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’Tis the season for overindulging in party food, alcohol, chocolate, late nights and hangovers!

While Christmas 2020 may be a little different to usual thanks to a certain global pandemic, relaxed lockdown restrictions mean that there is still every chance of overindulging with friends and family.

How do you fit in a busy social calendar, while keeping lean, mean and healthy for football? In this article we look at how to create a balance, so you can still enjoy the festive season while staying fit for your December matches. 

Winter is upon us and, particularly in the UK, this means guaranteed rain, storms, frost and – *atchoo* – colds! Fed up of reaching for the hot lemon and tissues all winter? Want to supercharge your immune system? Read on!

Firstly, let’s look at why footballers need to keep on top of their immunity. It all comes down to exercise.

You may have read that exercise can be an ally to your immune system, and this is true. However, exercise can also have the opposite effect and compromise your immunity.

Sound confusing? Don’t worry – things become a little clearer when we look at the type of exercise.

Footballers of all levels need sufficient supplies of important vitamins and minerals to be able to fuel and recover properly, while protecting their bodies in the process. Arguably one of the most critical nutrients is vitamin D.

Whether you prefer an espresso, americano, cappuccino, or triple venti half-sweet non-fat caramel macchiato, it’s clear that we are a nation of coffee lovers! The good news is that this can translate to better performance on the pitch for footballers.

As with everything in sports nutrition, getting the best from your cup of joe depends on things like when you take it and how much you take. In this article, we explore how coffee and football go together.

While 2020 has been a disaster for most of us due to a certain pandemic, there was light at the end of the tunnel in the summer. Restrictions had eased, gyms had reopened, and football was no longer a forbidden activity.

However, with cold-season in full swing, the country is experiencing tighter restrictions and new lockdowns at both local and national level. These new measures spell the end of gyms and football training for the foreseeable future. Time for a collective sigh.

But now is not the time to throw away your hard work! In this article we explore some of the ways that can help you can stay fit for football during the next few weeks.

Sunday League football may not have the same pace and intensity as the Premier League, but considering the average outfield player will accumulate up to 12kms of running over the 90 minutes, this level of football still demands a considerable amount of fuel.

The truth is that you can spend years developing speed, skill and strength, but if you are feeling weak and sluggish when stepping onto the field, the effort you put in at the gym and during training will have been in vain.

This is why fuelling your body correctly for any football match is imperative.

One of the most widely searched for terms relating to sport performance is protein, popularised largely by bodybuilders, but what is it and why is it important for footballing performance? Alongside carbohydrate and fat, it is one of the crucial macronutrients; whereas carbohydrate and fat are used for fuelling performance, protein is tasked with growth and repair following strenuous exercise.
At half time throughout all levels you are now likely to see players ‘re warming up’ to ready themselves for the second half, something that becomes particularly important during the deepest depths of English winter’s! Re-mobilising the parts of your body most susceptible to injury at the beginning of each half can be crucial to staying injury free. 
Warming up on game day is a crucial part of your match preparation, becoming mentally, physically and technically alert before kick off is a must if you are to start fast. You will normally see professional footballers venture out onto the football pitch anywhere from 35-50 minutes before kick off depending on their preferences. However, nowadays the warm up begins before the warm up; football players will often have individual work they like to complete in the dressing room/warm up room normally including some foam rolling and mini band work, as well as some preferred stretching/mobility work. Guys with previous ankle problems will complete work on a single leg to increase their balance, others with specific tightness will try and foam roll it out – others will work through their own specific exercises to help them feel ‘switched on’ in the right areas.

From muddy local training grounds to the biggest stadiums in the world, energy gels and energy drinks are a staple of modern football – and for good reason.

While nothing can replace a balanced diet, good hydration and plenty of recovery, incorporating quality energy gels and drinks into your matchday routine can be a gamechanger.

However, take these important supplements at the wrong time or for the wrong reason and you won’t feel the benefits. In this article we run you through everything you need to know about energy gels and drinks, and how to get the best from them.

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