Did you know the average soccer player covers more than 5.5 miles during a standard 90-minute match? This takes an awful lot of energy, and in order to keep going strong from start to finish you have to keep your body in ideal physical shape. An often-overlooked aspect of maintaining ideal soccer shape is eating right. At Semper Soccer, we’re trying to relive our glory days on the pitch and our fridge is full of veggies and pre-made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Here are a few eating tips every soccer player should know.
Carbs are like fuel for the body. We rely on carbs to keep us going during a grueling match in high heat and the everyday grind of practice and weightlifting. Foods high in carbohydrates that are part of a well-balanced diet include whole-grain bread, cereals, fruits and vegetables.
Anyone who has ever stepped foot in a gym has overheard someone talking about their protein shakes or protein-rich foods. Proteins are essential to building muscle because they help to repair it. In addition to drinking protein shakes after a workout, several entrees are rich in protein, too. These include fish, chicken, eggs, turkey and beef. You can also receive proteins from a number of other snacks like cheese sticks, yogurt and nuts.
Fats are also part of a well-balanced diet, and although you don’t want to eat an entire container of ice cream, you can indulge in heart-healthy fats to receive the essential nutritional requirement. Heart-healthy fats include nuts, salmon, avocado, peanut butter and cooking oils like olive oil, sunflower oil or sesame oil.
Watch your fluid intake
Soccer players can lose anywhere between two liters and three quarts of fluid from sweat during a match. To avoid dehydration and to keep your energy level high, it’s important to be aware of your fluid intake – drink two cups a couple of hours before your game or practice, one cup during warm-ups, another two at halftime and three after. Mixing in a sports drink helps compensate fluid lost through sweat, and many contain 15 to 19 carbohydrates per eight ounces for an extra boost in energy.
Eating after you play
It’s important to eat after you play, practice or train. This aids recovery and helps you stay energized day after day. This is especially important during weekend tournament play where games sometimes feel like they overlap. Try to eat an energy bar or consume sports gels to keep your carb intake and energy level high.
No matter how old or devoted to soccer you are, these are all healthy-eating tips to help you maintain a balanced diet and peak physical fitness. Make sure to check back with the Semper Soccer blog for more fitness and training tips next week.