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Lionel Messi: His Fitness and His Diet

What Exactly Messi Eats To Keep Himself Fit and Perform Better

Lionel Messi Cuccittini (Leo) is one of the most celebrated soccer players of all time. Almost everyone knows that he is the caption of the national soccer team of Argentina and also plays for Spanish football club Barcelona. Most people would also know that Messi is the first soccer player in history to win four FIFA/Ballons d’Or that too consecutively. But very few would know that adhering to raw veganism helped Messi fight out the worst crisis of his career in 2014.

Surprised? Astonished? Find it hard to believe..?

Well, no worries. Just like I also took time to believe that someone like Messi switched to raw vegan to keep him fit. But then I did some research to find out his workout regime and diet and was mighty impressed by it. I would share them same in this blog.

You Become What You Eat

In his early days, Messi didn’t really have the best of diet. He lived of Pizzas, red meat, Pork, Cheese, fizzy drinks and lots of processed food etc.

But eventually when his prime youth years were over his diet started creating problems for him. Messi’s body became intolerant to what he was putting in his stomach. He threw up uncontrollably on the pitch.

Messi once confessed, “What you can put into your body at 18 or 19 years of age is not the same as what you can put in at 27”.

Messi’s career could have come to a jeering halt or if not that then he definitely would have gone downhill with his performance. But then he met Italian nutritionist Giuliano Poser for guidance and to discuss his fitness issues.

Brief Bio of Poser: Giuliano Poser is an Italian Sports Medicine Practitioner. His career spans over two decades. His methods of dealing with injuries, preventing them and improving performance. Poser mostly uses nutrition, postural corrections, osteopathy, Bach flowers therapy, kinesiology, massage and emotional therapy for injury prevention and fitness improvement.

Poser advised for an extreme lifestyle change to Messi. This lifestyle change would change Messi’s life upside down, improve his performance and fitness to a great extent and also increase his football career which seemed to have ended.

THE OVERHAUL

Poser was very strict with the global soccer icon Messi. He told him, “Eat what your body needs, not what it wants”.

And hence, Messi was banned to consume the following things in any quantity:

  1. Flours, yeasts and refined wheat found in pasta, pizza and white bread
  2. Pork and beef, eggs, shellfish and dairy products
  3. Alcohol was banned too
  4. Fizzy Drinks (Which Messi used to love)
  5. Foods contaminated with pesticides, antibiotics, herbicides and any other kind of medication were banned too
  6. Processed food was also banned
  7. He was asked to give Pizza too one of his favourite food

Poser advised five key foods-water, olive oil, whole grains, fresh fruit and fresh vegetables, as the foundation for Messi’s dietary overhaul.

Poser said nuts and seeds are also very good. Messi was asked to cut down his sugar intake too.

Poser explains, “Sugar is the worst thing for the muscles. The farther he stays away from sugars, the better. Refined flours are also a big problem as these days, it’s difficult to find uncontaminated wheat.”

His diet was replaced by more organic and fresh foods, mineral water and South American caffeine-rich infused drink, yerba mate tea.

As per Poser, “Vegetables, seasonal fruits and good mineral water are essential fuels for our muscles.”

Messi also underwent some emotional therapy, psychotherapy and also took Bach flower remedies under the unconventional approach of Poser to deal with stress and anxiety and essential part of life especially when one has to perform at the global level and meet expectations of people with his/her performance.

Bach Flower Remedies In Brief: An English Homeopath by the Name Edward Bach suggested that dew drops on wildflowers could relieve illness by curing underlying emotional stress. That’s why these remedies are named after him as Bach Flower Remedies.

They are believed to cast away negative emotions like including insecurities, indecision, hatred and worry to restore the balance between mind and body. Studies claim that Bach flower remedies encourage peace and happiness, leaving the body free to heal itself. By dissolving a number of drops on the tongue or in water, fear, worry, hatred and indecision are believed to be removed from the system and the person feels much more peaceful.

Dr Bach said, “Disease of the body itself is nothing but the result of the disharmony between soul and mind,” .

Many celebrities like Actresses Salma Hayek, Jennifer Aniston and Emma Watson have also admitted of taking this therapy.

The Comeback

Messi came back after taking all the therapies and embracing the dietary overhaul in his life in 2014–15 season.

Messi was lighter by 3 kilos, it helped him glide on the field, his agility had improved, his movements had become faster.

He scored 58 goals compared to 41 goals the previous year. He also played an additional 11 games that he could have missed through injury in the past. Sticking to Poser’s advice put Messi in a good state and has helped him prolong his status at the top of the game at the age of 31 (Not so athletic age).

After Messi became the caption of Barcelona, he stopped visiting Poser as he is now being looked after by Doctor Maria Antonia Lizarraga Dallo, who now leads Barcelona’s nutrition team.

But no one can deny the miraculous effect his diet and therapy had on Messi’s performance. Contrary to the popular belief that good athletes need animal-based food to perform, global icons like Messi and his story proves otherwise. Adhering to a largely vegan diet helped him improve his fitness and game.

Messi is not a strict vegan but he adheres to that diet during the football season and it helps him perform better.

Animal-based food (processed food too) is not good for the gut flora and damages your lumen. Hence, it becomes difficult for the digestive system to function. Whereas plant-rich diet contains lots of fibre which keeps gut flora, lumen and entire digestive system in good shape.

Being vegan and being raw vegan or sticking to a diet that is largely vegan is definitely gonna help you become a better athlete (become fitter) than you are as of now.

Happy Healthy Eating to All. :)

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Poonam Gupta

Poonam Gupta

Freelance Writer, Designer, Social Media Manager, Yoga Lover and Doer, Seeker