Venus Williams Follows These Three Rules To Hit Peak Health And Performance
The pro athlete shares her best tips with Women’s Health.
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For Venus Williams, being a professional tennis player isn’t just about bringing her all on the court. While her remarkable achievements include four Olympic gold medals and seven Grand Slam singles titles—five at Wimbledon and two at the U.S. Open—Venus’ secret to success is pretty simple: She carves out lots of “me time.”
In her off-court moments, Venus channels that intense energy into all the little things that helps her stay on top, like working on her physical strength, maintaining a healthy diet, collaborating with Bombas on her very own sock collection, and embracing confidence and comfort in her daily life.
“I hold myself to a high standard on all fronts,” Venus tells Women’s Health. “And I know the level of consistency and effort that goes into getting results.”
Here, the elite athlete shares four simple tips to finding success on and off the court, and they’re all centered around one fundamental principle: setting realistic goals.
Her workout secret? Mixing strength and cardio.
As a professional athlete, Venus’s fitness routine is incredibly important. That means focusing on a cardio or strength workout on days when she’s not competing.
“I’m either on the court getting as many reps in as possible for cardio, in the gym doing strength work, or recovering and trying to get my body to the best place possible,” she tells Women’s Health.
But Venus knows she’s only human. “Everybody is different when it comes to exercise,” she says. “The most important thing is to listen to your body, stay consistent, and set realistic goals.”
On her strength training days, Venus spices up her routine with go-to workouts like lying hip raises, alternating leg raises using an exercise band, weighted dead bugs, and, of course, a few dance moves and hair flips to get the vibe right. When it comes to equipment, Venus uses a Pilates reformer machine and a bozu ball for stability and balance exercises.
Although training hard is a big part of her success, rest and recovery are just as crucial. She devotes as much effort into letting her body recover as she does getting strong and ready for her next match. And on those rest days, you bet she’s eating good.
Mealtimes are all about a high-protein, plant-based diet.
The tennis star follows a plant-based diet that focuses on protein-enriched foods like chickpeas for hummus and curry, veggie burgers, and hardy soups.
“This has really helped me feel energized and strong both on and off the courts,” she says.
But don’t let the word “diet” fool you. In a 2021 interview with Women’s Health, the tennis star says she actually likes to refer to herself as a “chegan,” a.k.a. a vegan who cheats.
A typical morning in Venus’s world will most likely always include a protein-packed smoothie with a scoop of her favorite strawberry-flavored powder from Happy Viking, a company she co-founded just two years ago.
“The rest of the day, I tend to eat simple meals, which can vary from sweet potatoes and rice, to veggies and lentils,” she says.
And, since Venus is always heading to meetings or on her way to a training session, she likes to have snacks at the ready that can fuel her throughout the day. “I love kale chips, flavored nuts, an energy bar, sliced fruit, and even another protein shake,” she explains.
Comfort is key.
Comfort is at the core of everything Venus does, regardless of the activity. “I know firsthand that when you look and feel your best, you have the confidence to play your best,” she says.
And feeling good in your clothing can play a bigger role then you might think. “It’s so important that I feel comfortable and supported on the court so I can move around quicker and more effectively,” she says.
As the founder of athleisure brand 11 By Venus Williams, Venus is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to quality gym attire. “I love a pop of color or anything that’s vibrant and fun, but it also has to be comfortable and functional so it empowers my movement and doesn’t cause distractions,” she says.
And that commitment to comfort and functionality extends all the way to her toes. So, when the opportunity presented itself to create her own pair of socks with Bombas, Venus jumped at the offer. “I knew I wanted to design a collaboration that brought people this same sense of support, style, and confidence, helping them feel like they can conquer anything,” she says.
And the collab definitely delivers. The Venus X Bombas socks collection, which launched last week, featuring Bombas signature performance construction, like zone cushioning and airflow ventilation, with the addition of Venus’s fresh and fun style. “The design inspiration of the line itself came from vintage athletic wear that is simple yet still modern,” she explains.
Most importantly, Venus’ favorite feature is that her signature mantra “Wish You Well” is stitched into every pair of socks in the collection “as a reminder to always keep a positive attitude and let go of any negativity.” BTW, this collaboration is all about supporting others, as Bombas donates a portion of every sale to support those facing housing insecurity.
Whether she’s working on a brand partnership or prepping for a match, Venus keeps her personal and work life consistent by being easy on herself and staying true to who she is—that’s the overarching key to success in every aspect of her life.