Zlatan Ibrahimovic has added another gold leaf to his crown (feathers are for lesser mortals). AC Milan have extended their contract with the Swedish superstar for a year, even though he is 40 and currently injured. (More Football News)
How does Ibrahimovic manage to stay in top shape, look good and play well, at an age considered dotage for athletes?
A lot of it has to do with a punishing fitness routine, including something called the Rambo workout, and a diet based on white meat, fruit and vegetables. No red meat and sugar, thank you.
But The Lion, as Ibrahimovic is called, is most known for his tremendous confidence. So it is not surprising when he says everything starts with the mental aspect.
“I hear athletes from [the] US say that they spend more than one million [dollars] to keep their body in shape,” he told UEFA about a year ago. “I am 39. I am in shape. I perform at the highest level. I spend zero to stay in shape. The secret is not how much you spend, the secret is in your head – how much you want it, how much you’re willing to sacrifice. That is the secret. It’s the mentality and mentality doesn’t cost anything."
Ibrahimovic starts each day by ensuring a positive environment around him. “I try to surround myself with positive energy, positive vibes. A new day is a new day. Every day you learn something new,” he said on the Scandinavian Man podcast.
Then there is intense gym work. Not long ago, Ibrahimovic posted footage of one of his workouts. He is seen with his legs wrapped around a punching bag and doing crunches hanging upside down.
He also does another version of the exercise, called the Rambo workout. It entails gripping a bucket between the legs while suspended from a barbell, and holding a glass in each hand. A dangling Ibrahimovic fills the glasses with water, then goes up in a crunch and empties the glasses in the bucket. The workout contains several repetitions and sets.
Some of Ibrahimovic’s other fitness activities are martial arts, cardio and single-handed planks.
He likes the pain, he said.
"I'm a little bit of a workaholic,” Ibrahimovic growled on the podcast. "I like to suffer through my work. That is when I feel on top."
Ibrahimovic is careful of what, and how much, he eats. His meals are weighed so that the right amount is consumed. And he once faced off with the chef at Paris Saint Germain because there weren’t enough fresh vegetables and fruit on the menu.
This is one lion who likes his veggies.