• frt1.gif
  • frt2.gif
  • frt3.gif
  • frt4.gif
  • willengroup.gif



It’s not just the match that should fire you up!


Nutition - Liquids.



The water lost from the body during any exercise needs to be replaced to stop you getting tired quickly, liquid intake also speeds up the recovery process. Failing to replace these fluids can result in dehydration therefore you will continue to feel tired.


drinkfrontOver the years I have seen the change, especially in youth football where the importance of liquid intake has been stressed to players. What has not developed is a full understanding of the types of liquid they should be taking and why some drinks are better at certain times. Good old H2O helps with rehydrating but it does not add energy if that is what you need. Water should be taken often even outside of exercising. You need water to regulate body temperature and to provide the means for nutrients to travel to your organs and tissues. It also helps transport oxygen to your cells, removes waste, and protects your joints and organs.


There are many acceptable sports drinks to choose from as they contain minerals that help keep or boost the energy during any exercise, they are also ideal in helping with recovery after a hard work out. Avoid those with added sugar or carbonated. In general terms, consume sports type drinks during exercise to help control or keep up the energy levels, water at all times for reasons already mentioned and especially if liquid is required because of dehydration.


Tips about liquid intake:




   1kg of weight lost during a training session or game is equal to 1 litre of fluid lost.

   Do you monitor your weight before and after exercise?


   Solution: If seeing weight loss, take more breaks for liquid intake.




  liquidsBeing thirsty should not be an indicator of when you need to have a drink. If you’re thirsty then dehydration has

  already started.

  Finishing a training session or game gasping for a drink is a giveaway you haven’t taken enough fluid on board.


  Solution: Drink often during exercising even though you may not be thirsty.




   If it is dark coloured it means you need to drink. Lots of trips to the toilet producing lots of clear coloured urine will indicate you have

   taken on sufficient fluids.


   Solution: Again the same message - Take on more fluid at regular intervals.


 Quantity of    



   It is best to have little but often. Don’t drink too much too quickly as this can cause stomach upset.



 Types of



   Sports drinks that contain ‘carbohydrates’ and water. Water on its own is good for hydration and should be consumed regularly

   but at times you need the glucose to add energy during exercising.


   Avoid drinks that are carbonated as this can cause stomach pains.



Similar to food that I mentioned using up other reserves because you get hungry, you should not wait to get thirsty before you drink. Consumption of various acceptable liquids should be something you do regularly throughout any exercise. You should never get to a point of having to drink volumes at any one time as the damage will already have taken place. Think of your body as though it were a car, the oil is the nutrients that keeps the engine operating, the petrol is the fluid that makes it work, would you wait for them both to run out before replenishing!


Both food and liquid are key elements for faster recovery and remember that it is not just any type but the correct ones that will speed the process. That drink or pie in the bar with the players after the match or the trip to the local burger store is okay so long as they are not the first thing you give the body. Let’s get the correct intakes first and enjoy the rest later knowing you have replenished those energy cells and obtained the right balance of the blood sugar levels.


Realistically I know some of you will be giving the body the correct nutrition at all times so that you can perform to your best and of course ensure a healthy life style, others may not be as serious but whatever your stance ensure you don’t ask the body to do what you have not prepared it for or you can expect to incur injuries or other damage.


So next time when you think that you have prepared correctly but you just don’t have the same energy, look back on what you have given your body over the last few days, was there enough nutrition? For those that just want to play without having to consider what to eat or drink, why not at least try to see if taking the right food and drink will improve your performance – and health?


The information contained in this article is for educational advice only and should not be taken as coming from an expert nutritionist. If you have any concerns regarding your dietary intake, consult an expert for advice.







It’s not just the match that should fire you up!


Nutrition - Food.


We start with food as it provides the energy for our muscles, the brain and other organs. The correct types of food, the amount you eat and when you eat will determine what energy levels are available when needed.


Over eating will add weight which means our muscles have to work harder, this can reduce stamina or our ability to accelerate. Similarly if we under eat we will become weak as the body does not receive enough nutrients which provides us with the energy to perform to our up most ability both mentally and physically.


Many of us have been brought-up on ‘three meals a day’ or a hearty breakfast to take us through to an evening meal. Various researches have shown that it is more beneficial and healthier to eat smaller amounts of food but more regularly. That of course makes sense as when the body is hungry it will start to use up reserves.



What to eat and when to eat it:


The timing of meals you consume is important especially if it is a match or training day, which is where I will concentrate as we want to build up the energy store we will need to use.


Firstly any intake that contains fats or proteins should to be restricted, as these nutrients require a relatively long time for the body to digest. A meal approximately 3-4 hours before is advised. This should be high in carbohydrates (this is the fuel that your body needs to perform at the highest level), low in fat, low in protein, low in fibre and not too bulky.



Recommended foods include: breakfast cereal with low fat milk, toast or bread with jam/honey, or sandwiches with banana/honey/jam, pasta/rice with low fat sauce, muffins, baked potato, fruit, energy bars, and orange juice. This can be followed by a snack high in carbohydrates about 2 hours before the match or training. You may need to experiment with these timings as people differ in their ability to digest food. Again foods such as toast, bread or crumpets with jam or honey, sweetened cereal with low fat milk, muffins, orange juice and jelly sweets can be eaten. During any interval in the match or training where you might need to increase energy quickly look for food that offers an immediate boost; my favourite is Jaffa cakes (one or two) as apart from being a tasty cake they give that quick energy boost from their sugar content (but unless you hide them you need to be prepared to share with your team).


Carbohydrate rich foods should be the main source of your diet. The table below shows various foods that contains these nutrients. Aim to consume the main bulk of your diet from complex carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates should not be consumed in large quantities and are more useful as snacks between workouts, or to top up your energy intake. The carbohydrates you consume should be balanced with a healthy intake of protein, low fat and plenty of fruit and vegetables.



      Complex Carbohydrates                

          Simple Carbohydrates               


        Mixture of Complex and Simple 


 Whole Grain Bread/Bagels  Sugar Cakes 
 Pasta / Macaoni  Jam  Biscuits
 Rice  Honey  Puddings
 Noodles  Yoghurt  Sweet Pastries


 Fromage Frais  Cheesecakes

Breakfast Cereals


 Ice Cream

 Breakfast Cereals


Pulses (Beans, lentils, peas)   Jelly  Bananas
 Baked Beans  Rasins  Grapes
Apricots / Peaches  Full sugar cordials  Oranges
 Potatoes  Jelly sweets  Plums
 Parsnips, sweet corn  Energy branded soft drinks  Pears



For those who need to monitor calories, most complex carbohydrates are low in calories, low in fat and high in fiber. As much as possible, avoid processed carbohydrates. These types of carbohydrates can cause your blood sugar to elevate quickly and plunge soon after, causing you to feel tired and hungry. Basically if you do not consume enough carbohydrates then your energy levels will deteriorate and subsequently your performance will suffer. More importantly you will be more susceptible to injury.


Once the game or training is over, fluids should be replaced (see next article - liquids) and carbohydrates should be consumed as soon as possible to assist with the recovery of your glycogen store. As soon as possible you should aim to consume a meal which is high in carbohydrates. Foods such as pasta, spaghetti, rice, noodles, low fat pasta sauce, bread, potatoes, and baked beans are ideal during this period.


I mentioned protein as they are also used to fuel the body. The difference is that protein helps repair muscles and boosts your immune system but unlike carbohydrates they do not give you much immediate energy.


Good sources of Protein:


Fish - Chicken - Turkey - Beef     Milk (low fat) - Cheese - Yogurts
Eggs - Nuts Whole Soy foods



In the next part of this article on Nutrition I discuss liquid intake. Click Liquid or select from main menu.