A Pro FIFA Player Is Changing The Game With His Intense Training Methods
"I haven't spent this much time away from my console in a long time, you know!" Ryan Pessoa tells SPORTbible, as he takes a well-deserved rest after an intense two hour training session.
At the time of our chat, it's just a matter of days until the eClub World Cup tournament in Milan.
The 22-year-old, who recently signed for ePremier League side Manchester City after spending a number of years with Hashtag United, will soon come up against the most talented FIFA players on the planet.
He has a real chance of bagging a total prize pool of $100,000, and could earn vital Global Series Rankings points in his bid to qualify for the eWorld Cup grand finale later this year.
But Pessoa has made the bold decision of putting down his controller in the build-up to this huge event.
The Red Bull athlete has travelled hundreds of miles to Thalgau in Austria to visit the state-of-the-art Red Bull Athlete Performance Centre, where he will participate in a regime designed to improve his overall game.
He will not only work on his physical state but will seek advice from a nutritionist, a physiologist and even a sleep expert to give himself an edge over the competition.
It's a decision he thinks will only elevate his progress as a professional FIFA player.
"It's so important," he tells SPORTbible. "I notice that whenever I'm not at a good enough physical level I know that I always feel very tired, no matter how many hours of sleep I get. Having that mental side of the game is also very important.
"I can't emphasise it enough. FIFA is 50 percent skill and 50 percent mental preparation.
"I think it can be massive, that's why I'm quite excited to try all the things I've learned."
The first 24 hours of Pessoa's stay at the Red Bull Athlete Performance Centre (APC) were spent assessing where he's currently at, both physically and mentally. Ryan's body composition and lung function were measured, along with his ECG in a laboratory inside the performance centre.
He was also subject of a medical and orthopedic check, as well as echocardiography to monitor his heart rate.
The 22-year-old was soon handed a detailed training regime during his stay at the APC, where he was given a range of different exercises to improve his overall well-being.
In a two hour period he was given a detailed upper body workout by Red Bull trainer Mark Waldhuber to help strengthen his shoulders and back.
Pessoa's reaction times were also tested on LED pads aimed towards bettering overall physical attributes.
He even performed wrist curls to increase his forearm strength after previously complaining about how it can sometimes affect a typical game of FIFA.
"The fitness side of things is so beneficial." Ryan says. "It helps with brain fuction and just improves my overall routine."
Perhaps the most integral part of Ryan's visit involved speaking to Sophie Killer, who is the Lead Performance Nutritionist for British Athletics.
In a lengthy chat via video link, she asked a series of questions about his daily routine, and quickly identified where Ryan can improve.
"We spoke with the nutritionist about how I can change my sleeping hours and my working hours at home to suit it and make it relative to how an event would be set up." Pessoa said.
"That's in terms of when I'd wake up; when I'd play; how long I'd play for and the type of meals I need to eat to try and maintain that level of concentration."
It was a wake-up call for the 22-year-old, who admits his lifestyle before this trip to Salzburg was far from perfect.
"Over the past couple of months or so, my routine has been shocking, especially my diet. I would have so many takeaways. There was a period where I didn't eat fruit for about two months, but recently it's got a lot better.
"I feel like I'm a lot more focused now."
As well as the nutritional side of things, Ryan also spent a number of hours with Psychology expert Dieter Hackfort, who made a big impact on the gamer's overall mindset.
"I often have a negative outlook on FIFA games," he says.
"I need to change that because the moment you think something isn't going to go your way, you're pretty much 1-0 down before a ball is kicked.
"It's something I have to work on, and I feel like coming to the APC, that's something that the psychologist has helped me with already.
"I feel a lot more confident now, before I even pick up a pad to play, I feel a lot better."
It's clear that Ryan has come away from his time in Austria with a huge amount of knowledge from various experts in the field.
Only time will tell if these methods will pay off in the coming days, weeks and months.