| By Suzanna McGee

Playing tennis makes tremendous demands on the human body. You spend hours on the courts, grinding and practicing, and later in the gym, working on your tennis-specific fitness to optimize movement, power, explosiveness and the prevention of overuse injuries.

Today’s elite athletes are similarly skilled in the training techniques, and what distinguishes the best from the rest is nutrition. Novak Djokovic is a prime example of how his new gluten-free and junk-free diet made him unbeatable “overnight.”

Nowadays, most people are overfed, yet undernourished. They eat too many nutritionally empty calories.

Your main nutritional goals are:

►Fueling the body with quality nutrients to decrease inflammation from training and physical and emotional stresses

Delivering the optimal amount of quality calories to sustain heavy training and to support muscle repair and recovery.

You cannot go wrong choosing a completely plant-based lifestyle. It is nourishing, filling, healing and light. It is fresh and full of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, fiber and enzymes.

Eat as many fresh vegetables and fruits as you can
It is hard to overeat fresh fruits and vegetables because you get full and satisfied before you eat too many calories. People fear fruits for their sugar content, but fruits deliver fiber, water and quality nutrients. Fruits serve as an amazing snack to fuel your workouts. 

Add protein sources, such as legumes, seeds and nuts
Eating lentils, beans, chickpeas and green peas delivers the protein you need for building and repairing your muscles. Compared to cooking, sprouting your legumes unleashes many healthy nutrients and enzymes.

Pay close attention to oils, nuts and seeds
Due to their high fat content, it is easy to eat too many calories. Add a handful or two for the taste and to get the essential fats, then get the rest of your calories from carbohydrates, as carbs serve as the best fuel for a training body.

Eat as few (if any) animal products as possible
They are highly acid-forming and hard to digest. You want to create an alkaline environment in your body for optimal recovery and digestion.

If you dare to feel the best of your life, eliminate meat, poultry, fish, dairy and eggs. You will feel heightened energy levels, unreal recovery and the ability to train more frequently and with higher intensity. Your body composition will reach optimal, lean levels and you will become healthier in the process.