What you eat can and will affect your performance on the soccer pitch.
The English Premier League (EPL) is considered one of the most physically and psychologically demanding soccer leagues in the world. Players have to be lean and athletic. To be in top shape, players must be fueled and rested properly. When soccer players eat better, they play better. And the same applies to all of us. A clean balanced diet with a mix of veg, fruit, grains and other fresh ingredients will go a long way to improve athletic performance.
So, how can you follow the same healthy habits as professional players? James Collins, who until last year was head nutritionist at Arsenal, described how everyone can follow an EPL player's balanced diet. In an interview with The Telegraph, Collins notes how protein (turkey, beef, salmon or mackerel), carbohydrates (pasta, quinoa, amaranth and faro) and seasonal fruits and veggies can help you stay in top form. Collins also stresses the importance of fluid intake to replace electrolytes, citing how crucial water is for flushing out toxins that accumulate in your body.
What you put in your body will absolutely affect the way you perform. To eat like a footballer, your focus for dinner (after a day of moderate to intense activity) should be all about getting the kind of nutrients that accelerate muscle recovery so you're prepared for the next day. Look for foods that aren't too heavy and use fresh and healthy ingredients that are low in salt and sugar. Soccer club chefs serve light pizzas to their players as they're rich in calcium (from the cheese) and contain disease-fighting lycopene in the tomatoes. You can easily make your own spin on a light pizza at home with our organic Pizza Spice Blend, which you can mix into your favorite tomato sauce or use atop the pizza as seasoning.
Get at least 8 hours of sleep and then start your morning with a healthy breakfast like the pros do–breakfasts like eggs, porridge and pancakes. You can enjoy these with our organic Pumpkin Spice Spice Blend all year round for a wholesome, healthy and (extra flavorful) option. As for your protein intake, it should vary between 1.0 to 1.2 g/kg of body weight.
To figure out how much protein you should be eating daily, take your weight in pounds and convert it to kilograms. Then divide your weight in kilos by 1 or 1.2. What you get is how many grams of protein you should be eating daily.
Your energy intake should be between 55% to 60% from carbs, 12% to 15% from protein, and less than 30% from fat. Norwich City's former head of performance, Mike Watts, suggests not eating until you're full, as it will help your body process the food better.
In the morning you should also focus on drinking plenty of fluids. In their feature on how to eat like a Premier League soccer player, the BBC states that drinking plenty of water is key to maintaining good health. What's more, athletes who engage in high-intensity exercise for longer than an hour or two, sweat out enough sodium that drinks containing sodium become important for rehydration because sodium actually assists in water absorption.
PRO TIP: Don't wait until you're feeling thirsty to drink water. By that point, you're actually already dehydrated.
EPL diets have come a long way in the past 30-years thanks, in part, to one Frenchman who revolutionized the way players train and eat. When Arsene Wenger arrived at Arsenal in 1996, he almost singlehandedly ushered in a new, healthier era for the club. Ladbrokes describes how he overhauled the club's eating habits, focusing on a healthy diet of fish as a lean protein source and pasta and rice for carbohydrates. He also introduced health and fitness trainers to work with players on an individual level for increased performance. His methods helped the club reach new heights and extended the careers of several of his players. Ultimately, eating like an EPL player is not difficult. All you need is a little discipline, a good amount of hydration and healthy, wholesome food.
Exclusively written for hungryfan.com
Contributed by The FitHomeCook