For James Blake—the eighth-best player in the tennis world—dishing out a powerful forehand requires monster energy. Read on to learn how he fuels his game in the kitchen.
Since turning pro in 1999, Blake has recognized the importance of proper nutritional habits to maintain his on-court edge. The biggest difference in his diet since his high school days is the amount he eats. "I'm burning so many [calories] on the court," he says, "if I didn't eat thousands and thousands of calories every day, I would start losing weight."
Maintaining a high-calorie intake to sustain his 6'1" 183-pound frame calls for a lot of protein shakes. Post-workout, Blake also recharges with Gatorade, which helps replenish his glycogen stores as well as sodium, a key electrolyte lost through sweat during intense activity.
Though Blake attempts to eat as healthy as possible, he admits that "in the effort to just get [in] calories, sometimes there's a little bit of junk food that sneaks in there." The cheat grub he loves most: pizza. "I eat pizza probably a little too much," he says, adding that he stays away from McDonald's and Burger King.
In fact, although beef used to be absent from his diet, his stomach never went empty. The former vegetarian says that even when he was avoiding red meat, he fulfilled his protein needs by eating extra chicken and fish.
"You have to be a little more diligent," Blake says. "You just have to order more, and sometimes it looks a little gluttonous at a restaurant, but it's just what you have to do for your job."
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