As a professional football player, Raphael Maitimo knows that the key to success for an athlete is to keep a healthy balance between body, mind and soul.
The 32-year-old Dutch-Indonesian who is currently playing for Arema Cronus in Malang as well as the Indonesian national team, follows a strict training routine every day together with his teammates during football season.
“If I feel that my body needs more training, I will do some extra workout to stay fit,” he says. “But as an athlete, it is also important to have enough rest. So, extra training isn’t always good for you, but your body will tell you which one you need - training or rest.”
Since football is a sport with high injury prevalence, Raphael additionally does pilates, flexibility and core stability exercises.
“These kind of exercises are very important for an athlete,” he explains. “If your core is not strong enough, it is easy to get injured.”
Unfortunately, injuries do occur from time to time - and it is never easy to get back in the game, regardless of whether it is a minor or more serious one. This is where a strong mentality comes into play.
“Injuries definitely have a psychological impact on athletes and people in general. If you have an injury you have to take it for what it is and try to get back on track as soon as possible,” Raphael says. “Don’t think that it’s so bad to have an injury - of course it is bad, but you have to keep in mind that it is important to get the right treatment instead of keep telling yourself that you are injured.”
Positive thinking and focusing on getting better soon is key to recovery, Raphael adds.
“It really helps,” he insists. “I experienced it myself, and it is also scientifically proven. Of course, it also helps to work with the best professional medical staff. That is still one of the problems here in Indonesia, because they don’t want to spend too much money on this yet.”
Physical exercise needs to be paired with the right nutrition. According to Raphael, he does pay a lot of attention to what he eats, avoiding fried and spicy food and keeping the meat consumption to a minimum.
“Sometimes I take vitamins, but not enough. This is something I should improve,” he admits. “I never took supplements in Europe because the food there is healthier than in Asia. And the circumstances here are also different, for instance the hot weather and relatively hard pitches.”
Raphael, who began his football career in the Netherlands and has played continuously in Indonesia since 2010, also understands that in order to keep his body healthy, he needs to seek some peace of mind on match-free days.
“Usually when I have days off, I take as much rest as I can. Sleeping a lot and eating well, or having a massage to get the inflammation and toxic out of my body,” he says. “Sometimes, I also go to Bali or Jakarta to relax and don’t think about football at all to release the stress.”