I was watching this video about how Steve Johnson lost a significant amount of weight before the start of the 2017 season. He mentioned all of the benefits of his weight loss and diet but he didn’t go into what his diet was. They just showed him eating a salad at some point and he said something about avoiding dairy. When I watched this video I was about one month into my diet and I was seeing great results on the scale and on the court. I fully believe Steve Johnson is on a similar diet to me.
I am currently on the Slow Carb Diet, coined by Tim Ferriss in the 4 Hour Body. Regardless of what you might think of Tim, this diet works extremely well for me and my wife. We’ve both lost significant weight especially fat. My movement on the court and endurance has increased considerably. As of this morning, I’m at 171.6 lbs on the scale which is down from 187 lbs 3 1/2 months ago.
There is really no mention of what the pro’s do for their diet. I found this awful video from a few years ago where they talk about the importance of carbohydrates for tennis players. It made me cringe and I’m no Dominic D’Agostino. I actually eat the opposite of the foods these guys do and I’m sure hundreds of elite level athletes do as well.
I had tried Paleo with some limited success but the amount of sugar I would eat seemingly hindered my progress. Plus, I love having a cheat day once per week. It is my opinion that simple carbohydrates and sugars are the enemy, not fats. From lots of self-experimentation, I’ve found what works best for me. I feel more alert, I never feel hungry, I lose weight/fat, and perform much better. I’ve also become a better cook.
Intermittent fasting is something I’ve also been a fan of. I like to skip breakfast most days and just eat a late lunch around noon or 1pm. I will actually train fasted in the mornings and experience as good if not better performance than if I had eaten. Once your body becomes “fat adapted”, you will burn fat for energy and not carbs/sugars. This is very likely how humans had energy to hunt and stalk prey before we had supermarkets and agrarian societies.
I do take a few supplements and I actually include exogenous ketones (Keto-cana) and MCT oil (in my coffee with cream) which I believe kicks my fat burning up a bit. I feel more alert and energized when I drink the Keto-cana before a workout.
I have no affiliation with any of these people or products, I’m just telling you what I take and how it works for me. I wish they were paying me to promote them 🙂
So, are there elite level athletes follow a similar diet protocol? Yes, 100%. Can I tell you with certainty that most professional tennis players follow these diet protocols? I don’t know. They all seem to be very hush-hush about discussing their diets in full detail. I will say this, if I were training an adult professional athlete, I would have them on some variation of this diet. I would have them eating whole, natural foods and lean proteins to the tune of 3000+ calories per day. While that may not sound like a lot of food, it is an absolute ton of food when it’s clean/natural foods not pastas or breads.
From my research, this type of diet isn’t ideal for younger kids so if you’re training a junior, look into a modified version with more natural carbs and sugars. Just make sure you’re providing them with good foods like yams, fruit, etc. I wouldn’t give them anything fried or battered and no fructose corn syrup.