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This past weekend, Rafael Nadal made sports history by becoming the first player to win 21 Grand Slam in men’s singles. With a career spanning over 20 years, it’s clear that Nadal has always been on top of his tennis game.

While his natural-born skill can be credited for his amazing career, one also has to acknowledge how his habits off the court have helped cement his name in the (sports) history books forever. So what health secrets can we learn from one of tennis’s greats?

Rafael Nadal’s Health Secrets

1. Don’t resist the bands

Rafael Nadal is a big fan of resistance bands, and that’s because they are quite helpful for his tennis game. Resistance bands not only promote blood flow, but they also help build up endurance and strength, and they’re much gentler on the joints.

Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal/Instagram

Even if you’re not a record-breaking tennis player, resistance bands can be a great addition to your fitness routine, especially because they’re cost-effective, and help to exercise the entire body.

2. Become a water bug

It’s not only on the court where Nadal gets a good workout, as he also does plenty of exercises in the pool. Be it swimming, running, or jogging inside water, Nadal is definitely a water bug and his aquatic habits help to increase his stamina.

What’s more, exercising in water can also alleviate any pain that you’re experiencing, as Nadal shared, “Sometimes when I have pain in my knees I do aerobic work by running in water up to my waist. A typical work-out is ten widths.

3. Stretch it out

This is very important. This I do everyday. I have my own Physio and he stretches me everyday. This is crucial.

Tennis matches can be draining on the body, and this is why recovery is so important. As such, Nadal makes sure to stretch as much as he can throughout the day – whether it’s every morning, or before and after his workouts. In doing so, he helps his body with recovery, improves flexibility, and reduces the risk of injuries.

4. Do strength training

Strength training is a great way to build your core strength, and this is especially significant for tennis players, as they need core strength to be able to play the game well.

Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal/Instagram

Considering the fact that Nadal just broke records, we can safely assume that his core strength is pretty good.

5. Enjoy seafood

A big fan of seafood, Nadal revealed that he likes to unwind by cooking fish and prawns.

Rich in protein, fish, and seafood can help build muscle mass, but because they’re rich in omega fatty acids, they can also help combat inflammation, which can affect one’s athletic ability.

6. Adopt healthy snacking habits

When it comes to his snacking, Nadal not only stocks up on fruits and vegetables, but he also has nuts, seeds, chickpeas, and lentils.

Unlike other processed and sugar snacks, Nadal’s choice of snacks is a great source of fiber and vitamins, ensuring that he remains healthy and satiated.

7. Fall in love with olives

“I have loved olives from a very young age. I ate a whole jar of olives! The truth is that in every place I go I always look for olives, I even ask for them in restaurants.

“Not only olives, but also good olive oil. Whether in Shanghai or Spain, I always ask about both.”

It’s clear that Nadal is a huge fan of olives, and we can’t exactly blame him. Olives are rich in a number of nutrients that can help to improve both heart and bone health, and even reduce the risk for chronic diseases.

Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal/Instagram

What’s more, a recent study found that olive oil could be the key to living longer.

8. Stay hydrated

Staying hydrated is important, especially if you’re going to be spending half your day on the tennis court.

In addition to drinking water throughout the day, Nadal also stays hydrated by drinking hypotonic drinks. Hypotonic drinks are beverages that have lower concentrations of carbohydrates and a higher concentration of salt, and their aim is to quickly replace fluids lost during exercise.

Additionally, Nadal also drinks filtered seawater, which restores his body’s mineral levels, and protein shakes to keep his muscles healthy.

9. Treat yourself

Now with all of that said, you may think that Nadal stays clear from sweet treats, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

The Spaniard revealed that he loves chocolate and paella, and he treats himself to it every once in a while. On the plus side, at least he’s burning up all those calories when he’s breaking records.


Want to know more?

Rafael Nadal isn’t the only tennis star who’s broken records in recent years. In 2020, Serena Williams won her 102nd US Open, which means that she currently has the most career wins in the tournament’s history, male or female. With such an incredible record to her name, one has to wonder how Serena Williams stays fit and healthy.


Pie Mulumba

Pie Mulumba

Pie Mulumba is a beauty and wellness writer who has a passion for poetry, equality, natural hair, and skin-care. With a journalism degree from Pearson's Institute of Higher Education, and identifiable by either her large afro or colorful locks, Pie aspires to continuously provide the latest information, be it beauty or wellness, on how one can adopt a healthy lifestyle on a day-to-day basis.

The content in this editorial is for general information only and is not intended to provide medical or other professional advice. For more information on your medical condition and treatment options, speak to your healthcare professional.