Sunday, September 2, 2012

Nutrition for Soccer (Football)

About Soccer
Malaysia National Players
Soccer is the most popular sport in the world. It is a game involving sudden sprints and bursts of energy rather than continuous moderate-intensity running. In a typical match, soccer players at elite level can cover up to 10-11 kilometres at fairly modest speed, sprint for about 800-1200 metres, accelerate 40-60 different times, and change direction every five seconds or so.

During a game lasting 90 minutes the alternating fast and slow running can easily deplete a players leg-muscle fuel stores (glycogen). Studies show that professional players spend over two-thirds of a typical match at 85 per cent of maximal heart rate and that players sometimes deplete 90% of their muscle glycogen during a match, more than enough to cause fatigue and dramatically reduce running speeds.
Training Diet

Maintaining adequate carbohydrate reserves and avoiding dehydration are the most important nutritional challenges for soccer players, especially because play is continuous, limiting the possibilities for fueling and replenishing body fluids.
Fluid Needs

Drinks should be made available prior to, during and immediately after training and matches. To minimize the risk of heat injury particularly on hot days, soccer players should try to establish a good drinking plan. Water is the most practical drink however a sports drink may provide an advantage in terms of encouraging greater fluid intake as well as directly enhancing performance by supplying carbohydrate (glucose, sucrose).

Before: 300-500 ml, 15 minutes before starting.
During: 150-250 ml every 15-20 minutes
After: To replace sweat losses. The amount required is individual, for every kilogram lost, you need to drink 1.5 litres of fluid.

What Should I Eat Pre-Event?

A day or two before the game pay attention to your urine color. If the urine is clear like
water or the color of lemon juice then that most likely means you are properly hydrated.
The darker the urine the more fluid you may need. The clearer the fluid the better
hydrated you are.

Is very important to eat at the right time and eat the right things. Choose foods and drinks that you enjoy and meet the criteria below:

Easy to digest (soft or liquid form like fruit smoothies, jelly)
High in carbohydrate
Low in fat and fiber (those 2 take longer time to digest)
Include plenty of fluids
Foods and drinks you familiar and enjoy most

An example of an eating plan 1-4 hours before the game could be something like this;

3-4 hours before: Nasi complete meal (no spicy, low fat, low fiber),400mls fruit juice
2 hours before: 200 g low fat fruit yoghurt & snack
1 hour before: 500 ml sports drink

 Foods to stay away:

Candy. Athletes have higher metabolisms than non-athletes. If you eat candy or drink soft drinks
prior to a game, blood sugar may go down which can result in light-headedness, fatigue
or loss of performance.

What Should I Eat/Drink During Competition?

During Competition Consume 1 cup cool ( 20celcius)  fluid every 15 minutes (if possible) and during breaks (it is vital that you drink even if you are not thirsty especially on hot days) if you wait till you are thirsty it may be too late, you could already be dehydrated. Flavored sport drinks are not needed unless playing at a high intensity or if the exercise session lasts 45-50 minutes. So a sports drink would be good for a game.

Be sure to rehydrate during halftime even if you are not thirsty. Gatorade or other sports drinks would be a good choice to replenish carbs and electrolytes that were lost during the first half. If you have gel supplement or banana that good.

One problem with water is that is can sometimes shut off the osmotic drive (thirst mechanisms) that you get for drinking. As little as 1 pint of water can turn this mechanism off even though you may have lost 4 pints of fluid. So you may drink a little water and not feel thirsty anymore, but in actuality your body still needs more water. Therefore thirst is not a good indicator of when you should drink. If you wait to drink when you are thirsty then it may be too late. You may already be dehydrated.

Also water doesn’t replace the lost electrolytes which are important in preventing muscle cramps. Drink plain water throughout the day before competition but when it comes to competition it may at times be better to drink the sports drink. Sports drinks may be superior to water in that it doesn’t seem to turn off the thirst mechanism. This may be because of the sodium in the sports drink.

Sports drinks are good because they replenish electrolytes, carbs and fluid all in one. Another reason is that carbohydrates in fluids have the effect of improving rates of fluid absorption by the intestines (a 6-7% carbohydrate solution is considered best), and the carbohydrates also help to replenish the muscle glycogen used during the exercise.

Beware, an athlete can lose performance when he or she loses only 1-2% of their body weight as fluid.

What About Recovery?

Players need to restock their fuel stores (glycogen) in their muscles, to repair muscle injury and to replace lost fluid by eating and drinking carbohydrate-rich foods, moderate protein (simple form like Amino Acids, protein powder, liquid form) and beverages (electrolytes). Aim to replace 1.5 times fluid losses (1.5 x kg of body weight loss). Drinks containing carbohydrate (eg. sports drinks) will assist with replacing energy stores. Fluids containing caffeine (such as coffee or colas) and alcohol are not suitable for recovery since they lead to increased urine losses. Aim to restock back all loses within 30minutes post game or training to maximize glycogen synthesis and muscle repair. Follow by complete meals 2-4hour after that.

Specific examples include:

2 x 500ml bottles of sports drink
500ml of low fat milk and a banana
Bread roll with banana and honey
200 gram carton of low fat fruit yoghurt and 1 x multi pack of breakfast cereal

Credit to:
SDA and Taylor. T

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