Daniel Ricciardo Has Developed an Extremely Strong Neck

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How would you describe the feeling in your neck when you’re turning a long corner at 150 mph?

How I explain it to someone is it’s literally like someone is pushing against your head and you’re trying to keep your head straight and not fall over. The neck is also a muscle that when it goes, it’s gone. If you’re in the gym and you’re doing a bench press, you can always squeeze one more rep out. Once your neck is fatigued, it’s like a switch and you can’t push it anymore. It’s a vulnerable place to be if you get to that point. 

Given how busy the season is for you guys, how important is the offseason and preseason to building your foundation for the season?

You nailed it: we don’t have time during the season. If you don’t put the prep into the preseason and build that base, you’re just playing catch up the whole year. With our schedule now, we’re lucky if we get two days of training in a week because you’re traveling. You want to make sure you’re recovering as well. You don’t want to be forced to train on the days you should be recovering. Preseason is really everything for us. Once the season starts, it’s basically maintenance and making sure you’re staying on top of it. At the end of the season, I’ll always give myself three weeks off around Christmas just to completely switch off and let my body recover. January and February is my time to turn it up.

Are there any drastic changes in your diet from the offseason to in season?

Fortunately, I’m not the kind of person to blow up in the offseason. For sure, I’ll enjoy an extra burger, pizza, or have a few drinks. I still have a pretty fast metabolism, fortunately. I might put on a kilo here or there but I’m not someone that expands too much. Through the season, I’ll just make sure that I’m keeping up with my greens, vitamins and making sure I get a lot of colors in my meals. Ultimately, I just try and focus on balance. If I do feel like I can enjoy a dessert, then I will and not feel too guilty about it. The food doesn’t change up too crazy. The biggest difference in the offseason is I’ll probably enjoy a few beers with my friends and that diminishes during the season.

You’ve partnered with the supplement company Thorne— how has that figured into what your body goes through during the season?

It’s been awesome because with our schedule and going through different time zones, even with different countries having different air, that affects how the food is and that affects your gut health. I was using their products years before. Now, I can pick and choose anything I want, whether it’s stuff to help with sleep, probiotics, or gut health supplements. Because of the time zones, we’re always a bit sleep deprived. Therefore, our immunity can get pretty low, so I swear by the immunity boosters.

What’s a typical race day look like for you?

Through wisdom and experience, I’ve been much better at conserving my energy on race day. When I was young, I would wake up at 8 a.m. and already be bouncing off the walls and the race wasn’t until 2 p.m. I was just unnecessarily burning all this energy and by the time of the race, I was running on adrenaline. Being smart with that has helped me to make sure I’m peaking at the time of the race. For breakfast, it would be an omelet or porridge. I’ll try to get some fats in there also, like some avocado. I won’t normally eat big portions, but I’ll try to have those fats and stuff to give me that long-term energy. We’ll have meetings and strategy briefings. Throughout those, I’ll try and sip on hydration drinks and make sure I’m constantly sipping to not get dehydrated during the race.

Lunch would be something simple. It’ll be a little bit of rice with some chicken, veggies, mushrooms—something basic and won’t upset my stomach during the race, so no hot sauce or anything like that. An hour before the race, that’s when I get some alone time. I’ll start doing a bit of a warmup, go through some dynamic stretching, get some music going, do some reflex training, some skipping and start to slowly switch on and getting into my energy stores and start burning a little bit to use as my preparation. 

After the race, we’re kind of thrown around with media, so it’s important to try and get some fuel in me quickly because I’m not able to eat a full meal until about two hours after the race. I’ll get my trainer to prepare a shake and I’ll make sure I eat a proper meal that night. I’ll keep drinking water because we’re normally dehydrated after a race. I probably won’t go to pee until like three hours after the race, so I make sure to get fluids in me. 

football player Lawrence Guy smiling in his uniform on  blue red and white spiral background

The Real-Life Diet of Patriots Lineman Lawrence Guy, Who Is 6’4″, 315 Pounds, and Vegan 

The veteran defensive tackle talked to GQ about going plant-based, the importance of offseason body maintenance, and eating pancakes every day. 

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