I’m not a big breakfast guy. I rarely have the appetite to eat anything before noon on workdays. There’s something about stuffing my face at 7 a.m. that just puts me into zombie mode by the time 2 p.m. comes around. Instead, I usually opt for 30 oz of black coffee and some ice water.
While this keeps me on my toes (and peeing like a racehorse), it can also take me down a path toward irregular heartbeat, dry mouth, and jitteriness. Some mornings my eyelids feel like they’re doing the Harlem Shake, and it’s on those days when I wish I would’ve sacked up and opted for peanut butter toast and some OJ. Despite that, I stay productive and (mostly) keep on task. Preparation routines really set the tone for performance, and I’ve found something that works well enough for me.
Jamie Vardy, star striker for last year’s English Premier League Cinderella Story Champions Leicester City, has his own pregame routine that is nothing short of a Total Psycho Move. According to Vardy, the night before a game, he drinks half a bottle of wine out of a Lucozade bottle. I have no clue what Lucozade is, but I assume it’s just shittier, English rip-off Gatorade. Then on Match Day, he drinks THREE Red Bulls and a double espresso to get himself in the zone before kick-off. He swears by this routine and claims it’s what keeps him “running around like a nutjob out there.”
Let’s break this down. Vardy is a professional in a sport that requires you to run at a high pace for over 90 minutes. There are no commercial breaks or timeouts, and he is going toe to toe with some of the world’s best athletes. It goes without saying that a pro footballer must be in peak physical condition to survive a 40+ game season. Now, I didn’t pay that much attention to health class in middle school, but I do remember a few things: 1) Abstinence is the only way to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, and 2) mixing uppers and downers can be catastrophic for the health of your cardiovascular system.
Jamie Vardy’s pregame ritual tosses double birds right at conventional medical wisdom. While all those scrubs at Liverpool, Manchester United, and Tottenham were probably sucking down coconut water and grilled chicken salads, Vardy was stumbling down a different path.
He banged in 24 goals last season leading the Foxes past 5000 to 1 odds as victors of the world’s top soccer league. With numbers like that, I can’t fault him for having a night cap every now and then or gulping down the average Xbox Live user’s daily caffeine intake. It’s really nothing short of amazing.
Perhaps even more incredible than his team’s title run is Vardy’s own rise to the top echelon of his field. In 2007, he was working at a factory and playing rec league with his boys. After a fight outside a pub, he was forced to wear an electronic ankle tag – even during games – as a stipulation of his probation.
Leicester City signed him in 2012, and his early days with the club were filled with well documented cases of public intoxication at practices and the occasional politically incorrect comment. Just this summer at the 2016 Euros tournament, he was spotted wearing nicotine patches in training to curb his cigarette habit. At 29, it appears he is finally cleaning up his act.
All things considered, you’ve gotta love that he’s still sticking to his guns. Here is a man pushing 30 who has given up 90% of his vices, yet won’t let go of the late night toddy or an early morning caffeine boost. Vardy says it himself:
“I’m not normally superstitious but from the moment I scored against Sunderland on the opening day, I didn’t want to change anything.”
Keep doing you, man.
A wise man once said, “Never walk away from the table when you’re on a heater.” In Vardy’s case, that heater might just be hanging out of his lips. But what’s certain is that the man found a routine that works for him, and he’s staying with it.
So next time you’ve got a client presentation, beer league softball, or dinner with her parents, grab yourself a bottle of port and a couple of Red Bulls and get after it..