Best Eating and Fitness Plans for Poker Players

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A heart-shaped bowl filled with beans, nuts, fruit and vegetables.
BetMGM Apr 15, 2022, 7:27 AM

When you consider how mentally demanding poker tournaments can be, it comes as no surprise that poker players need to have eating and fitness plans that help them to perform optimally. This is the case with online poker as well, since mental fortitude remains a key element of the game, regardless of the difference in the environment. Some poker tournaments can even go on for as long as nine hours, and players will need to fight fatigue, strategize and be fully present throughout. 

Of course, the mind and body have to work in conjunction, which is why your diet and the nutrients you consume should be complemented by an effective fitness plan. Now, an effective fitness plan for someone who plays Texas Hold’em poker, for example, need not be as rigorous as that of a bodybuilder – far from it! But it could just prove to be one of the most effective parts of your poker tournament strategy.

Let’s explore what some of the most famous poker players have turned to over the years – who knows, you might have more in common with their approach than you thought! 

Famous poker players’ nutrition and fitness

One of the most popular food trends right now is adopting a plant-based diet and cutting out meat. There are several benefits to it, 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 more than two decades ago, but has since transitioned to being fully vegan. Many people who aspire to be as focused and in tune as he is have shown an interest in his eating plan, which comprises high-protein foods such as oats and eggs. Negreanu also consumes fruit and other high-fiber foods. Those preparing for online poker tournaments and live tournaments could try this eating plan out to see if there are any noticeable benefits for them. 

If we take a look at another poker heavyweight, Steven van Zadelhoff, he also emphasizes the importance of nutrition for any poker player, including those who play poker online. If you’re familiar with some of the best online poker sites, such as BetMGM, you’ll know just how popular and competitive the game can be. 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. 

He’s a firm believer that whether you’re playing online poker in the USA or any other part of the world, you need to 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

For some, the thought of hitting the gym in preparation for a game or tournament may seem a bit 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 himself 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 is quite clear that there are indeed mental benefits to physical training. 

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

In his seven-week workout plan specifically designed for poker players, Zautra advises working out five days a week. Mondays and Wednesdays are dedicated to a full-body workout, Tuesdays are for cardiorespiratory training, Thursdays are for active recovery, and Fridays are 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 quite a bit of time, but once you adapt to it, you might just 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 that you do what you can to strengthen your mental fortitude.

To experience the thrill of an online casino and play some online poker – along with your choice of our other casino games – sign up with BetMGM.

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Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.