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How much protein should footballers eat?

Why do footballers need more protein?
The stress of football training, on the pitch and in the gym, causes our muscles to break down. Thankfully, consuming more protein, combined with hard training, enables us to respond better to the physical demands of the next training session. To maximise recovery speed, it is essential that protein is consumed shortly after exercise.

How much protein do footballers need each day?
Footballers should consume 1.6-2 grams of protein per kilogram of body mass. For a 75 kg player, this equates to between 120 and 150 g of protein per day. Additionally, during times of deliberate weight loss, where players are burning more calories than they’re consuming, it is also recommended that protein intakes are increased to approximately 2.5 g/kg in order to maintain muscle mass. A recent study showed that Premier League players consume on average between 2-2.5 g/kg of protein through a range of high protein containing foods and supplements.

When should I consume protein?
We advise consuming 20-40 g protein at regular intervals throughout the day. This can be achieved through a diet including good servings of protein at breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as mid-morning and afternoon snacks. It is also advised that footballers consume protein before and after training so their muscles immediately have the necessary fuel to begin rebuilding.  Although most footballers could meet daily protein intakes through whole foods, whey based protein supplements such as SiS Whey Protein, are especially useful given that they are easily digested and also rich in the amino acid leucine, which signals the building of muscle mass to occur.

Why should you consume protein before sleep?
Footballers should consume 30-40 g of protein prior to going to sleep. In the absence of protein feeding before bed, we are in a state of fasting overnight, during which our muscles can begin to break down.  In contrast, having protein prior to sleep with products such as SiS Overnight Protein increases the building of muscle mass overnight. Studies have shown that consuming protein prior to sleep increases the strength gains that occur during a weight training program.

 Key advice

  • Football players should aim for 1.6-2 g/kg protein per day.
  • During times of weight loss where the goal is to reduce body fat but maintain (or increase) muscle mass, daily protein could be increased to 2-2.5 g/kg.
  • Protein intake should be spread across multiple meals and snacks and players should aim for 20-40 g intakes every 3-4 hours.
  • Players should also consume 30-40 g protein before bed in order to promote training adaptation in the overnight period.
Dr James Morton
Written By

Dr James Morton

World Class Knowledge Director