Footballers Diet | Soccer Players Diet Plan and Right Nutrition

Football And Right Nutrition

Nutrition is one of the most important demands of the game and right nutrition is essential throughout the training phase to deliver good performances he professional football league in India. The Hero India n Super League is all set to commence this month and soccer enthusiasts are electrified to witness their most loved sport. With more and more individuals considering the sport for professional development, the dynamics of Indian football seem to be changing. The investment in the sport too, has also multiplied allowing for increased international exposure.

Passion for the sport has been there since its roots, but the demands of the game have been identified only now. And nutrition is one o? the most important demands which was misunderstood for years, till sport specific nutrition came to light.

Right nutrition is essential throughout the training phase to deliver performances of a certain calibre and it is important to fuel and re-fuel the body to meet the energy demands of the game. For the knowledge of all those who support their favourite players and also for those who play the sport themselves, listed here are the correct nutrition requirements to play football.

Nutrition Needs

The basic nutrition knowledge of most players is limited and there is an increased requirement of sports nutritionists to educate the players and make them aware of their needs. Every player is different and no two players would have the same diet regime. Understanding individual needs becomes extremely significant in order to develop a nutritional plan matching their requirements. This includes attaining a desired body weight and ideal body composition, recovering from training regime/from an injury, prevention of injury and illness, consistently delivering high performances etc.

Energy Requirements

Energy needs vary from pre-season to on-season to oft-season. They are also dependent on the type, duration and frequency of training. The energy demands during a match are also quite different from daily training. This is because of the amount of energy expended by the body varies depending upon the above. The total distance covered on field during a match is found to be huge. It depends again on the level of competition and the position of the player. An elite player, especially a mid-fielder, would on an average cover a distance of 1O-l3kms during the 90 minute span of the game.

Macronutrient Requirements

These are the chief sources of fuel. The quality and quantity of carbohydrates before, during and post training? match differs significantly because of the need for fuelling and reœvery respectively.

Requirements spike up to 1.2-1.59/ kg body weight/ day. The timing of protein intake is considered to be more significant than the amount. It has been advised to consume protein in recovery stages to enhance muscle recovery and cause muscle synthesis.

Performance of players is optimum if their body fat levels fall in the required range. Low body fat can expose them to health issues and high body fat will force them to carry additional weight and reduce speed during the match. Following a diet plan that provides good quality fat and within a range of 25-30 per cent of total calories should be beneficial. However, there are individual variations.

Micronutrient Requirements

  • B-Vitamins are particularly important because of their role in energy metabolism. Antioxidant nutrients, vitamins A, C, E, selenium, and chromium improve health and help the body face stress during training.
  • Electrolytes, sodium, potassium, and chloride are lost in high amounts through sweat and adequate consumption of these is necessary to prevent fatigue and muscle cramping.
  • Calcium, vitamin D and vitamin K are important for bone growth and development.
  • Having a variety of foods belonging to all food groups will prevent deficiencies.

Hydration Guidelines

  • The water lost during the game can be three times more in humid weather. For every one kilogram loss of body weight post training! match, replacement of one litre of water is a must.
  • Dehydration is a common scenario during matches as players can only drink a few sips during halt-time and technical breaks.
  • Sports drinks that contain tour six per cent glucose should be consumed during training! game to prevent dehydration effects like fatigue, muscle cramps, loss of focus on the game. increased body temperature, loss of blood volume, and drop in blood pressure and rise in heart rate.


These are the in-brief nutritional demands of the game. There ¡s much more depth to individual nutrients and their effects on performance as more and more research is being done. So, the next time when we find ourselves nervously watching a player miss a goal and then share tips on what he could have done better, let us try to first understand the increased pressure and the high requirements of the game.

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