As one of the top athletes in the world, Serena Williams knows a thing or two about muscle soreness: The Wimbledon winner and U.S. Open champ has been practicing and training hard since she was a kid. Add in the fact Williams is a business mogul and mom who’s constantly running around, and it makes sense why the 41-year-old tennis player would enter the world of wellness with her own line of performance-care products.
Will Perform, a new brand by Williams and co-founders Hank Mercier and Eric Ryan — the entrepreneur behind Method and Olly — is a collection of topical pain relief and daily muscle care lotions and roll-ons meant to change not only what recovery and self-care can look like for athletes and exercisers, but for anyone who leads an active life. And everything in the line costs less than $16.
“I felt like there was a need to take a modern approach to pain relief and muscle care,” Williams tells Bustle over Zoom. “And quite frankly, I wasn’t able to find products that I would like to use on the market.” She notes that muscle gels tend to be goopy and heavy on the menthol, and have been traditionally geared toward an older customer or someone with an injury. “Those are very important needs, but I felt like there was a much bigger opportunity to really speak to people who are like me who are dealing with wanting to perform at their best at all times, whether they’re being a mom, playing a sport, or just working out for fun.”
Even though she’s been smashing serves on the court for years, Williams says it took a while to land on the perfect post-game recovery routine. “In the beginning of my career I didn’t do anything to recover,” she says. “I just rode on the bike for a couple of minutes.”
Now Williams is all about active stretching after a workout, as well as the occasional massage or acupuncture session. “There’s a lot of stuff that has changed [in my routine] throughout the years,” she says. “I love learning so I’ve always loved reading about recovery and the best method to take.” The best athletes, she adds, are the ones who recover the best.
As part of her overall self-care routine, Williams is also a big fan of chilling out with a TV show. “I call it brain relaxing,” she says. “I just watch a mindless program on TV and relax and kind of shut my brain off and not think and put my phone away. That’s super relaxing for me.”
She’s also a fan of at-home workout apps as a way to train on her own time. “If I see [another] trainer I’m probably going to scream,” she jokes. “I have all the workout apps, and they’re really fun. They get me going, but it’s not like someone in my face telling me ‘blah, blah blah.’ So it’s nice.”
And now, Will Perform is part of her regimen, too. The idea is that you can use Will Perform products throughout the day — the same way you would, say, use your fave lotion — to combine your self-care rituals with your recovery routine, especially since the recovery portion of a workout often gets overlooked.
“Recovery should really be a daily regime, almost like a personal care ritual that you do all the time,” Williams tells Bustle. Instead of waiting until you’re in pain after a workout, you can get a jump on soreness by smoothing on Will Soothe, a lotion with active ingredients like magnesium and skin-smoothing ceramides. Or you can slather on Will Rest, a lavender-scented nightly muscle recovery lotion.
“It’s all about prevention,” Williams says. Her best advice? Be proactive by working on your recovery every day so you can stay active in the long run. Now, if Williams misses a stretch after a late game, she says she actually feels OK the next day because her muscles already have what they need.
That said, if muscle soreness does sneak up on you, there’s a product for that, too. You can try Will Relieve, a fast-acting roll-on with numbing lidocaine, as well as Will Cool, a light gel or spray with minty menthol and camphor. Williams’ fave? Will Rest. “I love the lavender and magnesium in it. I like to put it on right before I go to bed so I can relax and go to sleep.”