Saturday, 10 November 2012

Importance of Nutrition in Soccer

Studies have shown that having a fueling and hydration plan for competition can improve performance. In this article, we’ll explore how proper nutrition can help players meet the physiological demands of soccer, and we’ll lay out the basic and specific guidelines plus suggestions to help you create a nutritional plan that meets your personal needs.

Key concepts

A diet rich in soy and whey protein, found in ...

1. Eating a healthy diet daily lays the foundation for an athlete’s training and performance.

2. Nutrition before, during and after exercise has been documented to reduce fatigue, improve performance, prolong endurance, decrease muscle damage and speed recovery.

3. Maintaining proper hydration and electrolyte balance is essential.

The physiological demands of soccer

1. Short, intense bursts of activity are combined with moderately intense exercise (anaerobic and aerobic) and occasional rest periods.

2. Players run an average of 10 kilometers (six miles) per game, with total physical activity ranging from 90 minutes to two hours.

3. Sweat losses (salt loss) may be as much as three liters (100 ounces) in the heat.

4. Strength is also an essential component of soccer performance.

How does nutrition interact with these physiological demands?


Due to the prolonged and vigorous nature of the sport, carbohydrates are a soccer player’s main fuel. Good carbohydrate sources include bagels, cereals, beans, rice, pasta, bread, pretzels, fruit, juice, potatoes, beans, whole-wheat bread and tortillas. The body stores carbohydrates in the muscles as glycogen, but these stores are limited and need to be constantly replenished. Small meals and snacks throughout the day can help keep energy levels high. Glycogen depletion can lead to fatigue, both physical and mental, and performance may be compromised as players lose the fuel they need to think and make good decisions on the field. What does this mean? To conserve muscle glycogen and prevent fatigue, have a carbohydrate/sports drink before and during practice sessions and games.

1. Try to eat a well-balanced soccer diet every day.

2. Never miss a breakfast, lunch or dinner. These three are vital for your soccer performance and will be key to how well you will perform on the field. 

3. Sleep well, because your body needs to break down the food and convert it to energy. You should try to sleep at least 7.5 hours per night and not more than 8.5. The ultimate goal is to sleep for 8 hours but you should not panic if you don’t manage to fulfill that.

4. Fast food would not give you quality energy (protein, carbohydrates and fat). Eating too much fast food will make you gain too much weight and you will become slower. However, if you really like fast food try to eat it at maximum once per week.

5. Calcium is important to get strong bones. Good calcium sources are low fat products (less than 3% fat) like milk, yogurt and cheese.

6. Iron is also important as it carries oxygen through your body. Low oxygen means that you will get tired fast. You can find iron in red meat, chicken (without skin) and pork.

7. When playing soccer, you will also need zinc because it forms the building blocks of your body and helps in repairing and growing tissues. Zinc is important especially if you are injured often. You can find zinc in meat and fish.

8. Try to have water as your drink of choice. There is no better drink than water and the best thing is that you don’t have to pay for it :-).

9. Try to choose snacks with low fat and low sugar. However, snacks like peanuts or cashew nuts contain good fat and you should eat these often

10. Eat a lot of fruits because they are the best and healthiest snacks you can find. I try to eat at least 2 apples per day.

For complete nutrition and detailed diet plan, i will suggest it in my later post. But till now, follow these basic things and perform good. You should not have a reason to remain out of your team just because your diet is not proper or not regular. Athletes must eat regularly to perform well. As far as soccer is concerned, you should give keen attention to your diet.

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