Professional footballer covers over 10k in a 90-minute match. Over 700m of this will be covered at full sprint and over the full match. Heart rate averages around 85% of its maximum rate, equating to an energy expenditure of over 1500 calories. Due to the nature of the game, it is difficult to take on energy and rehydrate during a match. However, there are still short chances during a match where you can take on nutrition, such as half time. Getting your nutrition right at these times play a major part in your success and failure on the pitch.
Energy and hydration – The Science
Glucose is taken in from carbohydrate through the diet and stored as glycogen in the muscles and liver. Carbohydrate is the main source of energy for high intensity activity involving repeated sprints. The higher the intensity, the greater amounts of glycogen can be used. These stores last for up to 60 minutes while playing football. It means that you must take on extra carbohydrate during a match in order to maintain these stores until the final whistle. Failure to do so will affect your physical performance, including your ability to sprint and change pace.
During a match, it’s not easy to take on fluids. The amount you can take in usually depends how many stoppages there are and if you’re close enough to the side-line for the coach to throw you a bottle over. It is not uncommon for elite footballers to lose up to 2.5 litres of fluid during a game. Research suggests that even a 2% loss in body weight from fluid loss can lead to impaired physical and mental performance.
Warm Up: generally, you will arrive at the pitch 60-90 minutes before kick off. Sipping 500ml of sports drink throughout the warm-up is a good way to take on extra carbohydrate and hydrate immediately before.
In-Play: You can make it easier for yourself by placing a bottle on your side of the pitch, if you are playing on the wing for example. Alternatively, during breaks in play (e.g injuries), have fluid ready by the side of the pitch ready for to be thrown at you!
Half Time: After the first half, your carbohydrate stores will be well over half way depleted, and you only have 15 minutes to take on energy and fluids. A common mistake is to consume a full energy drink and a high sugar energy bar, which may cause stomach cramping when you start the second half. Taking 250ml-500ml of sports drink throughout half time will provide you with rapidly digesting carbohydrates, along with sufficient fluid and electrolytes to help rehydrate.
Substitutes: Being a substitute can be disappointing and de-motivating, especially when you have prepared for the full 90 minutes. Generally, you will prepare to come on in the second half. However, if injury strikes, you may be on earlier. Sip your drink throughout the first half. Carbohydrate is the main source of energy to maintain sprint performance, with research suggesting that the ability to sprint more in a game is associated with success.
So what should I drink?
There are plenty of different brands sport drinks available. For example GlobalSoccerStore.com online store has great selection of SiS sports drinks. For match day, best would be SiS Go Electorlyte – High-energy carbohydrate + electrolyte drink to help fuel and hydrate during training or racing. Ideal for longer sessions when energy stores drop and sweat rate rises. Four different flavours available – lemone & lime, raspberry, tropical fruits and blackcurrant.
Until 31st of July SiS GO Electrolyte (500g) sports drink is 25% off at globalsoccerstore.com.
Get this product here: globalsoccerstore.com