Lifestyle & Grooming Habits of the World’s Top Athletes
These days athletes are celebrities in their own right and, like most celebrities, become known
for their fashion-forward ways. We can probably thank sartorial expats Victoria and David
Beckham for shaping up the style of footballers across the globe back in the late 90s. However,
go to any runway show during the Fashion Weeks of Milan, London, New York et al and you’ll
see any number of athletes and professional sportsmen filling the front rows.
What’s not so obvious, though, is the grooming routines that these men follow, especially in
more diverse sporting arenas like swimming and basketball. As it turns out, savvy athletes have
devised specific regimes that are designed to counter the effects that their physical professions
have on their appearance.
To a professional athlete, a good skincare and haircare routine doesn’t just keep them looking
great, it can also go a considerable way towards improving performance. Dallas Mavericks all-
star player, DeAndre Jordan, learned the benefits of developing a grooming routine when he
turned pro in 2008. In addition to packing his own toiletries (including Herbal Essences shampoo
and conditioner) for those 40+ regular season matches, Jordan is a convert to manicures and
pedicures. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal during the 2013 season, Jordan recounted
how his mother encouraged him to visit a salon, stating that “your feet are going to take care of
you, so you need to take care of your feet.” Since then he has a professional manicurist visit his
home every two weeks, and allegedly loves the whole spa-like experience.
No matter what the sport, being a professional athlete requires extreme dedication and
commitment. The sporting environment is tough and competitive, and all too often demands that
individual players conform to a sense of uniformity, quite literally in the form of team or country
uniforms. Certain sports, like tennis and cricket, also have strict dress codes that restrict what
athletes can wear on the court or pitch. In these instances, it’s perhaps no wonder that so many
professionals get more creative with their grooming routines.
We only need to look to the football pitch to see how some athletes retain their sense of
individuality: via diverse haircuts. In an interview with The Atlantic during the 2014 World Cup,
psychologist Dr. Vivian Diller was quoted as saying “[for football players] hairstyle is the only
feature that can be altered to give them uniqueness and character.” They may well be headline-
grabbing, but unique manes like Paul Pogba’s iconic World Cup hairstyle and Ronaldo’s
dreadlocks all play their part in maintaining athletic performance. The more self-actualised a
player feels, the better his game is likely to become.
Well-being from the inside out
It’s no secret that to stay in the best of shape, professional athletes need to follow a rigorous
training plan and eat to fuel their performance, but not all pros follow this to a tee. Those who
do, however, such as former World Number 1 tennis star Novak Djokovic, know that true well-
being begins on the inside. He even starts the day with a carefully balanced breakfast that
consists of a large glass of water (room temperature only), two tablespoons of honey, oatmeal,
nuts, seeds, fruit, coconut oil and coconut water.
Internationally-adored former competitive swimmer Michael Phelps knew what it took to
become the most successful Olympian of all time: high quality rest on top of talent and
perseverance. So dedicated was he to getting the best quality sleep possible, at one stage in his
career he installed a custom-built cryochamber into his bedroom in which to snooze.
Phelps isn’t alone in developing and maintaining performance-focused sleeping habits. The
fastest man in the world (and space) Usain Bolt made sleep his number one priority off the track,
famously saying “Sleep is extremely important to me – I need to rest and recover in order for the
training I do to be absorbed by my body.”
Certainly, the multi-million dollar incomes of the world’s top athletes makes establishing
grooming and lifestyle routines that much easier; not everyone has the budget for a sleeping
chamber, personal nutritionist or luxury barber. One of the key things that you can take away
from the routines of the men in this article is that no matter how hectic or high-pressured your
professional life is, there’s always a way you can implement self-care and grooming habits that
will keep you performing at your best.