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Originally known as the European Nations Cup, the Euro Cup has been considered one of the most prestigious competitions on the football calendar for European teams since 1960.

One of the largest tournaments in terms of viewership (over 200 million viewers worldwide), the Euro Cup is stiff competition. It’s no wonder then that athletes and even referees go through tough and strenuous training to build speed, strength and stamina.

If you want to have a football player’s physique, head to the gym at least four times a week, and follow this exercise regimen:

1. For strong legs that can help you jump high and kick hard, do squats to strengthen your leg muscles. Squats also help develop the back and abdominal region. Use weights with which you can do at least four sets, each comprising five reps.

2. To strengthen your core (your abdomen) and thereby improve your balance and coordination, do some hanging exercises (pull-ups and chin raises), lying leg raises and stomach crunches; do four sets of these exercise, each comprising 20 reps.

3. For upper body strength do bench presses using weights that are at least 60% of your body weight; do four sets, each comprising eight reps.

Of course, an exercise regimen is ineffective without eating right. And because footballers need immense amounts of energy, they should follow a diet that is high in carbohydrates and protein which provide energy and build muscle respectively.
Foods that will do the trick include beetroot juice, beans, whole wheat bread, brown rice, chicken breast fillets, boiled or scrambled egg whites and fish. And, of course, generous helpings of fresh fruits and vegetables.

– Stephan Andrew
The writer is a fitness enthusiast; he was a finalist at the Karachi Bodybuilding Championship.

First published in the Health Advertiser Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on June 10, 2012.