When it comes to any form of athletic training, both mentors and athletes will do whatever necessary to guarantee themselves the best chance to perform at the highest level that they possibly can.
One of the most important aspects for a professional athlete, especially a soccer player, is taking their diet into consideration.
Most importantly, an individual preparing for their big game should seriously think about what they are going to eat on that very day.
If you are a soccer player wondering what they should be eating before a game, don’t worry: you have come to the right place.
In this article, we are going to be looking at which foods will supply you with the most energy, which foods may slow you down, as well as which drinks could affect your potential as an athlete.
It is surprising how important these factors will contribute to your overall performance.
So, what should you be eating before a soccer game? Let’s find out.
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Why Does My Diet Matter Before A Soccer Game?
Everybody knows the old saying, ‘you are what you eat’. While this may seem pretty silly, it rings true. If you eat bad foods, you will be more likely to perform poorly throughout your day, no matter what tasks you will be facing.
The better your diet, the better you will feel, and the better your body will work.
When a person moves a lot, e.g. someone who plays a lot of sports, they use up a lot of energy. Due to this, they will need to consume more calories to keep themselves strong and energetic.
However, it is not as simple as eating any old food to make up for the lost calories: a person who eats 1,500 calories worth of donuts in a day is going to feel more sluggish than the person who eats 1,500 calories worth of fruit and vegetables.
Foods rich in protein and carbohydrates will fuel your body in ways that foods filled with sugar will not.
Investing just that little extra time and effort into what you are eating before practises and competitions will undoubtedly help you improve as a player.
An athlete makes many commitments by choosing to perform their chosen sport, and playing soccer is no different: why not put your will power to the test by choosing to commit to a specific diet?
In order to be a top performer, you will require energy, and lots of it. The food you decide to eat leading up to your training will heavily affect your performance, depending on its contents.
How Long Should I Wait To Eat Before And After Exercising?
Remember when you were a child, and your parents would warn you not to eat before going swimming? Well, this is good reasoning behind this adage, and it can be applied to pretty much every form of exercise.
The biggest risk of eating too soon before a workout is obvious: you will receive stomach cramps and bloating, making it more difficult to perform properly due to discomfort.
This may seem like common sense, but you should definitely avoid eating huge meals prior to a big game. A light snack may be okay, depending on what it is.
The bigger the meal, the longer you should wait before attempting any form of strenuous exercise.
If you have woken up late, or have not planned ahead as much as you should have and have, as a result, missed out on breakfast, a small snack low in fiber would be suitable to eat before a game: the higher the fiber content, the harder it will be for your body to digest. These snacks should be consumed, at very most, 30 minutes before any exercise.
In preparation for a large workout, such as a big game or a marathon, you should spend the days beforehand loading up with carbohydrates and healthy fats. Your body will store the carbs ahead of time, meaning that you should have plenty of energy when the big day comes.
As a rule, you should not eat any big meals less than 2-3 hours before your workout, or any small snacks less than half an hour before. Every person’s body is different, so there are simply rough guidelines to follow if you are unsure what your stomach is capable of handling.
Carbohydrates: The Ultimate Energy Source
We previously mentioned that, days before a strenuous workout, you should load up with certain foods, preferably packed with carbohydrates. There is good reasoning behind this specific food group being involved.
Carbohydrates are an athlete’s best friend. This food group is divided into simple and complex categories, dependent on the amount of sugar they possess.
Carbohydrates offer 40-50% of an athlete’s energy demands, thus it’s critical that they consume enough of these foods before competing.
Depending on the form of exercise they will be partaking in, an athlete will require both simple and complex carbohydrates in their diet.
It is generally recommended that a soccer player should ingest 5-6 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram, or 2.2lb of their body weight, during the 2-3 days leading up to a soccer game. Foods recommended for this time period include:
Fish, oils, and nuts are also pretty good food resources to build up carbohydrates within your body during the days building up to training.
Around two hours before a soccer game, high carbohydrate foods such as bananas and muffins may be consumed to encourage higher energy levels.
However, all carbohydrates should be avoided for an hour before the game since they raise insulin levels, which will make you feel lethargic and nauseous if you are about to take part in strenuous exercise.
How To Keep Fully Hydrated Before A Soccer Game
Another incredibly important aspect to consider before a big soccer game is keeping fully hydrated. Unlike food, drinks can be consumed at any time, even during exercise.
Keeping hydrated is just as important as consuming carbohydrates, if not more so. This is due to the fact that we lose a significant amount of moisture while exercising, through perspiration.
If you drink too much, though, you will feel bloated and may find it difficult to compete. It’s crucial to strike the correct balance, as always.
Of course, the obvious choice here is to drink water. Water is the greatest liquid that any human can drink, at any given time, and it works just as well for an athlete before a big game. You simply cannot go wrong while drinking water.
Another great liquid to consume is energy drinks, as these will not only keep you hydrated, but they will also provide you with the right amount of electrolytes to keep you going.
It is important to know that certain foods and liquids will actually cause dehydration, including coffee, soy sauce, popcorn, and alcohol.
While almost every energy source is fine to consume in moderation, you should probably consider avoiding these altogether while heavily training.
If you want to improve your stamina and performance on the field, consuming nutritious foods and making wise decisions can help you get there.
Overall, the most important thing you should remember, as a soccer player, is to consume a great deal of carbs before your training sessions or games: this will help you store away energy for when you really need it.
Keeping hydrated is also a vital part of this process, and is so important for any athlete to keep in mind. Try to avoid overly sugary drinks and foods, as these will slow your metabolism down.
If you begin to eat nutritious, substantial food on a daily basis, slowly introducing it into your average diet, it will rapidly become second nature to you, and you will undoubtedly notice and reap the benefits when you are out on the pitch.