We see players turn up for a match starting at 2pm having eaten almost nothing that day and under-hydrated. Others arrive and grab a sav or a pie one hour before the game. This is not the way to do it.....

 

Pre-Exercise Meal
Footballers need to carefully plan a pre-game eating to prevent any distracting symptoms of hunger during competition and to maintain energy stores.
 
When To Eat
Exercising on a full stomach is not the ideal. Food that remains in your stomach during a game may cause stomach upset, nausea, and cramping. To make sure you have enough energy, yet reduce stomach discomfort, you should allow a meal to fully digest before the start of the event. This generally takes 1 to 4 hours, depending upon what and how much you've eaten. Everyone is a bit different, and you should experiment prior to workouts to determine what works best for you. If you have an early morning game, it's best to get up early enough to eat your pre-game meal. If not, you should try to eat or drink something easily digestible about 20-30 minutes before the game. The closer you are to the time of your match the less you should eat. You shoulld have a liquid meal closer to your game than a solid meal because your stomach digests liquids faster.
 
What To Eat
A pre-game meal should include foods that are high in carbohydrates, and easy to digest. These include foods such as pasta, fruits, breads, energy bars and drinks. Carbohydrates also help increase stored energy (glycogen) in the muscles. Depleted glycogen stores can result is "hitting the wall."
 
Suggested Pre-Game Foods
1 hour or less before competition
• fruit juice • fresh fruit • Energy gels • 1 and a half cups of a sports drink
2 to 3 hours before competition
• fresh fruit • fruit juice • bread
3 to 4 hours before competition
• fresh fruit • fruit juice • bread • pasta • potatoes • energy bar • cereal with low-fat milk • low-fat yogurt; • toast/bread with limited peanut butter, lean meat, or low-fat cheese • sports drink
 
Sugar and Performance
Athletes sometimes consume simple carbohydrates such as sweats or soft drinks right before exercise in hopes of getting quick energy. Unfortunately, eating sugary foods won't provide it. Most of the energy for exercise comes from foods eaten several hours or even days before the start of the race or event. ...... you should experiment because some people do not perform well after a blood glucose spike.
 
Foods to Avoid
Any foods with a lot of fat can be very difficult and slow to digest. Fast foods, hot dogs, doughnuts, nachos, potato chips, and candy bars are very high in fat and remain in the stomach for a long time. If you eat these foods as pre-match meals, they will likely be with you through competition. Avoid or limit eating these foods for your pre-match meal. Keep in mind that every one is a bit different and what works for you may not work for you teammate Factor in individual preferences and favorite foods, and an eating plan is a highly individualize thing.
 
Pre-Exercise Fluids
Drink 500 ml of fluid 1-2 hours before the game. Drink a further 300 ml about 15 minutes before the start of play. Try it ... if you feel bloated or want to pee too much then reduce your pre-match fluids to comfort level. Your urine should look clear. If it is yellow then you are too dry. Any fluid will do. Water is good. Caffeine containing drinks may be included by some players.
 
Nutrition During the Game
We store energy in muscles and liver. These start running out after 90 minutes of match-play. For players who run all game it is suggested you consume 50 G of carbohydrate per hour. This needs to be fast acting to be of any use. Get it through glucose-rich fluids. Use a favourite sports drink.
 
Fluids During the Game
Even small fluid loss impairs performance. Each 1% of dehydration decreases performance by 2%. You can lose 1-2 litres per hour on a warm day. Try to drink about 200 ml each quarter of the game. Water or "sports drinks" are both OK. Drink more on hot days.
 
Nutrition After the Game
All sportsmen know of the importance of pre-exercise nutrition. However, what and when you eat following exercise can be just as important. While the pre-exercise meals can ensure that adequate glycogen stores are available for optimal performance, the post-exercise meal is critical to recovery and improves your ability to train consistently. What and when to eat after exercise is a common topic among athletes. The general advice has been to focus on high carbohydrate foods in order to replenish depleted muscle glycogen stores. Research has shown that carbohydrate intake within two hours of endurance exercise is essential to building adequate glycogen stores for continued training. Waiting longer than two hours to eat results in 50 percent less glycogen stored in the muscle. The reason for this is that carbohydrate consumption stimulates insulin production, which aids the production of muscle glycogen. However, the effect of carbohydrate on glycogen storage reaches a plateau.
 
More recent research has shown that combining protein with carbohydrate in the two-hours after exercise, nearly doubles the insulin response, which results in more stored glycogen. The optimal carbohydrate to protein ratio for this effect is four grams of carbohydrate for every one gram of protein. Eating more protein than that, however, has a negative impact because it slows rehydration and glycogen replenishment. The study found that athletes who refueled with carbohydrate and protein had 100 percent greater muscle glycogen stores than those who only had carbohydrate. Insulin was also highest in those who consumed the carbohydrate and protein drink. Protein has other important post-exercise qualities. Protein provides the amino acids necessary to rebuild muscle tissue that is damaged during intense, prolonged exercise. It can also increase the absorption of water from the intestines and improve muscle hydration. The amino acids in protein can also stimulate the immune system, making you more resistant to colds and other infections. So if you are looking for the best way to refuel your body after long, strenuous endurance exercise, a 4:1 combo of carbohydrate and protein seems to be your best choice. While solid foods can work just as well as a sports drink, a drink may be easier to digest make it easier to get the right ratio and meet the 2-hour window. Some products on the market that have this ratio.
 
Fluids After the Game
You need to drink plenty ... easy... when your urine is clear like water you are back on top. For the mathematically minded.. you need 1.5 times the amount of weight you lost during the game.
 
Caffeine Does it help
.. YES ... caffeine improves speed & power & reduces fatigue. It improves alertness. BUT don't over-do it.
 
Creatine is Explosive Never heard about it?
 Creatine is a naturally found in muscle. It is used up in explosive effort (less than 10 seconds extreme exercise) and builds up again after 5 minutes of gentler exercise. So .. is Creatine important in football .. you bet!! We get Creatinine eating meat & fish. Store it by consuming more. This will help you maintain power.