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Sports and nutrition go hand-in-hand, especially soccer. Soccer is a rigorous game where the ball rarely stops moving. Even if it goes out of play or the goalkeeper makes a save, players move to get into whatever position the next play calls for. Considering a soccer match lasts over 90 total minutes, players need immense stamina and endurance to stay fresh until the end.
Soccer players actually run more than players in any other major sport, with an average seven miles covered every game. This constant moving and sprinting takes a toll on the body, so you need to make sure yours can handle the workload. You can't become one of the best players in the world in the world if your diet is lacking. Here are some nutrition tips for soccer players that will give you a leg up and keep your motor running.
It goes without saying, but water is extremely important to one's health and well-being. As a kid, I was definitely guilty of not drinking enough water. I was (and still am, sadly for my health) a huge fan of soda and would rarely drink water. The most H2O I would have would be during my hockey, lacrosse, and soccer games. Even during those times, I would usually favor Powerade or some other flavored sports drink.
Somehow, I am relatively healthy today, and I now see the errors of my ways. While Powerade, Gatorade, and soda are all delicious, they are not good for you. Gatorade and Powerade help replenish electrolytes, which help post workout, but they also contain a lot of sugar. So, be wary of flavored sports drinks, they are fine to have in moderation but should never be your primary source of hydration. Make sure to drink plenty of water before, during, and after your match. I now drink water religiously, almost shunning out everything else (soon I will beat soda), and feel lighter and better every day. I guarantee you will too.
Include carbohydrates in your pre-game meal.
Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for our brains and bodies. The glucose in carbs is what gets burned up while performing physically demanding activities. So ensuring that you have an adequate amount of carbs before your game will help your stamina levels. You will want to eat a carb-heavy meal two-three hours before a match. This will fuel your body and improve your mental and physical performance on the pitch. Make sure to look into what carb-heavy foods are healthy to eat, a few examples include rice, vegetables, potatoes, and fruit.
Utilize vitamin B supplements.
One of the easiest nutrition tips for soccer players to follow is to remember to have your vitamins. The age-old adage from moms everywhere rings true here. All vitamins help you in one way or another, but if you're looking to improve your game, vitamin B is the one you want. B vitamins enhance your metabolism and help increase the natural energy supply in your body.
The supplement from aSquared Nutrition is a solid option in my opinion. It comes with 120 tablets, each one having 5000mcg per tablet. It not only helps your metabolism and energy reserves but helps with your nervous system and memory recall too. If you want to look into it more, be my guest. The reviews are a great place to start, where 88 percent of the 292 reviewers gave it four or five stars. This will let you stay fresh for all 90 minutes (or however long your league games are) and stoppage time.
Carbohydrates after your matches will help just as well.
Two nutrition tips for soccer players that relay the same message. Just remember to replenish your carbs with regularity. After your match, if you gave it your all, there won't be much glucose left in your system. Allow your body to become ready and more prepared for future games and practice sessions by having another carb-heavy meal. Keep in mind to look into whatever meal you may be thinking of, and be sure it's the ideal snack after a game.
Cut out the junk food.
I know it's obvious, but it's really hard to do on your own. So here I am telling you to throw out the junk food. Maybe hearing it from one more voice will give you the final push. It doesn't help you, it actively hurts you actually. Foods that are high in fat, sugar, and sodium (a.k.a all the tasty stuff) are almost never good for you, especially if you play a sport. They diminish your energy levels, make you tired, and leave you with no stamina. You'll find yourself on the bench all year if the strikers are dancing around you or you can't pull away from defenders. Don't worry, you won't have to quit junk altogether and you don't have to eat just kale from here on out.
Ingest protein after matches to aid in muscle recovery.
Protein can also aid in the recovery process after a match. Carbs help you regain energy while protein helps muscles repair and grow stronger. Cereal, yogurt, and chocolate milk all count as proteins that can aid your body after you play.
The variety pack from Pure Protein is my personal choice. They contain 20 grams of protein, have minimal sugar levels, and come in three distinct flavors: Chocolate Peanut Butter, Chewy Chocolate Chip, and Chocolate Deluxe. I prefer to eat bars because I don't really trust or enjoy protein shakes too much, these provide a good alternative and are one of the tastier nutrition tips for soccer players.
Remember to enjoy healthy fats!
Healthy fats are one of the best oxymorons to exist. They are foods that are technically high in fat but are tremendously nutritious and healthy in moderation. Eggs, avocados, extra virgin olive oil, and even dark chocolate are among the foods that are fatty and have great health benefits.
Healthy fats are able to be on both sides because they contain ingredients like magnesium, antioxidants, vitamins, iron, lean proteins, etc. The list of high-fat foods that are super healthy just goes on and on, so enjoy them from time to time and you won't go crazy only eating healthy, tasteless foods.
Cheat days are acceptable in moderation.
We don't have to lie to ourselves here. Quitting anything cold turkey is difficult and likely to end in failure. So whatever you have a sweet tooth for (mine is soda as previously mentioned), it's tolerable to indulge it every now and then. Just be sure that it doesn't become a regular occurrence. Ideally, you will be able to wean yourself off of what you crave over time and by using limited cheat days. Then, you'll have a healthier lifestyle that affords you the energy to outrun defenders and score goals.
Vitamin D supplements can help too.
Mom is right again. Vitamin D can help just as much as B can. B helps you with your energy levels, while D strengthens bones and promotes muscle function, two of the best ways to avoid a soccer injury. If you want to be a great player, be ready to endure harsh challenges, and these supplements can help. The two work in perfect unison to help you stay on the field and full of energy. There are a lot of brands out there, but I've chosen this one for a number of reasons.
The supplement from NatureWise achieves the same result as when your skin produces vitamin D in sunlight and helps with your immune system and teeth health. It truly does it all. It is an Amazon best-seller and has four or five-star ratings from a whopping 97 percent of the over 8,000 reviews (90 percent being five stars). Popping a vitamin B and D every day are two of the easiest nutrition tips for soccer players to follow, please try it and thank me later.
Make sure to rinse and repeat!
Do not just take these nutrition tips for soccer players and use them for a week or so. If you want to succeed you must stay committed to these and follow them throughout your playing days. You don't see Cristiano Ronaldo eating junk food. To be fair, I'm not 100 percent sure what he eats, but I'm sure it's healthy, otherwise, he wouldn't be taking his shirt off every other play.
So if you want to become a star one day, it is important to practice with drills you can do at home, exercise regularly, but the most crucial step is to eat the right way. Keeping your body running like a well-oiled machine will allow you to train harder and longer. It is the key ingredient to success that is often overlooked.