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Samantha Clayton bares how it is like to train Cristiano Ronaldo

By Ivan Saldajeno

PASAYSamantha Clayton has become one of the top sports fitness experts in the world today.

A former track athlete for Great Britain that competed in the Sydney Olympics, Clayton shifted to fitness and has helped football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo gain speed and power.

While she clarified to some sportswriters on Thursday in an intimate media session at the SMX Convention Center just across SM Mall of Asia that she is not his personal trainer, Clayton, who currently acts as Herbalife's fitness education director, said of her time with the Real Madrid striker, "We've had a great time together. He's a great athlete and a great joy to be around."

In fact, she bared that she is actually helping the women's side of Real Madrid's cross-town rival Atletico Madrid.

"I'll be going out there next week to work with them," Clayton revealed.

Meanwhile, Clayton also cherished her time with the LA Galaxy, who have Herbalife as their main sponsor.

"We work very closely with the Galaxy. I love going to their games and supporting them," she continued.

Her work with the MLS club gives her an opportunity to meet one of its legends, Landon Donovan.

"He's a really great guy," said Clayton of Donovan, who was a longtime member of USA's national team.

Aside from helping them, Clayton also said that prior to her trip to the Philippines, she went to Bangkok to help the Football Association of Thailand in their fitness regime.

"They had a FIFPro 11 training there. It's kinda fresh for me to spend four days with their coaches," she relayed what she did there.

On the other hand, she shared how her transition from the track oval to the gym was like.

"Combining my knowledge of sports and my passion for people, it was a beautiful transition," said the former Samantha Davies, who is now married to former MLB champion Royce Clayton. "Transitioning to coaching kids in baseball and soccer required a new learning for me too. It was a beautiful learning journey."

With her vast knowledge in keeping footballers fit, she believes the same can happen to the Philippines' own football players.

"For me, making sure that they're doing cardiovascular fitness all the time. [It's about] focusing on the little things, because it's the little things that make us good. When you look at the top professional athletes, they're working on multi-directional training. They're making sure that they're working laterally. They're strengthening their core and building the foundation," Samantha Clayton shared one pointer.

In fact, she encouraged the athletes to try combining two training regimens at the same time.

"It's about finding the balance and making sure that you have a well-rounded fitness program. It's gonna affect their performance if they're focusing on all the things they're good at and avoiding the things that they're not good at," Clayton said.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno