What Are The Best Supplements That Footballers Can Take?
Health supplements are quite simply a must for athletes and for those who train or work out hard. Supplements, as the name clearly suggests, are required to fill the deficit in your diet. You could be on a great diet, yet your body will continuously use up its reserve as you train.
So what are the best supplements for footballers to take? For football players, pro or not, striking a balance between your meals and the supplements your body requires can enhance your performance, be able to perform for longer and keep you in excellent shape, weather that is to increase muscle size, loose weight, recover from hard training days or simply to prepare better for your training, these are the 5 best supplements for footballers to take to tackle these problems.
Among base supplements that you just can’t avoid, protein tops the list. It plays a key role in developing your muscle mass and it speeds up recovery post training. The quickest and easiest way to supplement protein would be with protein powders that you can use as your pre and post-workout drink.
Protein can come in many ways but the most effective for footballers is protein powder. Protein powder is a simple and easy way to maximise your intake of protein without having to eat plate after plate of chicken or red meats, protein provides the muscles with the food and nutrients they need to recover from exercise and to grow stronger which is perfect for a footballer.
2. Green Supplements
You may throw in a few kale leaves into your juice, but those quantities are simply not in proportion to your body’s need for greens in your diet. Green supplements like spirulina are rich in B-complex vitamins, essential fatty acids, zinc, beta-carotene and more.
What makes these supplements all the more significant are their stress-relieving and weight-loss properties. Green supplements is an efficient was of providing your body with numerous vitamins and minerals to improve your diet and reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity, and blood pressure.
3. Fish Oil Supplements
Possibly one of the most ignored supplements by footballers. Here’s why you shouldn’t ignore fish oil supplements. While practicing, and even during a game, you are causing inflammation in your joints this is why you feel sore after exercising. While this inflammation remains, you will continue to feel sore and this will result in you not being at your best when performing in a game or in training.
If you want to play at your best, make sure you include fish oil supplements as they fight inflammation and improve your joint health and your overall immunity as well, so you will recover quicker and can perform to your best ability more often.
Sure you can get a mild buzz from even a weak cup of coffee, but you’ll need a lot more to pull through a game. Give caffeine energy gum a try: they can be very effective, especially when consumed before a game, ideally take the tablets an hour before the game for the optimum effects.
Caffeine is beneficial to footballers as it helps reduce the muscles consumption of glycogen which is the stored energy that is used up during exercise, when the stores of energy is used up then this is where the muscles start to fatigue increasing the risk of injury. Caffeine also helps your body use its own fat supply’s as energy which all helps to slow down the usage of the glycogen stores, enabling you to perform at your highest level for longer.
Caffeine increases fat oxidation and stimulates releasing endorphins into your system during your game or workout. Word of caution to those below 18; you may not need as much caffeine as older athletes.
As basic and simple water is, there is no getting away from the fact your body works best when its properly hydrated. When the body is dehydrated the risk of injury increases as the body looses strength and will not let you perform to its capabilities.
Even low levels of dehydration have physiological consequences. A loss of 2% bodyweight (just 1kg for a 50kg person) causes an increase in perceived effort and is claimed to reduce performance by 10-20%, as football is a sport that every little percentage can make a huge difference, it is vital you keep your body hydrated throughout the day and especially pre exercise. A supplement that could help this is electrolytes powder as it helps to maintain proper water amounts in your body which resorts in you being properly hydrated.
The five supplements above should be used in conjunction with an effective training regime which is explained below:
A Footballers Training Regime
For a footballer, it’s important to be agile on the pitch. Keeping your fitness levels high, with techniques that will also build overall stamina, lead to higher performance level. Here’s an outline of a typical training day.
1. Waking Up And Getting Ready For Training
It’s important to wake up from a good night’s sleep and begin your action packed day of training.
Yoga before breakfast can set your mind and body up for a great day. It’s calming with its slow pace and the poses help you to start off on a positive note. Or getting to the training ground early for a short gym session before heading out to the pitch is popular too.
For your breakfast it’s a good idea to have slow burning carbohydrates like porridge and fruit to keep you fuller for longer and provide the adequate fuel to keep you going whilst playing sport.
Remember, it’s important throughout any exercise your are undertaking to drink water to stay hydrated and the rest of the day is no exception. Whether professional, semi-pro or grass roots; exercising with others is a great motivation to encourage relationships and push yourself psychically to the edge.
As everyone knows, a warm up is a fine way to start the day to protect your muscles and wake them up, avoiding pulling and straining. Or even more serious injury.
2. Fitness Training Session To Start
A short yoga or fitness session with the team, full of stretching, gets muscles moving. Ryan Giggs helped to pioneer the use of yoga at the top level – it was a major reason he played Premier League football as long as he did.
It’s important for a footballers to be fast at running and able to change direction quickly. In the gym, the cardio machines are great for stamina, whilst using speed hurdles to move and jump in small spaces can give you that marginal advantage when cornered on the pitch or racing for a loose ball. Practising these muscle movements in the gym or on the training pitch will help in a match when it’s really needed.
Now’s a good chance to grab a protein drink to help repair muscles and encourage growth, before getting into the tactical and skill training part of the day.
3. Tactical & Skill Training To Get Match-Ready
Now for the team work on the pitch. It’s important to include ball games into jogging, stretches and speed exercises and to challenge each other’s boundaries, so self improvement is apparent and morale is raised.
One of the most important aspects of a training regime is ball skills, obviously. The more controlled a player is with the football the more capable they are at manoeuvring it around the pitch. This applies to individual skill, passing, set pieces, shooting … everything.
All these sessions help the footballer get to know their teammates styles of playing and a successful team can predict their player’s next move and position themselves accordingly.
The Possession drills help teams plan for potential situations on the pitch and improve spatial awareness in different positions and scenarios.
Once all the aspects of a football match have been practiced and perfected, as much as possible anyway, there is one thing left to do – play a training match. The more familiar the team is with a full sized pitch and their team the better it is for competitive games.
4. Strength Training & Cool Down
Weight training to finish with each player focusing on just one area to work on like: legs, chest or upper body, to help build the body’s strength where it’s needed. Or some players might get some physio treatment on little problems.
It’s then best to have a gentle cool down session in order to help minimise injuries. A protein shake can encourage growth and then either an ice bath or activ7 Recovery Bath Salts to relax the muscles and help combat small tears in the muscle fibres and soreness after a morning of hard training.
5. Post Training Routines:
A balanced, high protein lunch option is best to opt for. So either chicken or fish with salad and potatoes. With water to drink, yogurt and fruit for afters. But this comes after the hours of training and tactical work.
In the early afternoon some people choose to have a couple of hours sleep to let the muscles grow and replenish themselves more quickly.
Late afternoon it is a good idea to have a snack or a protein bar . At teatime it’s focusing on protein in the form of meat; chicken or fish with vegetables and potatoes for energy.
Before you sleep, a protein shake can help increase energy, muscle gain or weight loss.
As good as the supplements are they are NOT a replacement for food and without a healthy balanced diet and an effective training regime to go with the supplements, taking them will be pointless and little if any improvements will be made.
The right supplements can go beyond your game and help regulate sleep patterns, reduce stress and improve your overall well-being.
This post is brought to you in conjunction with Avec Sport. A supplier of premium football teamwear and training wear to professional football clubs.