Football is worldwide one of the most popular team-sports. It is a particularly intensive sport, in which short periods of rest are interchanged with explosive energy-use, which demands a high level of exertion.
Football-training and matches are of great importance in achieving good results. Not only the technical proficiency and condition of the footballer are important, but also the physical factors. Extra, specific exercises, aside from the football training can only improve proficiency. Together with (extra) sports nutrition and special dietary supplements, performance can be improved even further. This results in better achievements, a better immune system and a stronger body!
Playing a football match demands a great deal of energy. Sufficient energy gives a feeling of satisfaction and has a positive influence on your football results. As a footballer, always start a match full of energy! If your energy level is not at its best, the ‘energy bomb’ is always welcome. It’s handy to know where you can obtain this energy, and the best way to keep the level up.
The body can turn several ingredients into energy:
Fats contain the most energy; almost twice as much as carbohydrates or proteins. But it takes the body relatively too much time to convert these fats into energy. When exercising, the body will first address the carbohydrates (“fast energy”), and later on the fats (“slow energy”. Pasta and bread are good sources of carbohydrates.
The basic rule for getting the most out of your energy is: little fat, much carbohydrate, little protein. During, in particular, long periods of sporting activity, it is extremely important to take not only water, but also carbohydrates. This way, you generate energy and avoid depleting your glycogen reserves.
In football, you need power, not only for a strong goal-kick, but also for sprinting and jumping. You also have to make slides and fight out duels. All this takes a lot of strength, which is why a good training-regime essential to excel and avoid possible injuries.
First, you train your ‘basic strength’ to cope with the problems that are specific to football. You can train ’basic strength’ at the gym by lifting weights, or power-training in general. Practice the ‘basic strength’ training especially during the approach to the football season, or while recovering from injury.
Basic strength can be obtained from exercises which are becoming ever more complex. Take, for instance, exercises like bench-lifts, push-ups, sit-ups and curls. To strengthen the legs, do squats, knee-bends and bouncing on your toes, to strengthen the ankles.
Then you have running- and starting-jumps, with or without squats and ‘start-offs’.
To give your body enough support, and improve your strength and stamina, it is advisable to ingest sufficient carbohydrates, and particularly, extra proteins. The daily requirement for a non-sporter is estimated at 0.9 grams per kilo of bodyweight for men and 0.85 grams per kilo of bodyweight for women. For power-sport you need 1.5 to 2.5 grams of protein per kilo of bodyweight per day to improve muscle growth and power.
Football is an interval sport and demands a lot from your muscle system; this is the reason for many muscle injuries and cramps. You can help your body recover faster after training, thus avoiding these annoying injuries.
After a heavy training-session/match, it is important that your body gets the correct nutrients to recover as quickly as possible. The damaged muscle cells will be repaired and new muscle tissue created. It is of paramount importance that you take these nutrients in the correct proportions; in particular, sufficient proteins and carbohydrates. Protein is essential for the maintenance and building of muscle tissue and strength, and the avoidance of injuries.