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January 23, 2023 8 min read

Lionel Andrés Messi, often referred to as Leo Messi, was born on 24th June 1987. He is a renowned Argentine professional footballer who operates as a forward for Paris Saint-Germain of Ligue 1 and is the captain of the Argentina national team that participated in the 2022 world cup. He is typically viewed as one of the most excellent football players of all time. Here’s why...

Where Did It All Start for Lionel Messi?

He began engaging in the activity at a very young age, and because of a growth-hormone deficiency issue, he relocated to Spain when he was eleven. In 2004, Messi made his debut on the professional stage, and the football world was immediately captivated.

Until leaving the club in 2021, he had spent his entire professional career with FC Barcelona, where he won a club-record 35 trophies, including 10 La Liga titles. It wasn’t long before soccer fans began comparing Messi with the great Cristiano Ronaldo who was the GOAT of soccer players for many years.

Leo attained the FIFA World Player of the Year award for 2009 and 2010. In 2012, Messi shattered the impregnable yearly record of 85 goals that was formerly held by German footballer Gerd Müller. Moreover, Messi also obtained the Ballon d'Or four consecutive times from 2009 to 2012.

As he approaches his 37th birthday, we can't help but feel that we are witnessing the twilight of a truly remarkable career.

Lionel Messi - Image from Shutterstock

Messi's extraordinary talent is evidenced by his remarkable technical skill, speed, precision, dribbling, and passing prowess; it seems there is nothing he can't do with a football, and usually, he does it better than anyone else.

Lionel Messi has a markedly distinct exercise regimen and is very aware of his health. His routine consists of both linear and multi-directional workouts, which he performs only five days a week, allowing himself time to rest and recover.

Craig Friedman, the Performance Innovation Team Director of Athletes' Performance, explained the scientific principles behind Messi's velocity and nimbleness.

Friedman told ESPN that successful athletes must first demonstrate immense power and explosiveness. Additionally, they must be stable at their ankles, hips, and torso to be able to effectively utilize the power generated. Lastly, the power must be delivered in the right direction on the ground, which is determined by the athlete's technique.

Needless to say, Messi – relatively small in stature standing only 5' 7” tall, compared to his colleagues – excels in all three areas.

Leo Messi is a prime example of physical fitness, as well as a great source of knowledge when it comes to football-related exercises and regimens. If you wish to learn more about the workout and strict diet he follows, then this article is for you.

Lionel Messi's Workout Plans

Lionel Messi’s workout regimen has two different programs:

Workout One – Deals with preparation, instant thrust, and linear speed

Workout Two– Deals with movement in different directions

Workout 1 – Linear Speed

Lionel performs a sequence of stretching exercises, a blend of suppleness, and strength-building activities. This incorporates movements like squat jumps and leaping over hurdles. After stretching, Messi completes a few reps of short sprints to enhance his vigor and then a 5-minute jog. These drills contribute rapid foot movement in a straight direction with diverse situations and structures in the field.

Movement Preparation for Linear Speed

1. Pillar bridge (front) – 2 sets of 30-second reps

 

2. Knee hug lunge – 1 set of 4 reps per side

 

3. Inverted hamstring stretch – 1 set of 4 reps per side 

 

4. Pillar skip (linear) – 1 set of 1 rep – 15-yards

 

5. 2-Foot rapid response (linear) – 2 Sets of 5-second reps each

Plyometrics for Explosive Linear Speed

1. Hurdle hop – 2 or 3 sets of 5 hurdles per set

 

2. Split squat jump – 2 or 3 sets of 4 reps per side

Movement Skills for Linear Speed

1. Acceleration wall drill (marching) – 2 sets of 5 reps each side

 

2. Acceleration wall drill (single exchange) – 2 sets of 5 reps each side

 

3. Acceleration wall drill (triple exchange) – 2 sets of 5 reps per side

 

4. Acceleration (split stance) – 3 to 5 sets each 10 yards

 

5. Acceleration to base – 3 to 5 sets each 10 yards

Workout 2 – Multi-Directional Speed

The next step of the linear speed workout is to maximize his multidirectional speed. Messi uses the exercises of pillar skips and squats to further build his leg muscles. For agility, he skips past diagonal hurdles, cones and other obstacles to improve his lateral movements. At the end of each workout, drinks plenty of water to keep himself hydrated and then jogs for five to 10 minutes to cool down. 

Movement Preparation for Multi-Directional Speed

Leo's warm-up stretches for workout 2 are the same as for workout 1, except exercise 4, the pillar skips, which are done laterally here.

  1. Pillar bridge (front) – 30-second reps per set for 2 sets
  2. Knee hug lunge – 4 reps each side per set for 1 set
  3. Inverted hamstring stretch – 4 reps each side per set for 1 set
  4. Pillar skip (lateral) – 1 rep/set of 10 yards each side
  5. 2-Foot rapid response (linear) – 5-second rep per set for 2 sets

 

Plyometrics for Explosive Multi-Directional Speed

 1. Hurdle hop (lateral) – 2 or 3 sets of 5 hurdles per side

 

2. Lateral bound – 2 or 3 sets of 4 reps per side


Movement Skills—Multi-Directional

1. Lateral shuffle to cut – 2 or 3 sets of 4 reps per side

 

2. 3-hurdle drill (stabilization) – 2 or 3 sets of 3 reps per set

 

3. 3-hurdle drill (continuous) – 2 or 3 sets of 3 reps per set

 

4. 3-hurdle drill (to drop step) – 2 or 3 sets of 3 reps each side per set 

 

 5. Mirror drill – 3 or 4 sets of 5 to 10 seconds each set

Lionel Messi’s Diet Plan

At the start of his professional career, Lionel Messi was an avid consumer of unhealthy snacks. Making the switch to a healthier eating regimen was difficult for him. Nevertheless, he was aware that the food he ingested at 18 or 19 was far different from when he was 27 or more.

Adapting to a New, Healthier Lifestyle

To start, Messi eliminated fried beef and pizza from his diet. Furthermore, he refrained from consuming any refined flour or sugar. As for soft fizzy drinks, he had to cut drinking sodas entirely. To satisfy his caffeine craving, he treats himself to Yerba Maté tea every once in a while, which is loaded with energy.

In pursuit of a healthier lifestyle, Messi began collaborating with Italian nutritionist Giuliano Poser in 2014. If the Poser diet could be condensed into five main components, they would be water, olive oil, whole grains, fresh fruit, and fresh vegetables; these foods all play a role in aiding muscle regeneration and form the basis of Lionel Messi's diet. “Nuts and seeds are also very beneficial,” Poser noted in a past interview.

Nuts and Seeds - Image from Shutterstock

In terms of staying away from certain foods, Poser emphasizes the significance of eating as little sugar and processed flour as possible. He claims that sugar is “the most detrimental thing for muscles” and that it is best to stay away from it. Additionally, he expressed that “refined flours are also an issue as it is hard to find uncontaminated wheat these days.”

As is evident, the Poser diet (and by association, the Messi diet) is focused on consuming nourishing food and the correct types of carbohydrates, while cutting down on meat consumption and supplementing it with protein powder. As an alternative to sugary drinks, Messi drinks Yerba Maté tea, a caffeinated South American drink. By following this new methodology, Messi was able to decrease the number of injuries and even conquered the intermittent bouts of nausea and vomiting he experienced prior to major matches.

Yerba Maté Tea – Image from Shutterstock

 

Here are a few food items that Lionel Messi avoids to ensure he maintains optimal health:

  • Sugar

  • Refined flour

  • Alcohol

  • Aerated drinks

  • Processed carbs

  • Pizza, pasta, and other junk food

  • Fried food

  • Artificial sweeteners and additives

Messi’s Favorite Dish Revealed

The Barcelona Club recently revealed that Lionel Messi's favorite dish is roasted chicken with root vegetables. The club shared the recipe with their fans on their official website, which reads as follows:

30g olive oil

Salt

Four smashed garlic gloves

1 onion

1 bunch of carrots

1 leek

700-800g potatoes

Four chicken thighs

Fresh thyme

To prepare Messi's favorite dish using the above ingredients, start by pre-heating the oven to 390F. Place oil and salt in a roasting pan, then add the chopped veggies and chicken. Bake for 45 minutes at 375F.

Messi's Nutritional Regimen Approaching a Soccer Match

Messi is meticulous about maintaining a stringent nutritional regimen, ensuring his energy levels remain consistent even on days off from competing.

10 days prior to a match: Leo eliminates carbohydrates from his diet and consumes three protein shakes and seven to eight glasses of water.

5 days before a match:Messi adds vegetable soup with turmeric, chili powder, coriander, and ginger to help thin his blood.

1 day before a match:He eats fish or chicken with boiled potatoes, greens, and fruits to help build and repair muscle tissue.

1-1/2 hours before the game: Lionel enjoys seasonal fruits such as mangoes, apples, and bananas.

Fruits - Image from Shutterstock

What about a midnight snack? Messi usually opts for pasta and a small portion of tuna, and he is always sure to include soup in his meal plan.

Messi's Diet in a Nutshell

Fruits and Vegetables: Reports about Messi following a vegan lifestyle have not been proven. He prioritizes fresh produce and limits his intake of animal-based proteins. Additionally, he incorporates seeds, nuts, and olive oil to get healthy plant-based nutrients.

Leo doesn’t Overlook Protein: Even though he doesn't consume as much meat, he makes sure he gets a good amount of protein from protein shakes.

Hydration: A typical professional soccer match consists of two periods, each 45 minutes long, with a half-time of 15 minutes, and, if scores are even, they play 30 minutes extra time.Even after that it often goes on to a penalty shoot-out. And if the two teams’ score is still even after 5 kicks for goals by each team, a sudden death continues until one team scores a goal. That right there emphasizes the importance of staying hydrated, and Messi drinks plenty of water.

No Carbonated Sodas:Messi prefers Yerba Maté tea as a natural source of energy. Yerba Maté is a herbal tea made from the leaves and twigs of the Ilex paraguariensis plant native to South America. You can drink Yerba Maté tea hot or cold as a refreshing iced tea.

Occasional Homemade Meals: Messi enjoys the Argentinian dish Milanesa, a filet of beef coated with breadcrumbs and fried. He also likes Argentinian barbecue.

Vegan Plate - Image from Shutterstock

Leo Messi’s Choice of Supplements

In addition to eating a nutritionally balanced diet, Lionel Messi is conscientious about taking his supplements. These supplements bridge any nutritional deficiencies and lead to an overall betterment of his physical health.

Protein: Reportedly, Lionel Messi consumes three protein shakes prior to playing a match. Protein is a key element in an athlete’s nutritional plan, as it can help build muscle and aid in the healing process.

Multivitamins: Lionel Messi includes multivitamins in his dietary regimen as they boost overall health and wellness.

Yerba Maté:This traditional Argentinian herbal drink has been shown to improve digestion, enhance focus and mental clarity, and even help with weight loss.

Conclusion

The significance of a nutritious diet is unquestionable for any athlete wishing to improve their sporting prowess. Messi, in particular, maintains a diet that is well-balanced to ensure he gets the proper nourishment and vigor.

Do you dream of having the dribbling skills of Lionel Messi? Now that you are aware of what the unsurpassed footballer eats to maintain his fitness, you can adopt a similar dietary regimen.

As this article shows, Messi’s success and his level of swiftness and dexterity were built on a whole lot more than a healthy diet. It comes with a lot of hard work and persistence after initially establishing a solid foundation. After all, there are many explanations for why Messi is acclaimed as the Greatest of All Time, correct?