With 26 trophies, 5 Ballon d’Ors, and almost 500 goals at the age of 28, Lionel Messi is arguably the best soccer player of all time. What is even more astounding is Messi’s ability to stay almost injury free, season after season. He has appeared in more than 60 games every year since his 2008-09 season, often playing 90 minutes in each. How does he stay fit? Through a combination of an intense training regime, a strict diet, and a moderate lifestyle.
Like most other high profile athletes, Messi has a customized workout regimen. His overall goal is to maintain and improve his speed, endurance, and agility. Rather than weightlifting, he often does plyometrics and cardio. Sprints, hurdles, and lateral lunges are some of his most common exercises.
Messi follows a low-carb, high-protein diet that is rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. He consumes almost no processed food. Every day he drinks Yerba Mate, which is an Argentine tea. The herbs in this tea act as a natural vasodilator, which allows for increased blood flow to the body. An hour before matches, he likes to eat fresh fruit.
Messi’s calm lifestyle also contributes to his performance as an elite athlete. He rarely goes out, doesn’t drink, and never smokes. Messi also sleeps a LOT. Between nightly sleep, post-training siestas, and pregame naps, he sleeps almost 12 hours per day, which contributes to increased muscle recovery. He also enjoys doing yoga.
Word has it that his opponents do too.