How to Build A Body Like Cristiano Ronaldo:
(Make sure you read the whole article and don’t skip around. You may find a Free 1 Month Gym Program somewhere ($600 Value for Free))
Fam! Hope you’re crushing your goals for 2023 so far!
Portugal international Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the best in world football.
Whether you hate him or love him, you must admit that he’s an incredible athlete and his work ethic is “untouched!”
He has elite aerial ability, strength, explosiveness, quickness and rapid pace: basically what any footballer wants.
He is also known for his amazing body, which probably hasn’t harmed how he does with the ladies, if you know what I mean. Man’s doing great on and off the pitch 😉
So, how does he keep himself in shape at 38 years old and still stay at the top of the game, with the world’s best footballers?
In this blog post, we will look at some of the things that Cristiano Ronaldo does to stay in top physical condition.
4 main areas to focus on to build a physique like Cristiano Ronaldo:
1. A well-balanced diet
2.A consistent, specific workout regimen
You may be surprised at how simple & basic most of his routines are.
But what do I always talk about?
Consistency & Simplicity Always Wins!
You will see that they are very similar to the tips and advice I give you all the time!
We’ll discuss his diet and workout routine, as well as his sleep schedule and hydration and see how we can apply it to our own lives.
Step 1: A Footballer-Specific Diet:
Want to build a body like Cristiano Ronaldo? It starts with a consistent diet made up of whole, nutrient dense foods! While he may have a personal dietician, the main principles are here for you to apply.
Hit All Your macros:
Make sure you’re getting enough lean proteins like fish, lean beef, chicken, turkey, eggs, and tofu or tempeh (if you’re vegan). Check out the best sources of protein for footballers.
In addition to protein, load up on healthy fats like nuts (yes, Ricky said NUTS!), extra virgin olive oil, and avocados to make sure you maximize your testosterone levels; which is very important for muscle building, energy and ability to recover!
Enjoy complex carbs like wild rice, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, sprouted bread and quinoa for long-lasting energy levels to make sure you can go the full 90!
Harness the power of micronutrients by eating fresh vegetables and fruits, which are crucial for anti-inflammation and will help you recover better from your hard trainings and games (because I know you’re training hard!).
Micronutrients do everything from improving the health of your blood to strengthening your bones and improving your immune system. This is all very important to make sure you are staying on the field and you are available for every game your team plays.
Snacks can also be important throughout the day to keep your energy levels at bay (yup, I know you caught that rhyme ;)).
If you are hungry during the space between your meals, snacks are very useful to keep your energy levels ticking over during a hard training and game week.
No need to eat too much for a snack. The goal is to cure your hunger and give you enough energy to perform in your next workout. There’s no need to make yourself “overly full,” because this will just make you tired and feel lethargic.
Small portions will prevent your stomach from bloating and help you perform optimally.
Good snacks include fresh fruits, nuts (don’t go overboard with these), or Greek yogurt, among others.
Now, you must be thinking “Ric, let’s be honest, to get a body like Ronaldo’s, I can never eat the foods I love!”.
Wrong my friend. The 80/20 is the very important principle that I have all of my 1 on 1 clients should focus on.
80% of the time, eat things that are aligned with your goals and 20% of the time, eat the things you love.
Because it’s not fun to be 100% strict all the time.
You are a human, not a robot!
Food is meant to be a connecting source between loved ones and family.
I have spoken on the phone with my 1 on 1 clients in depth about this.
I fully believe that it is better to eat 80-20 and connect with family and friends and enjoy that social connection and bond rather than bringing your food scale to holidays and counting every calorie you eat.
I am sure that it helps you make more progress in your athletic career and life rather than being 100% strict all the time!
Sure, Ronaldo’s an athletic freak, and he’s probably following more of a 90/10 or 95/5 rule. But you get the point.
Patrice Evra, ex-Man United captain, doesn’t recommend going to Ronaldo’s place for dinner… All you’ll get is plain chicken with no sauce and some salad on the side.
Elite mentality right there, you gotta respect it!
All that being said, if you’ve just won a football match or had a long week of training, reward yourself with a nice dinner out and a glass of wine
(that’s personally what I love)
Bonus points if you bring a ting along for the ride and enjoy some good company. 😉
If you want to build a body like Ronaldo, build a good relationship with food and don’t restrict yourself to the point where you’ll get discouraged within days and you end up going overboard and eating everything in sight!
Overtime, with a proper workout plan, you will get shredded, trust me.
If you are really trying to get below 10% body fat like Ronaldo, you might want to get in a caloric deficit for some time (burn more calories than you eat).
Though, you have to be very careful with this! This should be monitored by a professional.
This DOES NOT apply if you’re a young footballer with no muscle mass.
What muscle growth would you show off by getting into a caloric deficit?
Come on bro, one step at a time!
Do Not Go into a Massive Caloric Deficit In-Season:
If you’re in the middle of your season, you need all the energy you can get to grab those three points on the weekend.
If your calories go too low, you will feel lightheaded, lethargic, weak and you will lose a lot of weight quickly.
I think we can both agree, that’s not the greatest feeling.
If you think you need to lose weight in-season, I recommend studying as much as you can on the topic to make sure you don’t go too low or maybe hire a coach or an expert to help you out with this.
There’s no point restricting yourself with calories and trying to shred down if your performance suffers.
The off-season can be a good time to slim down and reach your optimal physique as long as you match your workload with your calorie needs so you can make sure you’re recovering and adapting properly.
If you have a bit of weight to lose, this may help you feel better on the pitch in pre-season with your club. It’s basically like taking a weight vest off.
You will feel lighter, quicker, more energetic and much fitter.
Also, slimming down can help show off your six-pack on the beach, which won’t hurt your confidence and luck with the ladies. 🙂
Now of course, you know chef Ricky has you covered… I built an entire meal plan for fat loss.
This will definitely help you get closer to CR7’s physique !
But as an athlete, your goal isn’t to lose weight as quickly as a “regular person.” Your main job is to be able to perform on the field, not look good on a stage.
Go into a slight deficit, be consistent & patient and over time, the weight will fall off.
Don’t go too hard right away. As with everything, gradually increase it and stay consistent.
As promised, before reading further, you can check out my Free 1 Month Gym Program and Free “How to Become a Pro Masterclass”.
If you want to become more confident on the ball, become faster and stronger on the pitch, and eventually play in the top leagues in the world, this is exactly what you’re looking for and it’s FREE! ($1500 Value for FREE). Just enter your email below:
Step 2- Train Hard & Smart:
If you wantbuild a body like Ronaldo, there are no shortcuts. You must maximize your training on and off the pitch.
As always, emphasize quality over quantity!
You may think that Ronaldo is in the gym 6 days a week, but it wasn’t always like that. He built up to that stage step by step, with proper planning and progressive overload.
Also, he isn’t going to his absolute maximum and red lining himself every training.
He applies proper periodization and progressive overload.
What is Progressive Overload?
Progressive overload is when you slowly increase the weight, frequency, or number of repetitions in your strength training routine.
This will allow you to challenge your body and allows your body time to get stronger.
When you change up your workouts and add additional tension to your entire body, you will avoid plateauing, which is when your body adapts to the type of exercise you’re doing.
When you properly progressively overload, you will get & feel fitter and stronger.
Train Hard, But Smart:
You need to train hard to achieve a great physique, but you also need to train smart so you don’t overly stress your body.
What’s the point of doing extra training during the week if match time comes and your legs feel like stone?
Freshness > Fitness!
The most important thing is for you to be fresh and ready to go when match time comes.
We do extra training on and off the pitch to be the best player when match day comes!
Trust Your Own Path!
Obviously, following the Portugal international and five-time Ballon d’Or regimen sounds like a fantastic idea.
Who wouldn’t want even half the career he’s had so far?
Though, everyone has their own journey to reaching their genetic potential and is at different stages of their careers.
Everyone and has their football and body composition goals.
You have a different physiology and psychology to your teammate and players’ older and younger than you.
You can use pro players’ workouts as a template, but you should never blindly replicate a workout!
That’s where a good personal coach who has worked with pro players can come into play.
Your Own Personal Coach:
Cristiano Ronaldo knows this better than anyone!
When he played at Manchester United in the early 2000s, he was one of the very first to invest a lot of time into strengthening his body for optimal performance.
His former conditioning coach at the time, Mick Clegg, recently said “Cristiano is a genius, an absolute genius. He learned a lot, in the early days, about how to manage his body”.
Educating himself with knowledgeable coaches was key for Ronaldo, too: “I put in a lot of work to keep in the best condition I can be in, and a lot of my success in that area stems from what I learnt with Mick.
Build a balanced physique
Especially as a younger player looking to build a body like Ronaldo, master your bodyweight first with a circuit routine, then start in the gym with compound movements like trap bar deadlifts, lunges one leg barbell squat, or bench press and pullups for upper body strength.
These will give you the foundation you need to move on to explosive movements like plyometrics (knee tuck jump, jumping lunge etc) or olympic-style lifts with heavier weights.
These will improve your speed and power on the pitch.
You want to cover all parts of your body : upper, lower and core. And never neglect the smaller muscles like the hip flexors or the tibialis.
Having a well-balanced physique with a proper strength program will help you perform at your best on the pitch to get those 3 points, stay injury-free… And also look fantastic, just like Ronaldo.
Ronaldo’s workout plan:
Ronaldo’s workout regimen includes upper body, lower body training, sprinting exercises, as well as plyometrics, injury-prevention, core work and specific cardio exercises.
At the start of his pro journey, once he mastered his own bodyweight, compound movements and plyometrics were the focus.
These target multiple muscles at once, allowing him to use his time efficiently while building overall strength and muscle.
Overtime, doing this consistently, he built explosive muscles and a balanced body so he can perform well on the pitch!
He always supplemented heavier and more explosive workouts with injury-prevention, and exercises like Nordic Curls or Copenhagens to avoid injuries at all costs and be able to do what he does best.
“He needs to know everything about himself. If he has a niggle, he’ll want to know what that is and talk to people he knows and trusts. He’ll make sure he won’t put himself in danger of having an injury, which is what a lot of players do”, said top conditioning expert Mick Clegg.
Now, at Al-Nassr in the Saudi League, his focus is on maintaining the physique he has. He mostly does bodyweight exercises, or with light resistance, focusing on his core and stabilizer muscles like the hip flexors or glutes.
If you’re looking to build a body like Ronaldo, you should check out this solid, full-body sample workout to get started !
Also give special attention to your core to make sure you are moving well and steering clear of injury.
Also, make sure you throw in some football specific fitness and sprinting drills to improve your performance on the pitch.
As always, the last thing you want to do is overtrain and apply everything I wrote in this section overnight!
That’s the best way to get injured, which is the last thing I want for you.
Like we spoke about, master the basics and build up as your career moves on!
Work hard, be consistent, be persistent and work diligently!
Remember, it took Ronaldo 15-20 years of hard work and consistency to get where he is!
I am not promising you will look exactly like Ronaldo because you have different genetics.
But, I can promise you if you stay consistent for at least 10-15 years, you will reach YOUR GENETIC POTENTIAL!
Step 3- Get Enough Sleep:
As you should know by now, sleep is an essential part of our recovery process.
It also contributes to building muscle and optimizing our physique, which is optimal for footballers like you and me.
When you work out, you are breaking yourself down and creating inflammation. You get stronger and become a better athlete when you properly rest and recover.
Just look at Cristiano Ronaldo – this legend’s sleep routine is dialed, to the point where he makes sure to get eight hours of sleep every night and that he takes regular naps too!
Sleep guru Nick Littlehales – who worked with Manchester United and Real Madrid as a sleep advisor – disclosed Ronaldo’s sleep secrets.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner takes five 90-minute sleeps a day, FIVE. That’s a bit much and crazy to think about, but as we’ve seen through this article, this man is on a different level.
And as with his training and nutrition, he was always obsessed about learning more about sleep optimization:
In 2017, Littlehales said: “I was invited to Real Madrid when Ancelotti became manager. I was standing on the edge of the training pitch, talking to the Madrid staff, when Ronaldo ran over. He was interested in what I was trying to do because as an athlete he has always invested in himself.”
That’s the level of commitment we’re talking about my guy. You want to build a body like Ronaldo ? It’s not just about hitting an extra ab workout a week or cutting a few calories… Every single detail matters.
You must be somewhat obsessed, but more importantly very disciplined.
Now you must be thinking “But Ric, I have school, or I have work. How on Earth can I go for 90 minute naps several times a day?”.
I’ve got you covered homie, you know me by now!
You don’t HAVE to replicate Ronaldo’s sleep routine, obviously.
For most people, it’s just too hard to manage and balance with a day job or school day.
But you can take the main principles and focus on applying them consistently to optimize your sleep.
The most important thing when it comes to sleep, and the most important tip I share with my 1-1 clients, is: ensuring that you have a consistent wake and
That’s a non-negotiable!
Surprisingly enough, that will be one of the most important changes for you to improve your health all around! This will set your circadian rhythm up for success (your internal body clock).
The second-best thing you can do for your sleep is to view sunlight for at least 10 minutes every morning.
I understand, maybe you live in Scandanavia or the UK where it’s dark and grey every morning.
But, getting outside and into the clouds will still help you. It’s much better for your body and mind than those draining indoor fluorescent lights!
Thirdly, I would recommend trying to get at least 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night.
The quality is most important!
If your circadian rhythm is on point; your sleep will be better quality, your muscles will build faster and stronger, and you’ll be able to build a body like Cristiano Ronaldo!
But more importantly, you’ll be more efficient in your workouts and training sessions, and this will add up overtime and help you reach your goals!
If you want to improve your quality, you can check out this specific article on how to improve your sleep:
Step 4- Stay hydrated:
Staying hydrated with water is essential to keeping your body working efficiently.
I recommend going for 3-4 liters per day paired properly with your training load.
Drink little sips consistently throughout the day.
(Nobody wants to be running to the bathroom every half hour)
This will help you recover, give you fuel for workouts, be more alert mentally and just overall improve your health.
Cristiano Ronaldo knows this, and he drinks plenty of water on a daily basis.
As we know, he also avoids sugary drinks and sugary foods.
Man’s not a big fan of Coca-Cola, and we can’t blame him at all.
Ronaldo is so popular worldwide that one single comment about how he avoids Coca-Cola lost them 4 billion dollars in market value!
That thing is full of BS preservatives and sugar that’ll increase your blood pressure and inflammation levels.
So if you want to reach your full potential as a footballer and stay healthy, avoid sugary drinks like Coke my friend.
Also, adding electrolytes in your water can be very good for you as an athlete.
Electrolytes like sodium, potassium and magnesium are essential for muscular endurance during longer efforts like a football game.
Now… If you’re an absolute boss, go for sparkling water. It has been proven to increase your chances of attracting beautiful women consistently.
A couple last words:
To sum this long one up, the most important thing I want you to remember is that consistency, discipline, and incredible work ethic are what got Cristiano Ronaldo to the top.
Don’t blame genetics, your environment, lack of equipment or anything like that. You’ve got to put in the hard work, it’s as simple as that.
In Madeira, his home island, Cristiano Ronaldo didn’t have any fancy equipment or training facilities, and sure as hell couldn’t afford the best quality food.
But he did the best he could, with what he had, wherever he was.
(love this quote by the way)
Patience and consistency are the key:
Anyway, Ronaldo didn’t build that temple of a body and six-pack in a week! Be patient and have a proper plan!
This is where a good coach can definitely fast-track your progress.
If you want to achieve results like this….
Check out my 1-on-1 coaching program below and apply below if you feel you’re the right fit:
Getting an aesthetic body is obviously an added bonus, but keep in mind you’re a footballer, not a bodybuilder. What you want is to perform on the pitch and stay injury-free.
As much as that Cristiano Ronaldo physique is desirable for footballers and looks good on front pages, the most important part is that it’s allowed him to keep playing till today at 38 years old!
“Cristiano will want to go beyond the 40 mark. He’ll be hoping he can play until his mid-40s”, said his previous conditioning coach at Manchester United Mick Clegg.
Longevity is what we want, age is just a number. You can get that through discipline and hard, consistent, smart work. Let’s get it!
Lastly, if this article helped you out, you’ll love the Ric Fit Academy App.
You’ll get weekly workouts designed by me, as well as tips from pros and specific nutrition advice to help you build a body like Ronaldo! 😉
The best part? You can try it for FREE for 7 days. No risk, I’m that confident you’ll love it!
Have a great week homie!
Love & Health,