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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.

Sunday League footballers are a diverse breed, although it’s easy to split such variety into two basic categories: those players who turn up to the match smelling of booze, kebab and last-night’s misdeeds… and those who take things seriously.

We’ll assume, having landed on this guide to perfecting your Sunday League match preparation, that you are in the second group!

We’ve all been there – bleary eyed, throbbing head, heavy legs, and the burning desire to get back into bed and forget we exist. Welcome to your Sunday morning hangover.

You don’t need us to tell you that football is a demanding sport. Whatever your level and whatever your position, 90 minutes takes it out of you – both physically and mentally.

Today, professional football clubs commit a lot of time and money to nailing the right sports nutrition, with top nutritionists on hand to ensure their players are consuming the correct foods for fuel and recovery.

Interestingly, as with anything in the beautiful game, it wasn’t always like this. In fact, nutrition in football has changed dramatically over the years. Put on your sepia-tinted glasses, we are going back in time!

Football is a high intensity sport, and requires endurance to be able to play for the whole 90 minutes, whilst maintaining skill levels and the ability to perform multiple sprints to beat your man, get up and down the touchline or work box to box in the middle of the field. Analysis of football shows that most mistakes are made towards the end of the game, as well as less distance being covered and less sprints made. The primary reason for this is fatigue, so it’s important to optimise our diet to fuel properly and perform for the whole game.

We know that caffeine does many wonderful things, the more obvious ones including improved mood, cognition, and exercise performance. We also know that short periods of sleep (naps) – with and without sleep deprivation – can improve mood, sleepiness, and some types of exercise performance.

As we touched on in the last post, protein quality plays a key role in determining resistance exercise-induced muscle hypertrophy (muscle growth), as well as recovery from training.
You know that feeling of tenderness that you get in your hamstrings and quads after a hard game or training session? That’s called delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS for short). DOMS is a result of muscle damage. 

Given the demands of football training and match play, the aim of creatine supplementation would be to:

1. Enhance repeated-sprinting ability

2. Improve football-specific skills (e.g. dribbling; jumping; passing; shooting)

3. Enhance cognitive ability (e.g. decision making; passing accuracy)