Venus Williams Shares Her Best Fitness Advice — Are You Taking Notes?

rexusa_1086199qPhoto: Rex USA.
Given that Venus Williams has been training since she was four years old, it's safe to say she knows a thing or two about staying in shape. So, when we got the chance to sit down with the tennis champ, naturally our conversation gravitated towards all things fitness. Luckily, Williams was more than happy to share the workout and diet tips she's picked up along the way to her (no big deal) seven Grand Slam championships and over 40 WTA titles.
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For starters, she's learned to keep her eyes on the prize during tough training sessions. "I focus on the end result," Williams told us at Jamba Juice’s FiTrends Expo in Los Angeles. "It’s going to be grueling now, but it’s going to be better and better. So, you need to focus on how much stronger you’re going to get, and how it’s going to be easier one day."
She's also figured out how to tackle procrastination. "For me, getting in the right mindset [for a workout] is about not delaying," she said. "If you sit there and say, 'I’ll go to the gym after this show,' you can find that it’s midnight and you haven’t gone yet." Sound familiar? The generous pro would caution against being too hard on yourself. "Everyone's gone through that," she said. "Except the people who just live to work out — they are a different kind of species." We knew we liked her for a reason. From snacking tips to daytime TV, read on for the rest of our chat with Williams.
What's the #1 thing people should not do when it comes to working out?
"That's a good question. I think there are a few things. If you’re running, it’s terrible if you don’t bring music, especially if you hate running. Bring music if you’re going to run, or else it will last forever. If you’re doing a timed exercise, don’t look at the clock every two seconds, because it makes it longer. Another thing is, especially if you’re in an air-conditioned gym, try to wear something that wicks sweat so you aren’t cold. And, try not to hurt yourself when you’re working out! That’s crucial."
How often do you recommend people switch up their exercise routines?
"For me, switching it up keeps it fresh. I have to switch it up a lot. There are some staple exercises that I do a lot, but then there are some that I change in and out. Some days I’m like, 'I don’t want to run half an hour today,' so I’ll run 15 minutes and do the rest on the bike. You have to make compromises sometimes."
If you had to come up with a golden rule for staying in shape, what would it be?
"I think the golden rule is stay consistent. You’re going to have periods where you take breaks — but don’t let those breaks be too much longer than a few weeks. Don’t expect yourself to be at the gym six or seven days a week. Maybe some weeks it’s three days. Or, it might be a rough week and it’s two. But, the golden rule is just to stay consistent."
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What's the best diet advice you've ever received?
"It’s definitely from my older sister. She says, 'Not too much, and not too often.' So, have some, but not all — and not all the time. You know, be sensible."
rexusa_1886245cPhoto: Norrie Montgomery/REX USA.
What's your favorite indulgence?
"Probably having a day off. Just laying in bed for a long time and watching those judge shows; daytime TV is such a luxury that it’s a huge indulgence for me. I love that."
What are your snacking tips for maintaining energy throughout the day?
"There are some people who need more snacks than others. Depending on what you’re doing, you might need more energy, so you might go with something like cashew butter. But, if you’re not doing as much performance, maybe it’s more like a green juice with apple in it. So, with those kinds of things, you have to find the balance of what you are preparing for and what’s appropriate."
What do you eat before and after a tennis match?
"Before matches, I eat a combination of protein and carbohydrates just to keep up the energy balance. After the match, hopefully, I will finish it with just 200 calories to refuel my body quickly, so it’s not breaking down muscle for food."
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What are your strategies for avoiding unhealthy food and alcohol when you're out at events and parties?
"I usually have to avoid all alcohol because I’m always training or always getting ready for the next tournament. So, that’s my personal motivation. But at the same time, alcohol slows down your metabolism, and it’s a quick way to cellulite and belly fat, so you have to remember those things! Say, 'Okay, I’m going to pick my times and have a good time with it, and the other times I’m just going to not have it at all.'"
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