The path to getting fit is riddled with curves, slopes and a few other hurdles. Cristiano Ronaldo, the Portuguese football sensation who is widely regarded as the fittest athlete in the world—not to mention, one of the hottest—shares a few of his health and fitness secrets to make your exercise routine far more effective.

Be Disciplined
Discipline, in anything, always makes a great deal of difference to the task at hand. And when it comes to fitness, the more focused you are, the better. It pays to not only train oneself physically, but mentally as well. Willpower and determination goes a long way when it comes to discipline. According to Ronaldo, “Mental strength is just as important as physical strength and will help you achieve your goals.” He believes that when training, it’s important to stick to your routine, and keep yourself motivated. “For me, there is no room for easing off, so I have to be strict,” he explains.

Warm Up & Exercise Daily
Make exercise a habit, even if it is just 30 minutes a day. According to Ronaldo, it’s necessary to warm up before you begin your workout. “Warming up properly prevents injury. In training, we do a few laps of the pitch, stretching and cardio warm up exercises. Make sure you do something similar in your training, even if it is jogging to the gym or a warm up on the treadmill or bicycle,” he says.

Maintain A Balanced Diet
It’s important to eat, in order to fuel your body and provide it with the energy it needs to burn the necessary calories. Never skip a meal. When you exercise, your body uses up all its stored energy. Eating up to six small meals a day regulates the body’s metabolism, keeping the weight off. As Ronaldo says, “A good workout must be combined with a good diet. I eat a high protein diet, with lots of wholegrain carbs, fruit and vegetables, and avoid sugary foods.” As a side note, Ronaldo adds, “I also avoid alcohol.”

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Mix It Up
Once you begin exercising regularly, your body tends to get accustomed to the routine. This is known as plateauing. It pays to change things up a bit. Take cue from Ronaldo: “We do a lot of sprinting drills in training and they can be incorporated into your workout whether you are in the gym or outdoors. High intensity is important to get your blood pumping and to increase stamina. Try and add it to every workout you do,” he says.

Get Adequate Rest
A good night’s sleep is really important for getting the most out of your training. It helps you relax and stay focused. “I go to bed early and get up early, especially before matches. Sleep helps muscles recover, which is really important,” says Ronaldo.

On an end note, given that the advice is being dished out by an athlete at the top of his game, we think it will serve you well to keep Ronaldo’s tips in mind when you plan out your training. As for the results, just have a look at the new Spring-Summer 2015 collection of his CR7 underwear range; the proof is in the pictures.

Charlene Flanagan is a lifestyle journalist whose love for language drove her to earn her Bachelor’s degree in English literature, as well as pursue her Masters in Arts. Over the last five years, she’s contributed to a number of leading publications, and has particularly enjoyed reviewing books and restaurants, as well as interviewing celebrities. Her recent switch to a holistic lifestyle has her looking at her food choices very differently—although she won’t admit it. When she’s not busy writing up about workouts, home remedies, and skincare essentials, she spends her time being the quintessential city girl who’s excited to see what life has in store for her.