The Training Secret Novak Djokovic And 9 Other Pro Athletes Swear By

Tennis superstar Novak Djokovic may have had an uncharacteristically short path to the U.S. Open semifinals in this year’s tournament thanks to three of his five opponents stepping down from play with injuries (automatically giving Djokovic those wins).

But getting to the final match and getting the title in the days ahead will undoubtedly call on the top-ranked tennis pro’s diligent preparation. And he has not been shy to say that prep happens as much off the court as it does on.

He is well-read on body awareness and mindfulness, ESPN has previously reported. He drinks lukewarm water during matches because cold water idles for too long in the stomach. And his spare time is actually carefully calculated by one of his trainers (and is actually his “recovery time”). Continue this article in Huffpost.

Interview: Dr. Wendy Cicek


As a regular monthly feature, we will be publishing interviews with people in various areas related to health in North America - from healthcare providers to food suppliers, all in an effort to have more dialogue about change in the way we perceive health care and the role each of us plays to improve it.


2A: As a classically trained doctor, how do you see your role changing with the patient empowerment movement and the rise of Dr. Google?

WC: First of all, I think educated patients are a benefit to medicine.  I have always seen my role as a guide not as a director.  Ultimately, we are all responsible for our own health.  As a physician, I can help patients decide when testing is appropriate and when it is not.  I can help them determine when medication is a must and when we can "wait things out".  I can direct people to healthy diets and lifestyles and trick to incorporate these things into daily living.  When patients are empowered with knowledge, we can work together toward shared decision making.  This takes the power out of the hands of the provider and puts it in the hand of the patient.  What better way for a patient to be invested in themselves?


2A: Do you feel that pills and supplements mirror themselves as wonder fixes? Do we simply like easy answers?

WC: Yes and yes, but I think most people realize that "quick fixes" are nothing more than a temporary bandage.  Pills and supplements may be necessary in many situations, but I tell my patients that if they do not change the way they live, the day is going to come when I don't have any more pills to offer.  I think most people don't like taking a handful of pills daily, and at some point, the pain of taking the pills, paying for the pills and dealing with the side effects are more difficulty than changing the way one lives.


2A: You are evolving/changing your role? Tell us about that and your inspiration for the move?

WC: Currently I am working as a Hospitalist, which means I take care of a panel of patients who are in the hospital, most often for exacerbations of chronic diseases.  (Diabetes, heart failure, COPD, etc.)  Unfortunately I see many of my patients spending the last years of their lives in the hospital.  I have always felt strongly about promoting health, mainly diet and exercise, but also emotional and spiritual health.  I was recruited to join a new office that is opening which will focus on drug and alcohol detox and treatment, using a mix of conventional medicine along with nutraceuticals and action based psychotherapy, Reiki and neurofeedback.  I am very excited to pursue this and watch people change their lives!


2A: Healthcare is broken both here in Canada and in the US. Should patients lower their expectations?  What can be done for the future?

WC: To say healthcare is broken is being kind.  Healthcare needs a total overhaul.   We need to truly FOCUS ON PREVENTION.  We need to teach parents HOW to feed their children, we need to break old myths and habits.  We health care providers need to be up front with patients, while remaining non-judgemental.  We cannot be afraid to talk to people about the way they eat, how much they drink and how they live.  We need to change what is in school cafeterias and get the juice and soda (and Gatorade) out of our schools.  Instead of having a "snack" in the middle of the day, we need to have Physical Education---EVERYDAY in school.  You can probably tell I feel strongly about this, but it is time to address the problem at the core, and stop trying to work in disaster mode.  Until healthcare, government and business stop focusing on money and start focusing on people and what is right, we will continue to be sick.


2A: What are the keys to good health?

 It all starts with what goes in the mouth, be it food, drink or smoke.  If there is one thing people can do to make a difference, when the hand goes to the mouth STOP and think, is this good for me or bad for me.  90% of the people I care for in the hospital are there as a result of what has gone into their mouths. 


2A: How are you a living example to your family and patients?

 I try to practice what I preach.  How can I expect others to do what I say, if I am not doing it myself.  At work, I take the steps.  I run or work out daily. I get enough sleep. I meditate.  I have a strong sense of community and purpose.  I cook healthy food for my family.  My 18 month old grandson eats kale, lentils, quinoa and fruit--and he loves them. 


2A: Who are your health mentors?

 Wow, this is a tough one.  There have been many people through the years but the people who come to mind today are my running coach, Angie Spencer; my favorite podcaster, Rich Roll who piqued my interest in the plant based movement and meditation; Dr. Bob Smith and Bill Wilson the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous who saw the importance of spirituality in wellness and Jeff Galloway who at 70 years old still runs a marathon a month and stays healthy.


2A: What is the one meal you go to that makes you feel the best?

My morning green smoothie.  I have the same thing (with small variations) every morning.  A handful of kale, a handful of spinach, a little plain organic kefir, homemade cashew milk, 1/2 avocado, a few slices of frozen organic peaches, 1 brazil nut and a teaspoon of maca powder--all in the Vitamix and voila, a yummy, delicious treat.  When I am feeling particularly sentimental, my comfort food is chicken paprikash (MAYBE once a year) because it reminds me of my grandmother, the best cook I knew!

Concussion Predisposition for Children – Would you want to know?

We recently sat down with Cat Aulakh, Genomic Health Practitioner to discuss this relatively new test and its impact on sports.

Cat, given all the bad press with the NFL in particular, aren’t you afraid that offering tests like this will affect the future of the sport?

“Not at all. In fact, the testing done is private and confidential, with only the parents knowing the results. Therefore, at least from our perspective, the goal is to determine very early on whether or not contact sports can have an effect on the health outcomes for a child. We think this is huge, and avoids a lot of harder decisions and consequences down the road, when a child is already involved in a sport and reaches a level where it is an integrated part of their life and identity.”

How old are the average children that get tested?

“Primarily young under 3 years old. We also are working a lot with retired players in Canada and the United States, as well with former athletes and their families.”

Could this be considered a way for some parents to keep their children away from sport?

“Absolutely – we have some Mothers who have come as they do not want their child in a contact sport and feel a test outcome will end the discussion with the Father. However, in over 80 percent of these cases to date the child tests negative – so the parents can use this as an unbiased dialogue to sit down and have the conversation on a different level.

We do a comprehensive health history with the parents before testing. Data is data, and often emotion creates these decisions to have decisions without a neutral outcome.”

What is being tested?

“1st Act Prevention determines what variation of the APO E gene a child or adult carries. APO E is also related to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Children and adults who carry the E4 variation of the gene have a harder time recovering from head injuries and are more likely to suffer serious consequences from them. If you were would have injury, whether sports-related or automobile, or any fall or any head injury, you’ll be more likely, eight times more likely, to have long-term problems from the injury which are generally in the area: impaired cognition, memory, brain processing, attention, concentration.”

Can adults get tested?

“Absolutely. Anyone can get tested. All information is private and never shared or sold – this is not a government or sponsored study test – so you are assured of complete confidentiality. We have worked with our lab to keep the testing price is nominal as possible as well.”

If you want further information or to set up a test in Canada or the USA – please call us today: 844-DNA-GENE or email us directly: