Serena Williams, the world's most successful tennis player, wouldn't be where she is today without her incredible talent.

But neither would Williams have achieved those 23 major singles titles, eight number-one rankings, and the record for most Grand Slam titles in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles combined (among those still playing) without astonishing levels of hard, smart work. What does she do every day that keeps her at the peak of her profession?

Her morning rituals

Williams sleeps seven hours each night, and -- outside of tournament time -- rises at seven o'clock for family time and a sensible (but not too sensible) breakfast.

Her meals tend to be vegan for most of the year, although she takes breaks and has been known to eat turkey breast on those rare occasions that she can stomach food before a match.

Like many other successful women, Williams recognizes the value of making good use of the first waking hours of the day.

A healthy, family-oriented start ensures her, or any of the rest of us normal people, that family priorities are covered and she won't end up going to bed regretting the things she didn't make time for.

As a mother, it's important for Williams to see that her daughter has a regular routine.

When she's not competing, Williams plays tennis all morning with her sister and father. But even if she has a morning match, she will hit the court around 8 o'clock for a couple of hours of warming up.

It is interesting that Williams concentrates on tennis in the mornings and fitness in the afternoons. It's kind of the equivalent of writers who create in the mornings and read or socialize in the afternoons.

Working with your body and brain's natural clock is a great way to maximize your potential -- whether you're figuratively "training" or just living your regular work life.

Her afternoon rituals

Williams's afternoon workout these days is dance-oriented. She has never been a big fan of the gym and used to focus on running, cycling, or yoga. She discovered dancing for fitness while recovering from an injury. And guess what? Dancing is not only healthy, it's fun.

"I actually love dancing as well," Williams told the Fader. "I've been taking dance classes because it's actually super challenging. I have a lot of friends that take it with me. I make fun of them, and they make fun of me in the class. We do it year-round, and we always see who's improved the most, then, bam, put on a show, which is kinda ridiculous but really fun."

The early evening is social and family time. Williams has always tried to keep the emphasis on the importance of an extended family of friends as well as immediate family, and respect the fact that people are more important than tennis (or business, or whatever).

Her evening rituals

In the evening, when most of us would be comatose from all that exercise, Williams works on promotional stuff including social media.

But she struggles to sleep at night, despite all that physical and mental work throughout the day. She blames her constant "natural high," saying she's "high on life and happy, happy, happy and working." 

Well, nobody's going to tell Williams how to live. But for the rest of us mere mortals, avoiding social media in the evening would hopefully do the trick for an easy slide into a good night's sleep.

Published on: Oct 7, 2019
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