How does training compare with the demands of a game?

Footballers cover between 10-13 km per game, but the physical demands of training sessions are considerably less. Total distance on a training day may range from 2-6 km depending on the day of the week and when the training session is completed in relation to the match.

How much carbohydrate should I eat on a training day?

Ninety minutes of football significantly depletes your energy stores, so much so that 50% of your muscles fibres will be completely empty of energy at the end of the game. With this in mind, you should aim to consume between 6-8 g/kg on the day before the match (to load our muscles with glycogen) and on match day itself.  However, because the loads completed in training are much lower than that of match play, it is suggested that daily carbohydrate intake should be lower on a typical training day. English Premier League footballers routinely consume 4g/kg body mass on training days.

However, given that players may also perform double training sessions or participate in sessions with high workloads, we recommend that daily carbohydrate intake should range on a sliding scale between 3-8 g/kg per day depending on the loads to be completed.  Depending on the time of the day of the training session, the pre-training meal is likely to contain 1-2 g/kg of carbohydrate. For example, for Premier League players taking part in a training session at 10:30 am, the pre-training meal is effectively breakfast and usually consists of cereals, breads, eggs, fruit and yoghurts.

In addition to the pre-training meal, carbohydrate intake during training should be <30 g per hour and it is suggested that players could consume 1 SiS GO Isotonic Energy Gel half-way through the session. Carbohydrate ingestion during training may improve your ability to perform high-intensity exercise as well as perform technical actions such as passing, shooting and dribbling.

How much protein should I eat on a training day?

Unlike carbohydrate, daily protein intake should not vary between days and should be around 2-2.5 g/kg body mass per day. For a 75 kg player, this usually equates to 150 g of protein per day where 30 g doses should be consumed every 3 hours throughout the day. Players should ensure that protein is consumed in the recovery period after training to ensure that muscles are provided with the amino acids required to help repair and rebuild muscle tissue. Simple strategies to ensure protein in the recovery period after training would be to consume SiS REGO Rapid Recovery or an SiS Protein Bar.  Finally, players should always ensure they consume protein prior to sleep, e.g. taking SiS REGO Cherry Juice, as this can help promote recovery even while you are sleeping.

How do I hydrate for football training?

Regardless of the time of day of training, players should always ensure they start the training session in a hydrated state9. We recommend that players consume at least 500 ml of an electrolyte drink with their pre-training meal (e.g. SiS Hydro). During the session itself, players should aim for 250-500 ml per hour though in warm conditions, this intake is likely to increase to 500-1000 ml per hour of training.

What supplements can help my football performance on a training day?

Caffeine is the most widely research supplement which could help to improve your training performance. Taking caffeine before exercise improves your mental alertness as well your ability to perform repeated sprints and explosive actions such as jumping. You could consume 2 mg/kg body mass 45 minutes before training so that you will feel the benefits throughout training. A simple way to achieve caffeine intake at this time would be to consume caffeine in the form of a gel, e.g. SiS GO Isotonic Energy Gel + Caffeine, to give a quick hit.

Key advice

Start the game with full muscle glycogen stores by consuming more carbohydrates the day before the match (6-8 g/kg body mass) and in your pre-match meal (2 g/kg body mass).

  • Consume 2 mg/kg of caffeine in the warm-up to increase your mental alertness and physical performance during the match.
  • Consume carbohydrate during exercise at a rate of 30-60 g per hour in order to prevent fatigue and help you maintain your passing, shooting and dribbling skills.
  • Avoid dehydration by consuming at least 500 ml of an electrolyte solution during the match. If you need more, your thirst will let you know.
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