Feed your body correctly

How to feed your footballing needs.

With the European Championships fast approaching many of the world’s best players will be aiming to perform at their peak for possibly the next four weeks. Alongside their training efforts and match time it will be important for them to also feed their bodies with the required fuels in order to play their best throughout.

So how should you go about eating for you to perform at your best throughout a football competition and what should you avoid at all costs? The first thing we should talk about when it comes to nutrition is the times of day you are eating during a competition as this is a key element in any physical activity but especially something like football where the body is put through immense strain over a short amount of time.

  1. Post game - Eating directly after training should be your aim here. The time after your training should be a goal for you to feed your body with the required foods as it begins its repair process.
  2. Pre game - Eating the night before game day should be high on your list as you need to store a certain number of required carbs in order to have a vital energy source the following day.
  3. Not too close - Eating too close before kick off is a big no no. This can lead you to feeling too full and reduce your efforts as you struggle to digest anything properly.
  4. The 2hr rule - Aim to have your last big intake of food at least 2-3 hours before game time. Also aim for small portions so your body can break it down effectively and use the energy efficiently.

So the times are important to how we perform and we have broken those down for you a little but what about the types of food we should be eating during competition?

Needless to say that if you are actually competing in a tournament then smashing down three cheeseburgers or several bars of chocolate shouldn’t be your plan of action as these types of fast food and processed foods do nothing in terms of fuelling your body effectively.

So what should I avoid?

  1. High in sugar foods - These can be good for just before kick off as the rush should give you a little boost if you are struggling but eventually the ‘crash’ will come and you will burn leaving you worse than before.
  2. Processed foods - Filling your body with these can really clog you up and keep your body from extracting the correct nutrients it needs before games. Swap the fast food burger for a freshly prepared steak and salad.
  3. Heavy foods - Try to ignore the plate of macaroni cheese with four cheeses on and aim for the smaller portion of brown rice and veg. Eating large amounts of carbs laden with heavy dairy products will leave you feeling flat and without any energy.

And what about the types to consume?

  1. Browns and whole grains - These will add super amounts of ‘useable’ energy to aid your performance and can be eaten in large quantities to store the energy pre game. The wholegrain element to pastas and rice will only aid the digestion process and help to use the nutrients your body requires.
  2. Proteins - This is a wide scope for anything protein laden but the most effective will be the white meats and the fish groups. These are generally lower in fat than the red meats and can be digested that little easier which is vital to keeping your system unclogged and prepared for the game work ahead.
  3. Nuts and fruits - The energy values in items such as dried fruits and uncoated nuts Aim to use these as pre game kicks for your system to really have a blast of natural and processed free energy that you can use for a little extra edge on the pitch.

Following these simple ideas can help to maintaining your body during competition and can really help in giving you a physical edge on your opponents. So try to stick to the guidelines above and you’ll feel the benefit as you go into game scenarios knowing that you have done all you can to prepare properly.

Just think about the bigger picture of timings and whether the foods are processed or natural that you are intaking and you’ll smash the meal time right before you beat your opponents on the pitch.



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