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It is said that it takes 10,000 hours to achieve greatness in a discipline, whether that’s piano, golf or – in our case – football. 

Elite professional footballers have undoubtedly put in their 10,000+ hours, although the vast majority of that takes place when the cameras are off; on the training ground, in the gym and in the classroom.

Whatever your level, training is crucial for footballers wanting to reach their potential and take their game further. Whether you are a player, a coach or a parent, in this article we dissect the world of football training and give you everything you need to know to make the most of it.

We caught up with West Ham nutritionist Matt Jones to talk about the role nutrition plays in the squad, and how diet and supplementation can help footballers from the Premier League® to the Sunday league prepare for, fuel and recover from their matches. Read on to find out more about nutrition in top flight football, so that you can apply the same principles to your game.

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.

Food provides us with macronutrients, fibre, micronutrients and water. The macronutrients carbohydrate, protein and fat get most of the attention, so let’s take a deeper look at micronutrients.

Micronutrients are small nutrients, including vitamins and minerals that do not provide energy, but do contribute significantly to our health and performance, and support many physiological processes, and play important roles in growth and development, and supporting metabolic and enzymatic reactions at rest and during exercise.

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.

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.

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