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C’mon England! Ten top diet tips for footballing success!


Eating the right foods will make all the difference when it comes to footballing success for England during next month’s football World Cup.

Diet is an essential part of sports training today; eating the right foods and drinks at the right time can really make the difference when it comes to (any type of) sports performance.

But how do you know what to eat and what to avoid? Nutrition is a minefield at the best of times, so here are ten top diet tips(1) to help boost training and perhaps help win that crucial match, whether you’re playing for England or your Sunday league team:

1. Eat the right amount of calories. Eat too little and you won’t have the energy to perform to the best of your ability, eat too much and you’ll gain weight (mainly as fat) which will also impair your performance.

2. Focus on carbohydrate: carbohydrate is the king of nutrients when it comes to providing energy for sports performance.

3. Most carbs should be starchy (e.g. bread, pasta and rice) but sugar-containing foods (e.g. from fruits and juices and sports drinks) count too.

4. Refuelling between training sessions/games is essential. Carbohydrate stores are limited so it’s important to top them up.

5. Eat protein for building and repairing muscles; but if you’re eating a varied diet you should easily be getting enough.

6. Make sure you’re well hydrated before training or a match.

7. Drink to match your sweat losses during exercise. But don’t drink so much that you gain weight as this will hinder your performance. Drinking too little can be dangerous.

8. Drink 1 ¼ – 1 ½ litres for each kilo of body weight you lose during exercise. You will need to weigh yourself before and after exercise to work this out!

9. Remember to rest and replenish your carbohydrate stores, and replace lost fluid and salt between sessions if you want to perform to the best of your ability.

10. High carb meals and snacks are really useful ways of fuelling fitness. If you’re training away from home, take some portable and tasty snacks with you.

Professor Ron Maughan(2) from the University of Loughborough, an expert in nutrition and exercise performance points out that there is often a fine line between success and failure. “Attention to detail can make that vital difference, whenever highly talented, motivated and well-trained players meet in competition, as the margin between victory and defeat is often small.”

“Diet affects performance, and the foods that we choose before, during and after training and competition will affect how well we train and play. All players need to be aware of their personal nutritional goals and of how they can select an eating strategy to meet those goals”.

Thus, fuelling training properly will help ensure that goals are met and perhaps even that goals are scored in crunch matches. Eating and drinking the right things can really make all the difference; a flagging footballer won’t have the energy to curve the ball into the corner of the net but one that is properly hydrated and has had enough of the right fuels can sneak the ball into the net and help turn around a match in the crucial last minutes.

So here’s to a great recipe for footballing success this summer!

Hannah Theobald | alfa
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