Nutrition in football (soccer)

  1. Training cycles, carbohydrate manipulation
  2. Nutritional recommendations for the consumption of carbohydrates
  3. Dietary preparation for the match
  4. Completing the energy during the break


  1. Training cycles, carbohydrate manipulation

Training load management is traditionally considered as a weekly cycle consisting of one or more meetings per week (ie from Saturday to Saturday). It is worth noting that elite players can play two or three times a week more often. The given situation results from the involvement of teams in competitions, including home league or other European leagues.


Different game scenarios require detailed monitoring of the players in order to manage the trainings, so that they can be optimally matched to the match system and regeneration while preventing injuries. The changes in the frequency of the game and the related workouts also have obvious consequences for the nutrition strategy. Nutritional recommendations should take into account metabolic demand and daily energy expenditure, varying depending on the training week. This is especially important in supporting the match day from the point of view of the role and availability of carbohydrates. On the match day an increased dose of carbohydrates is required. However, limiting them on other days may help adaptation and increased lipid oxidation.


  1. Nutritional recommendations for the consumption of carbohydrates

Considering the physical effort of a football match – well-documented nutritional strategies emphasize the importance of high carbohydrate availability. Nutritional activities are aimed at increasing muscle glycogen stores. It should be started 24-48 h before the match. Recommendations regarding carbohydrate intake differ on the day of the match / hard training from days lighter / free from training. On days off, the need for carbohydrates should be CHO <4-5 g / kg body weight. On the day before the match, during the match day and the next day in order to ensure proper regeneration, it is worth introducing a higher availability of carbohydrates. It should be 6-10 g / kg body weight – this technique is aimed at optimizing muscle glycogen. In a study conducted by James Morton et al.With Liverpool FC players the carbohydrate distribution looked as follows on training days the supply was 4.2 g / kg body weight, and on match days the standard amount was 6.4 g / kg body weight.


  1. Dietary preparation for the match

The nutrition match protocol includes meals consumed the day before the show and the match day. The priority for the player on this day is to provide the right amount of fluids and products well tolerated and digested by the body.

Meals during the day preceding the performance should be based on easily digestible products. It is necessary to exclude cruciferous vegetables, onions, leeks, unripe and stone fruits as well as spicy spices. Meals should be prepared in a delicate way, stewed with a small amount of fat, delicately grilled or steamed. If there is a tendency for gastrointestinal problems during activity, reduce the amount of fiber. On this day, it is worth considering the elimination of dairy products due to lactose (sugar), ie curd, milk, yoghurts. You can exchange them for rice and almond milk.

Meals during the match day

Pre-match meals should provide energy to replenish muscle glycogen if it has not been fully replenished after the last training session; protect the body against hunger and prevent discomfort from the digestive tract. In addition, each meal should provide psychological comfort by preparing it with the participation of well-known and liked products. Each meal before the match should be tried on the training day. Planned dishes on the day of the match is worth starting with the hour of the match, deducting meals back. If the meeting appears at 15.00, the pre-match meals will include breakfast and a match meal. If the meeting is earlier, at 12:00, the breakfast meal is a match meal.

Meals preceding the performance should be scheduled in accordance with the procedure of the previous day. Based on products with a reduced amount of fiber, animal fats, prepared in a gentle manner. Most fruits and vegetables are rich in fiber, so to reduce its amount, eat vegetables prepared in broth or steamed. As an addition to meals, we suggest choosing those with a reduced amount of fiber, e.g. tomatoes (without the skin), olives, courgettes, grapes, grapefruit, beets, bananas, oranges, kiwi, watermelon, melon. In addition to vegetables and fruits should also be other sources of carbohydrates; it is worth based on millet, basmati rice, rice pasta or durum, graham bread or wheat bread. Supplementing the meal should be a wholesome protein, that is fish (cod, salmon, pollock) or poultry or beef.Prepare dishes in a delicate way strangling with a small amount of fat, gently grilling or steaming.

Another key element of the player’s preparation is hydration of the body. Just as carbohydrate loading appears on the day before the show, so hydration should also start the day before, complementing the fluid loss created during the previous training session. It is worth monitoring the hydration status by examining urine osmolarity or assessing body weight. In order to achieve an optimal hydration level before the match, players should ensure that they take 5-7 ml / kg body weight 2-3 hours before the match, and excess fluid will be excreted through the urine. However, the amount of fluids during the warm-up should be less, 100-150 ml.


  1. Completing the energy during the break

Due to the rules of the game, the chance of providing nutrients during the match is limited. During the break, players should supplement the loss of carbohydrates and lost fluids. Competitors should reach for a small snack with a high degree of caution, the product should be planned in advance and tested during training. The energy source should be products containing carbohydrates in an amount from 30-60 high glycemic index to provide energy for working muscles. Snacks can be natural food products such as dates, bananas or products for athletes energy bars with reduced amount of fat and fiber, gels, isotonic beverages.



Collinsj., Practical Considerations in Elite Football 2014.

Enright K., Implementing concurrent-training and nutritional strategies in professional football 2016.

FC Barcelona Sports Nutrition Guide Medical Services. &. The Gatorade Sports Science Institute 2014-2016.

AJMOL, A Carbohydrate ingestion and soccer skill during the prolonged intermittent exercise 2004.

Ali, A., & Williams, C., Carbohydrate ingestion and soccer skill during the prolonged intermittent exercise, J Sports Sci 2009, 27, 1499-1508.

Nutritional Status and Daytime Pattern of Protein. Intake on Match, Post-Match, Rest and Training. Professional and Youth Elite Soccer Players.

Posted on: October 15, 2018

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