Do you know what footballers eat before a match?
For some time now, nutrition has become one of the most important things to increase athlete performance.
Nutrition and hydration are two of the basic pillars when it comes to ensuring every player is able to perform at the highest level, and should be tailored according to the individual needs of each player. The reason for this is to provide enough nutrients to promote muscle growth and make sure the athletes are prepared to endure the high intensity levels of each game.
Therefore, it is necessary to know how it directly affects performance in training and matches and which foods are the best to eat before a match to obtain better results.
What are the benefits of having a nutrition plan?
- It boosts the physical condition of the player.
- It helps to accelerate recovery after an injury.
- It slows down fatigue after high rates of physical work.
- It balances the energy reserves, during the whole playing time.
- Helps maintain ideal weight.
- Maintains hydration.
Although the article focuses on what is good to eat before a soccer match, we want to make it clear that a healthy diet should be followed throughout the season. Otherwise, a drastic change of diet the days before, would not have any effect.
You should also adjust your diet based on the type of competition and the frequency you play.
That being said, we’re going to give you a series of tips so that it is easier for you to know what to eat before a football match and which foods you should avoid.
When and what to eat the day before a football game?
The technical staff, made up of the team of physical trainers and nutritionists, are in charge of planning the nutrition of the entire squad, for training sessions and for pre and post-matches.
The key starting point is to understand that the muscles need to perfectly absorb the nutrients after ingestion, and that it is necessary to work with foods that favor this action.
It should be emphasized that no diet for athletes, or any type of person, can be generalized, since it must be adapted based on the nutritional needs of each player, the type of food, recommended amounts, calories, etc.
It is also important to know:
The time of the match or training session, the time elapsed between the last meal and the time to start the match.
With these in mind, let’s delve into what to eat before a football match, having as goals the maintenance of optimal hydration levels and good energy levels.
Plan the perfect pre-match meal
- Try to eat 3-4 hours before it begins to keep your energy levels up and ensure your digestion is done.
- Be careful with the quantities, do not overdo it.
- Avoid foos high in fat, fiber or spice to help with digestion
- Keep yourself hydrated
If during the half time break you need to eat something, resort to fruits, protein bars or gels rich in carbohydrates for and energy boost.
What not to eat before a match
Now that we know what foods are best to eat before a game, let’s talk about with ones we should avoid.
The food to eat before a match should be easy to digest, to steer clear of any surprises during the game. Some examples are:
- Spicy foods
- Dense cooked dishes
- Fried food
- Red meat
Hydration of the players
Our bodies are composed of 60% water, so hydration is such an important element for the player’s well-being before and during the match.
Before the match
It’s important to educate the players on the importance of fluids intake throughout the day. Its recommended to hydrate 2-3 hours prior to the start time.
During the match
The players tend to lose a massive about of water in the form of sweat due to the energy drain. There isn’t a specific about of liquids the athletes should consume; athletes should drink when they are thirsty, and found an opportunity during the match.
Recovery is key for replenishing both salts and water lost during the game. Isotonic drinks come into play during this period, since they are composed of sugars and salts that will favor the body’s electrolyte replenishment, lost during the match. It’s also important to combine it with water to maintain a good balance.