Many gained weight and became fat, and some got hooked on iron and became body­builders.

Ath­letes, espe­cial­ly in strength sports, con­sume huge amounts of calo­ries, which are trans­formed into mus­cle through train­ing.

After fin­ish­ing your career, the inten­si­ty of train­ing decreas­es, but the habit of eat­ing a lot remains. This is why many ath­letes look unrec­og­niz­able when they retire from sports. Although some peo­ple, on the con­trary, man­age to become bet­ter.

We’ve col­lect­ed the most impres­sive trans­for­ma­tions that shocked fans.

Ronaldo (football)

Ronal­do is a great Brazil­ian strik­er who became famous for his per­for­mances for Inter and Real Madrid. He start­ed gain­ing weight even before he retired from foot­ball due to ill­ness.

In 2007, Ronal­do was diag­nosed with hypothy­roidism — a lack of thy­roid hor­mones, which great­ly slows down his metab­o­lism. The foot­ball play­er gained weight very quick­ly and could not lose weight. When Fabio Capel­lo took charge of Real Madrid for the sec­ond time in 2006, he was hor­ri­fied by Ronal­do’s form:

“Ronal­do is a great play­er. The best I’ve worked with, along with Van Bas­ten. But he weighed 96 kilo­grams. I asked what his weight was at the 2002 World Cup. He replied that it was 84 kilo­grams. I asked him to lose weight to at least 90 kilo­grams, but he nev­er did it.”

Ronaldo after retirement

Ronal­do suf­fered in foot­ball until 2011, after which he end­ed his career and became very fat. After retir­ing from the sport, he admit­ted the prob­lem:

“To con­trol my ill­ness, I need to take hor­mones, which are pro­hib­it­ed in foot­ball by all anti-dop­ing rules. My head wants to con­tin­ue, but my body can’t take it any­more. I have to admit defeat. I lost to my body.”

Ronaldo after retirement

In 2013, Ronal­do par­tic­i­pat­ed in a celebri­ty weight loss show on Brazil­ian tele­vi­sion. The show did no good, because Ronal­do was hav­ing fun all the time and did not take him seri­ous­ly.

Wesley Sneijder (football)

Wes­ley Snei­jder was a cult foot­ball play­er at the turn of the 2000s and 1900s. The Dutch­man was con­sid­ered a key fig­ure in Jose Mour­in­ho’s Cham­pi­ons League-win­ning Inter. Snei­jder was also a star of the Dutch nation­al team, where he was also con­sid­ered a leader and led the team to the final of the 2010 World Cup.

At the age of 35, Snei­jder end­ed his career in the Qatari Al-Gharaf, and two weeks lat­er he shocked the world. Wes­ley appeared at the Utrecht-Ven­lo match and was over­weight.

Then no one under­stood how you could launch your­self like that in just two weeks. But time passed, and Snei­jder only got fat­ter. He admit­ted that he was used to lead­ing a lux­u­ri­ous lifestyle and not deny­ing him­self any­thing:

“My life was very rich and col­or­ful. It feels like I’m already 76 years old. I’ve been through so much. I remem­ber one time I had a ter­ri­ble hang­over. The day before, I had a blast hang­ing out with Hol­ly­wood stars — George Clooney, Megan Fox, and oth­ers. It was after the Gior­gio Armani show.

We had a blast! Every­thing would have been fine, but I found myself at home at 6 in the morn­ing, and in the evening we had a Cham­pi­ons League match against Werder. I entered the field, scored and pro­vid­ed an assist. Then I real­ized that you can live this way.”

After fin­ish­ing his career, Snei­jder got divorced, fell into depres­sion and lost 10–15 mil­lion euros on unsuc­cess­ful busi­ness projects. He admits that he has not gone bank­rupt, but is often sad — life after foot­ball is not so bright.

Todd Marinovich (American football)

Todd Mari­novich was the son of famous Amer­i­can foot­ball play­er Marv Mari­novich. His father made him an “ide­al quar­ter­back” and raised him strict­ly — he banned car­toons because of cru­el­ty and instilled a love of art:

“He nev­er ate a Big Mac or an Oreo. When he went to birth­day par­ties as a child, he would bring his own cake and ice cream to avoid the sug­ar and refined white flour.

When Todd was a month old, Marv was already engaged in phys­i­cal train­ing for his son. He stretched his ham­strings and made him do push-ups. “Marv invent­ed a game where Todd lift­ed a med­i­cine ball onto the kitchen table.”

Mari­novich has been called “the first Amer­i­can test tube ath­lete.” Todd made it to the NFL, but spent only a few sea­sons there, with vary­ing degrees of suc­cess.

For Mari­novich, being kicked out of the NFL was just the begin­ning of a dif­fi­cult jour­ney. After all, he com­bined the harsh lifestyle of a pro­fes­sion­al ath­lete with an addic­tion to ille­gal sub­stances.

Accord­ing to the ESPN doc­u­men­tary The Mari­novich Project, the play­er bypassed drug test­ing by using his friend’s urine. But he didn’t suc­ceed either — he took urine from a friend who had obvi­ous­ly got­ten drunk the night before.

Due to the effects of banned sub­stances on the brain, Mari­novich had dif­fi­cul­ty con­cen­trat­ing and there­fore dropped out of the league. What fol­lowed were years of trou­ble with the law, from sex­u­al assault to walk­ing around naked in the neigh­bor­hood with ille­gal sub­stances.

Marinovich has changed a lot due to drug use

In 2017, Mari­novich, now 48 years old, attempt­ed to return to the SoCal Coy­otes of the World Devel­op­ment Soc­cer League. He got clean and sober thanks to rehab.

Mari­novich is 54 years old and looks bad due to his lifestyle. He still fol­lows foot­ball and some­times attends open train­ing ses­sions. Todd now lives in Orange Coun­ty and has an online art gallery fea­tur­ing orig­i­nal impres­sion­ist paint­ings, draw­ings and sculp­tures, many with sports themes.

Fernando Torres (football)

Fer­nan­do Tor­res was a famous for­ward who played for Chelsea, Atléti­co Madrid and oth­er clubs. After fin­ish­ing his career, Tor­res, who was nev­er over­ly ath­let­ic, fell in love with the gym.

Torres after retirement

Now Tor­res looks like a body­builder. He pumped up huge mus­cles, fell in love with mar­tial arts, and often hits a punch­ing bag in the gym. He works as a coach with Atléti­co youth, but is not too strict with his play­ers — although he flex­es his mus­cles on the touch­line.

Alistair Overeem (MMA)

Alis­tair Overeem is a star kick­box­er and MMA fight­er. He became famous for his per­for­mances in Pride and UFC. Overeem was famous for his size, and to sus­pi­cions of dop­ing he replied that he sim­ply loved horse meat:

“I love beef — it makes you stronger. Cow meat, horse meat, and I also eat a lot of fish. Horse is a very good pro­tein, bet­ter than beef. I eat yoghurts, dry mix and a lot of nuts. I usu­al­ly eat 6, 7, and some­times 8 times a day.”

Overeem impressed with his size in the UFC

Overeem recent­ly received a dop­ing sus­pen­sion from the Glo­ry pro­mo­tion and end­ed his career. And soon he met with the pres­i­dent of RIZIN pro­mo­tion, Nobuyu­ki Sakak­ibara.

Pho­tos from the meet­ing were post­ed on social net­works. Users noticed that Overeem had lost a lot of weight. He looked noth­ing like the giant who fought in the UFC heavy­weight divi­sion. One of the sub­scribers wrote that “with­out dop­ing, he turned into a scum­bag.”

But Overeem assured that every­thing was fine — he sim­ply refused meat:

“I com­plete­ly changed my diet and became a veg­e­tar­i­an. I don’t want to eat meat any­more. It is my choice. Meat has a neg­a­tive effect on you. I like the taste, but I made my choice.”