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How Andy Murray transformed himself from skinny teen to Mr Muscle

Mirror logo Mirror 11/01/2019 Rhian Lubin

Andy Murray standing in front of a crowd: Tennis star Andy Murray has announced he will retire from the sport this summer © Getty Images Tennis star Andy Murray has announced he will retire from the sport this summer It was 2005. Andy Murray was 18, a fresh-faced, gangly boy with ambitions of stardom who had just turned professional. 

But despite being relatively unknown, he was about to get the golden ticket which would transform his life - and the history of British tennis.

It came in the form of a Wimbledon wild card. Despite being ranked 312th, he beat Radek Stepanek in his second match. From then on he never looked back.

Fast-forward 19 years and Murray, now 31, made the announcement that he had been dreading. A hip injury which has dogged him for months will not improve - and he will retire by the end of the summer.

Fighting back tears, he told a press conference: "I have been struggling for a long time. I have been in a lot of pain for about 20 months now.

"I spoke to my team in December – and I said I can't keep doing this. I needed to have an end point. Playing with no end to where the pain would stop."

Murray is a very different man from the scrawny boy who had first graced Wimbledon's hallowed courts. A husband and father, he has a rich family life to look forward to.

But physically he is also transformed, deliberately building upper body muscle to become a powerhouse capable of facing down the fastest serves in the world.

Andy Murray standing in front of a crowd © Credits: Getty Images

He admitted he was once a stranger to the gym, though you'd never believe it now.

"When I first started professionally, a lot of the training I’d done up to that point was on the court," he said last year.

"I hadn’t spent loads of time in the gym. But I quickly realised I had to get a lot stronger, as the matches began getting longer, the speed of my serve would drop and my movements would get slower."

Murray hired a full-time physical trainer and spent more time working on his physique.

He said: "Over the course of a 15-year career, I need to make sure my body is protected."

This is how he did it...

Diet

a man in a swimming pool © Credits: REUTERS

To get a toned physique, Murray has to eat 6,000 calories a day because of his gruelling exercise regime.

He has six meals a day to keep his energy levels high and begins with a protein shake, following by a bagel and yogurt.

Speaking to Men's Health last year, Murray said: "I used to have quite a few smoothies.

"Banana, raspberry, yoghurt, maybe some orange juice, but I was told that’s too much sugar. Now there’s much more spinach and kale in there… it’s apparently much better for you. Not as nice, but I put up with it!"

For the rest of his meals he has to stick to a mixture of proteins like red meat and fish with plenty of complex carbohydrates such as pasta, rice and leafy vegetables.

Processed food and sugar are a no no for Murray.

Murray will always eat within half-an-hour of finishing a match. This is so his muscles don't start to waste, because he has very little body fat, if he doesn't eat quickly his system will start to burn the muscle instead.

The athlete also abstains from alcohol and drinks over six litres of water a day, according to the Mail Online.

Workouts

Andy Murray holding a racket © Credits: X00503

Murray has two workout regimes, one for when he's in tournament and one when he's out of tournament.

And they both sound exhausting.

When he is out of tournament the tennis pro would check into a boot camp where he will exercise in hot temperatures for six hours a day.

The boot camp will involve an hour of aerobic sprint training, where he will run 400-metre laps at intervals of five minutes, and jumping hurdles sideways to improve his balance.

But it's not all that enjoyable. He said: "I don’t like doing cardio stuff! I find that really hard, I always argue with my trainer about this.

"He said a tough weights session is just as hard as a good cardio burn, but it doesn’t feel like it at the time. I used to do a lot of running on the track, doing 400 metre repetitions."

a man holding a racket on a court © Credits: USA TODAY Sports

If that isn't enough, Murray would then have an upper body weight training session where he would tie a rope around his stomach and pull weights using just his abdominals.

To wind down, he would typically do a Bikram yoga session to stretch off in 40C.

But he isn't done yet.

There's a two-hour tennis practice session with his coach to finish off his training before doing it all over again the next day.

When he's in tournament, he will only do an hour in the gym a day. But the champ would still get in two hours practice on the court before a match.

Gruelling treatments

a man hitting a ball with a racket © Credits: Getty Images North America

After a long day of training or a match, you'd think Murray would just want a nice cool shower.

But instead he has to take an ice bath to help his muscles recover from exercise and to prevent further injury.

Murray would normally stand in icy water for up to ten minutes, allowing his blood vessels to tighten and drain blood from the legs.

After the bath his legs will be totally numb, but they will be pumping with 'new' blood which will get the oxygen pumping into the muscles, helping any repair.

If the ice bath wasn't quite enough, Murray also receives massages with blocks of ice.

This is supposed to have a similar effect to the baths but is less extreme.

Finally, the athlete has acupuncture to help alleviate any aches and pains.

The tiny needles are an effective treatment for sports injuries.

Pictures: Facts to know about Andy Murray

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