He’s one of the greatest footballers to have ever taken the field, boasting the kind of foot skills and athletic prowess that continues to baffle opponents, leave coaches gasping, and have audiences on the edge of their seats. It’s no surprise that the name Cristiano Ronaldo commands respect around the world. You don’t need to be a football fan or avid wearer of the sporting icon’s jersey to know that to watch him play is to be in the presence of greatness. But while Ronaldo’s little flourishes on the field seem effortless, the fact remains that this is a star athlete who puts his body under the strictest of routines. From fitness and training to diet and recovery, everything Ronaldo does is carefully considered so as to ensure his health and wellbeing remains a top priority.
Intrigued to see just what Ronaldo puts his body through in a week, YouTuber Brandon William took on a week-long challenge to train and eat like the football star. His goal was simply to improve his soccer game, meaning that for the seven days, he would follow the physically demanding daily diet and workout routine of Ronaldo.
“Something that I’ve always admired about Ronaldo is that he has the perfect athletic physique,” said William. “A balance of skill, stamina, power, speed, strength, and muscle. I might have the muscle, but I lack many of the other characteristics that create an athletic physique.”
William takes one of Ronaldo’s staple moves – the vertical jump, for which he can jump 30 inches – as the benchmark of his training. On day one, he jumps 28 inches and sets himself the goal of reaching 30 by the end of the week. He also sets PRs in the 30-metre sprint with a time of 4.9 seconds, goals scored (1 out of 10) and headers (2 out of 10), all of which he looks to improve following a week of mirroring Ronaldo’s training.
His day begins with a 5am calisthenics workout. William explains, “My body is used to sleeping in until around 9 or 10, which made working out so early feel awful.” After the workout comes breakfast and then a conditioning session consisting of seven cardio-heavy drills to help build speed, agility and mobility.
Given that recovery is also a fundamental tool in Ronaldo’s arsenal to ensure he can continue playing at his peak without being injured, William also makes sure to include a rest day into his week. Ronaldo is reportedly known to take as many as five 90-minute naps on his off days. On top of these naps, William also tries hydrotherapy, switching between hot and cold water to improve blood flow, and cryotherapy.
Incredibly, as the week progresses William begins to warm to the morning workout – or at least, he finds the start time an easier adjustment, whereas the workout still proves challenging. “The one thing that is killing me, other than my legs, is the amount of food that I have to cook in order to hit five to six meals a day,” he says.
On the final day, William retakes each of his day 1 tests to measure how much he has improved in the space of a week. He hits a vertical jump of 32 inches, completes the 30-metre sprint in 4.3 seconds, scores five goals out of 10, and even gets five headers out of 10. It’s an incredible feat that speaks to the power of perseverance and handwork. Thanks to Ronaldo, William PRs in every single exercise.