Lionel Messi was diagnosed with a growth disorder when he was 11 yet he is one of the best soccer players of all time. What contributes to Lionel Messi’s success? The obvious answer is talent and hard work… but what gives Leo Messi the edge? His workout routine and diet are major contributing factors.
We are Champions of the World!Lionel Messi, following the Argentina win over France at the FIFA World Cup 2022
Lionel Andrés Messi, born 24 June 1987 and also known as Leo Messi, is an Argentine professional footballer who plays as a forward for Ligue 1 club Paris Saint-Germain and captains the Argentina national team. Widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, Messi has won a record seven Ballon d’Or awards and a record six European Golden Shoes.
Lionel Messi and his wife Antonela Roccuzzo are the proud parents of Ciro, Thiago and Mateo.
Messi was diagnosed with a growth disorder when he was 11
Growing up in a football-loving family, Lionel Messi was naturally drawn towards the game and soon began to showcase his skills at the local club, but there was one condition that held him back from playing to his full potential – a growth disorder.
Messi’s family realised that even though he was playing among other children his age, he was always the smallest of them. Medical check-ups unearthed that the child had a growth hormone deficiency (GHD) — a condition caused by insufficient amounts of growth hormone in the body, leading to impaired growth and development. Messi had to be injected with growth hormones in his leg each night when he was only 12, but his family was struggling to continue with his treatment. That’s when FC Barcelona came to their rescue. The club offered 13-year-old Messi a spot on their team and even sponsored his medical treatment.
- Height: 170cm – 5’6″
- weight – 68 Kg – 130 pounds
He’s faster with the ball at his feet than the defenders are without the ball.Craig Friedman, Performance Innovation Team Director at Athletes’ Performance
But where does this extraordinary quickness come from? According to Friedman, who designs and implements performance training systems for pro and elite athletes and served as a performance specialist for the German National Soccer Team, speed and agility on the field relies on three basic elements.
“First you have to be explosive and powerful,” Friedman says. “Then, you have to be stable enough through your ankles, hips and torso to be able to deliver that power efficiently into the ground. And finally, you have to deliver the power into the ground in the right direction, and that’s where technique comes in.” Needless to say, the 5-foot-6 Messi excels in all three areas.
“He’s a small guy,” Friedman says, “but his rate of force development is very high and his power-to-weight ratio is just ridiculous.”
In season he works out every day. His workout routine entails multi-directional speed and linear speed training. Weight training and stretching are a very important part of Messi’s workout routine.
The 3 fundamentals include: strength, speed and stretching. During La Liga season, Messi reportedly stretches for over an hour every day.
WORKOUT 1 — LINEAR SPEED
|Movement Preparation||Pillar bridge – front||2||30 seconds|
|Knee hug lunge||1||4 each side|
|Inverted hamstring stretch||1||4 each side|
|Pillar skip – linear||1||15 yards|
|Rapid response 2-foot – linear||2||5 seconds|
|Plyometrics||Hurdle hop||2-3||5 hurdles each|
|Split squat jump||2-3||4 each side|
|Movement Skills||Acceleration wall drill – marching||2||5 each side|
|Acceleration wall drill – single exchange||2||5 each side|
|Acceleration wall drill – triple exchange||2||5 each side|
|Acceleration – split stance||3-5||10 yards|
|Acceleration to base||3-5||10 yards|
WORKOUT 2 — MULTIDIRECTIONAL SPEED
|Movement Preparation||Pillar bridge – lateral||2||30 seconds|
|Lateral lunge||1||4 each side|
|Rotational lunge stretch||1||4 each side|
|Pillar skip – lateral||1||10 yards each side|
|Rapid response 1-foot lateral base||2||5 seconds|
|Plyometrics||Hurdle hop – lateral||2-3||5 hurdles each|
|Lateral bound||2-3||4 each side|
|Movement Skills||Lateral shuffle to cut||2-3||4 each side|
|3-hurdle drill – stabilization||2||3|
|3-hurdle drill – continuous||2||3|
|3-hurdle drill to dropstep||2||3 each side|
|Mirror drill||3-4||5-10 seconds|
Lionel Messi drinks a lot of water and consumes raw foods
Messi has worked with Guiliano Poser, an Italian nutritionist to help keep him on the right track with his diet. According to AskMen India, Messi incorporates a lot of olive oil, fresh fruits and veggies, water, seeds, nuts, and whole grains into his meals. In fact, a good portion of his diet consists of raw foods, to give the superstar the solid energy he needs.
He avoids sugar, fried foods, and processed carbs
Sugar is the worst thing for the muscles. The further Messi stays away from sugars, the better. Refined flours are also a big problem as these days it is difficult to find uncontaminated wheat.Guiliano Poser to Mundo Deportivo via The Independent
This pro footballer avoids artificial sweeteners, processed carbs, fried foods and alcohol. Messi also decreased the amount of meat he consumes, according to Fitness Volt. In order to ensure he’s getting his necessary fill of daily protein, he enjoys up to three protein shakes.
His favorite recipe is roast chicken with root veggies
According to the official FC Barcelona website, Messi’s favorite recipe is roasted chicken with root vegetables. This dish is chock-full of nutrients, as it draws protein from the lean meat, energy and complex carbs from the potatoes, and vitamins from the veggies. Lean protein like chicken is a stellar way to get your fill of amino acids that aid in sculpting muscle tissue, according to WebMD.
Following the Argentina win over France at the Finals of the 2022 FIFA World Cup as Messi chanted “We’re champions of the world!” on the stadium microphone, tens of thousands of blue and white-shirted Argentina fans rose to salute him.
Obviously, I wanted to finish my career with this. I can’t ask for more. My career is coming to an end as these are my final years.”Lionel Messi on Argentina TV following Argentina win over France, December 2022