Training for the U.S. Open is incredibly grueling — but it also requires a ton of self-care. That's why between hitting the gym and the tennis court, Venus Williams gets ready for the U.S. Open by getting massages, sleeping in, and upping her food intake.
"With the amount of tournaments and the amount of training and also knowing how to push your body — and trust me, I’ve pushed my body a lot," she told Health.com. "But you have to know when to say when, too. And also, it’s very draining mentally to keep this level up, so I also like to take mental breaks." She added that while she rarely takes days off, "there is something to be said for letting the body recover, and especially letting the mind recover, and a lot of times you come back stronger."
To keep herself mentally healthy, she does things she enjoys, like spending time with friends and family, dancing, and (of course) tennis. When it comes to her physical health, she gets at least eight hours of sleep a night before tournaments. "You don’t want to just give away a match because you just couldn't find a way to go to bed," she said. She added that she eats "a ton more" during competitions.
But the best tournament preparation routine of hers sounds like the massages. "I see massage as a part of my training, almost," she said. "You definitely wouldn’t see me using my free time going to a spa, because I’ve already been on the table for hours." It's probably not as fun as it sounds, though: The reason she needs it so much is that her work leaves her very prone to injuries.
Williams' U.S. Open prep sets an example for all of us. If she manages to find time to sleep eight hours or more, eat three healthy meals, and find down time every day while training for one of the biggest athletic competitions in the world, we have no excuse not to prioritize our own self-care.