Tennis can take a lot out of you. Especially in singles play at the national level. Sometimes you just can’t take in enough water or food to replace the water and minerals you lose. And if it’s a hot day, the temperature on the court is even hotter. There have been times where my feet feel like they are on fire (even though I have on shoes) due to the temperature of the tennis court surface. I’m always looking for a secret weapon (other than my vegan diet) that will help me during competition. And I’m always amazed when I see players bring out THEIR secret weapon…their sports drinks. Yup, you know the ones I’m talking about…full of corn syrup, colorings, chemicals and caffeine. Last year I was able to test out MY new secret weapon.
In the middle of summer last year, I went to Seattle to play in the Washington State Open National Senior Tournament, a category two national tournament. The event was held at a beautiful club on the shore of Lake Washington. The tournament site had a dress code: white, white and more white. You could wear an accent color, but your clothes had to be mainly white. (This may not sound like pertinent information for the story, but trust me, it is!) So off I go with just a few white outfits, since most of my tennis clothes are colored.
I wasn’t seeded in the tournament, and played another unseeded player in my first round. It was an easy first round, and it allowed me to get comfortable with the courts. The next day it rained, and I had to play at another site which housed indoor courts. My opponent was the #3 seed, and I ended up beating her fairly easily. On to my semi-final match the following day. It was a long, hard fought match. Lots of long points and sprinting, with me running everything down that my opponent tried to throw at me. My opponent was seeded #2, and I ended up beating her in three sets. About a 2 hour and 45 minute match.
The next day I played in the final, against the #1 seed. The #1 seed had been a member of the United States National Senior Team a couple of years prior. I knew I had my work cut out for me. I had on my vegan bling (when I make it to a final of any tournament, I break out my vegan attire). And this was no different! I wore my “Vegan Health and Fitness Magazine” t-shirt, which was white with red letters. At the beginning of the match, my legs felt sluggish and slow, probably the after effects of my previous match. I brought my VEGA hydrator and I broke out my secret weapon…my little container of chia seeds, sea salt and date pieces…all mixed together. Chia seeds to replace lost minerals, dates for natural sugar and sea salt to ward off muscle cramps. After drinking my hydrator and eating bits of my secret weapon, I started to wake up. But it was too little, too late. I ended up losing the first set. I dominated in the second set, but it was a long one. I kept nibbling on my secret weapon at changeover. Both my opponent and I were soaked. I ended up winning the second set. After the second set break, my opponent left the court to change her clothes. I looked down and realized that I was bleeding. I couldn’t figure out what was going on. Then it hit me. My clothes were completely soaked, as well as my hot pink sports bra. The combination of the red letters on the t-shirt and my sweat soaked pink bra, caused my white t-shirt to turn pink and red! So much for wearing only white!!!
The third and final set came down to fitness AND staying fortified. I kept downing my secret weapon and my VEGA hydrator. Our points were really long, and I realized that my opponent was really starting to tire. So I did what any good tennis player would do, and I started hitting drop shots in the middle of our long points. I could tell that she was starting to cramp, so I kept doing it…over and over. Long points, finished off with a drop shot. At changeover I kept up my routine of consuming my secret weapon. I felt fantastic, thanks to my secret weapon. My opponent was another story. She was just completely whipped! I ended up winning the match, in three hours and ten minutes. I lost so much (by the looks of my t-shirt), but I could have kept going another two hours.
So the whole point of this story…is to find what works for you in competition, and make it your own. Do your research and listen to your body…it will tell you what it needs if you listen. Find your own secret weapon. Super foods are making an explosion right now. Super foods such as maca, sacha inchi and chia. Hey…that could be an idea for my second cookbook…the follow-up to my cookbook Peruvegan…cooking with super foods! And of course, all of those Peruvian ingredients make my Peruvian husband proud!
And in closing, just remember…you CAN’T lose to any opponent that drinks sports drinks made up of corn syrup, chemicals and colorings. Go Vegan Power!
SECRET WEAPON RECIPE:
2 tablespoons of chia seeds
3 fresh dates, cut into pieces
Sea salt to taste
Place all ingredients in a small container and shake it up. Eat small amounts at intervals and kick some @#$! You may need to double this, depending on the length of your workout or competition.