How do the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo keep in shape?
If their is one man of the moment who many young guys would like to get a physique like, it's that of former Manchester United and now Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo. There is no doubt that the 25 year old Portuguese footballer is in pretty good shape, like all top level footballers are these days. Premier League footballers have strict diets and workout regimes and below we will provide an insight on how the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo keep their bodies fit and toned.
Cristiano Ronaldo Workout & Diet
Like all Premier League footballers, training is usually five days a week, depending on mid-week or weekend matches. A typical days training will include cardiovascular fitness, strength training, practice matches and set play practice like penalties and free-kicks. Daily training sessions usually last between 3-5 hours, so it's a pretty active time.
Body fat levels for footballers are typically 10% or lower, which is why you'll see many with very toned stomachs and good all round muscle definition. The combination of both daily training and a good diet is what keeps players at this 10% or lower level.
Football is a sport that requires a multitude of athletic
abilities, aim to make improvements in the following to improve your game:
- Explosive acceleration and fast sprinting speed.
- Muscular endurance and strength in the lower body.
- Muscular balance and high levels of neuromuscular co-ordination.
- Body awareness and agility, the ability to know where your body is, and be able to move it.
- Discipline to take orders and decisions, as well as putting the team first.
- Good flexibility to avoid injury, football players are prone to poor hamstring flexibility.
- Correct balance between your quadriceps and hamstrings, as well as strength imbalances between your left and right leg.
V-Cut and Lower Abs like Ronaldo?
One thing that is quite apparent with Ronaldo is his oblique and lower abs which give him the v-cut that many guys aspire for. It's important to remember, that unless you have 10% body fat or lower you'll never see any abdominal definition, therefore, it's important to ensure you're eating a good diet along with plenty of cardio activity like football. No real secrets to this, it's a combination of three exercises. Weighted Side Bends, Reverse on Bench and Seated Knee Ups
Let's take a look at a typical days diet:
Breakfast: Wholegrain or Wholewheat Cereal with fruit juice
During training: Energy drinks will be consumed
Lunch: Chicken or meat with salad, wholewheat pasta, baked potato or vegetables
Mid afternoon: Tuna Roll
Dinner: Something very similar to lunch
Unfortunately, many football players don't seem to be aware of the importance of
dietary carbohydrates. Studies show that large numbers of players eat only 1200
calories of carbohydrate per day, way below the optimal level of 2400-3000
carbohydrate calories. As a result, many players BEGIN their competitions with
glycogen levels which are sub-par. Players who start a match with low glycogen
usually have little carbohydrate left in their muscles by the time the second
That leads to bad performances during the second half. Glycogen-poor football players usually run slower - sometimes by as much as 50 percent - during the second halves of matches, compared to the first. In addition, total distance covered during the second half is often reduced by 25 per cent or more in players who have low glycogen, indicating that overall quality of play deteriorates as glycogen levels head south. Compared to competitors with normal glycogen, low-glycogen players spend more time walking and less time sprinting as play proceeds.
That's why taking in carbohydrate DURING competition can pay big dividends. In recent research carried out with an English football team, players consumed a glucose-containing sports drink during 10 of their games but swallowed only an artificially flavoured, coloured-water placebo during 10 other competitions. When the players used the glucose drink, the team allowed fewer goals and scored significantly more times, especially in the second half. When the placebo was ingested, players were less active and reduced their contacts with the ball by 20-50 per cent during the final 30 minutes of their games. A separate study showed that swilling a glucose solution before games and at half-times led to a 30-per cent increase in the amount of distance covered at high speed during the second half of a match.
However, just sipping a sports drink at random before matches and at half-time probably won't do much good, because football players must be sure they take in ENOUGH carbohydrate to really make a difference to their muscles. An excellent strategy is to drink about 12-14 ounces of sports drink, which usually provides about 30 grams of carbohydrate, 10-15 minutes before a match begins. The same amount should be drank at half-time, although players may rebel at both intake patterns because of perceptions of stomach fullness. The important thing to remember is that through experience - trying out these drinking strategies on several different occasions during practices - the intake plans will gradually become comfortable and they will help reduce the risk of carbohydrate depletion.
Tapering is important, too
Football players should also eat a small meal containing at least 600 calories of carbohydrate about two hours before competition. 600 calories is the approximate amount of carbohydrate in three bananas and four slices of bread (eaten together). Players should also try to 'taper' for a few days before matches, reducing their intensity and quantity of training in order to avoid carbohydrate depletion. During the taper and during all periods of heavy training, football players should attempt to ingest 9-10 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight ( 16-18 calories per pound of body weight) each day. 'Grazing' - eating two to four daily high-carbohydrate snacks in addition to three regular meals - can help players carry out this high-carb plan successfully. However, carbohydrate is not the only nutritional concern for football players. Fluid intake is also critically important. Various studies have shown that football players lose - through their sweat glands - from two to five litres of fluid per game. Even the lower figure could raise heart rate and body temperature during a match and might reduce running performance by about 4-5 per cent for an average player. Fortunately, the sports-drink-intake plan described above - coupled with sips of sports drink during injury time-outs - can help to reduce the impact of dehydration. Although water and carbohydrate must be taken onboard, football players don't need to worry about replacing electrolytes during play. Sweat is a dilute fluid with low concentrations of electrolytes, and most players can obtain enough electrolytes - including salt - from their normal diets. However, the presence of salt in a sports drink can enhance the absorption of water and glucose. Most commercial drinks have about the right concentration of sodium; if you're making your own beverage, you should be sure to mix about one-third tea spoon of salt and five to six tablespoons of sugar with each quart of water that you're going to be using. After all matches, players should attempt to ingest enough carbohydrate-containing sports drink to replace all the fluid they've lost during competition. After strenuous workouts, water should also be replaced, and football athletes need to eat at least 500 calories of carbohydrate during the two hours following practice in order to maximize their rates of glycogen storage.
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