Viktor Axelsen answers 9 questions about his performance lifestyle as a professional badminton player.
UPDATE: On August 27th, Axelsen defeated China’s Lin Dan (widely considered the greatest badminton player of all time) to capture the 2017 BWF World Championships.
A native of Odense, Denmark, Viktor Axelsen won the 2010 World Junior Badminton Championships for players 18 and under at the age of 16. Last May, Axelsen was crowned European champion. Three months later, he took home the bronze medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. Axelsen reached No. 2 in the Badminton World Federation rankings earlier this year and is seeded third in next week’s World Championships in Glasgow, Scotland.
As he gets ready to take the court as one of the favorites on the sport’s biggest stage, the 23-year-old took a moment to answer our Pillars of Performance questions on Strain, Sleep and Recovery.
1. Describe your workout regimen on high-Strain days.
VA: A high-strain day for me is about 2 hours of badminton in the morning, then another hour on court in the afternoon, followed by weightlifting. A total of 4-4.5 hours working out.
2. What training tip do you give most often to amateurs?
VA: Build a base before you go really hard on the court. Footwork is key.
3. Who in your profession would you most like to compete against, all time?
VA: Svend Pri. (Editor’s note: A Danish badminton player who was one of the world’s best in the 1960s and 70s, Pri sadly took his own life in 1983 at the age of 38.)
4. How often do you nap?
VA: Unfortunately I’m not really good at napping. It’s something I definitely want to be better at.
5. What’s your bedtime routine?
VA: My trainings usually begin at 8 AM, so I will be in bed by 9-10 PM and wake up around 6 AM. I need my 8-9 hours of sleep.
6. What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
VA: Drink a big glass of water and start making breakfast.
7. How do you handle jet lag?
VA: I try to do a bit of light exercise as the first thing when I arrive at the hotel. It can be some light stretching or even just a walk outside.
8. When did you have your worst WHOOP Recovery?
VA: After loosing a match I shouldn’t have lost that led to an a awful night with almost no sleep.
9. Finish this sentence: WHOOP has made me realize…
VA: WHOOP has made me realize how much sleep I really need.
For more on Viktor’s training and preparation for world championships, check out his Instagram @viktoraxlesen.