Cristiano Ronaldo is known to have one of the best physiques in world football. And that physique is a result of the incredible training routine and stringent workouts he employs religiously, like many other top athletes in the world.
The 30-year-old has a very toned and muscular body with extremely low body fat. He is not shy to show off his calves or abs during goal celebrations either, famously baring his physique after scoring an extra-time penalty in Real Madrid’s Champions League final victory over Atletico Madrid in 2014.
Beginning his career as a skinny forward at Sporting Lisbon, Ronaldo earned a transfer to Manchester United in 2003 courtesy his impressive performances in the Portuguese league. Despite being seemingly unprepared for the physical rigours of the English game, the winger made an instant impact in his first season at Old Trafford.
He was expected by many to be a top player in the years to come, but Ronaldo wasn’t satisfied with his progress just yet.
After two seasons in the English game, Ronaldo looked a lot more physically imposing than he did when he first arrived at the club. He had been working with professional fitness coaches and expert dieticians, leading to a major body transformation that was clearly visible to everyone.
When Sir Alex Ferguson spoke about his former player in an interview recently, he admitted that the winger’s transformation physically and on the field was unbelievable.
"Ronaldo was the biggest improvement because he came as a young skinny kid at 17 and he had all these little things about him that they used to criticise – about his diving and all the rest of it.” Ferguson said, as reported on DailyStar. “But once the players got about him on the training ground he was fantastic.”
The former United manager added: "And then the most important thing for a great player is the decision-making, and that improved over time."
The 6’1’’ Ronaldo’s mental motivation to work on his body along with his obvious talent and skill allowed him to flourish in the Barclays Premier League. He scored many goals for Manchester United from the 2006-07 season up to his last season at the club, his new physical stature helping him adjust seamlessly to the English game.
His fitness work didn’t really stop there, as he took it up a notch after his £80 million transfer to Real Madrid in 2009. Since then he has been the fittest player in the league by a mile, scoring plenty of goals for the Los Blancos at an average of more than a goal a game.
The intricacies of the Ronaldo workout
So the biggest question is, what does Cristiano Ronaldo do to keep in shape? And how hard is it to maintain a body like that?
According to DailyMail, Ronaldo has a strict training routine which involves him doing plenty of cardio and gym exercises to help improve his overall body strength. He targets the development of specific muscles during these sessions, and they are usually high-intensity workouts.
The Real Madrid number 7 works extra hard on the pitch to supplement his hours of gym work. He usually starts off his day with short sprinting drills, before indulging in tactical exercises with his teammates to improve his understanding with them. He also works on his skills and ball control by doing technical drills on a regular basis.
Along with his regular training, Ronaldo maintains a high protein diet. He stays away from fatty and sugary foods, usually indulging in fish, vegetables and fruits. He eats up to six meals every day to make sure he has enough energy to train with the highest intensity possible, and avoids alcoholic drinks as well.
The strict diet plan coupled with his training allows him to maintain a very low body fat level – usually less than 10 percent.
Since he works out five times a week for nearly 3-4 hours a day, sleep is of the essence for the Portuguese. He ensures that he gets several hours of sleep every night to help him relax his muscles after the workouts, which helps him especially before big games.
Ronaldo’s incredible work ethic has seen him become one of the best-known sports personalities in the world. His physique has helped him bag endorsements worth $28 million according to Forbes, with Nike and Castrol being major sponsors among many others. He also has his own range of men’s apparel, shoes and undergarments under the brand name ‘CR7’.