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Best Eating and Fitness Plans for Poker Players

Home » Lifestyle » Best Eating and Fitness Plans for Poker Players

Best Eating and Fitness Plans for Poker Players

A heart-shaped bowl filled with beans, nuts, fruit and vegetables.

Considering how mentally demanding poker tournaments and competitive cash games can be, it is no surprise that poker players need to have eating and fitness plans that help them improve their poker performance. This is the case with online poker as well, because regardless of the difference in the environment, mental fortitude remains a crucial element of the game. If you’re familiar with some of the best online poker sites, like BetMGM, you’ll know just how competitive the game can be. 

Many high-level poker players are taking their game to the next level with the best eating and fitness plans. Yes, an effective diet and fitness plan for someone who plays Texas Hold’em poker isn’t the same as a bodybuilder, but it could be one of the most effective parts of your poker tournament strategy.

Learn about the poker diet and fitness routines of some of the most successful and famous poker players that have ever hit the felt. You might have more in common with their approach than you thought.

Famous Poker Players’ Nutrition and Fitness

Currently, one of the most popular food trends is adopting a plant-based diet. It has several benefits, including better overall health, mitigating the risk of developing certain diseases and weight management. Seemingly, this is something that poker champion Daniel Negreanu realized way back in 2000.

Negreanu became a vegetarian over two decades ago but has since transitioned to being fully vegan. Negreanu shared his diet and fitness plan on X (formerly Twitter.) He said,

“Let me start by saying I am NOT an expert, but the following plan works flawlessly for me anytime I need to cut fat and get in shape. I personally do it on a vegan diet but imagine it works just as well on any diet you choose. 

  1. 1,800 calories with at least 140 grams of protein a day. I don’t cut carbs or fats, getting about 200 grams of carbs and 50 from fat. If I burn 2,500 ish calories a day, I will lose 1 to 1.5 lbs a week without starving. 1,800 calories are filling if you choose foods wisely.

  2. Walk at least 10k steps a day. No need for intense cardio, but if you enjoy it, that’s cool, but it isn’t necessary to kill yourself to lose fat and in some cases, too much cardio can actually hurt your fat loss goal.

  3. Lift weights six times a week. I do each body part twice a week and adjust the focus. So for example, with legs, I’ll do quad-dominant exercises for one workout and focus more on hamstrings on the second. You can do three to four times a week of full-body workouts too, but I enjoy splits more. Full-body workouts will burn you more calories. 

Those preparing for live and online poker tournaments could try this eating plan out to see if there are any noticeable benefits for them. 

Another poker heavyweight, Steven van Zadelhoff, also emphasizes the importance of nutrition for any poker player, including those who play poker online. Van Zadelhoff continues to highlight the downsides of processed food, alcohol and too much sugar consumption, which can ultimately work against you and your performance. 

In the interview “Steven van Zadelhoff Discusses Diet and Nutrition for Poker Players” with PokerNews.com, he shares two steps you need to follow:

  1. “Eat real foods. This is the first step.”
  2. “Secondly, focus on protein and not carbs.”

He firmly believes that, whether you play online poker in the U.S. or any other part of the world, you must understand that a balanced eating and fitness plan go hand in hand for desired results. If you eat the right foods — and in the right portions to maintain a healthy body weight — you probably won’t have to work out excessively as a form of damage control. 

Tips To Incorporate Into Your Own Life

A woman eats a healthy meal while sitting at a laptop.

For some, the thought of hitting the gym in preparation to play poker online may seem slightly unusual, but the goal should be to make a complete lifestyle change. By gradually incorporating small changes in your daily life, it’ll be more sustainable. Meditation, yoga and regular exercise are all steps in the right direction. 

According to Nick Zautra, a poker player who also designs workout plans for World Series of Poker (WSOP) players, exercise has improved his endurance during games, particularly in stressful periods in his life. Based on the workout plans and his experience with other poker players, it’s clear that there are indeed mental benefits to physical training. 

Understanding that not all poker players have the same fitness level, Zautra designed a workout plan for healthy adults. Those who may have underlying issues or any health concerns are advised to consult a medical practitioner prior. Additionally, those who don’t currently follow any workout plan should take their time and ease into Zautra’s workout routine.

In his seven-week workout plan specifically designed for poker players, Zautra advises working out five days a week. The program dedicates Mondays and Wednesdays to a full-body workout, Tuesdays to cardiorespiratory training, Thursdays to active recovery and Fridays to a combination of a full-body workout and cardio. 

The intensity increases over time, as should be the case with your endurance and strength if you follow the plan. Much like with any other fitness plan, hydration and consuming the required vitamins will help you achieve better results.

Developing and sticking to the right eating and fitness plan can take time, but once you adapt to it, you might just boost your poker performance and start seeing the results in your next poker game or tournament. Poker players who don’t have the right amount of nutrition or don’t have some sort of fitness regime in place may not perform as optimally as those who do. 

Experience the Thrill of an Online Casino With BetMGM

A healthy and balanced lifestyle has several benefits, in addition to how it could ultimately help you get your name listed among some of the poker greats in the world. So, while strategizing and preparing for your next game, pay attention to the food you consume and your fitness levels to ensure you do what you can to strengthen your mental fortitude.

When you’re ready, it’s time to put your skills to the test at BetMGM, where you can enjoy exciting cash poker games and highly competitive poker tournaments. There are also many fun and exciting variants, including Texas Hold’em, Omaha, Omaha Hi/Lo, Seven-Card Stud and Seven-Card Stud Hi/Lo.

To experience the thrill of an online casino and play some of the best online poker you can find online — along with your choice of other casino games — register with BetMGM.

A balanced approach to food and fitness is key to optimum performance in live or online poker tournaments. Follow this advice to perform at your best.