At SaltStick, we are proud to sponsor top athletes in the fields of triathlon, running, tennis and jiu jitsu. We are inspired by our athletes and admire the hard work and time they dedicate to achieving success.
Because we hope our athletes’ performances will serve as motivation as you pursue your own fitness and life journey, we enjoy sharing their stories. This week’s blog post features Giuliana Olmos, a professional tennis player who lives and trains in Los Angeles and Fremont, Calif.
Giuliana’s journey into tennis
Born to a father who deeply loved tennis, Giuliana’s path to her sport was more or less formed at birth. Although it took a few years to build her skills, once traveling and competing became part of her routine, Giuliana discovered a lifelong passion. At that point, she decided she would one day play as a professional.
That dream propelled her to repeated success, from childhood through her four years at the University of Southern California (USC), where she graduated in 2016 as the #1 singles and doubles player and captain of the tennis team. With a strong finish to her collegiate career (#10 in singles and #4 in doubles), Giuliana used the momentum to transition to the pro circuit.
“Tennis has been the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done in my life,” Giuliana says. “This sport has opened so many doors for me, including the ability to travel and meet people from all over the world.”
Currently, Giuliana lives and trains in Los Angeles, as well as at Tompkins Tennis International in Fremont, Calif.
Giuliana’s training routine is robust, on par with the volume of a professional endurance athlete. “I like to put a lot of hours in,” she says.
Like many professional tennis players, Giuliana’s calendar is built upon a foundation of competitions, with two-to-three-week blocks of training and recovery time in between.
During these blocks, she practices sport-specific skills twice a day, focusing on the technical aspects of her stroke or particular shots, both in isolation and during actual play. In between these practices, Giuliana spends time maintaining overall fitness through gym work or cardio activity.
“I like to be a little tired during a few practices, because I know that during tournaments, especially after being on the road for a while, my body will not always be fresh,” she says. “I want to know I can compete when I am tired, sore or not at my best.”
However, to avoid overtraining, Giuliana makes sure to listen to her body so she can ease off when needed.
On mental toughness
“Tennis is very mental; if you’re not present mentally during competition, your chances of doing well are very low,” Giuliana says.
To stay sharp, Giuliana takes steps to prevent burnout, as feeling “fresh” is one of the biggest boons to performance. First, she strategically plans her annual schedule to allow for an off-season, providing time for her body to recover physically and mentally from the constant training and travel.
Second, she makes sure to bring a travel buddy along for competitions. “That is very important for me and keeps me sane in this individual, isolated sport of ours,” she says.
Giuliana is highly goal-oriented in the way she approaches her training, and throughout the year, she examines her progress as a way to keep her motivation high.
She recognizes that tennis, like all sports, has “many ups and downs,” and both motivate her in different ways. Wins are enjoyable, and while losses are tough, they serve as “great reminders of areas of my game I need to work on to make it where I want to be.”
It’s the moments that mix both high and low, however, that Giuliana enjoys the most, as many of her proudest memories come from challenging times on the court, or “matches where maybe I was the underdog or supposed to lose, or maybe I wasn’t playing my best, matches where I really have to think, to figure things out in order to come out with the win.”
Ultimately, Giuliana is motivated by a constant desire to improve her performance in a sport that has been part of her life since childhood.
“I live and breathe tennis, and not being where I want to be yet motivates me to keep going until I get there,” she says. “I know I haven’t maxed out yet, and that pushes me to keep going. The best is yet to come.”
Instead of following a regimented diet plan, Giuliana approaches nutrition by listening to her body and ensuring she gets the right mix of protein, carbohydrate and vegetables. During periods of high activity Giuliana consumes more carbohydrate, and post match, she’ll add protein to help with recovery.
“I’ve learned that cutting certain things out isn’t the best, so I just listen to my body and eat whatever I think my body needs and what I know will make my body feel good,” she says.
Her favorite pre-match meal is a big plate of pasta and chicken.
How SaltStick helps Giuliana: After learning about SaltStick from fellow professional tennis player and USC graduate Danielle Lao (read Danielle’s SaltStick bio here), Giuliana became a dedicated fan.
“I like SaltStick a lot because I find myself not worrying during matches about cramping or sweating too much,” she says. “I know I am replacing the electrolytes I am losing, and I like knowing that I have one less thing to think about.”
Advice to new athletes
Giuliana’s advice to athletes considering tennis is to recognize that the sport is highly individual, and thus, it is important to find what works best for your own body and mind.
“It takes time, but you need to learn about yourself, what is good for you, what isn’t and what helps you compete at your highest level,” she says.
For beginners looking to get more involved, Giuliana says they will need to turn their focus from the physical to the mental, as the pro tour is “more of a mental grind than anything else.”