On Daily Routines, we profile successful leaders, entrepreneurs, artists, executives and athletes to explore their routines, schedules, habits and day in the life.
When two-time Olympic gold medallist Max Whitlock and his wife, Leah, welcomed their daughter, Willow, in 2019, it threw a spanner in the gymnast’s daily training routine, namely around his sleeping and recovery time. More importantly though, his daughter helped him to prioritise the important things in life, pushing him to find balance between the gym and home.
“I love being at home and going away has always been difficult but since Willow’s been born it’s ten times harder,” he told The Daily Mail. “What Willow does is actually force a balance. If I’ve come home and I’ve had a really bad session at the gym, I’ll instantly forget about it as coming home to Willow, you have no choice.”
In 2016, Whitlock became Britain’s first ever gold medallist in gymnastics when he won the men’s floor and pommel horse exercise at the Rio Summer Olympics. As a five-time Olympic medallist (two golds and three bronzes) as well as a number of medals and titles in world championships, Whitlock is currently the most successful gymnast in Britain’s history.
Straight after my second Olympics in Rio, I decided to focus on two pieces to increase my difficulty level, increase my skills, and upgrade. I wanted a big challenge ahead. Sitting here today, I know that was the right decision.What Makes A 5-Time Olympic Medallist? | Max Whitlock On Ambition, Set-Backs And Sacrifice | MyProtein
For most of his athletic career, Whitlock has always trained for 35 hours a week. However, following his successful run at the 2016 Olympics, the gymnast started to look at ways to scale back his long training hours with a focus on injury-prevention and maintaining longevity in the sport.
“My aim is to slowly build up to 25 hours a week, which I think will help me avoid injury and fulfill my dream of competing for another eight years,” he told FourFourTwo in 2017. “I’ve had quite a few injuries and always feel like I’m performing with an ache or pain, so I want to reduce the risk of a setback.”
Max Whitlock’s training routine & diet
During the lead-up to the (now-cancelled) 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Whitlock described his weekly training routine in an interview with GQ. Even after scaling back his training hours to 20 hours a week, the Olympic champion is still in the gym six days a week, Monday to Saturday, working on different aspects of the sports.
- Monday – the “getting back into it” day of the week. Whitlock and his team use this day as an opportunity to ease into the week and make sure their muscles are ready for the rest of the week’s training.
- Tuesday – practice competition day. “We go round every piece we’ll be competing on, do our routines, present to our coach and try to do it in a relaxed version of a competition structure. It’s all about getting the numbers in, building the stamina,” he told GQ.
- Wednesday – fitness and injury-prevention day. Whitlock goes for a short run, then spends time stretching and working on rehabbing his body — “My ankles are a bit weaker than other parts of the body, so I work on strengthening them and make sure my body is ticking over nicely, especially as I’m getting older.”
- Thursday – another practice competition day, similar to Tuesday.
- Friday – semi-rest day. “We still go to the gym, but I do very very little. I go in, do a lot of stretching, a lot of ticking over, maybe working on some of the skills that haven’t gone well that week or to give me some confidence, to make sure I’m in the right place for the weekend.”
- Saturday – another practice competition day, but in the most intense way possible. Whitlock’s goal during Saturday training sessions is to replicate the competition environment as closely as possible — “We’ll wear what we’re going to wear in the competition. Sometimes we’ll even bring in official judges. I might livestream or video it. I want the most amount of pressure put on me that day so I can get more experience.”
- Sunday – complete rest day. “I’ll try to have a lie-in, get as much sleep as possible. I’ll try to get Willow to have a lie-in as well. I will also stretch out at home with a foam roller in the living room to repair from Saturday and prepare me for the week ahead.”
To fuel his training, Whitlock’s daily meal plan usually consists of three main meals and a couple of snacks and protein shakes sprinkled throughout the day.
“For breakfast, I’ll have cereal or toast with eggs and salmon then maybe a banana an hour before training,” he told MyProtein. “I don’t tend to snack mid-training as I need the time to digest, so I’ll have an energy drink, then afterwards I’ll make sure I have a protein shake and carbs. For dinner, I will eat pretty much anything, from spaghetti bolognese, steak, salmon and veg – I have a normal diet.”
Don’t be strict. It’s a lifestyle, not a chore. You should eat whatever you like, in moderation, that way you will keep eating healthier for a longer period of time as opposed to fluctuating. If you’re exercising pretty much every day, you can get away with eating junk food every now and again – just make sure you work hard the next day!Max Whitlock – How Does The Gold Medalist Plate Up His Diet? | MyProtein
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Check out more daily routines from Barack Obama, Joe Rogan, Jeff Bezos, Michelle Obama, Sheryl Sandberg, Richard Branson, Warren Buffet and plenty others.