Serena Williams is a true goddess. The pro tennis player is fierce, and not afraid to go after what she wants. Her career is a grand slam in itself, to say the least. We love her, we admire her, we want to be her — and not just so we can adopt her $973 skincare routine. So today, on her 38th birthday, it’s just a good a time as any to hail her as a role model and sports legend.
But you don’t just become a sports phenom over night. It takes hard work, exercise, and a good nutrition plan. Over the years, Williams has shared some of her favorite healthy snacks and workout routines. We combed through the best tips, so you can live your best life like Serena.
She loves to cook healthy meals.
“For years, I was always making gumbo for everyone,” she told Bon Appétit in 2013. “My other go-to dishes are something I call a ‘seven-bean delight,’ which really only has five beans, but don’t tell. Everyone loves my roasted chicken with garlic. For a minute, it was my turkey tacos. Now it’s vegan sushi. I just love to cook!”
Williams thinks about how her body responds to food.
She usually can’t eat before she plays a match, she told Glamour. “And I haven’t been able to figure out why — it must be nerves!” she said. “But I did have some turkey sausage and a baked potato before this last match. I try to do a combo of protein and carbs.” Part of being healthy is thinking about what your body needs, and not pushing yourself into something it won’t do well with.
“I think that ‘intuitive eating’ tends to align with the idea that our biology interacts with the environment and this plays a role in our intake, hunger, and satiety,” Fatima Cody Stanford, MD, MPH, an obesity medicine physician at Massachusetts General Hospital, previously told Refinery29.
But she also doesn’t deprive herself.
“I had fries with lunch today,” she told Glamour in 2009. “No, I didn’t eat them all, but I’m not going to deprive myself.” Her favorite celebratory meal is cheese pizza from Bella Vita in New York, she added.
She loves to share her intense workouts with others.
In 2016, Williams told Nike’s Training Club app about her one of her workout routines so fans could try it at home. Created in partnership with comedian Kevin Hart, the workout was 15-minutes and involved sprinting and squatting. The workout starts with getting stretched out, then involves 30-second intervals of burpees and partner push ups, according to Elite Daily. There will also be side planks, during which you drive up your knee. And lots of sweat.
Williams works on the mechanics of her workouts.
In order to move around the court swiftly, Williams has to be both agile and fast. Her coach Patrick Mouratoglou recently told Shape Magazine that you can’t train for that just by sprinting, because that form of cardio only has you running in a straight line. This sport is all about speed and changing direction because you have to do both all the time,” he said. “I’ll have her do technical runs side to side, and randomly determine where she’s going to run… We can make an exercise where she has to run right, right, left, right, left, left, right, left. Something like that, but she’ll go when I signal and they’re not in the same time intervals so she doesn’t know when it’s going to happen.”
She changes up her routine.
“For me, it’s so important to mix it up,” she told Fitness Magazine. “I ran, and then I biked. Then I did elliptical. That didn’t work out so well, because it was boring, so I tried yoga. I started dancing because I couldn’t train when I was sick. We started making up moves, and it was fun. Now I run for 10 minutes, and then I dance.” She also has worked with a trainer, who helps her adjust when she’s injured. For example, she told Fitness that after one injury, he made her swim in a pool to strengthen her lungs. “I remember feeling as if I were going to drown,” she said. “But it worked. I kept winning, and I was ranked 29th for the U.S. Open.”
She uses a killer playlist.
She told Fitness Magazine that her power playlist includes “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor, “Maneater” by Daryl Hall and John Oates, and “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” By Kelly Clarkson.
She’s grateful for what her body can do.
She opened up to Fitness Magazine after a health crisis about how it make you appreciate your body for what it can do. “I realized that I’m really fortunate to be alive and to be playing, and that it’s not the end of the world if I don’t win,” she said. “I was able to relax. It was the first time I’ve ever had so much fun on the court. I would play matches and enjoy myself. That brought a whole new perspective to my game. Now I know I don’t have to play again if I don’t want to. I play because I love it.”
Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?