Guide to a Footballer's Diet

Physical conditioning, injuries, nutrition and everything related to fitness
gnarlyjim
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Hey, just thought I'd make this guide because it seems like lots of people don't know what to eat/drink for sports. Anyway, please post saying if this helped you. Thanks.


Nutrition affects Performance.

A good diet, with all the necessary vitamins, minerals, proteins, and calories may give you that extra little push at the end of a game. It may mean scoring, or not scoring, or the difference between winning and losing.

Let's go back to the Food Pyramid. It provides great guidelines for how much of each group is needed. The number of servings will vary though, depending on how much you play or train.

Here's the pyramid: http://monarch.gsu.edu/images/food%20pyramid.jpg

Anyway, as most people probably know, complex carbs are great "football" foods. They are found in foods such as pasta, bagels, whole grain breads and rice. They are low in fat, plus, they give you energy, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Having a diet consisting of lots of carbs has been proven to enhance performance in sports such as football, running (long distance) etc. as they are events lasting more than one hour.

According to my biology teacher, eating lots of carbs will also increase your body's energy stores, which are called glycogen. The most important factor is that you consume 50%-60% of your calories from carbs.

Protein

The main duties of protein is to repair tissue and of course, support growth. You dont need a high protein diet to promote muscvle growth. You can;t gain muscle without the appropriate weight-lifting/training, or to gain muscle in your legs, running. Amino acids and very high protein intakes are not good for you as they put stress on your kidneys (they have to remove the extra nitrogen I think).

Water/Staying Hydrated

Many times, atheletes overlook their body's need for water. I admit, I need to drink more fluids than i currently do, but so do a lot of others. I heard a fact somewhere that in one hour, you can lose several litres of sweat! Any body weight lost while training or competing should be replaced by drinking.
Your best bet at rehydration is drinking cool water. Drink stuff like water, juice, and milks. It has also been shown that kids don't react to thirst as much as adults, so they should drink even if they aren't too thirsty. Also avoid caffeine. Try to drink before playing, during the game, and after to make sure you have sufficient fluids.

(Icy) If you sweat alot, add a pinhc of salt to something like orange juice to replace lost sodium. Not enough sodium can lead to hyponatremia which can be fatal.


Anyway, that is my guide.. I hope it helped some people. Now stop reading and go play football.
Last edited by gnarlyjim on 26 Jan 2007, 22:20, edited 1 time in total.

Icy
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This guide is pretty good.

Heres a few quick things that I think can be corrected in this. If you sweat a lot (like more than a liter in an hour) you should add a pinch of salt or mix in something like orange juice with your water to get extra sodium. When you sweats it also releases a lot of salt and by not getting enough salt it can lead to things like hyponatremia which can be fatal.

Also if you even feel a little bit thirsty you should get water as soon as you can because the human sense for thirst is quite weak and humans bodies usually need water before they even feel thirsty.

After reading this this has inspired me to do something like this because I love to research nutrition and anything that can help my preformance. So thanks for the inspiration. :)
"Somewhere along the line, we seem to have confused comfort with happiness"

gnarlyjim
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Thanks for the reply. Cool, I'll add in the sodium part. Any other replies people?
:P
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ben23
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Just to say good post. Alot of people don't understand the importance of drinking water among other things.

mufc21
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ye thats a good guide you have there. But if you sweat a litre in an hour then you must be 800 pouns. A litre of sweat is a crap load, i dont think its possible. Thats 4 glasses of water.

gnarlyjim
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Well, maybe not, but that was just something I've heard somewhere.
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mufc21
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i know. You gave a good tip but im just saying sweating 1 litre is a lot. More than usual for a high active sport. Good tip though.

Icy
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It's definately not impossible it's called hyperhydrosis which is pretty much excessive sweating. I have it (not diagnosised but a bit obvious) and the palms of my hands are just about always a little wet from sweat. Also when I jog a very slow half mile I can already start feeling the sweat coming down my face (so imagine how it is when I am actually training :( ). So it's definately not impossible just may not happen to everyone. No matter what though you should always try to replenish lost sodium from sweat.

Edit: Yeah, a liter is quite a bit so I will admit you can't sweat a few liters but still I think the point was just sweating a lot.
"Somewhere along the line, we seem to have confused comfort with happiness"

gnarlyjim
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Hey Icy, you seem to know alot about this kind of thing. How do you know so much? :shock:
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powell
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well mate, good guide should help out people alot who want to know what the rights things you need to eat and drink are. I rated it 4 stars and i would of stickied it but got beaten to it, again good job.

gnarlyjim
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Thanks Powell. I just want to thank everyone for the feedback. In the future and I make a guide and I'm looking for feedback, tell me what you think. If you don't think it'll be helpful, tell me why. I'm open to constructive criticism, just don't be tooooo harsh :P .
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Nevergiveup
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Footballers Food & Nutritional Information
(‘Food & Drink Guidelines‘)

As people not just athletes we should always try to remember that every ounce of energy used in our day to day lives, is given to us from the foods & fluids we eat & drink. Even that which seems an easy task like talking, walking, reading or even thinking will decrease our energy levels. These energy levels should be and are constantly replaced at meal times, breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. An athlete, footballer or anybody undertaking physically demanding activities (which will require high energy levels) should pay special attention to their diet, health and all round PHYSICAL CONDITIONING!!

Try to think of your body as a vehicle that simply drives you from A to B on a football pitch.
If you put Bad fuels into a car will it work properly?
If you put Good fuels into a car, will it work better?
If you don’t put enough fuel in a car will it complete its journey? If you drive the car too frequently without replacing its fuel or maintaining it, will your vehicle break down?

Don’t allow your body to break down & let you down because you didn’t have enough fuel…. If you’re accidentally injured and cannot perform this is an uncontrollable factor & part of being a footballer, you simply need to Rest/Recover & Re-train. However your diet is a controllable factor, so take control, eat & drink healthily and you will see the positive rewards both on and off the football pitch.

Positive Benefits of a Healthy Balanced Diet:

Feel good factor (feel better about yourself & can build confidence).

Concentration & attention levels increase (crucial to learning more and improving as a footballer)

Physically tougher (certain illnesses & injuries will occur less often) Training/learning capabilities increase (train and play for longer periods due to higher energy levels/less injuries, faster recovery rate from performing or even injuries. Your potential to perform/learn and improve increases!)

CONFIDENCE; all the benefits above and many more I’m sure lead to one thing, confidence. (An increase in confidence levels can lead to an increase in development and performance.)

REMEMBER:
‘A Healthier & Stronger footballer, is a better footballer’! ‘Work hard at your diet & get into good habits. Your good eating and drinking habits should compliment your good training habits!!

Healthy & High Energy Food & Drink

The following is a list of foods which are good energy sources & will help fuel your body. Each food is marked either (S) or (M) meaning ideal as part of either a Snack or a Meal.
A Healthy balanced diet should contain Carbohydrates, Protein, Fats, Fibre, Minerals, Vitamins and Water.
Task; If you are unsure of your food groups, e.g ‘what is a high carbohydrate food?’ Research by reading, watching or asking then listen, understand & learn!

Almonds (S)
Lentils (M)
Bagels (S)
Milk (M)
Bananas (S)
Noodles (M)
Beans (M)
Nuts (S)
Bread (whole grain) (M)
Oatmeal (M)
Brown Rice (M)
Onions (M)
Cereal (M)
Oranges (S)
Cereal Bars (S)
Pasta (M)
Chicken (M)
Peanut Butter (S)
Chocolate (small amounts)
Peppers (M)
Eggs (M)
Potatoes (M)
Energy bars (S)
Pretzels (S)
Fish (M)
Raisins (S)
Fruit (S)
Red Meat (lean type) (M)
Garlic (M)
Salad (M)
Green leafy vegetables (M)
Soup (M)
Honey (S)
Spinach (M)
Jam (S)
Vegetables (M)
Kiwi fruits (S)
Yoghurt (S)

Healthy Drinks

Water; should be drunk frequently, keeping our bodies hydrated, maintaining and supporting energy levels. The more we exercise the more water should be consumed. TIP: ‘don’t guzzle and fill yourself up, (you may need to pass water sooner, therefore de-hydrating the system faster). Drink smaller amounts more often.

Fruit juice; non-concentrated if possible try to drink 100% fruit juices or smoothies.
TIP: A healthy juice is ‘A piece of fruit washed down with water’.

Sports & Energy Drinks; Lucozade, powerade and Gatorade are just 3 examples of sports drinks available to buy. These drinks are excellent for providing high energy levels before, during and after sport. These are high in
glucose/Carbohydrates (a high energy source) and also contain salt which tricks the body into drinking more.

REMEMBER: Fizzy drinks will dehydrate your system fast, so try to avoid them!

Nutritional Information

Protein, fats and carbohydrates, what are they?

PROTEIN - Is a minor energy source, used for growth, repair, manufacturing muscle and produces hormones.

FATS - Are a concentrated energy source, that builds body tissues.

CARBOHYDRATES - Are the main energy source for the body that is used in all exercise. Carbohydrates simply fuel our body and will need to be eaten most regularly.

A healthy balanced footballers diet should consist of: CARBOHYDRATES 55-60%; PROTEIN 25-30%; FAT 10-15%

Daily Diet - Guidelines (What & When to eat!)
The following timetable is simply an example of what & when a footballer might eat.
Plan your own diet to best suite your daily routine, especially training & match-days.
Remember: if you train or take part in sport regularly your system will rely on you to supply GOOD ENERGY FOODS at the best and most appropriate time possible.
As a footballer you should work hard to improve your diet, its equally as important as your physical, technical & tactical training. ‘Be a smart footballer by eating healthily!’ Remember, a better diet will lead to higher energy levels.
MORE ENERGY= MORE EXERCISE= MORE CHANCES TO PERFORM!!

A guide for footballers, three main daily meals!

Breakfast:
As early as possible once you’re awake. This meal should consist mainly of High Energy Carbohydrates.
e.g. - Cereals (wheat or oatmeal) with semi skimmed milk, a glass of orange juice & a banana.

Lunch:
Should be eaten 4 - 5 hours after you’ve eaten breakfast. Should consist mainly of High Energy Carbohydrates.
e.g. - A jacket potato filled with baked beans, cheese or tuna, small portion of salad, a yoghurt/piece of fruit with fruit juice/water or sports drink.

Dinner:
Should be eaten 4-5 hours after lunch. Should consist mainly of High Energy Carbohydrates & some protein.
e.g. Pasta/rice, chicken (not fried), fresh vegetables (or salad), Bread (whole meal), yoghurt/fresh fruit with water/sports drink or fruit juice.

Snacks;- 2/3 a day between meals to support your diet. e.g. - fruit, yoghurts etc).

Food Plan & Routine - Training Day/Match Day

DAILY EXAMPLE: Training 6:30 pm to 8pm

All the following choices of food or drink are simply examples of healthy eating & high energy fuel for a footballer. Choose what you prefer!

7:00 am Wake-up - Allow yourself 15 mins to wake & then ENJOY breakfast.

7:15 am - Breakfast - Cereals, milk, toast with jam, piece of fruit/fruit juice & water.

10:00 to 11am - Snack - Fruit, pretzels, nuts, cereal/health bars, yoghurt. (Choose)

12:00 to 1:pm - Lunch - Chicken salad sandwich (brown bread) cereal/health bars, fruit, chocolate (small amounts), Sports drink/water/fruit juice e.g. smoothie.

2:00 to 3pm - Snack - Fruit, jelly babies, jaffa cakes, Sports drink or water.

3:30 to 4:30 pm - Dinner - Pasta with chicken, fresh veg/salad, bread .Desert- Fruit, yoghurt, rice pudding with jam. Water or sports drink.

6:30 pm - TRAINING starts - Drink Water or a sports drink during training. (During a match a half time snack is important - Jelly babies, Jaffa cakes, banana etc)

8:00pm - TRAINING Ends - Cool down - keep drinking water or sports drinks to replace the lost fluids, and begin to restore your low energy levels ASAP!

8:00pm to 9pm - Journey home - Nourishment, sports drink, bananas or snack bar. (When you get home a SNACK, maybe a sandwich or cereals would be a good idea!!)

For Match days adjust & plan your eating timetable around your Kick-off time!

THINK!!!
On your journey home your system will already be working to replace lost energy.
The first 30 mins after performing is crucial - you need to replace energy levels now!! The speed of your physical recovery & preparation for your next training session or match begins now! When the day is over and your training is finished, your system will already be working hard to Recover & Replenish energy levels or even repair possible damage to muscles & joints. You must assist this process by eating well and sleeping well at the appropriate times. The rewards will be significant, your system will function to its full potential, allowing you to perform to your potential!

REMEMBER:
‘A Healthier & Stronger footballer, is a better footballer’! ‘Work hard at your diet & get into good habits. Your good eating and drinking habits should compliment your good training habits!!

I thjought I'd build on what gnarlyjim saqid and produce my own guide. Hope it's helpuful to you!

gnarlyjim
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Did you really write everything there by yourself?
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AmericanFutballer
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Nice guides guys. I will definitely look into this for my summer diet.
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Nevergiveup
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Yes I've been wirting it and editing it for weeks!

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