Importance of Nutrition

14 December 2015 Ben Cartwright nutrition, food, books, research, football, soccer, fitness

Football has a huge number of variable factors that could potentially impact performance positively or negatively. An attempt to manipulate or control all of these factors is a virtually impossible undertaking (more so for those at sub elite level). It is therefore of vital importance that the fundamentals of football specific performance that underpin the aforementioned factors are the focus of any team or players performance enhancement strategy. Nutrition influences and effects almost every single process in a players body such as energy production, ability to perform sport related activity and recovery from exercise or performance (Jeukendrup and Gleeson, 2010). Players at the highest levels will face a significant volume of training and matches throughout the year (typical week of up to 6 training sessions in addition to playing schedule for elite players has been reported by Bangsbo, Mohr and Krustrup, 2006). It has been advocated that a players nutritional intake will significantly influence training adaptation responses, the speed of recovery, rate of performance development and the ability to sustain a high volume of training and matches (Alghannam, 2013). Consequently it would be reasonable to determine that nutrition falls within of the classification of a fundamental pillar of performance.

The importance of good nutrition cannot be understated. It is absolutely critical to performance and training in football. We at Football Fitness Federation would recommend you spend time and effort in employing a sound and sensible nutritional strategy for your players, what ever their stage of development. The education of players on the principles of good nutrition has been identified as one of the most effective strategies available to coaches (Nikolaidis and Theodoropoulou, 2014). A great place to start the education process would be to read Precision Nutrition’s book ‘strategies for success’ (this can be found at ). The basic principles contained in the book are massively effective, they include
*Eat every 2-3 hours
*Eat complete, lean protein each time you eat
*Eat vegetables every time you eat
*Learn to love healthy fats
*Focus on whole foods
*Balance daily food choices with healthy variety

We would also recommend you look at purchasing Andy Wiseman’s book ‘nutrition and recovery in football’. It is available from Amazon (see link below) for £3.99 (ironically less than the price of a burger meal) and all money raised from the sale of the book goes to charity. It is full of fantastic information that can be read from cover to cover in a couple of hours, but repeatedly revisited for future reference. It is refreshingly honest and drawn from his vast experience as a professional footballer and coach. It is well researched, easy to read, simple for coaches and players to understand (best of all it can be put into action straight away). The book is based around the core concept ‘performance backward, not nutrition forward’ working from performance goals and tailoring the nutritional strategy around it. Andy extensively discusses fundamental principles of nutrition for football and how to calculate individual energy requirements. After purchasing the book we contacted Andy on Twitter ( @MrWiseyMan ) to question him further on the subject. He was more than happy to interact and share his expertise/knowledge with us, which we now do on a regular basis (such is the measure of the man, huge respect and thanks Andy).

Enjoy your Football

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