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Do you know how football players eat? Find out here!

Generally speaking, the diet of most people who already have “good health” does not require great feats. This is because there are no extreme needs, as in some diseases or for high-performance athletes, so this facilitates food management.

However, the diet of high-performance athletes, for example, requires some specific needs to improve their performance, which also vary considerably according to the sport.

It is worth mentioning that when we talk about athletes, the first and most important tip is: everything varies according to the training phase , not just for who is prescribed.

Understand better below!

Energy adequacy

Energy dictates any and all activities we perform , from thinking to locomotion, which are mediated by the energy we produce, based on what we eat and store through macronutrients.

Each person has a minimum of energy to be absorbed . In the case of food for football players, this would not be different. They are capable of covering several kilometers on the field during a game, as well as their training sessions are long-lasting and subdivided into specific training, collective training and even bodybuilding aimed at developing explosive strength, aerobic or anaerobic resistance.

Within this, depending on the moment in which that individual is, the energy need changes — as well as the volume of these training sessions or the time spent on the field also influences the energy consumption by the player.

For this reason, it is essential to make energy adequacy in the diet of soccer players to avoid hormonal, structural, cognitive, digestive and metabolic complications, in order to be able to support the adaptations and individual needs of that player.

For greater precision in high-performance athletes, it is necessary that the energy calculation is performed by a specialized professional , using anthropometric measurements and specific formulas to arrive at the result as close to reality as possible, also based on the client’s dietary history.


Feeding football players requires not only food, but also hydration.

Depending on the training time, climate and humidity of the place where they are, players can lose a high volume of water through sweat , obtaining a weight variation that also needs to be controlled so that the individual does not become hypohydrated and develop performance complications.

For this hydration to be more accurate, it is necessary to understand the initial and final weight of physical activity, in each type of training, each training phase or the games themselves. For this, these data are used in order to calculate the rate at which the athlete loses fluids through sweat.

After we understand the volume for that specific environment and in that context, this measure is used to arrange the hydration during exercise in congruent intervals of time and in similar volumes.

Good quality carbohydrates

Each carbohydrate has its role according to the period in which the athlete is . Good quality, which everyone wants, is subjective to the moment in which the athlete will ingest it.

There are 3 possible scenarios for this:

  • pre workout;
  • intra-workout;
  • after training;

Considering that the pre-training precedes the training session, it is important to mention that it starts in its post. Both scenarios are intertwined.

Carbohydrate replacement right after the session is important to more effectively establish glycogen stores in the muscle, which may be composed of simpler carbohydrates — with a higher glycemic index — and followed by more complex carbohydrates — fibrous, which would arrive more gradually in the blood and, consequently, in the muscle, being better used by them.

In the immediate moment of the pre-training session , the carbohydrate ingested within the period of 60 minutes can be characterized as efficient to increase the glucose content (“sugar”) in the blood, saving muscle reserves . This does not need to be accompanied by some food source of proteins or fats, and can be simpler and more easily digested and/or absorbed.

In cases of 90 minutes or more, prior to training , it is recommended to eat more complex carbohydrates, with more fiber, which may be accompanied by fats or proteins. However, it is worth mentioning that both strategies can be used concomitantly and even at the same time, depending on the activity performed and leading to sensitivity in the football player’s diet in question.

In the intra-training period , carbohydrates need to be easily absorbed, gradually arriving in the blood, aiming to sustain the exercise for a longer time and reduce the feeling of inevitable fatigue with training. Its administration can be carried out in equivalent doses, at similar intervals.

Protein adequacy for football players

Proteins are fundamental structural components for various body tissues and essential to our existence. Thus, for athletes, their intake is very important.

In terms of football players’ nutrition, we need to keep in mind that their intake is above the standard for a common individual. This is because this individual’s protein breakdown is high — due to the high volume of muscle contractions —, however, his ability to use this protein is far above common for other people in society.

Depending on the purpose, your intake can be even higher, because in cases of muscle hypertrophy, which aims to increase the athlete’s mass volume, we need an effective dosage that supports the training stimulus in the body.

Not only that, due to the high volume of training, the athlete has several acute stimuli to shake the immunity, which needs to be mediated by a good production of immune system cells, formed by proteins.

Therefore, the amount of protein needs to be up to date for health promotion, proper body repair and muscle adaptations.

Need for nutritional supplementation

Most high performance athletes believe they need to use supplements to succeed in their preparations and championships. However, it is not always necessary .

Most use it for two simple reasons: practicality and feasibility.

The practicality of a supplement is clear for being easy to transport and for its ability to be administered in any environment. Viability exists because, many times, there are so high food demands that the individual cannot bear to eat so much food.

In the sporting world, certain adaptations can be enhanced with certain supplements. In the case of the soccer world, creatine, nitrate, glycerol and beta-alanine can be interesting options to exacerbate muscle adaptations and improve physical performance during the activity or game, varying according to the type of exercise or event performed.

It is worth mentioning that its usefulness is not a rule! It depends on who and for whom.

Right time and way to make food exceptions

Food exceptions are those specific times when we give up our standard meal to eat another, unusual one, involving some reason, whether behavioral or routine.

For high-performance athletes, there are not so specific moments to make a dietary exception. However, close to the competition phase, it is indicated that the player does not deviate from the usual , to avoid any complications during the competition.

During the preparation, the most important thing is that this is not extremely recurring, just done punctually in the week, avoiding the proximity of training for certain foods. However, those with more simple carbohydrates can be inserted close to the training session or after it, for example, reinforcing that this should happen one time or another, not all of them.

Beware of fat

Don’t be surprised, fats play an extremely important role in the body and in the nutrition of soccer players. This is because they allow several systems – nervous, cardiac, vascular, among others – to support their functionality, in addition to helping in the absorption of certain vitamins, such as A, D, E and K.

Fats also act in hormone production and even cell formation. However, it’s important to pay attention to the amount and times for each portion .

Often, the proximity of training, type of training and ingested fat can generate some stomach or intestinal discomfort. Not only that, but in the long run, a high intake of saturated fats can end up promoting an increase in LDL cholesterol, becoming dangerous for an athlete’s cardiovascular system. On the other hand, for specific fats, which suffer a faster breakdown, their intake can be efficient for games.

In ideal and regulated portions , fats tend to promote better performance for athletes, and it is important to mention the role of unsaturated fats in promoting health.

Supplements for football Players

There are different supplements capable of benefiting the sports practice of a high-performance athlete and, speaking more specifically of the nutrition of a soccer player, they are capable of enhancing the performance of these athletes.


Creatine is a sports supplement that is easy to insert into a football player’s diet and with an immense purpose.

In addition to promoting an increase in available energy for explosive actions, it can be a strong ally in plyometric training, promoting an increase in sprints and jumps before the competitive phase.

Sodium bicarbonate for football players

Sodium bicarbonate is a possibility to improve the blood acidity stabilization system , caused during prolonged exercise, such as during a football match. Thus, it helps to reduce the feeling of fatigue and sustains the activity for a longer time, without compromising the functionality of the organs (motor or not) involved.

However, its application has to be initiated during the training phase when there are less chances of compromising the preparation, as bicarbonate can have laxative side effects. Therefore, it is necessary to train the organism to receive it and not harm the competition.


Nitrate is a substance present mainly in beets. Its role in the body is to promote a marked dilation of blood vessels , improving the nutrition of target tissues, such as muscle. Not only that, but also improving the removal of waste generated from muscle contraction and energy generation.

Caffeine for football players
Caffeine can make muscle contractions more effective , improving start time or jump size for some athletes—with optimal levels of calcium, particularly in muscle.

In addition, caffeine reduces the self-perception of the effort required by the activity , postponing fatigue, and may even be able to improve the restoration of muscle glycogen in the recovery period.

It is worth paying attention to possible laxative effects depending on where you are, as well as any sleep disturbances resulting from this supplementation.

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