Friday, June 20, 2014
4 World Cup Nutrition Tips for Soccer Players
With the World Cup in full swing, everyone has soccer on the mind. For the aspiring players out there, here are 4 nutrition tactics you can use to improve your game immediately.
1. Start with hydration
Soccer is a fast-moving game, often played in the heat of the summer or on humid indoor fields. To maintain hydration levels during the game, drink 2 cups water 2 hours before, 1 cup water 1 hour before and 3 cups of water per hour of play. Heavy sweaters should consider sports drink in place of water. If play continues longer than one hour, sports drink is a must. Remember that even a 2% loss in body weight affects performance on the field.
2. Replenish at halftime
In high-level, fast-moving soccer play, participants will use up all stored carbohydrate by the end of the first half. That means replenishing stores during halftime is key. Focus on mainly carbohydrate foods such as sports drink, dried fruit, orange slices or fruit strips. You can also use a low protein granola bar such as Nature Valley crunchy, Kashi or original Clif. If you choose solid foods, however, be sure to drink plenty of water to assist with stomach emptying and rehydration.
3. Plan for recovery
Your job is not finished when the game ends. After play, take in a food source that provides fluid, carbohydrates, protein and electrolytes to replenish what you just used up. Some player favorites include 2 cups low-fat chocolate cow's/soy milk or Gatorade Recovery Protein Shakes. There are, however, many options. Drink your fluid within 30 minutes of finishing play to achieve optimal recovery.
4. Choose wisely between games
Players who take part in tournaments often find that timing of games is unpredictable, which makes choosing snacks between games difficult. To combat this, use your best guess as to how much time you have until your next game and follow these guidelines:
30-45 min. until next game: Snack on mainly carbohydrate foods (low-fiber grains such as pretzels or saltine crackers, fruits, dried fruits, sports drinks or other products such as chews and gels)
60-90 min.: Mainly carbohydrate + a small amount of protein (Clif Mojo, Luna Bar, nut butter and jam sandwich, trail mix with fruit and nuts)
>90 min: Meal consisting of carbohydrate, protein and small amount of fat (Deli/sub sandwich - no mayo, Pasta with red sauce and lean meat, Thin crust pizza loaded with veggies and lean meat toppings)
Go Team USA! Beat Portugal this Sunday!
Picture source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bryanalexander/