Athletes that eat their recommended amount of macros, specifically carbohydrates, experience a delayed onset of fatigue by 20% and even better improve in their overall performance by about 3%, cites a study by the National Institute of Health. The cliched phrase holds true: we are what we eat. To be a better soccer player, not only is training and skill key, but so is diet. For soccer players, it is absolutely crucial to choose the right diet in order to amplify your athletic performance.
Foods to Boost Performance
It’s essential to fuel your body the proper way before a workout, but especially before a soccer match. Whether it’s the breakfast before a big game or a snack on the way to conditioning, eating proper nutrition can help your athletic performance. The best pre-workout meals include servings of carbohydrates and protein, writes Shape Magazine. An apple with almond butter, whole wheat toast with bananas, or grain crackers with hummus are all beneficial to your body’s energy levels before exercise. If you need an extra boost mid-workout, consider chewing an energy-infused snack or a sports drink to replenish electrolyte levels.
Pump up Your Muscles
If you’re looking to do more than boost energy levels, there are particular foods that can also increase muscle mass as you exercise. Although most believe this is easily done with amplifying protein consumption, experts say otherwise. “Eating protein-rich foods alone won't build big muscles. Muscle is gained through a combination of muscle-strengthening exercises, and a diet that contains protein and sufficient energy from a balance of carbohydrates and fats” writes UK National Health Services. Protein pancakes are a perfect example of this - a balance of carbohydrates from the oats and added protein to aid muscles.
Tasty Snacks for Post-Workout Recovery
When you exercise, your body depletes and breaks down its fuel source of glycogen and protein. Your body tires post-workout and choosing the right foods to eat after a strenuous soccer match is absolutely crucial for recovery. One food that helps in both muscle recovery and electrolyte replenishment is pomegranate. It’s rich in vitamin C and potassium, refuels antioxidants, and recent studies show drinking pomegranate juice aids in post-exercise muscle recover, reports U.S. News & World Reports. Pomegranate seeds are tasty and sweet post-workout snacks that are plentiful in bodily benefits. In addition to pomegranate, raspberries are also scientifically proven to help with post-exercise recovery by replenishing vital antioxidants which help in reduction of muscle soreness and inflammation. Dip raspberries in greek yogurt or cream cheese for a high-protein pairing.
Many fear that fat is one such food group to avoid post-exercise. However, new emerging studies show otherwise. Fat does slow down the digestive process of your post-workout meal, but it does not affect the body’s ability to absorb vital nutrients, reports Healthline. “A study showed that whole milk was more effective at promoting muscle growth after a workout than skim milk...Moreover, another study showed that even when ingesting a high-fat meal (45% energy from fat) after working out, muscle glycogen synthesis was not affected.” So go ahead and have that cold glass of milk after your soccer match; your muscles will thank you later.
To be the most effective player on the field, we must fill out body with effective foods that help boost our athletic performance. Fuel your body the right way and you’ll see the benefits on the field.