It takes commitment to be a competitive athlete. And it’s more than just training—athletes hoping to end up on the podium or with a PB must also focus on what they do when they’re not performing. Proper rest and recovery time is essential. So is maintaining daily eating habits that ensure they have enough of the nutrients they need to be at their best. While many sports stars work with personal chefs, others love to cook themselves, offering us a glimpse of the favorite fuels of our favorite players. Here are just a few.
Among her other many accomplishments (including 12 Olympic medals!), Natalie Coughlin is a Luvo Ambassador and well-known food fan who can chop and sauté with the best. She has shared many of her tips and favorite recipes with us, which include Luvo’s hacks such as Chicken Chile Verde street-style tacos. Like most athletes, she knows what foods she needs to consume to be at her best, and carefully considers everything from pre-race meals to her post-workout recovery snacks. Hint: she loves cherry-almond smoothies.
Tennis star Djokovic has won more than his share of major tournaments (12 Grand Slams, in fact), so he clearly knows how to prepare for the court. He also knows to prepare a meal or two. Djokovic released a book in 2013 called “Serve to Win” that includes recipes, a bit of autobiographical information and other tidbits that explain how he got to the top of the tennis ladder. He’s extremely detail-oriented, from the food he consumes to the temperature of the liquids he drinks, which includes lots of warm water. Djokovic eats gluten-free and loves avocados, honey and cashew butter. Maybe I could be a tennis player after all.
Skier Lindsey Vonn is the winningest woman in World Cup history, and she’s an Olympic gold medalist to boot. She also likes to cook and pays careful attention to her macronutrient mix during her nine-month training season. She has said that she does most of her own cooking, and notes that making salmon is one of her favorites. She has shared her favorite banana bread recipe, which looks like a winner.
Surfer Laird Hamilton knows his way around the kitchen. He’s finely tuned to the foods he eats (mostly meat and plants, he has said, with very little refined sugar), and has a great awareness of the way food affects how he performs. He’s familiar not just with his own kitchen: Hamilton has appeared on Martha Stewart and Hell’s Kitchen, and has his own line of food products, called Laird Superfood, including organic coffee and non-dairy, gluten-free creamer.
Stoudemire, a 6’11” basketball player, was the NBA Rookie of the Year in 2003, played in the All-Star Game six times, and won a bronze medal for the U.S.A. at the Olympics in 2004. While he has long worked with a chef to prepare meals that fit his and his family’s needs, he also has some pretty smooth moves in the kitchen. Stoudemire co-wrote a cookbook called “Cooking with Amar’e: 100 Easy Recipes for Pros and Rookies in the Kitchen.” Now that’s what I call a slam dunk three-pointer buzzer beater.
The former two-sport standout has been retired from pro sports for some time, but he has since channeled his talents into the kitchen. Jackson told the LA Times in 2009 that cooking is one thing that he does better than sports. He specializes in southern recipes, with dashes of Italian, Asian and French cuisines, he has said. And I believe him, because Bo knows everything (except hockey and blues guitar).
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