Updates: Nutrition Strategies

Training diet for soccer

A general healthy eating pattern helps to support the needs of fit, energetic and lean player. Nutrition plans should be based around lean proteins for muscle repair and recovery, carbohydrate appropriately timed for fuel. In addition, fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and wholegrains provide important vitamins and minerals, along with some healthy fats such as avocado, nuts, olive oily and oily fish such as salmon.

Soccer players should adjust their food and fluid intake to match their training load. For example, during heavy training periods, a diet rich in carbohydrate foods is important to provide adequate fuel to reduce fatigue, sustain performance and promote recovery. During lighter training periods or rest days, a less carbohydrate is needed given the lower energy demands on the body.

Soccer is a professional career at an elite level, however many amateur players also have work and study commitments to manage around their soccer schedules. To manage this busy lifestyle good nutrition habits are important and make a huge difference on and off the field.

Hydration needs

Fluid requirements during matches can be considerable due to the high intensity of a match (further exacerbated if hot weather). Dehydration can negatively impact soccer performance – particularly endurance, speed, skill execution and decision-making.

Having fluids with all meals and snacks, carrying a water bottle throughout the day, and drinking 200-600ml of fluid just before the start of training are useful strategies to optimise hydration levels. When training, players should make use of any break opportunities to grab a drink. During intense or long sessions, sports drinks can be useful as they contain carbohydrate to help replace energy stores plus fluid and electrolytes for rehydration.

Rehydrating after training is particularly important – especially if training in hot weather or with training sessions close together. The addition of electrolytes to fluids or consuming salty foods alongside fluids (e.g. vegemite on crackers) can help with rehydration goals.