These days it seems like everybody is trying to get in shape in some way. People are exercising. People are changing their diets. More people are beginning to understand that even though poker is a mind sport, good physical form is still very important. Tournament days require a great deal of stamina.
In February I made my fourth trip to Deauville for the EPT. I only lasted three hours in the Main Event, finally busting when I ran 99 into JJ. With some extra time, I decided to explore a bit. One of the new things that I discovered was a perfect Olympic-sized (50m) swimming pool near the casino.
I love to swim. It's one of the best conditioning exercises out there and it has minimal impact on your joints. I prefer freestyle and breaststroke but I also enjoy swimming as far underwater as I can. When I'm in peak form I think I can do about 60 meters underwater.
There's a good gym in the hotel I usually stay at in Deauville, and I sometimes go the gym at home in Moscow. My problem is that I don't often have enough time to train as hard as I'd like. Getting the most out of training requires true dedication.
Anyway, once I found the pool in Deauville that's where I wanted to be. Unfortunately, my bad luck from the Main Event continued at the pool. My last day before I left for home, there were approximately 50 teenagers that entered the pool for a lesson just before I got there. So instead of going for a nice swim I headed back to the hotel lobby to see if I could find any OFC games.
Exercise is only half of the equation. The other half is nutrition. We're all getting older. We don't have the bodies we once had in our early 20s. Poor diet shows up on our bodies more easily as we get older. I always try to eat healthy food. I think my biggest problem is that sometimes I overeat. Even if it's healthy food, eating more than you need is going to pack on some pounds.
I don't think it's any surprise that so many poker players are starting to get in shape. We've all made the easy changes to our games. Exercise and diet changes are much harder, and the benefits to our poker games are much more difficult to see. But in today's poker world, any change, no matter how small, can help good players become great players.
Alexander Kravchenko is a member of Team PokerStars Pro