Food Court: Chopping Up Nutrition With Milos Raonic
Milos Raonic has long paid close attention to his nutrition, first bringing a nutritionist onto his team in 2013. The former World No. 3 says the personnel has changed, but he has always had guidance in that department since, and it has proven a key part of his career.
ATPTour.com caught up with the Canadian to discuss nutrition, the food that has become a major part of his diet, the dessert he wishes he could eat and more.
What made you add a nutritionist to your team in 2013? Some players pay careful attention to that, others not as closely, so was there any specific reason?
Every single step [of my career] I’ve always asked myself, ‘What can I do better?’ I reached that point in 2013 when just before the season, that’s where I thought I could make the most impact. I asked the people I was working with, my team, they felt that’s something I could give attention to and I could reap benefits from.
How much has your diet and what you’ve avoided changed between where you started and now?
It’s probably changed every two to three years because every time I change it, I use that to solve certain issues. When I started it was, ‘How can I clean stuff up? How can I be more efficient?’ Then over the past few years when I’ve had a lot of injuries, it’s been, 'What have I been lacking or what might I be missing or what do I need to do better to stay healthy?'
I think each time it’s been conformed to a specific issue that I’m trying to solve or I’m trying to fix or improve. I think that’s where it’s sort of stepped from the approach we take to the solution we are looking for.
Do you have a list of ‘no-no’s’ where you go into a restaurant and you know you can’t touch it?
Skipping desserts. I don’t eat red meat that often. Maybe once or twice every two weeks, and now a big part of it has been regimenting the times I eat. That is how quickly I’m eating after a match, and those kind of things. That’s what has changed a lot over the past period of time. It’s a lot more structured and so forth.
I’ve struggled with a lot of different types of injuries, different issues with my back, a couple muscle tears over the past few years. It was about how can we fuel you and how can we give you the right kind of food that you need to keep your tissues and your body healthy and also functioning properly. [It's about] functioning efficiently to try to find a way to minimise those problems coming up.
Is there a food that you thought was gross or just didn’t eat that now you’re eating because of those things?
When I started on Tour I wasn’t a big fan of fish, probably back in 2010 or 2011. That’s something that I probably eat more than anything of. It’s something I go to quite often to have the source of protein throughout my day, pretty much almost daily. That’s one that’s changed quite a bit.
There are different kinds of veggies and things that I’ve added, but I’d say fish was the one, because it is such a big part of what I consume nowadays. It’s probably the most significant change.
You mentioned how something you’ve adapted is how quickly after a match you eat, so what is that process like for you?
I think you try to get something in you right away within the first 45 minutes to an hour after a match. Before, sometimes I would stretch after a match, do my cooldown, do press and all those things. Now I’ll do my cooldown because that’s a priority right after, but then I’ll eat before I do press and all the other things that fall after it. It’s just been a shift in priorities in that sense.
When I do press doesn’t really change anybody’s life, but it will make a difference for me the next day or the accumulation of match after match, and it’ll start to make a difference in how soon I’m consuming something to start replenishing my body after the load of playing a match.
I know there are no desserts, but is there one you wish you could have?
I have it every once in a while, but much more rarely: tiramisu. It’s by far my favourite dessert.