After twenty-three years of career, and almost a thousand professional matches (at Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Santos or Gremio), we thought that Zé Roberto, 47, had had his dose of sport. It is quite the opposite. As soon as he hung up his crampons, at the age of 43, after a last masterful adventure at Palmeiras in 2017, the Brazilian was able to spend even more time in the gym.
“Player, I was careful not to gain too much weight and muscle. I was afraid of losing my agility “, he entrusted us with the Animal, one of his nicknames. Today he spends three hours a day at his academy lifting the iron, doing the plank or multiplying the set of abs. Result: Since the end of his football career he has gained 5 kg of muscle (70 to 75 kg) and his body fat rate has decreased from 11% to 5%.
Since the end of his football career, Zé Roberto has gained 5kg of muscle and his body fat rate has decreased from 11% to 5%. (Pierre Lahalle / The team)
After that transformation, his Herculean body became a propaganda tool. He inspires his many followers on social networks (1.8 million on Instagram) and has created a coaching program called protocoloZR11, effective in thirty days. “I came up with the idea during the first confinement, it rewinds the left curve to 86 selections. I wanted to offer home exercises that were easy to do, but that released endorphins and preserved mental health. “
“Training, suffering and cycling is like therapy”
His is at its peak. Since he does twenty hours of fitness and four hours of cycling a week, he feels calmer. Well in his body and in his head. “I finally have the shape (in the sense of a sharp physique) that I like. And my brain is in osmosis. Training, suffering and riding is like therapy. I listen to music and like to repeat my efforts. It is like meditation. “
But his addiction doesn’t just make people happy. His wife and children complain of his absences, mainly because his competitive spirit is still fierce. He has just played the 7-a-side World Cup and regularly plays Teqball (table football) or futvolei. “My wife says I’m sick” laughs the Brazilian. Could you be suffering from bigorexia, this addiction to physical activity?
“It’s entirely possible,” he says. But it’s a healthy disease, isn’t it? With “Liza” (his friend Bixente Lizarazu), we were still at the Bayern gym. We are the same. We like training, work, discipline … “ Proud to be an example among retired players, Zé Roberto has no intention of stopping there. He soon he could get into bodybuilding and start his first competitions as a bodybuilder. “I’m seriously thinking about it, but only after 50 years” warns.