How Ricciardo Mixes Up His Training and Diet To Keep His Head in The Game - Men's Health Magazine Australia

How Ricciardo Mixes Up His Training and Diet To Keep His Head in The Game

"If you only have that one thing, then it'll probably drive you crazy after a while."

Last year, Dan Ricciardo took Men’s Health to his farm in Western Australia where he was hibernating during lockdown, and spending time with his performance coach Michael Italiano.

In addition to cruising in a tractor, the time off was about improvising and creating some home workouts that would keep him at his peak, he explains.

“COVID has made things definitely more complicated, or probably just less exciting because you’re forced to improvise a bit at home,” Ricciardo tells Men’s Health. “Fortunately I’ve always enjoyed training alone or with a very small group… I’ve never been much into the big kind of training environments, so creating some home workouts was good. And I had Michael, my coach, to help me with that. We got into hiit sessions, so high intensity interval training, and that was good. We did 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off and would go through 10 sets or 10 different exercises.”

And it paid off: just under a fortnight ago, a moment that the country – and very much Ricciardo – had been waiting for, took place. The Aussie F1 driver, who had finished second in the qualifier, won the Italian Grand Prix in Monza.

The significance of such a moment can’t be underestimated for Ricciardo, who has had something of a difficult start to his time with McLaren after having joined the team for this season. Speaking to Men’s Health about how he’s been celebrating since, it’s fair to say that the 32-year-old is more concerned with doing it again.

“[I’m celebrating it] with a smile… it made my mood a lot better. For quite a few days after the race it was pretty busy with lots of media commitments-of course there was a lot of positive attention-but the weekend after the race I had a night off and caught up with some friends and had a few drinks,” he explained. “So that was that, but nothing too crazy. I’ll probably have to wait till post-season to have a real celebration.”

So, did he do anything different before, Monza? Kind of, Ricciardo explains. “I felt different. I think preparation was pretty unchanged, but I know I carried a chip on my shoulder… for no reason in particular. It was just the mood I was in that weekend and that’s what I chose to run with. And I liked it. I liked that feeling.”

“What keeps me stable through [all the pressure] is a bit of a balance. I put a lot of energy and effort into racing, and that’s the post-race analysis and the simulator work. And then there’s my training and wellness… to stay kind of fit and healthy,” he tells MH. “I have other hobbies and interests, which I try to do when I get the time, just to switch off a little bit, but otherwise it’s like any job… if you only have that one thing, then it’ll probably drive you crazy after a while.”

Coming off the back of the victory, the excitement has continued in the Ricciardo camp, with the F1 driver revealing a partnership Australian fresh ready-made meal provider Youfoodz to kick off their new FUEL’D product range.

“I’m a fan of the Youfoodz brand and love their meals so I was genuinely excited about partnering with them as a brand ambassador to launch their new FUEL’D high protein meal range,” said Ricciardo. “In our sport, we need to be very fit… but we’re not a high endurance sport. So we need just a lot of balance in our diet. And that’s where the meals tick the boxes.”

When it comes to nutrition, he makes sure to get a decent hit of protein, but is not one to skip on taste.

“Food needs to taste good. Like it is fuel, Absolutely. But I think part of it does need to be enjoyable. So that’s what I really like is this stuff does taste good and yes, it’s healthy, but a lot of times when people think healthy, they think of bland. And this is certainly not.”

By Nikolina Ilic

Nikolina is the former Digital Editor at Men's Health Australia, responsible for all things social media and .com. A lover of boxing, she has written for Women's Health, esquire, GQ and Vogue magazine.

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