Serena Williams was born in Michigan but moved to California when she was very young. Her father was a sharecropper from Louisiana and determined to offer his 5 children a better life. Williams began training at age 3, went pro at age 14 and won her first major in 1999, beating her sister Venus to that goal. Serena is one of the greatest tennis players of all time. She holds 23 Grand Slam titles, more than any other woman in history. Williams also plays doubles with her sister and mixed doubles with Max Mirnyi. She and Venus took gold at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics for women’s doubles, as well as Serena taking the gold for women’s singles. Williams has had numerous endorsement deals. She has also expanded her repertoire to include tv, film and fashion. Williams founded a self-named charity that offers educational opportunities for underprivileged youth around the world and has also built schools in Africa. In 2010, she released an autobiography called Queen of the Court. Williams married cofounder of Reddit Alexis Ohanian in 2017 and they have a child together. She has millions of followers on social media. Williams is 5 feet, 9 inches tall and weighs about 155 lbs.
Serena Williams’s Diet
During tennis season, Williams follows a raw vegan diet. This means she eats exclusively plant-based foods including beans, legumes, nuts, veggies, fruit and whole grains like quinoa, oatmeal and brown rice. She’ll have things like chia seeds and hemp which provide complete protein, and she will sometimes eat chicken if she wants a little extra protein. She always makes sure to stay hydrated with plenty of water. In the off-season, she likes to indulge in southern favorites like fried chicken.
- Low-Medium Carb 30% 30%
- Medium Fat 30% 30%
- Medium-High Protein 50% 50%
Williams has always focused on managing her body fat to speed up her metabolism.
Rise & Shine
Williams will start her day with a cup of oatmeal along with berries and other fruit, almond butter and a metabolism-boosting supplement.
Williams might have a slice of Ezekiel bread with almond butter as a mid-morning snack. Other options include a fat-burning beverage made with matcha green tea, lemon juice and cinnamon.
Dinner Fit for a Diva
A typical dinner for Williams while she’s training is brown rice, chia and hemp seeds for complete protein along with a salad and other fresh veggies.
During her pregnancy, Williams says she craved vegetables, and was a little disappointed she didn’t have any ‘fun’ cravings.
Williams was diagnosed with the autoimmune condition called Sjorgren’s Syndrome which causes dry eyes, mouth and throat, and adopted the vegan diet to help treat it.
Get Your Treat On
While Williams sticks to clean vegan eating most of the time, she occasionally indulges in some distinctly non-vegan treats: fried chicken, grits, and Moon pies.
What to Eat
What to Avoid
Williams on Beauty & Size
‘You can be whatever size you are, and you can be beautiful both inside and out. We’re always told what’s beautiful and what’s not, and that’s not right.’
Williams on Her Shape
‘I’m not a size 2. It’s okay to look strong and to be sexy and to be a woman and to be unbreakable, all of those things.’
Williams on True Beauty
‘I think a smile can make your whole body. Models, they look fabulous but they don’t smile and they look so mad.’
Williams on the Best Dessert
‘Victory is very, very sweet. It tastes better than any dessert you’ve ever had.’
Serena Williams’s Fitness Routine
Not A Fitness Freak
Williams isn’t crazy about hitting the gym. In fact, she admits she only does so to stay healthy and prevent injuries.
Pros Need Pros
Williams has been working with renown trainer Mackie Shilstone since the early 2000s to help her optimize her fitness.
Shilstone’s plan includes diet along with workouts, all of which has the goal of improving endurance, flexibility, and functionality.
Williams does high-intensity training to build strength and endurance in the least amount of time.
Pregnancy Doesn’t Mean Break Time
Williams sailed through her pregnancy, and worked out about as hard as before. But she is a pro and it isn’t recommended for pregnant women to take up intense exercise if they aren’t already used to it.
Do Something Every Day
Williams doesn’t love to work out, but she still does it because every little bit adds up to a lot of benefits.
A Serena Williams Routine
Warm up: 10 min cardio such as Zumba
Do as many reps as possible in 3-4 min
Fitness ball transfer
Rolling knee tucks
Resistance band hip extensions
Do 3 sets of 8-12 reps of the following:
Barbell pause squat
Barbell front squat
Barbell box squat
Core & Legs
Do 3 sets of 8-12 reps of the following:
Dumbbell walking lunge
Williams on Being Muscular
‘Think of all the girls who could become top athletes but quit sports because they’re afraid of having too many defined muscles and being made fun of or called unattractive.’
Williams on Hard Work
‘I think in life you should work on yourself until the day you die.’
Williams on Fighting for What You Want
‘I’ve always been a fighter and I’ve always fought through things my whole life.’
Williams on Reaching your Goals
‘Luck has nothing to do with it, because I have spent many, many hours…on the court working for my one moment…not knowing when it would come.’
Williams on Strength
‘Strength is beautiful.’
Serena Williams’s Supplements
Williams likes matcha green tea for its many benefits, including antioxidants which lower the risk of developing chronic diseases like diabetes. Matcha green tea also detoxifies which protects your liver and improves brain function.
Williams often has a fat-burning beverage made with cinnamon. Cinnamon is a powerhouse of antioxidants that also helps regulate blood sugar levels.
Williams often includes hemp seeds as part of her vegan diet. Hemp seeds are high in omega-3s and -6s and antioxidants, and with no THC, they don’t cause psychotropic reactions.
Williams likes to keep her metabolism stoked by taking a fat-burning supplement. Besides helping you to get lean, fat burners also boost energy levels, increase concentration and improve gym performance. Fat burners work in different ways, from blocking the absorption of carbs and/or fat to stimulating the thyroid to raising body temperature. You may need to try out different types to find the one that works best for you.
Serena Williams’s Lifestyle
In 1991, Williams was ranked #1 in the Under-10 division of the USTA. The family moved to Florida where her father hired a coach, sensing they’d need more than his abilities could offer.
All Part of the Plan
Williams’ father initially moved the family from Michigan to Compton, California because he wanted to show his kids how bad life could be if they didn’t work hard to succeed.
Rising From the Ashes
Williams had knee surgery in August 2003 and then her half-sister Yetunde Price was murdered in September. She freefalled in the rankings all the way down to 139, but she was back at the top in 2009.
Blazing A Trail
Tennis successes aside, Williams, along with her sister Venus, was the first African-American woman to own part of an NFL team, the Miami Dolphins.
Williams and Ohanian married at the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans in front of a long list of celebrity guests including Kim Kardashian, Eva Longoria and Beyoncé.
Major Health Scare
Williams suffered complications with her baby’s birth. She needed an emergency C-section that resulted in blood clots in her lungs and a hematoma in her stomach caused by the C-section. She couldn’t get out of bed for 6 weeks afterward, and the experience has left her wary of having more children.
Losing Your Cool Can Be Costly
Williams lost it in a 2009 semifinal, blasting a lineswoman with profanity. She was fined $10,000 on the spot, and ordered to pay another $82,500 to the Grand Slam committee, the biggest fine ever assigned to a tennis player. She was also fined $17,000 in 2018 for smashing her racquet and verbal abuse. Williams went on to lose both matches.
Williams on Winning and Losing
‘I don’t like to lose — at anything…Yet I’ve grown most not from victories but setbacks. If winning is God’s reward then losing is how He teaches us.’
Williams on Her Sister, Venus
‘There is no way I would be at 23 without her.’
Williams on Tennis
‘Tennis is just a game. Family is forever.’
Williams on Her Emergency C-section
‘I had a really tough delivery and…almost didn’t make it to be honest.’
Williams’ Advice to Others
‘Just in case no one’s told you yet today, I want to remind you that you are greater than your circumstances.’
Williams on Making Mistakes
‘I decided I can’t pay a person to rewind me so I may as well get over it.’
On the Line
My Life: Queen of the Court