Novak Djokovic Diet Challenge

About a month ago, I was browsing all the sections in Barnes & Noble, on a spree of last-minute Christmas gifts. Naturally, I had to peruse the Sports section even with a handful of gifts in hand and sure enough, I found a good read that is wonderfully synced to a lot of my growing interests.

Novak Djokovic’s Serve To Win is part memoir, part guidebook as the world’s #2 tennis player (primarily #1 since 2011, though) first shares his upbringing from a bomb-ridden childhood in Serbia and the various turning points in his career during his journey to #1. The “guidebook” part of Serve To Win is what makes up the breadth of the book as Djokovic details his gluten-free diet that he’s singled out as the reason he was able to make the jump from the second tier of top tennis players to #1 above Nadal and Federer.

Djovokic’s early career was marked with many injuries and in-match ailments that started to tarnish his rep as experts and peers questioned his work ethic. When in fact, Djokovic says he was just “eating all wrong” after numerous consultations with fitness gurus still had him in top condition during these in-match breakdowns. The switch to a gluten-free diet instantly made him feel lighter, quicker, and with all the same power — thereby increasing his stamina to last many of the epic 5-set matches that he now wins more than not on his way to 6 career Grand Slam titles.

The book not only details Djokovic’s diet, but he also reveals his new mental approach to the game that coincides with the diet and helps him to limit stress (especially in a tennis match when it’s just you out there) as well as a simple fitness plan that we can all use as well.

Where the purchase of Serve To Win syncs with me personally in 2014 is that the book is a collision of many things I like and was looking to improve about my health and body into the new year. For one, Novak Djokovic has been my favorite tennis player as I became a big fan because of Nole’s resiliency and raw, real emotions he exhibits both on and off the court. I also wanted to keep improving my diet, exercise, and sleep patterns as all three suffer if we lose sight of it. I want to minimize the lethargic days I have, which happen more frequently than I think they should already. And I know improving my diet and thereby improving my energy (both physical and mental) will kickstart that change.

So, join my friend and I as we start the Djokovic gluten-free diet tomorrow for one week (and possibly two). There are some routines, recipes, and general tips outlined in the Gallery, below, as well as this story that details Djokovic’s struggles before going with the diet. If you happen to take this to heart, drop me a line on Twitter @gowherehiphop and let me know how it goes. I’ll be checking in as well!

A simple Google search of Novak Djokovic ‘Serve To Win’ will give you plenty of outlets to get the book — a must-have if you’re interested in improving diet, exercise, and your mental 🙂


Day One

Breakfast Water first thing out of bed; two tablespoons of honey; muesli (including organic gluten-free rolled oats, cranberries, raisins, pumpkin or sunflower seeds and almonds)

Mid-morning snack (if needed): Gluten-free bread or crackers with avocado and tuna

Lunch Mixed-greens salad, gluten-free pasta primavera (including rice pasta, summer squash, courgettes, asparagus, sun-dried tomatoes and optional vegan cheese)

Mid-afternoon snack Apple with cashew butter; melon

Dinner Kale caesar salad (kale, fennel, quinoa and pine nuts) plus dressing (including anchovies or sardines); minestrone soup; salmon fillets (skin on) with roasted tomatoes and marinade

Day Two

Breakfast Water first thing out of bed; two tablespoons of honey; banana with cashew butter; fruit

Mid-morning snack (if needed): Gluten-free toast with almond butter and honey

Lunch Mixed-greens salad, spicy soba noodle salad (including gluten-free soba noodles, red bell pepper, rocket, cashews and basil leaves, plus spicy vinaigrette)

Mid-afternoon snack Fruit and nut bar; fruit

Dinner Tuna nicoise salad (green beans, cannellini beans, rocket, tuna, red pepper, tomatoes and canned chickpeas), tomato soup, roasted tomatoes

Day three

Breakfast Water first thing out of bed; two tablespoons of honey; gluten-free oats with cashew butter and bananas; fruit

Mid-morning snack (if needed): Home-made hummus (including chickpeas and gluten-free soy sauce) with apples/crudités

Lunch Mixed-greens salad, gluten-free pasta with power pesto (including rice pasta, walnuts and basil leaves)

Mid-afternoon snack Avocado with gluten-free crackers; fruit

Dinner Fresh mixed-greens salad with avocado and home-made dressing; carrot and ginger soup; whole lemon-roasted chicken