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For years as player soccer nutrition has always baffled me. I always had a problem deciding when to eat before a game and what to eat before a game.
At this point soccer nutriton information would have helped with my pre-match preparations. Eating to recover from the stresses and strains of matches and games never even occurred to me.
This became a problem for me and knowing what I know now it really is a case of if only. There were times when I was buzzing about all day and there were times when I was so drained I could hardly lift my legs.
As I was always 10 to 12 lbs above what I should have been it did force me to train harder just to get to the same level as a lot of other players so. At this point in my soccer life soccer nutrition advice would have been invaluable
No bad thing you might add but time spent doing more long runs to burn off calories was time lost with the most important side of the game. The soccer ball itself.
If only someone had told me the right type of food to eat.
If only someone had told me that it is not ok to eat everything you can get your hands on because “You’ll burn it off with all your training”
If only someone told me what to eat after a game to recover properly to prevent injury and muscle soreness.
If only someone had told me soccer nutrition was important from an early age.
The main aim of eating correctly for soccer is to improve your performance to the optimum level. But don’t forget that it is also to help with the longevity of your soccer life.
Look at it this way, although we are all different in how we play the game and the type of player we are, one thing is certain. If you are carrying an extra few pounds then you are more likely to encounter joint problems later on in your career than the player who has kept his weight down by eating the correct foods.
Look at it another way. Make sure you give yourself every chance when it comes to making the decision to hang up your boots.
Make the decision yours because your time has come in life to either devote more time to your family or move into coaching.
Make sure the decision is not made for you by the pain in your knees because you haven’t taken care of yourself and put the right things into your body. Soccer Nutrition is therefore very important.
When it comes to soccer nutrition the old adage of rubbish in rubbish out rings true every time when both preparing for games, training or keeping in shape during the close season.
You may think that eating the correct food in preparation for soccer is common sense but until someone tells you the facts. I am amazed when I see what types of food people will eat before matches and training.
If you have played a lot of soccer then you will know that you can run 10km during a game and if you are a midfield maestro then the chances are you will run more than that.
It is also worth noting that this is not equivalent to a 10 km jog. The majority of that effort will be at pace so it will take even more out of you. There will also be a lot of twisting and turning which takes even more of toll on your body.
If you are an amateur soccer player then the likely hood is at certain times of the season you will be playing games in the evening and weekends so it important to keep going by eating the correct foods.
The net effect of this is that you will get more enjoyment out of the game. After all that is what we all play for, to enjoy playing soccer.
Ok time to explode some soccer nutrition myths………
Don’t eat between meals. The biggest and most flawed theory ever. If you are a young player or an adult in fact you cannot survive on 3 meals a day.
Here is some good news for the hungry soccer player. Snacking is a must.
In fact it should be positively encouraged. Snacking helps regulate you intake throughout the day and prevents you eating larger meals than you should come meal time. I would actively encourage mid morning, mid afternoon and evening snacks. For optimum timing try to snack 2 hours before meal time to tide you over until your next meal.
What is extremely important is the type of food you snack on.
Do not eat processed foods. The type of foods you should be snacking on is whole foods such as wholegrain or high fibre cereal with skimmed milk. Other options are raisins and natural yoghurt or whole grain bred with lean chicken or meat.
The table below give an indication of what you should go for. Chose one from Column A and one from Column B. Watch the portions though and mix and match throughout the day.
|Protein||Dairy||Fruit or Veg||Complex Carbs|
|1 ounce Almonds||8 ounces of low fat yoghurt||1 ounce of raisins||1 or 2 slices of wholegrain bread|
|3 slices of deli turkey||1 cup1% milk||Raw vegetables||1 bowl of oatmeal or high fibre cereal|
|3 slices of deli roast beef||2/4 cup of low fat ice cream||1 1/2 cups of berries|
|2 teaspoons of red-fat peanut butter||11/2 slices of fat free cheese||4 ounces og cantaloupe|
|1 large orange|
|1 can of low sodium V8 juice|
Believe me this will prevent you from reaching for the chocolate bars or cakes between meals. Eating these type of snacks will, when coupled with the healthy foods described below, enhance your training and lead to greater results for you core training. After all your core (Abs) is the root of all stamina and health.
One of the best training plans to go with this is contained in The Abs Diet by David Zinczenko. This book gives you pointers on what to eat and the exercises to give you a six pack you couldn’t imagine.
Before I move on to the superfoods you should be eating to help you with your soccer nutrition let me share with you a secret to Hydration. It is amazing how many players will go into a game already de-hydrated from the minute they step onto the pitch.
Some people are de-hydrated all the time. The most simple of checks is the colour of urine. If it’s clear then you are good to go. If it is yellow then you should be drinking more.
What to drink?
The best liquid to put in your body is, without a doubt, water. I know that there are numerous sports drinks out there but many of them are full of sugar which gives you the wrong kind of energy.
There are also a lot of drinks that contain caffeine which again is a diuretic and encourages de-hydration. If you are not keen on water I would recommend adding a small quantity of fresh orange juice to add taste and some vitamin C.
The other option is to add a sachet of something like maxi-muscle hydration powders to allow added hydration. This is also useful after a game or training to re-hydrate.
All players should avoid fizzy drinks and drink plenty of water to help the recovery period by replenishment of fluids in the body. This is where soccer nutrition is especially important to help muscles recover and repair from the stains of matches or training.
Now for the Soccer Super Foods
- Almonds and Other Nuts
- Beans and Legumes
- Spinach and other Green Vegetables
- Dairy Products(Fat Free and Low-Fat Milk, Yohgurt, Cheese and Cottage Cheese)
- Instant Oatmeal
- Turkey and other Lean Meats(Lean Steak, Chicken and Fish)
- Peanut Butter (Only Natural Sugar Free Varieties)
- Olive Oil
- Whole Grain Breads and Cereals
- Extra Protein (Whey) Powder
- Rasberries and Other Berries