In this blog post we put some questions to West Ham nutritionist Matt Jones, asking him about how a player can correctly hydrate during football training sessions, and how this can be tailored to suit the weather, their on-field position, body composition and training routine.
Pro footballers are known for some strange pre-match habits – whether that’s being the last player to walk onto the pitch, cutting holes in the back of their socks, or kissing their goalkeeper’s bald head.
Yet, one thing that every professional footballer does before, during and after football is hydrate properly. This is one habit that every Sunday league player should copy.
Good hydration is crucial. The average footballer is likely to lose 1.1 litres of water through sweat during a game; often more. Without replenishing yourself with enough fluid, you risk varying degrees of dehydration – when your body does not have enough water to do its job.
Understanding the how and the why of supplementing your energy supply throughout your matchdays is critical if you are to truly maximise your abilities when it counts. All of the sprinting, jumping, accelerating and decelerating will take a significant toll on your carbohydrate stores, hydration levels and branch chain amino acids (BCAA). Some of the more common side effects of depleting these are tiredness, reduced physical and cognitive performance, and in more serious cases injury. A sound, personalised strategy for your matchdays will ensure you are never left wanting for extra energy during the 90 minutes. To start to put that strategy together, first you must understand the types of energy your body will need pre, during and post matches.
Existing evidence suggests that many footballers begin training and games in a hypohydrated state, and thus hydrating properly could provide a small competitive advantage over opposing players. Players may lose roughly 800 ml of fluid per hour through sweat when playing in cool temperatures and up to 1500 ml of fluid per hour when playing in warm temperatures. Some will only consume enough to replace 50% of that fluid, but many consume enough to prevent body mass losses of more than 2%.
Carbohydrates are essential for footballers looking for optimum fuelling and recovery around training and matches. Go on, try telling Cristiano Ronaldo – an avid high-carb eater – that he should cut back on his potato-loaded Bacalhau a Bras…
No, for footballers, it is time to embrace carbs.
In this article, we explore why we need carbohydrates, how best to get them, and when best to use them to ensure top performance on and off the pitch.
Football relies heavily on carbohydrate to fuel the intense actions such as sprinting, jumping, changing direction and shooting that often dictate the outcome of games. The issue is, stores of carbohydrate in the body are very small and are used up rapidly.
Gels provide a concentrated source of easy to absorb carbohydrate that provides the fuel to allow your muscle and brain to repeat those intense actions and compete until the final whistle.