If you think three pints of Guinness and a sausage roll is adequate post-match nutrition, then you have landed on the right page!
While you may put your heart and soul into playing football, you are doing your potential a huge disservice if you don’t put as much thought into your nutrition.
Good news – there’s no need to rush out and hire a team of nutritionists and chefs to fuel your Sunday league performance. Small changes and sensible timings are more beneficial – not to mention more affordable.
Here are five reasons why nutrition should be something you care about as a footballer:
1. BETTER BODY COMPOSITION
A ‘better body composition’ is the polite way of saying lose fat and build muscle. While some professionals may break the mould, having a leaner frame is more desirable for the modern footballer.
Exercise plays its part in achieving a better body composition, although progress only really comes when you prioritise nutrition. Focus on staying in a slight calorie deficit while taking in adequate protein to give your body the right conditions to lose excess weight.
Read our 5 Tips for Losing Weight to find out more about improving your body composition for football.
2. ENHANCED TRAINING
Good nutrition is crucial for getting the most from your training. Whether you are performing technical training drills with your team, or working on strength and conditioning in the gym, having enough energy is crucial to crushing your workouts.
A higher carbohydrate diet with a significant focus on complex carbs in the hours before training is essential to give your muscles the fuel they need to work hard. Adding a supplement such as our Fuel90® just before your session will keep you going for longer, whether you are running, jumping or squatting heavy.
For more information about football training and nutrition visit our Complete Guide to Football Training.
3. EFFECTIVE RECOVERY
Good nutrition after your workouts, training and matches will help you replenish your body and recover better so you are ready for the next session.
After you have exerted yourself on the pitch or in the gym, your body will be crying out for quality protein and carbs to repair your muscles. Our Recover90® supplements provide exactly what you need; delivering a unique blend of protein and carbohydrates to kickstart the recovery process, as well as electrolytes to aid rehydration.
Read our article on How to Recover Like a Professional for more advice about post-match recovery.
4. PERFORMANCE IN MATCHES
Perhaps the most important reason why footballers should care about nutrition is that following good nutrition principles before and during a match will lead to better performance on the pitch. It’s that simple.
Eating a nutritious meal with the focus on complex carbohydrates in the hours leading up to the match is crucial to giving your body the fuel it needs to last for 90 minutes.
With adequate fuel, you can then give yourself the edge in the form of supplements, such as our Focus90®. Used by top players around the world, this powerful energy gel contains three active ingredients (including 200mg of caffeine) to deliver the mental and physical boost you need as you kick off.
Click here to find out Everything You Need to Know About Energy Gels for Football.
5. REDUCED RISK OF INJURY
No amount of quality carbohydrates or lean protein is going to prevent injury when you are facing an aggressive two-footed slide tackle. Prepare for the worst.
Yet, giving your body an adequate supply of essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants can help protect it from stress fractures, inflammation and oxidative stress. In other words, those nagging injuries that are the bane of every footballer’s existence.
While a balanced diet full of whole foods is the ideal prescription, our popular Vitamin Pack bundle offers a convenient way to ensure you are ticking the right boxes when it comes to immunity, and muscle and bone health.
Visit our Top 5 Tips to Reduce Injury Risk and Improve Recovery to find out more.
By this stage we will assume you are convinced. Caring about nutrition is vital for footballers who want to get the most from the game instead of settling for mediocrity.
It doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy sausage rolls and stout; rather that there is a time and place for them (and directly after the match probably isn’t it).
In short, keep your carbohydrate levels high, eat fresh fruit and veg, quality protein and good fats, hydrate well, and use supplements to your advantage.
This site is packed with articles on getting the best from your nutrition as a footballer, so take advantage!
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Updated June 2022