body and core as well. Resistance band exercises are great for increasing endurance and flexibility. Paganini’s arduous version of racket drills involves making Federer hit three balls simultaneously before the second bounce. Finally, some high-intensity interval training gives Federer the explosive bursts of energy he needs on the court.
In terms of diet, Federer is probably one of the most liberal among star athletes and celebrities. At 40, an age when most professional tennis players really restrict their diet or risk wreaking havoc on their bodies, Federer still has the privilege and metabolism to eat whatever he wants. He still tries to keep it healthy with plenty of whole grains, fruits, lean meats, and veggies, but he’s also one to partake in big helpings of waffles, pasta, cheese, chocolate, ice cream, and decadent dishes.
So, what is the tennis superstar’s favorite dish? Pizza. And not just any pizza, but Chef Yan Dilie of Player’s Restaurant’s custom pizza made with fresh fig, parma, ham, arugula, and white truffle cheese cream.
It's important to note that tennis players need to stay lean so they can be quick with their movements, but at the same time have the extra energy to fuel their frenetic games. While Federer does eat plenty of protein-rich foods to build mass and aid with muscle recovery, he relies more on complex carbs for prolonged energy storage and spontaneous power boosts.
Here’s a closer look at Federer’s diet plan on a day of a match. For breakfast, he gets homemade waffles with fruit compote, a refreshing glass of orange juice, a cup of coffee, and a shot of apple cider vinegar. If you don’t know about the many health benefits of apple cider vinegar, now’s the time to do some side research. Lunch is pasta with some light sauce, something that he has traditionally eaten for the past 25 years. You better start gobbling plenty of spaghetti if you’re considering a career as a professional tennis player. Snacks include an energy bar, a banana, and an energy drink. Finally, dinner means having a reservation at a high quality restaurant, and if he’s not eating his usual favorites of pasta or pizza, he mixes things up with some authentic Japanese, Indian, or Swiss cuisine, with a bottle of wine or champagne on the side and some chocolate or ice cream for dessert.
So that’s how you train to become a tennis champion, Roger Federer-style. Try to do push-ups no matter how much you despise them and don’t forget to eat plenty of pasta and pizza. Kidding aside, it takes so much more than these to join the ranks of the world’s finest tennis players, but they’re a good place to start.