Carolina Sánchez-Hervás with 9-time French Open winner, Rafael Nadal
It's that time of the year again, and Roland Garros, also known as the French Open, has begun. It is the premier clay court event of the year, and recently I had a chance to catch up with 9-time Roland Garros champion and the most successful player in Roland Garros history, Rafael Nadal.
Banco Sabadell, one of the largest banks in Spain, invited me to this exclusive event celebrating Rafael Nadal as their brand ambassador.
I had the chance to catch up with Rafa and ask him some nutrition questions. I was curious about what his diet is like and what he eats typically before and after a match. He said he only recently started working with a nutritionist about 2 years ago. Before that, he said he never paid much attention to nutrition, as is typical of most young people. It's not until he started having injuries and problems that he decided to seek out a nutritionist. "I eat a lot of Nutella," he said with a laugh. He also said he has to be very cautious with what he takes in terms of supplements and shakes because there are so many banned substances in the ATP, but most of what he takes is already dictated by the ATP and is what most players take (recovery shakes, etc.).
When you're young, you feel like you can eat everything, or so I thought. I also played tennis competitively; I played in college and trained many hours per day. Yet, I never thought about what I was putting into my body. I figured since I was burning so many calories per day, I could eat whatever I wanted, but I later discovered it's not so; you need to feed your body well if you want to perform to the maximum of your abilities. The best way for your body to recover is by eating lots of anti-inflammatory foods, namely fruits and vegetables. This helps your body heal after those long grueling matches or games. I used to stuff my face with sweets, bagels, and processed foods in high school, and then I discovered plant-based nutrition, and the benefits were so clear from the start. I was faster, my body recovered much quicker, and I wasn't sore after long matches like before. My energy levels were way up and I also felt much lighter on the court.
So many athletes nowadays get injured because their bodies are under constant stress, both physically and mentally, but eating right can go a long way. If you're interested in learning how you can improve your diet, whether as a professional athlete or someone who just likes to work out,
to learn more about how you can improve your fitness and health.
Best of luck to Rafa at Roland Garros! ¡Vamos!