Some have compared young Norwegian striker Erling Haaland, the top scorer for Manchester City and the Premier League, to legendary boxer Mike Tyson at his peak, but there is more to Haaland’s success than his Viking heritage and fearsome physique.
The Manchester City striker, who earns £375,000 a week and has scored 20 times in just 12 games, and is expected to add to his tally when City face Liverpool on Sunday, has followed a set of strange health instructions which gave him the edge. over its competitors for years.
In 2020, the 20-year-old told local Norwegian media: “I see this as the key to improving performance, even by just a few percentages. For me it’s all about the little things to get better day in and day out, every day presents a new opportunity to get better. Basically, it’s a matter of mentality.”
Despite being 6ft 4in tall, Haaland is reportedly still growing and has gained 12kg of muscle mass in the past 15 months.
His dramatic transformation can be attributed to his work in the gym and the strange diet, which includes eating beef heart and liver, as well as specially filtered water.
The striker, who has been described as a monster, pays special attention to his fitness regime before and after the match and even installs a £50,000 cold room in his home to help his body recover.Cristiano Ronaldo used a similar technique to keep up with him. his top fitness.
Haaland, now 22, uses special techniques to control the circadian rhythm – the 24-hour cycle that acts as the body’s internal clock – including wearing blue light glasses to reduce the effects of sleep deprivation.
And the British newspaper “Daily Mail” revealed the secrets of Haaland’s diet and training, which his colleagues described as “eating like a bear” and it is not difficult to see why, as he consumes more than 6000 calories per day consumption – about two and a half times more than the average man should eat. .
He gave an insight into his diet in the Norwegian documentary Haaland’s “The Important Decision”, which followed his career before he moved to Manchester City this summer.
“You (the other people) don’t eat it, but I’m interested in taking care of my body,” he said, boasting to the camera that he bought large pieces of heart and liver from his butcher. People say meat is bad for you, but which one? The meat you get at McDonald’s? Or the local cow that eats grass there? I eat the heart and the liver.”
Eating the liver and heart – animal organs used for food – has become less common in recent times, but once formed an essential part of the diet of hunters.
The heart is leaner than most steaks and other parts of the cow, while still being a rich source of muscle-building protein.
Dr Duane Mellor, a dietician at Aston Medical College in Birmingham, told the same newspaper: ‘Cow and buffalo dung are often overlooked as food in sport.
“It tends to be higher in vitamins, as the liver is high in iron and vitamins B12, A and D. The heart is also rich in iron, but tends to be lower in saturated fat than the liver.”
The heart also contains high amounts of zinc; It contributes to the proper functioning of the body’s immune system and metabolism, helping to fight infection and maintain fitness.
High levels of iron, folic acid and vitamins B2, B6 and B12 all support the proper function of the cardiovascular system.
Meanwhile, a high amount of vitamin A in the liver is important for vision, the immune system, reproduction, growth and development.
In Haaland’s case, it will support his heart, lungs and other organs to function at their highest level when under pressure in matches, however these foods can also contain higher levels of cholesterol-clogging than regular meat and are not recommended for excessive consumption . quantities..
Using a cryotherapy chamber, ice baths and yoga for healing will certainly help Haaland recover quickly, as the capsule can reach temperatures of -200°C (-328°F) and requires protective gloves to be worn when using it. Liquid nitrogen is pumped into the air around the cylinder to cool the body and rehabilitate the body’s tissues.
And according to the “Erm News” network, the room can only be used for a maximum of five minutes to prevent serious health risks, including hypothermia.
Cryotherapy, also loved by former Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, is thought to help reduce inflammation and swelling from injuries. For these reasons, it relieves muscle soreness and improves recovery times after matches and training sessions.
Advocates claim the rooms also boost circulation, improve the immune system, reduce fatigue and help injuries heal faster.
Dr Rajpul Praar, sports scientist and physiotherapist, said: ‘Ice baths are one of the most researched and longest used recovery tools, and probably have the soundest data supporting their use, with physiological changes supporting recovery.
Haaland also regularly practices yoga as a way to stay fit and stretch his muscles, as yoga has been shown to improve recovery as well as relax the body and mind.
“Yoga is what I call active recovery,” Dr. Brar said, and the principle of active recovery is backed by science, using gentle, easy movement to aid recovery.
Assuming Haaland doesn’t do intense yoga sessions, she could definitely fall into this category and at the same time, it could also create a very relaxed state in the nervous system that could be biased towards relaxation and healing.
He added: “The first thing to note is that these items – cooling rooms, which Manchester City have also already installed in their training facilities, ice baths, yoga exercises – are available to all elite athletes. What really sets someone like Haaland apart , is his commitment to do it consistently and make a plan around it.”
The former Borussia Dortmund star also follows a set of practices to control the circadian rhythm – the body’s internal clock that affects the sleep-wake cycle.
However, instead of sleeping in the morning to increase his rest time, Haaland gets up early to soak up the morning sunlight.
“The first thing I do in the morning is get sunlight in my eyes, it’s good for my circadian rhythm,” he said.
This has an important effect on the body, because it gets used to getting up early the next day and sleeps better.
Professor Russell Foster, a neuroscientist at the University of Oxford and one of the world’s leading experts on circadian rhythms, said: “Light is very important for regulating the body clock. Morning light helps you wake up early.”
While the evening light trains the body to wake up later. Haaland will play games under floodlights, which will keep him awake at night. The morning light resets the clock.”
Haaland also wears light blue glasses at night to block out rays from electronic devices that can keep us awake.
In an interview with Red Bull he said: “We always try to do everything better and look for things that help me and can make me better. My friend Alexander advised me to wear glasses at night to filter out the blue light from the TV and mobile phones. This has a positive effect on the sleep hormone melatonin. Which helps me sleep better and my body recover better.”
Prof Foster said: “Blue light is a bit more complex. The research suggests that the sensors in the eye are more sensitive to blue light and it can affect your rhythm.
He added: “However, the amount of blue light you will get in the evening – when looking at a laptop or TV – is not high enough to have a very significant impact, so although the science of blue light is clearly is, there is a need to do further research on how effective wearing glasses actually is.”