Six mini meals, little naps & painted toenails – How Ronaldo maintains his incredible physique

Cristiano Ronaldo scored Manchester Unitied's winner against Villarreal deep into stoppage time

FOOTBALL Six mini meals, little naps & painted toenails – How Ronaldo maintains his incredible physique

Joel Omotto • 12:14 - 23.04.2023

The Portugal captain has a strict fitness regime and uses unusual methods to stay in shape as he continues to defy age.

Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the world’s most fit athletes, maintaining an incredible physique even at the age of 38 and the extreme extent to which he goes to stay in shape has now been revealed.

Ronaldo maintains a strict fitness regime, which he uses to give him the tiniest advantage over his competitors while ensuring he stays away from injuries.

Six mini-meals throughout the day

According to the UK’s Daily Mail, Ronaldo prefers to refuel with six smaller 'mini-meals' throughout the day: breakfast, brunch, lunch, snack, supper, and dinner, rather than the traditional three-meal structure of breakfast-lunch-dinner.

That pattern is said to help meet the high nutritional demands of footballers, giving them the energy they need for the range of training they do throughout the day. Ronaldo is reported to have a personal nutritionist who has been following him since his Real Madrid days.

He loves nutrient-rich avocado and fresh fish and generally sticks to high-protein, low-fat foods like chicken, with Ronaldo once calling it 'magical' for its healthy properties. Salad, whole grains like quinoa, and fresh fruit are also piled onto his plate every day.

Little naps not one big sleep

Ronaldo gets seven-and-a-half hours of sleep, which most people should aim for, but gets it in an unusual way: with five 90-minute naps rather than one big sleep.

Known as polyphasic sleep, the basic concept is to break the normal sleep cycle up into a half-dozen naps, though the exact method can vary.

This is the same pattern babies use to sleep, with the benefits of the practice including increased productivity, alertness, and the ability to learn and retain new information.

A cryotherapy chamber

When he returned to Manchester United in 2021, Ronaldo reportedly had a £50,000 (Ksh8.3 million) cryotherapy chamber brought to his home. Cryotherapy chambers use freezing liquid nitrogen to rapidly plunge the air within to -200C (-328F).

The therapy, which is said to also be used by athletes like Usain Bolt and Erling Haaland, is thought to help reduce inflammation and injury swelling by boosting blood circulation as the body responds to the extreme cold.

For these reasons, some athletes use it to relieve muscle pain and enhance recovery times between games and training. However, people can't spend more than five minutes at a time exposed to extreme cold, as this could harm healthy tissue.

Four-hour daily workouts

On top of his training with his club, Ronaldo supplements squad sessions with a personal workout plan. He swears by Pilates, regular swimming, and five trips to the gym a week.

These include 25–30 minutes of cardio, high-intensity sprinting, and targeted weights to increase muscle strength. In total, he works out for three to four hours a day.

Painting his toenails black

In a recent social media post, fans noticed something unusual: Ronaldo's toenails were painted black.

It has now emerged that he paints his nails or covers them with a protective layer to defend them from fungi and bacteria.