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Hired by weight of gold for the season, the striker Romelu Lukaku is the great hope of Blues to score in the house of Reds.
At 28, the Belgian is experiencing the physical and technical peak of his career, and, in his debut for Chelsea, last weekend, simply ran over Arsenal at their rival’s home.
The Lukaku of today, by the way, has nothing to do with the slow and heavy center forward, with a “tired horse” look, which was wrecked in the Manchester United, between 2017 and 2019.
At the time, despite having scored 42 goals in 96 matches for the red devils, he was often criticized for being visibly overweight.
Former full-back Gary Neville, an idol at United and now a TV commentator in England, was one of those who hit the striker hard over his protruding belly.
“He himself admitted that he is overweight. He is weighing over 100kg! He is a Manchester United player,” complained Neville, in his Twitter, on the day Lukaku was announced as a reinforcement of the Inter Milan.
“Of course he will score goals and play well at Internazionale, but his lack of professionalism is contagious,” he said.
In Italy, however, things would totally change from picture to “Big Rom“, as Romelu is called in England.
The Champions Diet
When arriving with 104kg to Italian football, Lukaku admitted, in fact, that he was above his ideal weight at Manchester. According to him, the cause was simple: digestive problems.
And it was exactly this obstacle that was attacked by Matteo Pincella, chief nutritionist at Inter Milan.
The professional created a new menu for the Belgian, who followed the instructions to the letter. Within a few months, the transformation was visible.
Cutting some foods and consuming a lot of others (and at the right times of day), Lukaku lost weight, got his digestion right and became a real “bull”.
The result was seen on the field: in the debut season by the nerazzurri, there were 34 goals and 6 assists in 51 games, with several moves in which no scorer could stop him in speed.
“Since I arrived at Inter, I have radically changed my diet. Today, I can say with certainty that I have never felt so strong,” said the centre-forward, in a live with Matteo Pincella made on March 9 this year.
“My style of play requires a strong physique, I run a lot. Since I started following this new lifestyle, I feel much better on the field. My reactions are much better, and I’m faster,” he said.
Lukaku’s new diet, which today registers 93kg at Chelsea (ie 11kg less than on arrival at Inter) consisted basically of:
– Sweet potato
– black rice
– Chicken breast
– Pasta shirataki
– common potato
– Mozzarella cheese
– Fried food
– Soft drinks
– Alcoholic beverages
In addition, the Belgian started consuming a lot of gnocchi right after the games, filling his body with carbohydrates when he needed it most.
“I consume a lot of carbohydrates after matches. Most of the time, I eat two packages of gnocchi, but it depends on what the chef prepares. The gnocchi quickly enters my circulation, and that helps me a lot,” he commented.
Another food that the attacker started to consume, this one at the suggestion of former coach Antonio Conte, was bresaola, a type of type of dried Italian meat that is aged for two or three months. Conte himself, by the way, was a fan of the “diet of bresaola” in his midfielder days.
But, after all, why did this feeding change Lukaku’s life so much? what is mass shiratake? And what the bresaola is it that good?
To answer these questions, we listen to experts.
The secrets behind diet
By Mirtes Stancanelli, nutritionist specializing in sports performance
To talk about Lukaku’s gains with the current diet, we have to remember his food preferences. The striker is Belgian, but has DNA in Congo’s food culture, and has developed preferences for all-you-can-eat barbecues, soft drinks, fried foods and, on the basis of his food choice, the famous feijoada.
A classic response to the frequent consumption of foods that are very dense in calories and chemicals is increased body weight, increased inflammatory process, difficulty in eliminating toxins, and less power in the activity of the immune system.
This food scenario, added to the stress of physical activity, can generate a metabolic pump and promote resistance to recovery from training/games, in addition to reducing the adaptation that one wants to generate.
When Lukaku decided to change his eating habits, this whole metabolic scenario and the high body weight began to organize itself positively. With this, he obtained a significant improvement in his physical and mental performance.
His diet, now based on salads and vegetables, high fiber rice like black rice, lean meats like fish and chicken and a pasta called shirataki, contributed a lot to change this scenario.
Like many other nutritional strategies to optimize performance, this one used by Lukaku was also very helpful. Salads, vegetables and black rice have in their composition some nutrients such as fiber, water, vitamins and minerals, carbohydrates, proteins, fats, omega 3, and in them are concentrated many polyphenols, compounds that protect the body against aging and help control the inflammation promoted by physical training.
These foods increase satiety and elevate the nutritional status, promoting balance and adaptation to the training stimulus.
Replacing fatty red meats with leaner meats, such as fish and chicken, helps control weight and, due to its nutrient characteristics, maintains firm body structure, as well as muscle strength, one of the determining characteristics of Lukaku. It is worth remembering that the proper weight increases the athlete’s strength and speed.
Importantly, fish has ergogenic properties and cell protection, which helps in the maintenance and efficiency of muscle mass.
Another interesting choice in his eating strategy was the use of pasta shirataki, widely used in Japanese and Chinese cuisine.
An important characteristic of this mass is in its composition. O shirataki is a tuber-based product of a plant called Konjac, from the yam family. This tuber is rich in a soluble fiber called glucomannan, which has the property of decreasing sugar absorption in the intestine and absorbing water in the gastrointestinal tract, doubling its volume – which increases satiety.
In this new eating habit, Lukaku increased the use of different nutrients, improving the functioning of organs and generating greater protection for different systems and tissues, such as the immune system and muscle tissue.
Via Twitter @Chelsea | Belgian striker is the big booster of the season at Stamford Bridge
It is important to remember that the energy difference alone made Lukaku lose around 10kg of his body weight.
All this change, based on good food choices and adequate energy, is essential to improve performance and thus increase performance, a feeling that is highly emphasized by the athlete.
Another aspect of his decision was to substitute potato potatoes for sweet potatoes. This decision can help in some way in weight loss, but it is misleading, as the two foods are crucial for the supply of energy in football, important in the empowerment of the immune system, and determinants for the performance of athletes with a pattern of physical strength as it is that of the attacker.
The consumption of gnocchi by the player after matches is also an example of the importance of these carbohydrate-rich foods for the recovery process and stress reduction.
Therefore, controlling the consumption of carbohydrate-rich foods can be strategic in the weight loss phase, that’s all.
Throughout an athlete’s sports career, there are countless eating experiences, and this can be very positive, as it is from these experiences that the individual allows himself to introduce different foods, promoting new habits.
An interesting experience adhered to by Lukaku was the bresaola, a lean, red and matured meat. The process of maturation of this meat takes a lot of spices, and therein lies the secret of this product.
In addition to being very nutritious, the spices and condiments of the bresaola help reduce disease and help control metabolic stress.
This healthier and more nutritious change in their food choices allowed Lukaku to promote rather than deconstruct his health.
An athlete exposed to a high level of training must be concerned with reorganizing his work instrument, putting it in perfect harmony. Food is a crucial pillar in this process.