Lewis Hamilton refuses to let 2021 season ‘define’ his career
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When Lewis Hamilton shot out of Formula 1’s starting grid at 22-years-old, he was fuelled by animal products. In recent years, the British racing driver has converted to a plant-based diet and believes this is one of the key reasons he consistently wins races. So what does he eat and how does he keep in shape?
Over the course of a two-hour race, F1 drivers can burn as much energy as they would running a half marathon, according to coaching and sports science director, Peter McKnight.
He siad: “The heart rate trace matches the profile of the track.
“Longer corners are the most taxing as they are taken at higher speeds and therefore the driver experiences higher g-forces.”
Sitting in an F1 car for so long can also have an impact on the driver’s physical health.
It was recently reveealed that a driver’s hip flexors become incredibly strained, their hear rate also stays around 160 for close to 90 minutes, as well as their neck muscles being stressed almst to breaking point.
Therefore, it is no surprise that the drivers need to be in peak physical, mental and emotional health.
Lewis said: “The amount of people I meet who are surprised that you have to be fit.
“It’s not like another sport, say basketball. Anyone can go and try being Lebron. We fail but we can go on a court and try. People can’t drive one of these cars. They don’t understand what it is.”
So how does Lewis ensure he is at the top of his game in terms of health?
He explained the diet and fitness programme he follows and said: “I like lifting weights, but I have to make sure that I don’t overdo it.
“Formula 1 drivers can’t be too heavy: more muscle means more kilos. It’s also disadvantageous to put too much muscle on your shoulders and arms, because you need to have a low centre of gravity in the car.
“It’s important to have a good cardiovascular system as a driver. Over the course of a two-hour race, you might have an average heartbeat of 160-170bpm. During qualifying, it can go up to 190bpm. That’s why I do a lot of running. Sprints are a part of every workout.”
Understanably, his training has evolved over the years: “When I was young, I had a lot of energy and felt I could do anything. I didn’t have a strategy, and I didn’t stretch: I just got in the car and drove to win.
“But over the years, I’ve experimented with a number of different disciplines, like boxing and muay Thai.
“These days, I do lots of pilates, focusing on the core – the muscles beneath the muscles.”
And what about his approach to nutrition? Lewis continued: “Three years ago, I decided to follow a plant-based diet.
“The only thing I regret is not having done it before. My taste buds have learned about things that I never thought I would eat and that I now love: falafel, avocado, beetroot, fresh and dried fruit.
“I’ve also noticed a marked improvement in my fitness level since I switched, which is motivating.”
Lewis went onto explain how before he “changed his approach to food” he was “struggling” and his “energy was inconsistent”.
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“I had days when I felt strong and others when I was just sapped,” he added.
“When I switched to a plant-based diet, those highs and lows decreased significantly.
“I’ve also noticed positive effects on my sleep and on my health in general. The benefits keep coming, and I’ve honestly never felt better.
“I’m 35 now, and though theoretically I should be less fit than before, I’m more mobile and in better shape than I was at 25.”
Lewis is also a fan of smoothies with added plant-based protein.
“I generally have that probably two or three times a day because it’s super quick, super easy, put it in the blender and you can take it with you – sports rational,” he told Men’s Health.
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