F1's Lewis Hamilton reveals fitness secrets
The UAE is currently gripped by Formula One fever, with the Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix taking place this weekend.
And while the world’s best drivers would leave us all standing with their skills behind the wheel, they’d also put us to shame in a fitness showdown.
McLaren star Lewis Hamilton proved just how fit he was with a public workout consisting of nightmare squats, burpees and much more at Dubai Marina Mall last week.
The Reebok ambassador admits he has to stay in shape though, because the going can get tough when spending up to two hours at a time battling it out with rivals at crazy speeds.
“In one race I lost four kilos,” recalls the lean British driver.
“I could barely stand up afterwards. In the evening my legs felt weak. People watch F1 and it looks quite easy, even when I watch it, it looks really simple but it is not. We are under a lot of stress, we’re doing 200mph, we have a lot of G-force to deal with.” F1 cars are capable of pulling six Gs, a force so strong that if the driver stamps on the brakes, the water can be sucked out of their tear ducts and splattered on their visors.
Those nasty Gs mean a 70kg driver like Lewis instantly weighs a whopping 280kg, while his head alone can weigh up to 16kg through the corners. Lewis therefore has no choice but to be in peak physical condition.
“The most important exercise for us is core stability stuff, so lots of sit ups - you need to have very good, strong glutes, lower back and neck. The back takes a beating because we don’t have any suspension in the car. Drivers generally have some of their [spinal] discs slowly disappear over time.”
Even the fit young things of the track are human though - Lewis admits he’ll try to dodge the occasional session.
“We do a lot of circuit training but I don’t like it when I am with my trainer because we will have 10 exercises, for four sets and each one is 45 seconds. I’m just dead, I feel sick afterwards, I don’t want to do this any more. Every time that comes around I act like I’m really ill to get out of it.”
The former World Champion also loves to take part in extreme sports like snowboarding, jet skiing and rock climbing but he draws the line at crazy training techniques.
“I have seen someone else do some really bizarre things to be fit,” he says.
“Who is that boxer, the Mexican boxer, you have been talking about that drinks his own urine?” Lewis asks one of his minders. “I don’t do that! But that is the craziest thing you could do. If someone asks me I would just say ‘forget it.’”
Lewis’ training regime can get sweaty - with occasional workouts in the sauna to prepare for some sweltering race days.
Spare a thought for his girlfriend, pop star Nicole Scherzinger, who might have to put up with the 27-year-old racer’s strange nocturnal training regimes to strengthen his neck muscles.
“I sit on the edge of the bed or a bench with 10 kilos on top of my race helmet and do lots of repetitions like that,” he says mimicking neck movements.