They say an apple per day keeps the doctor away. But have you ever heard that one cup of coffee per day helps you play basketball like an All-Star?
That’s apparently the case for WNBA star Sue Bird, who reveals her dietary secrets in a recent interview with Yahoo! Sports. Bird talks about her love of breakfast food — she once ordered nearly 30 bacon, egg and egg sandwiches for her Seattle Storm teammates following their 2018 championship win — and adherence to staying away from lactose and gluten during the season. But she says her routine of drinking one cup of coffee before game time might be the most important part of her in-season dietary regimen.
“This may fall into the superstition category, but I actually drink a cup of coffee before every game,” she said. “Just one, an hour and a half before when I’m driving to the arena. A nutritionist told me it was actually a really good pregame drink because it’s caffeine. I definitely think coffee plays into my success on the court.”
Studies show caffeine can improve athletic performance, activating areas of the brain and nervous system to improve focus and energy. In a 1,500-meter run, caffeinated coffee drinkers clocked in 4.2 seconds faster than those who slurp decaf.
Bird’s reliance on coffee stands in stark contrast to another all-time great athlete with a notoriously rigid diet, Tom Brady, who says he’s never sipped a cup of joe in his life. But overall, Bird’s diet doesn’t appear to be all that fanatical. Instead, she says uses food as a way to fuel her body for a workout or game, and then to replenish it afterwards.
Either way, it’s hard to argue with the 11-time All-Star and four-time gold medalist’s success. Earlier this year, Bird vowed to compete at the rescheduled 2021 Summer Olympics, even though she’ll be 40 years old.
With the WNBA season postponed, Bird is currently quarantining with her partner, U.S. soccer superstar Megan Rapinoe. Maybe Bird will answer more dietary questions on their next Instagram live session, giving us the quarantine dish we didn’t know we needed.