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The Importance of Proper Nutrition for Soccer Players' Strength and Performance

Updated: Apr 15, 2023

Soccer is a strenuous physical activity that calls for a blend of power, stamina, speed, agility, and technique. For soccer players to perform at their peak, adequate nutrition is just as crucial as training and practice. With the help of pertinent research studies, we will discuss the significance of healthy diet for soccer players' strength and performance in this blog post.


The Big 3: Carbs, Protein and Fat


Let's start by talking about how carbs are used by soccer players in their diets. When engaging in high-intensity exercise like soccer, the body's main energy source is carbohydrates. In a study that was published in the Journal of Sports Sciences, researchers discovered that eating carbohydrates caused soccer players to cover 2.7% more ground during a game. The research also revealed that the players' sprint performance and total match intensity were impacted by their carbohydrate consumption.


Another crucial macronutrient for soccer players is protein. It is essential for maintaining, repairing, and growing muscles. According to a research in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, soccer players' muscle growth and strength increased when they consumed a lot of protein (2.2 grams per kilogram of body weight).


In addition to being a necessary macronutrient for supplying energy, fat also assists to control hormone levels. Researchers discovered that the amount of dietary fat consumed by soccer players had an impact on how well they played during a match in a study that was published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports. The famous Keto Diet is not ideal for soccer performance, according to the study, which indicated that players who had a diet heavy in fat (40% of daily calorie consumption) saw a decline in their sprint performance and overall match intensity.


Soccer players must also make sure they consume the recommended amounts of vitamins and minerals. Low levels of vitamin D, for instance, have been associated with a higher incidence of stress fractures in soccer players. Vitamin D is crucial for maintaining bone health. According to a study in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, soccer players with higher vitamin D levels had stronger and more powerful muscles.



Consuming too Few Calories Leads to Increased Risk of Injury:



Elite soccer players were the subject of a study that was published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research that looked at the connection between calorie intake and injury risk. The research revealed that athletes' risk of injury was considerably higher when they ingested fewer calories. According to the study's findings, a low calorie intake might result in a reduction in energy availability, which can have an adverse effect on physiological processes and raise the risk of damage.


Another study indicated that professional soccer players who consumed fewer calories had a higher risk of suffering muscular injuries. This study was also published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. According to the study, athletes who ingested fewer calories were more likely to suffer a season-ending muscle injury.


Vitamin D:


One of the primary roles of vitamin D is to help the body absorb calcium, which is critical for bone health. Without sufficient vitamin D, the body cannot absorb calcium effectively, which can lead to weakened bones and an increased risk of stress fractures. Strong bones are essential for athletes who engage in high-impact activities, such as running and jumping.

Vitamin D also plays a role in muscle function. Studies have found that athletes with low vitamin D levels are more likely to experience muscle weakness and fatigue, which can negatively impact their performance. Vitamin D is also involved in the regulation of inflammation, which is an important process in recovery from exercise-induced muscle damage.


Research has also suggested that vitamin D may have a role in improving athletic performance. Studies have found that athletes with higher vitamin D levels have improved muscle function, strength, and power. Vitamin D has also been associated with improved balance and reaction time, which can be particularly beneficial for athletes in sports that require agility and quick movements.


It is important to note, however, that while vitamin D may play a role in sports performance, it is just one of many factors that can impact athletic ability. Other factors, such as training, nutrition, and genetics, are also important.


Magnesium:


Research has shown that magnesium supplementation can improve various aspects of physical performance in athletes. For example, a study published in the Journal of Sports Science found that magnesium supplementation improved running speed, jumping ability, and agility in volleyball players. Another study published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism found that magnesium supplementation improved cycling performance and reduced lactate accumulation in trained cyclists.


It is important for athletes to ensure that they are meeting their daily magnesium requirements through a balanced diet and/or supplements as needed. Magnesium-rich foods include leafy green vegetables, nuts and seeds, whole grains, and legumes. However, athletes may have increased magnesium needs due to the demands of training and competition, and may benefit from supplementation to optimize their magnesium status and support their athletic performance.


  1. Muscle function: Magnesium is involved in muscle contraction and relaxation, which is critical for movements during exercise. It helps to regulate the activity of calcium, another mineral involved in muscle function, and is required for the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the main source of energy for muscle contractions.

  2. Energy metabolism: Magnesium is necessary for the production and metabolism of ATP, which is used by the body for energy during exercise. Magnesium is also involved in the breakdown of glucose, the primary fuel source for exercise, and helps to regulate the activity of enzymes involved in energy metabolism.

  3. Recovery: Magnesium is involved in the repair and growth of muscle tissue, which is important for recovery after exercise. It helps to regulate protein synthesis, which is the process by which new muscle tissue is formed.

  4. Cardiovascular function: Magnesium is involved in the regulation of blood pressure and heart function, which can affect athletic performance. It helps to relax blood vessels, which can improve blood flow and oxygen delivery to muscles during exercise.


Popular Supplements used for performance:


Creatine:

Due to its ability to increase strength, power, and sprint efficiency, creatine is a popular dietary supplement among sports, notably soccer players. It is a naturally occurring amino acid that can be generated by the body in addition to being present in meat and fish. It has been demonstrated that taking a creatine supplement enhances performance in high-intensity, quick-duration exercises like sprinting and jumping, which are crucial components of soccer.


Caffeine: A stimulant that can improve endurance, focus, and alertness. In addition to being a ubiquitous ingredient in coffee, tea, and energy beverages, it is also sold as a supplement. Supplementing with caffeine has been demonstrated to increase stamina and lessen exhaustion during activity, which is advantageous for soccer players during practice and competition.


Beta-alanine: An amino acid that can raise muscle carnosine levels can help with endurance and fatigue reduction. It can also be purchased as a supplement and is frequently found in meat and poultry. It has been demonstrated that taking beta-alanine supplements can enhance performance in high-intensity, endurance sports like soccer.


Beet Root Juice: Nitric oxide (NO), which has a number of roles in improved blood flow, gas exchange, mitochondrial biogenesis and efficiency, and strengthened muscular contraction, is boosted by beetroot juice. These increases in biomarkers suggest that beetroot juice supplementation may have ergogenic effects on cardiorespiratory endurance that would enhance athletic performance. The purpose of this evaluation of the literature was to ascertain the effects of beetroot juice supplementation and beetroot juice in conjunction with other supplements on athletes' capacity for cardiorespiratory endurance.


Overall in the end soccer players need to consume enough calories to ensure the muscles and neurological systems have enough to perform. Tracking your nutrition may be the first step to help increase your awareness and help reduce potential injury.


In FULL90+ we offer a way for our athletes to track and build nutritional profiles and even work with a coach on providing you specific guidelines just for you. Download the FULL90+ App for Free and get started.












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