More strength, explosivity and endurance through optimal nutrition
B42 Nutrition expert Stephan Hain on optimal nutrition in soccer
3 min reading time

In the professional sector, it is now standard practice for all performance data to be recorded and analyzed during a game. For example, we work with GPS sensors for comprehensive game analysis.

As a striker, I cover an average of between 10 and 11 km during a game and get around 200 sprint meters. In other positions, it may even be more.

But what does that have to do with optimal nutrition for soccer players?

Athletic demands in soccer

Understanding the physiological requirements in soccer is essential in order to be able to derive dietary recommendations.

Therefore, first of all, the answer to the question of what distinguishes the sport of soccer. Football is a so-called “stop-and-go” sport, i.e. there is an alternation between low to moderate loads (walking, trotting, jogging) and intensive to high-intensity loads (dribbling, sprinting). A large part of the distance covered is walked or completed with low to moderately intensive runs. However, it is the highly intensive actions — tacklings won, dribbles, sprints — that are decisive for the game.

The ability to do more sprints can differentiate top-tier teams from middle-class teams. In addition, factors such as tactics, game position, court size and performance vs. amateur soccer players influence the physiological requirements on the pitch.

On average, amateur soccer players cover less distance than competitive soccer players. The intensive and highly intensive activities are also less than those of professionals. Nevertheless, soccer has constantly developed over the last few years and decades, and physical and technical requirements are increasing. Even in the amateur sector.

More sprints, more sprint distance, more high-speed running, more games!

The role of nutrition

Nutrition also plays an important role in order to meet increased demands, to be able to achieve optimal performance in training and games and to get through a season healthily.

Nutrition is seen as a piece of the puzzle, as part of the big picture when it comes to maximum performance.

And in soccer or in sports in general, a few percentage points can make the difference between winning or losing.

You are in control of your own diet. So why not get the most out of it?

Calories burned in the game

In the professional sector, midfielders can consume between 1,300-1,600 kcal during a game. In amateur sports, consumption is lower and averages 800 kcal during a game. At 70%, carbohydrates account for the largest share of energy supply.

Glycogen stores — the storage form of carbohydrates in muscle and liver — can be emptied by half or more after a game.

Regardless of whether you are a professional or amateur athlete, an adequate supply of carbohydrates is essential in order to be able to carry out sprints, dribbles, tacklings, score and prevent goals and ultimately decide games even in the 90th minute.

Calorie consumption during training

Training loads differ from match day loads in that the distance traveled and the number of fast runs and sprints are less. In addition, there are a few days free of training in a week.

What I'm trying to say is that not every day is the same.

You don't train at the same intensity or duration every day. Nor does it make sense to eat the same thing every day. Therefore, adjust your energy intake to your energy consumption!

The optimal diet in soccer

What does the optimal diet for soccer players look like?

Simply put: the way it helps you achieve maximum performance, regenerate in the best possible way and stay healthy.

This starts with the basics of a balanced diet with daily fruit & vegetables, lean protein sources, complex carbohydrates, healthy fats and adequate hydration. Dietary supplements represent the top of the pyramid.

As the name suggests, dietary supplements supplement the diet and do not replace it.

Are you interested in optimising your diet in order to get through a season healthy, fit and efficient?

Then take a look at the other blog posts as well.

If you would like to be personally looked after by me, you will also find a link here my website.

Your Stephan Hain

Be fearless. Be focused. B42.

Die B42 Nutrition App. Die perfekte Ernährung für optimale Leistung.

3 min reading time
Stephan Hain
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Stephan Hain is a trained nutritionist with a focus on sports nutrition and was a professional soccer player at SpVgg Unterhaching until June 2023. He currently lives in Auckland, New Zealand, where he plays soccer on an amateur basis and mainly continues to deepen his knowledge of nutrition in sports.

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