Serena Williams says she lost 10 pounds in one week once she stopped breastfeeding (2024)

It’s been two years since Serena Williams announced she was retiring from tennis, but the athletic legend isn't exactly sitting still these days.

“As a mom, I’m actually way more active than what I was during tennis,” the 42-year-old said on TODAY with Hoda & Jenna earlier this year. “Obviously, (with) tennis, I was playing Wimbledons and stuff. But, as a mom, I’m gone all day."

When she was competing as a professional athlete, Williams maintained an ultra intense training schedule. She even told MasterClass she used to "almost break my body down" so she was "ready for anything."

Williams doesn't need such a hardcore workout routine anymore, but she's hardly resting on her laurels.

Curious about her commitment to fitness? Here are some of the many ways Williams stays in fighting shape.

She enjoys multiple forms of cardio

When she’s exercising at home, Williams keeps up her energy levels by prioritizing her cardio routine.

“I do HIIT workouts (high-intensity interval training), a little stretching, a little strength training, but mostly cardio training,” she told Vogue in 2022.

She's a fan of the Tonal home gym system

The athlete is also a fan of Tonal, a smart gym company she has invested in.

“I do the cardio exercises on Tonal, which is really helpful for me just to get my body back and used to calisthenics. I don’t necessarily want a trainer in my room or in the gym with me, so just having the Tonal trainers is a relief. It’s just something different from what I’ve been doing for the past 20-plus years, and it’s refreshing,” she told Vogue.

She loves riding her Peloton bike

If you've ever owned a Peloton or took one for a spin, you know the endorphins are addictive, and it turns out that Williams agrees.

“Those Peloton people are so inspirational!” she told Self in 2021. “They’ll be like ‘If you can get through this, you can get through your day, so you gotta do it!’ I’m like ‘I got you! I’m here!’”

She knows when to take breaks

Williams goes hard at the gym, but she isn’t afraid to press pause when her body tells her it needs a break. In 2022, she told Vogue she “definitely listen(s)” to her body.

“My favorite type of cardio is running, but my body has to be fit to be able to run or else my knees will hurt. After playing tennis for so many years, you just wear and tear down your knees, so the elliptical has been growing on me, too,” she said.

“I’m basically trying to do cardio every single day–even if it’s, like walking a few miles, it still counts. I had a tough last week, so this week has been a little bit lighter–I took two days off. Next week, I’ll be back to seven.”

She loves dancing

Off the tennis courts, Williams likes to bust a move to stay active. In 2016, the athlete told People she dances “a lot.”

“It’s a fun way to get a workout in instead of going to the gym and jumping on the treadmill for 30 minutes. I really enjoy that,” she said.

She doesn’t ‘live to eat’

Williams enjoys eating, but she tends to approach food with a more practical outlook.

“My philosophy is eat to live. Don’t live to eat,” she told Women’s Health in 2021.

Of course, the athlete has treats herself, but she looks at food as something that enables her to function first and foremost.

“You need it to survive. And (that’s) very hard to live by, cause I definitely love to snack, but this is what I want. These are my goals,” she said.

She’s tried going vegan and enjoyed it

Williams’ sister Venus Williams was diagnosed with an immune system disorder called Sjogren’s (SHOW-grins) syndrome in 2011. The disorder typically causes dry eyes and dry mouth, per the Mayo Clinic, but it can also impact joints, the thyroid, kidneys and liver.

After learning about her sister's diagnosis, Williams decided to add more plant-based foods to her diet since the sisters were living together at the time.

“I remember thinking, ‘I can’t bring all this bad food into the house,’ so I changed my diet as well. I realized that I didn’t feel weaker, I didn’t feel like (my body) was missing something, and I actually had a lot of energy,” she told Essence in 2022.

Describing herself as an “on-and-off vegan,” Williams told Vogue she was dedicated to veganism for around six years and the experience was “great.”

“Now, I’m trying it out again because I really want to be healthy. And to be healthy, I need to eat healthy. When I don’t eat healthy, I just feel terrible–to be honest, I feel like I almost have pain,” she said. “So now, I eat vegan about six days out of the week. And then if I want, like, some eggs or something, I do that on the seventh day.”

She used to adjust her diet while training

Athletes’ bodies need more fuel to stay energized, so Williams used to make a habit of loading up on carbs when she was in her tennis heyday.

“The only time I eat pasta is when I’m playing/training. Usually, you’ll never see me eating pasta otherwise. Cause I feel like I’ve had to eat it so much in my career. It’s just like, I never want to see pasta again,” she told Women’s Health in 2021.

She likes to stay hydrated

Williams aims to drink a gallon of water or more each day to stay hydrated.

“That is one thing that I make sure that I always do,” she told CNBC in 2020.

While chatting with Glamour in 2021, Williams elaborated on the importance of drinking plenty of fluids.

“Hydration is super important for everything from skin to muscle recovery, so I try to make sure I always have water next to my bed. I also avoid snacking, especially sugar, as that tends to keep me awake longer,” she said.

The tennis star also swears by Gatorade to perk her up when she wakes up feeling dehydrated or tired.

Pregnancy didn’t stop her from working out

Pregnancy can feel like a workout in and of itself, but Williams still hit her fitness goals during her two pregnancies.

In 2023, she took to YouTube to share one of her pregnancy workouts and admitted that it’s “very difficult” to stay in shape while you’re expecting a child.

“I learned that when you’re pregnant, you burn so many calories as much as a triathlon athlete. So I’m trying to take advantage of that and continue to burn those calories,” she said.

Williams noted that her hips are especially tight during pregnancy and started her workout with warmup stretches.

After using the elliptical machine (and adding some arm exercises with a weighted ball), the athlete uses the treadmill while doing arm exercises with dumbbells.

While focusing on her legs and glutes, Williams did some squats and also added in some more arm exercises, all while her daughter Olympia watched.

She gave herself time to get back to the gym after giving birth

Staying in shape is a priority for Williams, but she also has a practical attitude when it comes to post-baby weight loss. After giving birth to her second daughter Adira in 2023, the athlete took her time building up her strength.

Two months after she welcomed her baby girl, Williams posted a photo of herself in the gym with her eldest daughter.

“Olympia watching me try to get my ab muscles working again. Here comes fitness!” she captioned the post.

In January 2024, Williams took to Instagram to post a video of herself lifting weights.

“Alright, I’m getting back into the swing of things,” she said in the brief clip. “This is not my usual weight, but it’ll do until I get back to where I need to be.”

A month later, the mother of two posted a relatable reflection about body image on her Instagram post.

“Loving yourself is essential. I find that I have to remind myself of that self-love through all different stages in my life. Right now I love that my body is not picture perfect. I love that I smell like milk — that milk sustains @adiraohanian I love getting to know a new version of my body. It is a change, but it’s a change that has been well worth it. So start this week, knowing that you are loved, and that starts with you,” she wrote. “Ok, now I’m about to go to the gym 🤪.”

In May 2024, Williams updated her Instagram followers on her postpartum weight loss journey. The star shared she's been working hard to fit into a denim skirt she bought to wear after giving birth. While she's not quite there yet, she promised to keep working toward it — something her followers applauded her for.

She’s raising confident daughters

Bodies come in all different shapes and sizes, and Williams wants to teach her daughters that they’re beautiful.

“What I’ve learned about embracing my power and strength and what I would like to pass on to my daughter is to love who you are,” Williams said during an interview with Tonal home gym in 2022 before second daughter, Adira, was born.

“And that’s really the message that I’ve always passed on. I definitely want her to embrace herself and love herself and understand that it’s important to have self-confidence.”

She had an easier time losing pregnancy weight after she stopped breastfeeding

After giving birth to her first daughter, Williams was surprised that she had a hard time losing her pregnancy weight while breastfeeding.

“What I’ve learned through the experience — everybody is different, every person is different, every physical body is different,” she said in 2018 at a news conference. “For my body, it didn’t work, no matter how much I worked out, no matter how much I did, it didn’t work for me."

After she stopped breastfeeding, the athlete said she lost 10 pounds in one week.

“It was crazy. I just kept dropping. That’s when I learned that everything was different,” she said. “Sorry to go on about that, but I wanted to say that so women out there know that’s not true. Everyone takes things different. I think it’s important for us to share that message.”

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Serena Williams says she lost 10 pounds in one week once she stopped breastfeeding (2024)
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