“Nutrition impacts everything from a player’s endurance levels and speed to their recovery to their sleep patterns,” sports scientist Armando Vinci, who worked with the Chelsea executive Antonio Conte for close to a decade, said to The Times.
Diego Forlan takes fresh pineapple, brown bread, an omelet, and yogurt for breakfast on game days. Comparatively, Wayne Rooney eats a simple breakfast of a bowl of cereal and a banana before a morning game.
The nutrition of soccer players is established on the unique tastes of the athlete, cultural variations, and how their bodies respond to different meals. However, the basic standards are identical; healthy carbs, protein, and a little fat.
In the pursuit of success, several soccer players try suspicious dietary processes or supplements, vowing to provide a higher degree of peak physical performance. This can be easily achieved by evaluating and changing the current dietary intake for the better.
What should I eat before soccer practice?
How should I eat them?
What are the recommended quantities of food that I should eat before training?
Continue reading to accumulate helpful knowledge on the appropriate nutrition of a soccer player and advice on enhancing your feats on the training field through your food.
What To Eat Before Soccer Practice?
As you know, soccer is a strenuous game, and running around the field for a full 90 minutes is difficult when you are not fit. As a result of how brutal the celebrated sport is, nutrition is vital. Our bodies need help to do such a physically demanding activity continuously.
Everyone in soccer will testify to asking themselves these questions at least once:
What kind of nourishment will improve performance on the pitch?
Which diets will allow the players to get regular boosts of vitality?
Let us examine how your food choices can assist your body in meeting the necessary conditions.
Firstly, you want the glycogen storage in your muscles to be vast and prepared for the fierce motions that you hope to make. Then, you would need to be hydrated without getting that uncomfortable feeling of water pressure in your gut.
Additionally, you’d want to train with increased endurance and alertness but with a gentle feeling of focus, confidence, and an overall sense of serenity. To achieve these goals, proper nutrition is the answer.
Now let us look at each food class, its benefits, and the appropriate way to eat them. Remember that people have diverse needs, and not every player eats the same way.
Glycogen is how our bodies retain carbohydrates in our muscles. This is then used to produce the intense energy needed for strenuous activities, so you need some of that before soccer practice.
In the words of the USADA, “a diet rich in carbohydrates increases both endurance and intermittent high-intensity performance…”
So, eat your carbs!
Foods rich in carb content will provide your body with the calories it requires. And the amount of carbohydrates you need to take depends on the length and difficulty level of the training bout.
Daily carbohydrate needs for training should run on a sliding hierarchy of 3 – 8 g/kg BM per day, hinging on the particular training method, schedule, and the unique training goals of the player.
Without delving into the scientific account of the “glycogen loading” theory, the regular system is to slowly lessen the number of training sessions and their vigor while enhancing the percentage of their whole nourishment, carbohydrates.
This method will enable the player’s muscles to pile up additional glycogen to use during practice. Choose carbohydrate-rich foods like the ones below to energize yourself with before a training session:
- Whole grains, e.g., oatmeal
- Fresh fruit
- Low-fat dairy
Out of their total calorie count, soccer players should get 45 – 65% to come from high-quality carbs. Therefore, you should always have a carbohydrate source at every meal.
According to True Sports USA, this is how you should ingest your carbs as a soccer player;
- Before activity– 75 – 100 grams of carbohydrates.
- During activity– 30 – 60 grams of carbohydrates (for strenuous training lasting more than 1 hour).
- After activity– 60 – 90 grams of carbohydrates.
Additionally, you can drink 6 – 12 ounces of a sports drink with 6 – 8% carbohydrate content every 15 – 30 minutes during your training. So one big swallow is about 2 ounces.
Within an hour of training, the body can lose more than a quart of moisture, but this hinges on how intense the workout was. And if your body does not have sufficient water to rejuvenate itself by sweating, the body will enter into a state of dehydration.
Being adequately hydrated boosts the body for action and compensates for sweat loss. It also curtails the threat of damage and stimulates the body to reach top health levels during the training session.
You can control your body’s loss of fluid by:
- Weighing in before and after training.
- For every kilogram (pound) that you lose during practice, drink ~.5 liters or (~2 cups) of fluid.
- Do not limit your fluid intake before training.
- Never rely on your thirst levels as a pointer for how dehydrated you are.
- Many people do not get thirsty until more than 2% of their body weight is lost.
- Check the color of your urine. For example, urine that is a dark shade of gold implies dehydration.
- Urine that has the color of pale lemonade gives a hint that you are a hydrated player.
Allowing yourself to get dehydrated as a soccer player will reduce the amount of blood circulation in your body.
The effects of this happening are:
- A drastic reduction in the quantity of blood that gets pumped.
- A marked decrease in heartbeats. Muscles that are getting or got exercised will not get the required oxygen, causing painful cramps.
- Fatigue sets in, and the player’s energy levels drop.
Studies have revealed that losing as little as 2% of entire body weight can negatively affect a player’s performance. For instance, if a 150-pound athlete loses 3 pounds or kilograms during soccer practice, their capacity to play at maximum fitness levels will be drastically lessened.
Adequate fluid replacement is pivotal to avoiding dehydration and curtailing the danger of head trauma in soccer players. Moreover, the American Council on Exercise has recommended the following system:
- Before training (2 – 3 hours), drink 17 – 20 ounces of water (about 2 – 2.5 cups).
- During workouts (every 10 – 20 minutes of the game), drink 7 – 10 ounces (about 1 cup).
- After soccer practice– 8 ounces (at least 1 cup).
However, you should lay off on heavy fluid consumption for about 45 minutes before training to avoid having water weight during practice. Ignore drinks incorporating caffeine, alcohol, and those beverages marketed as energy drinks, and try to soak up about a gallon of water a day.
Their training may increase the need for micronutrients to assist metabolic procedures within the body for big-time soccer players. When vitamins and minerals are in real food, these products get examined by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and are recognized as dietary supplements.
Many soccer players believe they do not get the required amount of vitamins and minerals in their food and turn to dietary supplements to augment this perceived lack.
They think that taking supplements will give them an edge on the field. However, the truth is that making sensible food and drink selections is far better.
An adequate level of understanding and awareness of foods that give critical nutrients will benefit a soccer player trying to get to the phase of their biggest capacity.
There are several distinct categories of micronutrients, comprising vitamins, minerals, and trace components necessary for the development of the body.
Your body utilizes amino acids for almost all of its processes, and when you are training, your body needs more amino acids. If you do not have amino acids readily accessible for your body to expend, it goes catabolic.
Catabolic indicates that your body starts to break down and uses the protein sources that build up your muscles to get the amino acid it lacks. This can be avoided if you provide the needed nutrients to your body.
Eggs are dense with nutrients like protein, Vitamin D, Vitamin A, Vitamin B2, iodine, and healthy fat. 2-4 eggs before attending a soccer practice will leave you with enough nutrients to keep you pumped during the training session.
You can also keep yourself alert and energized with green tea. Sipping green tea has been proven to do this because of its low caffeine combined with its high levels of L-Theanine.
Select vitamin-rich foods like the ones below to stabilize your nutrient levels before a training session:
- Vegetables: leafy green broccoli and spinach.
- Fruits: dried prunes, citrus fruits, pineapple, banana, and raisins.
- Grains: whole-grain, corn tortilla, whole grain spaghetti, and oatmeal.
- Dairy: milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, yogurt, dairy cheese, and cheddar cheese.
- Nuts: peanuts, and chickpeas.
These choices will make you highly attentive, without the unwanted jitters and absence of focus that occasionally comes from taking caffeine.
Healthy fat consumption is a significant fraction of an athlete’s pre-workout diet. Fats are:
- A fuel source.
- A vehicle for the input and absorption of fat-soluble vitamins.
- A fountain of vital greasy acids.
Sufficient eating of linoleic acid (an omega-6 fatty acid) and α-linolenic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid) naturally furnish the body with ~10% of the general dietary energy infusion of people who live sedentary lifestyles.
Do you want confidence?
Do you want to feel self-assured when you train?
Then you need testosterone; you might know of it, but are you aware of what it is responsible for and how to increase its levels in your body? Testosterone is a steroid hormone that increases your levels of aggression.
Elevated degrees of testosterone will not only make you struggle harder, but they will also give rise to a more dominant mentality. Your testosterone levels can be boosted through the regular intake of healthy fats.
The cholesterol content in fats is a predecessor to testosterone. So raising it with foods such as avocado or coconut oil will assist you with some extra swagger during soccer training.
This has substantial benefits for players in stamina-required sports that need several explosions of strength, such as swimming, gymnastics, figure skating, judo, or soccer. Thankfully, there are several sources of fat in foods. For instance:
- Dairy products: cheese, whole milk, sour cream, and ice cream.
- Refined sources of nourishment: chips, crackers, granola bars, french fries, margarine, butter, and mayonnaise.
- Baked meats and fish.
Proteins should cover about 10 – 35% of the total calorie input of a soccer player. A professional dietitian familiar with sports nourishment can assist you in evaluating your specific protein needs.
If you don’t know any professional, take your weight in pounds, divide it by 2.2 to convert that number to kilograms, then multiply by 0.45 and 0.6 to get a projected range for your training needs.
Generally, it is recommended that you take three to four protein-dense meals, with at least ~0.4 g/kg BM per meal, which at four meals would provide ~1.6 g protein/kg BM per day.
Analysts say that protein needs for athletes are lower than the high quantities of proteins they consume. Employ the following recipes to guarantee that adequate amounts of protein are contained in your diet.
- For endurance, 1.2-1.4 g of protein per kilogram of body weight.
- To gain muscle mass, 1.6 – 2.0 g of protein per kilogram of body weight.
- Maintenance of strength; 1.6 – 1.7 g of protein per kilogram of body weight.
- Weight regulations; only 1.8 – 2.0 g of protein per kilogram of body weight.
Developing investigations on pre-sleep protein intake proposes a vital concern for soccer players. Prior information favors pre-sleep protein ingestion of ~0.4 g/kg BM within 3 hours of sleep preparations. This would serve to enhance adaptation during moments of increased training.
Every meal and snack should consist of about 15 – 30 grams of protein. Protein-rich foods that you can try:
- Chicken breast.
- Ground beef.
- Broiled fish.
- Cottage cheese.
- Greek yogurt.
- Cooked lentils.
- Cooked black beans.
Some acceptable meal suggestions to include in your pre-training diet:
- Sandwich with chicken and salad.
- Pasta with minced beef in tomato gravy.
- Chicken stir-fry is eaten with rice or quinoa.
- Yogurt with assorted fruits.
- Banana and some almonds.
- Peanut butter on oats.
If, in your case, solid food does not feel comfortable in your stomach before or during training, a fluid source of protein and carbohydrates such as a fruit smoothie can be a decent alternative.
If doing this is new to you, then test it out. Once you start to fill your body with nutrients using the above methods and ratios, your execution at the next training session will amaze you. Your energy gets high, causing you to feel good, and this feeling will last for the duration of the entire soccer practice.
Best Pre-practice Foods For Kid Soccer Players
Providing some snacks before soccer training is important. This should be something light and nutritious, like a peanut butter sandwich.
Try to give the child soccer players their meal 1 – 2 hours before soccer practice. This would give them sufficient time to digest the food before training.
In addition to this, you should pack snacks that do not spoil with time. Preparing pre-practice snacks that get to the destination of the soccer practice intact is best because most kid soccer training sessions are a good distance away from their homes.
Ensure that you ignore fatty foods, excessively sweet foods, and caffeine. These can increase blood sugar, which would then cause sugar levels to drop quickly during practice. If this happens, it will diminish the performance of the children.
Here are some cases of good pre-practice snacks:
- Whole grain bread/peanut butter
- Cereal that is low in sugar
- Low-fat cheese
- Turkey or chicken
- Fruit, such as apples, bananas, pears, oranges
Remember that each child is unique and responds to meals differently. However, with adequate planning and testing of dietary systems, each child will be properly fueled and energized before soccer practice.
Arsene Wenger attained tremendous success with Arsenal in England before retiring in 2018. It is said in soccer circles that the achievement resulted from the strict dietary modifications Wenger put together for the team in 1996.
He prohibited the players from consuming alcohol. In addition, he dissuaded them from smoking and munching on junk food. Arsene Wenger also made healthy food swaps, and within 7 years, he guided Arsenal to seven significant trophies!
The science behind nutrition in soccer is rapidly developing, and soccer practitioners must look for new advancements. The meal you take before soccer practice accomplishes two crucial objectives.
It prevents you from being hungry before and during practice, and it also conserves the best levels of energy for your muscles. Your goal should be to eat 3 – 4 hours before soccer training so your food can digest.
If you eat prematurely, you might feel hungry during practice. On the other hand, if there’s a delay in taking your pre-practice meal, you could be that individual who pukes on their teammate!
Thankfully, you do not have to go for a complicated diet or costly supplements to keep your body at peak health. Soccer athletes, their coaches, and their managers need to keep up with the recent and valid nutrition principles as they are constantly changing.
Hi there, I’m Jay.
Soccer is everything in my life! My friends and I have created this blog with all our enthusiasm, passion, and understanding after years of playing pro soccer. Hope you will enjoy it!