Reece Staley, Performance Coach from RS Fitness explains the importance of having the correct dietary requirements to perform effectively.
Football is a sport which demands a high level of physical and mental capabilities. It involves various explosive movements such as; sprints, turns, jumping and also challenges the mentality of the athlete. Knowing this information, it is important we understand the nutritious requirements to help our body recover, boost our energy and also increase positivity.
When thinking about nutrition, it is broken down into three basic components, this includes; Carbohydrates (Carbs), Protein, and Fats, also known as macronutrients.
Let’s have a look why these components are vital for us as football players
Carbohydrates: Carbs are described as the most efficient fuel for energy production. They are incredibly beneficial as they delay fatigue, therefore allowing an athlete to compete at a higher level for longer.
Protein: Protein is essential for the structure, function and regulation of the body’s tissues and organs. It is a great repair mechanism for when we have put our body’s under an extreme amount of stress. It alleviates the feeling of aching and pain.
Fats: Fats are important as they support our cell growth, help protect our organs and help our body maintain an ideal temperature. Also if we completely use all of our energy stores from carbs, fats are there as a reserve to keep us going.
Initiating a nutrition routine will enable your body to be prepared for any competition or training that is being performed. Imagine we are on the morning of a match day, we are going to need a lot of energy throughout the day to keep us in perfect condition prior to competition. During the match, we are going to be losing a lot of sweat due to the intensity of the actions being performed. Sweating also increases the reduction of water and electrolytes which are a necessity for maintaining energy. Once the match has ended, we have put our body through an excessive amount of stress which will cause damage to our muscle fibres, therefore heightening our chances of feeling sore and tight over the following days.
Here is a typical example of the routine I will use during a match day.
As stated, this is a routine I would use on a match day. Remember everyone has different preferences, so it is important you find a routine that will suit you. However, I would advise you to be clever with the foods you pick. For example, I would choose a high carbohydrate breakfast to allow a good amount of energy to be stored and also choose a high protein meal for after the game to essentially repair your body.
BE A PRO
I am guessing you have heard various professional football players constantly informing us of the importance of putting in the extra hours when no-one is watching. Cristiano Ronaldo is a great example of this. He will train harder than others, he will recover better than others and he will also believe in himself. This links perfectly with nutrition. If you want to be the best you have to be able to eat correct while also implementing the other strategies shown as above. If you are still a child or a teenager and reading this, you may be thinking how can I get the best out of this. Here are three effective steps I will give you.
1. Understand the three components of macronutrients. You can do this by reading books, watching videos, or undergoing nutritional courses
2. Inform your parents or guardian of meals you can have to help with your performance.
3. Start to slowly learn how to cook with your parents or guardian there for help. This will also be a great life skill to learn at such a young age.