Power Players

This is Venus Williams' daily routine to stay at peak performance

Tennis star Venus Williams
Andrew Kelly | AP Images for Clorox

At 39, Venus Williams has now been a professional athlete for 25 years. During that time, she's won Wimbledon five times and the U.S. Open twice, as she and her sister, Serena, have redefined the sport of women's tennis.

Meanwhile, Williams is also an entrepreneur who serves as the CEO of her own interior design firm as well as the athletic apparel line EleVen. Williams and her sister are also part-owners of the Miami Dolphins, having bought a minority stake in 2009.

Despite being one of the oldest players on the Women's Tennis Association tour in 2019, Williams has said she's not yet thinking about retirement. That means the tennis icon's daily schedule is a juggling act packed with business meetings scheduled around her grueling tennis practice and workouts.

Here are the main takeaways from the daily wellness routine that Williams relies on to keep her at a peak performance level.

8 hours of sleep

"My daily wellness routine involves a ton of tennis, a ton of gym [time]," Williams recently told CNBC Make It at an event to promote her partnership with Clorox for cold and flu season. In 2017, Williams said she spends up to three hours a day practicing on the tennis court, plus another two hours in the gym.

In order to keep up with that schedule, Williams aims to get eight hours of sleep every night, she tells CNBC Make It. "Especially after you train, you need those hours," she says.

Ideally, Williams hits the hay by 11:30 p.m., she says, which would allow her to start her day around 7:30 a.m. Williams says she tries to never stay up past 1 a.m.

"Anytime before 1 a.m., then I'm winning," she says of her sleep schedule.

Venus Williams saves most of her prize money—but she has one guilty pleasure
Venus Williams saves most of her prize money—but she has one guilty pleasure

Sleep is essential for Williams to have the energy to get through day after day of spending a few hours on the tennis court, followed by a couple of hours in the gym.

"It's like 'Groundhog Day,'" Williams says of her in-season workout schedule. "The alarm rings again, you're like 'I'm back on the court!'"

Laying off pancakes

Eating healthy may sound simple, but Williams can attest it's easier said than done.

"I just got off tour and the week after, for like four or five days, I ate so bad," Williams tells CNBC Make It. "I felt so sick from eating badly, eating stuff I'm not supposed to eat."

Her junk foods of choice when she's on a break from training? Pancakes and honey buns, Williams says.

When she's sticking to her healthy diet, though, Williams has tried to follow a raw vegan diet for the past few years after her doctor told her it could help relieve some of the symptoms of Sjögren's syndrome, an autoimmune disorder that can lead to fatigue and joint pain. Williams told Insider this week that she now sometimes eats cooked foods like potatoes, rice and lentils to supplement her typical training diet of fresh, raw produce.

Stretching sessions

"I do a lot of recovery, as well. Physiotherapy and massage," Williams says of the recovery portion of her daily routine.

But her favorite recovery exercise involves a lot of stretching, which she says is "actually quite rejuvenating."

"I like to take a lot of time to stretch … It feels amazing [and] I actually think it produces really great endorphins," Williams says.

Typically, she stretches for up to 10 minutes after tennis practice, "depending on how much time I have." After working out at the gym, she stretches another "hopefully, 20 minutes, 30 minutes."

In fact, when The New York Times asked Williams in August about how she's adapted her routine at this stage in her career, she replied "maybe I just stretch more."

"If I could, I would stretch, like 30-45 minutes," Williams says. "But, sometimes I don't have as much time as I'd like."

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