We all know that good nutrition is important for an athlete and it’s the same for footballers.
We’ve been told to eat our vegetables and protein from a young age to grow up big and strong.
Lately, it’s hard with social media to know exactly what is and isn’t good nutrition information.
Sports nutrition for footballers isn’t your regular everyday chicken and broccoli. Your diet will only supply a portion of what you need to perform and recover.
Our sports nutrition guide will help you nail your nutrition.
After reading this blog, you’ll know.
- Why nutrition is so important
- How nutrition will help you perform
- How nutrition helps you recover.
Now let’s dive into why nutrition is essential for footballers!
Why is Nutrition so Important for Athletes?
Competitive footballers are either training, playing, or recovering. To maintain this workload, you need to give your body the proper nutrients to perform at a high level.
Have you ever watched professional football players eating cheeseburgers and hotdogs on the sideline? Probably not! I doubt they’re doing it in the locker room, either.
Instead, their pregame nutrition started earlier in the week. They began to hydrate properly, so they were not dehydrated when they walk out onto the pitch.
Most of them were probably eating enough carbohydrates on the day before the match and on match-day to maintain their energy levels throughout the match.
Carbohydrates provide energy to our muscles and allow them to function. Carbohydrate is the main fuel used during a football match and also during intensive training sessions.
Our bodies can also use fats to turn into energy, but burning fat supplies energy at too slow a rate to support high-intensity running.
After a match or a hard training day, footballers eat a lot of protein sources to repair damaged muscles, adapt to the exercise and come back stronger.
Carbohydrates, fats, and proteins are the three of the four macronutrients. The other is water which keeps us hydrated but does not provide any energy.
Ensuring you get enough of each daily is important for football performance.
How Proper Nutrition Helps You Perform
Carbohydrates and fats are used for energy, and without enough in our diets, you aren’t able to effectively sprint, jump, concentrate, or perform.
Proteins are only minimally used for energy and are mostly used for recovery and to build muscle and adapt to training so that performance improves or is at least maintained at a high level. Proteins help muscles rebuild stronger than before after a match or training session.
Carbohydrates are your primary energy source; without enough in your diet, you’ll feel sluggish and tired during training or a match.
Aim for 55%-60% of your total daily dietary energy intake as carbohydrates to maintain energy levels. In terms of daily amount somewhere between 3 and 6 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram body mass will likely be sufficient to promote fuelling and recovery.
You can get carbohydrates from grains (cereals, bread, pasta, etc.), beans, fruit, starchy vegetables (potatoes, rice, corn), and some dairy products.Carbohydrate intake can be further supplemented with sports drinks like Isotonic, gels like Extra Time and energy bars.
Caffeine will also help you perform well, providing you with energy and increased alertness. You can get caffeine from coffee, tea, energy drinks, or a pre-workout drink like Kick Off.
How Nutrition Helps You Recover
Nutrition is a must in the recovery process.
It refuels your energy and rebuilds broken-down muscles.
You also burn about 1,600 calories playing in a match, and you risk losing muscle without eating enough afterward!
In the professional football world, athletes know how to recover.
After a match when it is important for players to start refuelling as soon as possible to promote recovery, finger-food and sports foods will often be provided in the changing room and during travel after away games. In this situation sports foods providing appropriate amounts of carbohydrate and protein can provide a convenient alternative to proper food to meet nutrient targets. Our Recovery formula contains whey protein and carbohydrate to get you recovery off to a perfect start! Ideally, this will be followed by a nutritious meal that is high in protein and carbohydrate with another drink to rehydrate and get in electrolytes before heading to bed.
While proper nutrition is necessary for recovery, you aren’t letting the nutrients do their job without sleep!
Aim for 8-9 hours of sleep after a game day and at least 7 hours after a training day.
Putting it All Together
Sports nutrition is the difference between an elite player and an amateur.
While it doesn’t seem like food can make a difference, proper nutrition helps you perform at your peak levels.
Getting the right food will give you enough energy and allow you to recover better than your competition!