Lewis Hamilton is on the brink of becoming the greatest Formula One driver in history.
Many pundits already hold that opinion, but it will become a fact if the Brit can clinch an eighth F1 Drivers’ World Championship – he’s currently locked on seven with the great Michael Schumacher.
How do you become the fastest man on the planet? Certainly being an ultra-skillful driver with an incredibly tactical brain helps, as does securing a deal with the finest team on the planet in Mercedes. But getting himself into the physical shape of a champion has definitely aided Hamilton’s cause.
You might be questioning the relevance of a motor racing driver being stacked in the muscle department, after all, don’t they just sit behind a steering wheel for a living?
Well, try steering a high-powered corner around a chicane at breakneck speed and you’ll see the torque and strain it places upon the body: one study found that F1 drivers experience similar levels of G-force to that suffered by astronauts in a space launch.
Dehydration is another factor, with drivers tucked into their cockpit wearing heavy protective clothing. It has been shown that the average F1 star loses up to 5% of their body fluid during a single race.
That offers an insight into why Hamilton has gotten himself into such great shape, although he might need to spend a few more hours in the gym if he is to overcome his latest adversary – Max Verstappen. The Red Bull driver has taken a narrow lead in the seasonal standings, and he is now the favorite in the outright winner F1 betting odds for 2021 at -400. Can Hamilton muscle his way back into the title picture?
The Heart of the Matter
Hamilton has detailed his exercise regime in a number of different interviews. While in tremendous shape, he has admitted that he doesn’t want to bulk up too much – more muscle means more weight, and that will ultimately slow his Mercedes down.
Instead, the 36-year-old has opted to focus on his cardiovascular health, with a particular emphasis on ensuring he can retain his competencies even when his heart rate is up as high as 190bpm.
Consequently, if you bump into Hamilton down at the gym you’ll find him on the running machine, putting in some sprints and interval training.
The Englishman has left no stone unturned in his pursuit of perfection and has in the past turned to boxing and Muay Thai in an attempt to discipline both his body and his mind. Now, pilates is his go-to as he places a greater emphasis on working his core strength.
Another significant change in Hamilton’s life came when he switched to a plant-based diet. Not only is he able to keep the weight off easier than with a menu heavy on processed foods, but he claims to have also noticed an improvement in his energy levels and thus his cardio fitness.
If you want to be the best, you have to put in the hard yards. Hamilton has certainly done that, and he has reaped the rewards for a decade and more at the top of his profession.