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What do professional footballers eat?

Professional footballers will usually arrive at the training ground for 9am, change into their training kit and head straight to the dining room to fuel up. A range of breakfast food is available to suit the needs of the different athletes. Some players prefer to make their own shake at the smoothie bar or have a cooked breakfast with toast, grilled tomatoes, omelettes and scrambled eggs.

Players typically aim to take in 1-3 grams of carbohydrate per kilo of their body mass in this meal. This aim of this is to replace glycogen that is lost overnight and fuel for session ahead. Training usually starts after a coach briefing between 10:30 and 11am. This gives plenty of time to digest the breakfast, ready for training.

During training
Throughout the week, players will have access to hydration drinks like SiS GO Hydro. Generally, training does not last over 90 minutes, with intensities matching 50-75% of what they do on game day. Carbohydrates are readily available before and after training in the form of wholesome foods, so carbohydrate drinks during training may not be necessary. However, during prolonged sessions e.g. pre-season, players would have access to carbohydrate-electrolyte drinks like SiS GO Electrolyte. Here, energy is needed to prevent depletion of glycogen levels, with added electrolytes needed for high sweat rates.

Energy intake during training changes the day before a game and players will have access to SiS GO Electrolyte. The day before a game is the highest carbohydrate intake day, with players loading extra carbohydrates to be used as fuel in the game. Even though players may only be training for 30 minutes, they must take the opportunity to load with fast absorbing carbohydrate.

Immediately after training, players will head back into the changing room and take an SiS Advanced Isolate + or a WHEY20. After particularly tough training sessions, or the day before a game, they will consume SiS REGO Rapid Recovery in order to replace their carbohydrate stores so they are ready for the game ahead. After this, they may head into the physio room for a massage.

Lunch is served between 12:30 and 2pm, depending on when the players head in from training. This is an ideal time to take on extra carbohydrate, along with moderate protein and plenty of vegetables. The day before a game, players will often consume a high carbohydrate, sugar-based desert like a fruit crumble to further over compensate carbohydrate stores. Although there are much better ways to take on extra carbohydrates, this boosts team morale and gives a reward to players who have trained hard throughout the week.

Players are advised to consume between 2-5 grams of carbohydrate per kilo of body mass. Specific foods are available to match the intake of different players. Some will consume extra soup with a bread roll, while other players just consume a main meal.

The day before a game
After lunch, players will either stay and complete any rehabilitation/ conditioning sessions or head off home to rest. For away games, players will head to the hotel straight after lunch to get settled in. Here is an example Friday menu for an elite football player preparing to play a Saturday game:

Meal schedule

9:00am (breakfast) 250ml fresh orange Juice; 2 slices wholemeal toast; 1 shake (strawberries; blueberries; kale; yoghurt)
12:00pm (Post training) SiS Advanced Isolate+ or SiS REGO Rapid Recovery
1:00pm (Lunch) 1 chicken breast; 2 cups of pasta; tomato sauce.
Small bowl of rhubarb crumble with custard
4:00pm (Snack) Mixed nuts and plain low fat yoghurt
7:00pm (Dinner) 1 salmon fillet; steamed green beans and carrots; 2 cups of brown rice
10:00pm (Snack) SiS Overnight Protein
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