Like most sportsman, footballers have to keep a strict diet to ensure they are at their peak of physical fitness. Long gone are the days where you would see players down the local pub having a meat pie and a couple of pints the night before a game - we are in a totally new era where every advantage counts.
First and foremost eating right is key to achieving physical fitness. You can't eat too much because you'll put on weight, but you also can't eat too little as you won't have the energy needed for training and matches. Also you have to make sure what you are putting into your body is the right stuff. Lots of chocolate sounds great but it isn't what'll give you that extra yard of pace on a Saturday.
This is the first port of call for people wanting to get fit and prepare for sporting glory. Cabrohydrates help your muscles recover after exercise, which is of vital importance not only in keeping you healthy, but in giving you the ability to exercise harder and for longer. You need to eat plenty of high glycemic foods which are the best for muscle recovery.
Foods such as bread, pasta, rice, baked potatos are rich in the type of carbs that you want to be eating meal wise after exercise. Straight after a work-out, training session or match you need something quick, and foods such as jaffa cakes, muffins and bananas will give you that quick boost. Isotonic drinks such as Lucozade Sport are superior to straight water as it gets straight to the part of the body that needs it and will re-hydrate the system faster.
Protein is also helpful in a balanced diet. Protein can be converted to fat and stored like carbohydrates. Good sources of protein are dairy products such as milk, yoghurt and meats and poultry.
Without a doubt one of the huge steps forward in recent years has been the introduction of isotonic sports drinks. The science behind it is that when sodium is absorbed into the blood - it takes water with it which replaces the salt that has left the system through sweat. That is the real plus point of isotonic drinks over water.
Electrolytes are in essence the salts that are lost through sweating. These are found in isotonic drinks and getting them into the system will aid the digestion and osmosis of fluid coming into the body and the muscles. This is important as it'll help the muscles recover quicker and should keep dehydration away.
The energy within these drinks comes in the form of glucose. Drinking this during training will help your muscles work for longer and drinking it afterwards will help speed up the recovery process of your muscles.
A Full Weeks Diet
Here is a rough idea of the type of diet you should be having to get and then keep you in peak physical shape (not withstanding an exercise and training regime):
Breakfasts should concentrate on cereals, preferably branflakes, shredded wheat and the likes. Bagels are also good as are muffins, preferably bran or wild blueberry.
Lunches of the likes of baked potatoes with beans or tuna are excellent. Sandwiches are a good source of all the food groups as long as they aren't smothered in butter and have a healthy filling, for example fresh chicken salad.
Dinners should concentrate on being the main meal of the day. Chicken, pasta, rice, lean meats with a baked or new potatoes and green vegetables would round off a healthy and carbohydrate filled diet.
Snacks of chocolate are appropriate during exercise for a fast energy boost but eating these types of foods when not exercising will lead to it being stored as fats instead of being used to help the body immediately.
Drinks throughout the day should consist of fruit juices, isotonic drinks and waters.