Diet Plan for Footballers
Football or soccer is a sport that demands equal parts endurance, plyometric movement and strength. A footballer requires extra calories to fuel training sessions as well as competitive matches. A competitive athlete can require up to three times as many calories per day as a moderately active person. Losing a few pounds and eating healthier can improve your game and help you be a better footballer. In two weeks you can expect to lose anywhere from two to four pounds with careful planning and healthier food choices.
Two-Week Diet Guidelines
Since there is no official two-week diet plan for footballers, your choice of time-frame may be purely circumstantial or convenient. If you have 14 days before a big competition or want to get your team in better shape and have two weeks to do it, the first step is to plan out the diet from beginning to end. A few basic rules to implement in your diet plan include making sure that only the healthiest foods are consumed; that you eat based on activity levels; and to keep your meal times consistent.
Choose Healthy Foods
Each meal should come loaded with protein and complex carbohydrates. As a footballer you rely on carbohydrates to keep you fueled during the long two to three hour matches. Excellent choices for carbohydrates include fruits, vegetables, brown rice, oatmeal and whole grains. Good choices for protein include fish, chicken, turkey and eggs. Protein is important for muscle building and strength. Building strong leg muscles will help you kick harder and farther. Get roughly 35 percent of your daily calories from protein; 10 to 15 percent from healthy fats; and 45 to 50 percent from carbohydrates. If you find you fatigue during your matches, try increasing your carbohydrate intake a few days prior to your match and after your practice sessions. According to the National Strength and Conditioning Association, low glycogen stores in muscles can cause weakness and muscle fatigue 2⭐
Eat Based on Activity Level
Your diet plan should replenish the calories you burn during training and daily metabolic processes. Actual caloric intake will be unique to your individual metabolism, age, gender and activity levels. For example, if you currently burn 1,000 calories per day from training and another 2,000 from normal metabolic processes, you should be consuming a minimum of 2,500 calories. Eating less than this will leave you tired during training and competition. It’s essential that your diet has enough calories to provide fuel to working muscles. Not eating enough as an athlete is usually worse than eating too much. You will lose weight but suffer from slight malnutrition, fatigue and muscle atrophy. A good rule for a footballer is to eat 500 calories more than your body needs to function normally. Adjust to your energy levels and weight loss progress.
Your two-week footballer diet should focus on keeping your meals consistent and spread as evenly as possible throughout the day. Only adjust calories as needed — for example, increasing your carbohydrate intake before training. According to the Football Medicine experts when you provide your body with calories at specific times of the day, it begins to keep an internal record and will adjust based on this schedule. This can raise your metabolism and help you burn calories more efficiently. Sticking to these dietary guidelines for two weeks should be enough time to help improve your health, energy level and reduce your body fat percentage.
Footballers Diet Plan For Match Day
Match Day Diet Plan For A Footballer
A professional footballer’s diet will be strict throughout the week, as poor nutrition can have an impact on someone’s performance even if this occurred in the days leading up to a game.
It’s important to eat right come match day, as the choices made first thing in the morning or even in the hours following a gruelling fixture can have detrimental effects.
Maximuscle has prepared a diet and nutrition guide to make sure you are eating the right ingredients once the final whistle has blown.
You should always use breakfast to help you keep going and active for the match day ahead.
Porridge is often a popular choice, due to it being a low-GI cereal. However, look to mix it up by having a bowl of quinoa porridge or those made from grains with a lighter consistency to avoid having the same taste each and every morning. Whichever one you choose, serve with semi-skimmed or whole milk — the calcium contained in these will help maintain healthy bones.
An alternative to porridge altogether is eggs, which contain plenty of protein. Again, look to vary the type of egg-based meal you have at breakfast. Try your eggs in a wholemeal wrap, for example, or served on some rye bread.
Whatever you do, avoid eating a heavy breakfast as it is likely you will feel bloated afterwards. Fibre can also take a while to digest, so you could try to minimise consumption of this at breakfast.
Always try to eat something for breakfast, regardless of your appetite. A banana and Promax shake can provide a convenient boost of carbs and protein to keep you going for what the day brings.
Before we start, if you are involved in a match that takes place around midday, skip this section and continue the guide from the pre-match advice.
For those playing in a match getting underway at around the traditional 3pm kick-off, aim to only have a light meal come lunch.
This meal could include a low-GI carbohydrate — wholewheat pasta, for example. Complete the meal with some carrots, leafy greens and peppers.
Plenty of water should be consumed throughout lunch too, as just a two per cent loss in body weight as a result of sweating will impact on both your mental and physical performance for the worse.
You’re now in the changing room and can hear the crowd eagerly anticipating the next 90 minutes of action.
Reduce the risk of feeling thirsty once you’re on the pitch by drinking a good amount of water at this point — as mentioned in the lunch section, your mental and physical performance can be negatively affected if your body weight is reduced by as little as two per cent due to sweat.
You’ve been out on the pitch for 45 minutes —in the changing room you’ll need to refresh yourself before you go back on the pitch. We advise two options.
- Carbohydrate gels like Maximuscle FuelMax Gels
- Drink water or a small amount of diluted fruit juice made up of 50 per cent juice, 50 per cent water and just a pinch of sea salt.
Straight After The Match
Once your time on the pitch draws to a close, your immediate concern should be looking after your muscles to ensure you can train at an adequate level in the days ahead.
With this in mind, drinks containing antioxidants, carbohydrates and protein is highly recommended, such as Promax milk drink combined with some fruit.
You’re away from the football ground at this point and ready for your final meal of the day. There are loads of great options available, though we would urge you to look towards sushi or turkey-based chilli-con carne as a source of protein.
Salmon sushi helps to deliver high quality food rich in protein, omega 3 and vitamin D. Meanwhile the kidney beans and mince — low-fat being our advised choice — provides proteins to the body post-exercise.