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Cristiano Ronaldo, arguably one of the best soccer players—and overall athletes—of all time, is good at ageing. Very good at ageing.
Ronaldo’s Real Madrid coaches allegedly even conducted a few tests on the superstar and concluded that his biology was comparable to that of a 23-year-old, according to reports from Spanish publications.
But the Real Madrid forward is actually a decade senior at 33 years old. Ronaldo is in his 16th year of professional soccer and showing zero signs of slowing down as the World Cup approaches this summer—and his abs still look like they’re carved from marble. What the hell is this guy doing that we aren’t as he somehow ages in reverse?
He Keeps Getting Older, But Works to Stay the Same Age
While some Ronaldo’s “ageing secrets” are really just him lucking into great genes, a lot of what separates him from almost every other athlete in the world boils down to Ronaldo’s freakish work ethic and dedication to his health. That hard work is the main reason why, as he heads deeper into his 30s, Ronaldo continues to be such a dominant force on the pitch.
It’s no secret that Ronaldo is a gym rat. He’s one of the fittest men alive, period, as is evident by his statue-esque physique—but his commitment goes beyond just checking in for training first and leaving last.
Santiago Segurola, a well-known Spanish soccer journalist, talked to Bleacher Report about Ronaldo’s dedication to his body. “He’s not one of those players you see who goes out late at night, having dinner and drinks,” he said. “He’s always training, with the team or at home.”
Ronaldo is 100 percent focused on optimizing his body for peak performance. That apparently includes taking 5 a.m. ice baths to kick off the day (or 3 a.m. dunks for recovery after a match). While it may sound like overkill, notice how few times you hear of Ronaldo being injured.
“He’s obsessive about taking care of his body,” Segurola said. “He takes care of his body as if it were a Ferrari.”
As far as what he’s doing to stay fit, it’s not really a secret—his ab workout doesn’t even require a gym.
Ronaldo is one of a new class of ageing superstars including Lebron James (33) and Tom Brady (40) who have totally defied every predictable performance model for players at their current ages. The soccer star is entering the time in his career where critics start to throw around phrases like “retirement” and “past prime.” That was what Ronaldo was facing this year, especially after a tough game last November.
But nothing shuts up a critic like defying gravity as if you were 10 years younger. Which is exactly what Ronaldo did, a few months later. Safe to say he’s feeling fit and young as ever.
If you want to keep on getting better as you get older like Ronaldo, our ageing tips are pretty simple: Treat your body like a fine-tuned machine by fueling it right and training hard and smart. Oh, and hit the genetic lottery and be willing to work really, really hard.
By Reegan Von Wildenradt