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Eat Right, Play Right: Nutrition Tips for Gameday

07/05/2019, 12:00pm EDT
By SYLSoccer.com Staff

On this week's Legacy Series article we help give tips for game day nutrition

The average soccer player can run seven to eight miles over the course of a single game, but while these numbers may be adjusted for youth soccer it is still crucial for players to be properly energized for any given gameday. 

This week on The Legacy Series we will be talking about nutrition. How and what to eat before, during, and after your games to stay at the top of your game and to stay healthy with a heavy schedule of games. 

PRE-GAME:

Fueling properly before game days will not only help you stay at your peak level for longer physically but it can also help you mentally. 

1. Eat your first meal within an hour of being awake.

With a full nights rest behind you, it is a good idea to eat pretty quickly after waking up, breaking up the fasting from your last meal. Eating early will also help you from overeating later and can help you fully digest your food before the day ahead. 

2. Make your pre-game meal rich in carbohydrates. 

Although it is very important to be eating the right stuff leading into gameday, the two to three day period before, the last full meal you eat before kick off is still significant. This meal should happen three to four hours before kick off and should be carb based. For breakfast things like oatmeal, whole wheat toast, and even bananas can provide a great start with the necessary carbs that can give you the energy you need. The carbs consumed at this point will give you the energy you need in the final stages of the game. 

3. Make sure you are hydrated.

Any physical activity is going to require you to be properly hydrated to handle it properly but sports like soccer, especially in the summer, can make you dehydrated quickly. To counteract that you should be drinking water regularly before the game, at least two cups with your first meal and continuing to drink in the hours leading into the game. Mixing this in with sports drinks and avoiding high sugar beverages can set your energy levels high throughout the day. 

4. Gamedays are not the time to try something new.

As the saying goes “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it,” or if it works for you stick with it. Trying something really new could have unexpected adverse effects and could overall hurt your performance and make your gameday worse. Some players have plans that are effective and do not strictly follow this list of best practices. 

Have something that works for you? Head to our Instagram Story, @SuperYLeague, and answer the question for us to share!

DURING:

During the game can be simple as you will not be having any meals and for the most part, the snack side will be lighter. The best thing for athletes can be carbohydrate supplements and water. For the supplements side things like carb heavy sports drinks or even the sports chews/gummies. But the most important thing is to make sure to continue sipping water especially if you have multiple games in one day or across the weekend. 

POSTGAME:

The 30 minutes to an hour after the game is the most important time to begin the refueling process whether it was your last game of the weekend or your first of many. Getting carb-heavy foods into your system can help to begin to restore what you used in the game and help you recover after a full game. Eating fruits like oranges, grapes, and bananas as well as bread, like a sandwich or a bagel with jelly, can help you refuel.


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