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Essay: A diet plan for a professional footballer

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  • Published: 2 November 2015*
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AGE: 29
CLUB: Real Madrid C.F
Born: 5th February, 1985 in Funchal, Madeira
Nationality: Portuguese
Height: 6 ft. (1.84 m)
Weight: 174 lbs (79 kg)
BMR: 1,865 kilocalories burnt at rest
Daily Energy Requirements: 3,171 kilocalories
Position: Left Wing/ Centre-Forward
Statistics: (2014/2015):

  • All competitions (excluding country): 32 goals AND 12 assists in 25 appearances
  • La Liga (Spanish league): 25 goals and 8 assists in 14 appearances.
  • Champions League: 5 goals and 12 assists in 15 appearances
  • Other cups: Copa del Rey, Spanish super Copa, World Club Cup: 2 goals and 2 assists in 5 appearances

Cristiano Ronaldo is a highly regarded professional footballer who plies his trade on the left wing for current Spanish champions Real Madrid. Hs trickery and athleticism have gained fame all across the world, including his step-overs, and the ‘knuckleball’ free kick technique. At a still-young age of 29 years, he has already set the pace for the league he is in by breaking a number of records. He is an athlete who places a lot of emphasis on body physique that is well defined, low on fat percentages and high in protein and carbohydrates. His training focusses on a lot of speed, power and functional movement.
He first came into football when Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson spotted him during a European match against Portuguese giants Sporting Lisbon. Ronaldo was then a raw 18 year old, and his talent was such that he gained a man of the match performance. It also led the Manchester United squad players to try and persuade Ferguson to sign him. Luckily for Ronaldo, he was already aware of him, and eventually sign him for 12.5 million pounds.
Since then, his physique is arguably his most useful asset . With Lisbon, he had pace about him, along with agility, but looked quite skinny when he first signed for the Red Devils. But, having dedicated himself for years to changing himself, his body fat is at a lower percentage than a lot of people, supermodels included, has a higher jumping range than a typical NBA basketball player, and has recently scored his 400th league goal for Real Madrid.
Taking all of these details into account, this is where my assignment will begin. This assignment is focussed on nutrition. I need to come up with a 2 week diet pan that is an appropriate for the athlete of my choice. I will design every aspect of this from hydration to whether he takes any supplements or not. I will elaborate one each element, explaining what will happen when it is consumed, and the nutritional value of them, whilst linking it to current studies in either journals and/or books. I will then round it off by justifying why I used the foods in there, before stating the strengths and weaknesses that type plan contains.
The first thing I need to consider is how often Ronaldo will play over these next two weeks, between 29th Dec 2014 and 15th January 2015. During this time his schedule will be quite busy, as he will play a total of 4 game over 14 days, so two games per week. Given that he is in the middle to last phase of his peak years, and he is one of the most expensive footballers in the world, it won’t be easy for him. If he chooses to take an early retirement, or if he gets a season breaking injury, I may have to change aspects of the diet with immediate affect so that firstly, he doesn’t put on much excessive weight, but also that he can get back into his best shape at a quicker speed.
Fixture List
Date Type of Game K/O Times Home Team – Away Team
Tues 30/12/2014 Friendly 17:00 Real Madrid Vs. AC Milan
Sat 03/01/2015 La Liga 17:00 Valencia Vs. Real Madrid
Wed 07/01/2015 Copa del Rey 21:00 Atletico Madrid Vs. Real Madrid
Sat 10/01/2015 La Liga 16:00 Real Madrid Vs. Espanyol
A typical day for Ronaldo would be between 8:00 to when he would drop off to sleep, say around 22:30. The reason for these times is so that the sleep period he has is not too short so as to affect his mental or cognitive functions and athletic performance , and so that the period he has to rest is enough for him to recuperate (if he did not recuperate, there are solutions on offer, as this study shows ), and keep his immune system at a sustainable level to avoid any infections or diseases that could harm him. This means that he is ready to train for the day ahead and able to maintain maximal performance. This could happen if Ronaldo chose to have a night out where he overindulged himself, so having too much to drink. However, I have been told by his peers and superiors that he is extremely well disciplined, so this shouldn’t be a problem.
Such discipline will be useful, as he will also be doing various strength and conditioning programmes throughout the week to compliment what he is doing. He will not be bulking up too much so that he can focus on speed and agility during matches.
Monday 29th December 2014
8:00 am (Breakfast)
Food: Egg white omelette with peppers, mushrooms, cayenne chilli and garlic powder;
-2 large egg whites
-?? cup full of either Cheddar or Mozzarella
-1/2 cup of mushrooms (chopped)
?? cup of spring onions
-cayenne chilli/garlic powder to taste
395 kcals
40g serving of Quaker Porridge Oats 142 calories
Drink: Breakfast smoothie in an 8oz glass;
-1 cup frozen mixed berries
-?? cup water
-?? spoon of chia seeds
-?? cup unsweetened pomegranate juice 223 kcals
(Training with Real Madrid)
Post Training
13:00 (Lunch)
Grilled Chicken Breast with Sesame Seed Rice, Guacamole and Green Beans;
-1/2 cup rice
-1?? tbsp guacamole
-3oz chicken breast
-3 cups of uncooked green beans
515 kcals
Large 8oz Glass of Lemon Juice 60 kcals
15:00 (Strength Workout Circuit x3)
‘ Barbell Squats
‘ Box Jumps
‘ Broad Jumps
‘ Jumping Lunges
‘ Lateral Bounds
Pre-Workout: Peanut and banana on toast;
-2 slices wholemeal granary bread
-1 small banana
-?? tbsp cinnamon
-1bsp peanut butter
During Workout: 1 litre bottle of water taken on board gradually at 15 min intervals
Post Workout: Egg white pancakes;
-3 eggs whites
-?? cup cottage cheese
-?? teaspoon vanilla extract
-1/8 teaspoon of baking powder 307 kcals
421 kcals
‘ 350g pasta bows (farfalle)
‘ 300g broccoli
‘ 1 tbsp olive oil
‘ 3 large skinless boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized chunks
‘ 2 garlic cloves, crushed
‘ 2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
‘ juice of 1 large or 2 small oranges
‘ 25g flaked almonds, toasted
1 80z glass of orange juice 531 kcals
102 kcals
22:30 (Sleep)
Why I Chose the Diet Plan
You have now seen a diet plan stretching over 2 weeks for Cristiano Ronaldo. I will now come on to the next part which is to explain why I chose the nutritional components there, while at the same time backing all of it up with up to date and current research from a variety of journals and books. I will go about breaking it down component by component.
As to the layout, I needed to understand the energy components of every food and every fluid. The unit I chose to measure this in was kilocalories rather than calories, the reason being that calories are only viewed at by people who work in the science sector. It would not be as easy, therefore, to relate what I was talking about to the reader of this, and it will also make Ronaldo less worried about what he is consuming. I was initially considering how flexible I wanted this to be. However, I looked back on how Ronaldo is maintaining his physique, and there is no question that he has he discipline and mentality to get the best out of what he has.
Beginning with the first Monday of the week, the first breakfast of the diet consisted of an egg white omelette with additions such as a spring onions, mushrooms, cayenne chilli and garlic powder. The difficulty was picking which part of the egg to use as the basis for it, given that there’s an ongoing debate as to which is healthier . I eventually chose egg whites because, amongst other things, if you put the yolk and white side by side, the white has a lower amount of cholesterol. This means that the chances of Cristiano picking up cardiovascular diseases are decreased with every white he consumes. The spices in there will not only serve to give the dish more flavour but also thinning the blood, meaning that the oxygen he needed to supply his body with will be easier to transport around the body to the muscles that he uses to play his sport.
Protein wise, this meal is pretty much covered, with the serving that I chose (. However, a footballer would hardly perform for 90 minutes if they didn’t have carbohydrates on board. With this I mind, I chose to go with a carbohydrate based meal in the form of porridge. This is arguably the best breakfast any athlete can use. This is because what porridge consist of oats, which can help lower your level of blood pressure. They can also help clear your arteries of fat, contain vitamin B1, which aids nervous system function .
I also chose something different but useful, which was a breakfast smoothie. This was made up of frozen berries, chia seeds and unsweetened pomegranate juice. Each of them has individual benefits. Firstly, chia seeds are a factor that can help you lose weight and, like porridge, have a high level of fibre, keeping your appetite curbed by filling you up.
They also contain double the calcium that one would normally find in milk, meaning Ronaldo will have more to absorb so that his joints are at an optimum level of strength .
Normally the easy option would be to use onions to provide one of your five a day. In the case of my plan, though, I chose spring onions instead for two reasons. Firstly, spring onions are sweeter in flavour so they are more tolerable to use in food, but also, they have a greater all round nutritional value. In a 100g portion, spring onions have 20% and 31% of your required Vitamin A and Vitamin C respectively. They also contain 8% of the iron and 10% of the fibre that you need.
In addition to football, he performs a variety of different workouts on the days that he will have off. For each one of these workouts he will need to keep an appropriate level of hydration throughout, as well as eat appropriate foods.
(1) McVeigh, Paul. (4 July 2013). Innovate, Analyse, Improve, In: Ascroft, Nick, The Stupid Footballer is Dead, Insights into the Mind of a Professional Footballer. London: Bloomsbury Sport. p93
(2) Table adapted from ronaldo7.net. (2012). Real Madrid schedule for the 2014-2015 season: Available: http://www.ronaldo7.net/schedule/real-madrid-schedule.html. Last accessed 26/12/14.
(3) R. Davis, Greggory. (6th July 2014). Prolonged Sleep Deprivation and Continuous Exercise: Effects on Melatonin, Tympanic Temperature, and Cognitive Function. BioMed Research International Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 781863, p4.
(4) Halson, Shola L. (3rd May 2014). Sleep in Elite Athletes and Nutritional Interventions to Enhance Sleep. Journal of Sports Medicine. 44, p13-23.
(5) Lau, Dr Kevin. (July 1st 2013). Concise Scoliosis Nutrition and Exercise Plan. In: Li, Min Your Natural Scoliosis Treatment Journal: A day-by-day companion for 12-weeks to a straighter and stronger spine!, Singapore: Health in Your Hands Pte Ltd. p43
(6) Spence, JD et al. (July 18, 2012). Egg yolk consumption and carotid plaque. Atherosclerosis. 224 (Issue 2), p469’473.

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