Like most players, you probably appreciate the need to rest and eat well during the days prior to an important match. But are you sure regarding how much you should eat, what type of food and when is the best time for it? And do you know what to eat during the few hours immediately before competition or intense training?
Carbohydrate is the key energy-providing nutrient that you need to optimise during the days leading up to and including the day of competition. Attention should also be given to optimising water and salt levels in the body. However, during the 2-4 days prior to a competition, a player’s need for protein and fat, as well as most other nutrients, typically does not increase above the levels that are recommended for normal, moderate level training.
So what is carbo-loading? Is this only for bodybuilders and marathon runners - or do you as a footballer benefit from such a preparation? And if yes, how do you do this? When do you need to start? What do you eat?
Have you already found your favourite pre-competition meal that not only provides you with extra energy during the match, but also feels "right" in terms of curbing hunger, quieting your stomach and being convenient and practical? In low key competition, or if you do only little running in a game, the pre-match meal needs not be predominantly carbohydrate. However, if you are an intense competition player, you should eat 1-4 g/kg body weight of carbohydrate during the 6 hours before match or training.
So find out how you avoid the main "mistake" players might make before a match, what and when you should eat and drink with concrete examples: (Preparation for competition, p18-19 nutrition booklet). For more information, click here.