Eating for Performance
Before the Game
Good match preparation should start two days before the game day. Along with eating healthily daily, preparing for a match well in advance is a great habit to get your child into.
Ensure that your child is consuming plenty of protein – be it in the form of protein powder, lean chicken, beef, fish or legumes. Encourage them to eat small meals often, and boost the amount of vegetables that they are consuming.
Adequate protein is vital for the performance of your athlete, and good protein supplementation starts at breakfast. Use our recipe for a tasty eg omelette, or start using a high quality protein supplement like Pharmafoods IsoWhey Complete. This protein powder, when blended with some skim milk, fruit and ice, is a great start to the day, and will provide them with vitamins, minerals, protein, amino acids and nutrients.
Ensure that your child drinks lots of water – aim for around 1-1.5 litres a day, and avoid soft drinks, sports drinks and ‘vitamin water' at all costs. These are simply unnecessary sources of sugar and salt, and offer no real benefits to the body.
Refrain from providing you child with any sweets or unneeded treats – not only are snakes, lollies, chocolate and chips bad for your child – they don't actually need them to perform.
On the Day
The food eaten in the last hours before sports can help to top up the fuel your child needs to perform at their best.
Eating a protein rich breakfast on the day is a great starting point – it lays the foundations for the required energy and nutrients. Ensure that you follow the advice given on what to feed your child on the day – eating regularly will give them a much better chance of maintaining normal blood glucose levels, and enhances both physical and mental performance.
On the day, provide a combination of foods with adequate amounts of protein for breakfast. An omelette or protein shake is a great idea for their energy levels. Offer a piece of fresh fruit and a glass of skim milk or water rather than sweetened fruit juice. Ensure that breakfast is eaten at least two to three hours before activity commences to keep your child satisfied.
Sample Match Day
8:00 am: Wake and shower. Perform some light stretches for 10 minutes.
8:30 am: Breakfast. Refer to our recipe section for some great breakfast ideas.
Supplements at breakfast: Eagle Pharmaceuticals Tresos B (2 tablets), Bioceuticals Ultra Muscleze (1 scoop) or Blackmores Professional P.P.M.P. (2 tablets), Musashi B.C.A.A.'s if required for older/larger athletes.
After breakfast: 10-15 minute light walk.
9:30 am: Polish gear and check equipment. Polish football boots, pack pre- and post-match meals and prepare electrolyte formulas. Refer to recipe section for the electrolyte formulation.
11:30 am: Prepare 2 liquid protein meals; one for this time, and one for after the game. Reserve a small amount for use at half time. Refer to recipe section for protein shake recipes.
12:30 pm: Arrive at the football ground.
1:00 pm: Change into football gear and prepare for match. Following preparation, perform 10 minutes of light stretches. Tape ankles or other joints if needed.
1:45 pm: Drink water with Musashi Reactivate, and if required, consume a piece of fruit.
2:00 pm: GAME ON!
During the Game
Relying on the canteen for food and drinks for the day can be your biggest downfall. If you prepare healthy snacks and drinks for during the day, you won't be caught short with bad food choices.
Ensure that your child is drinking an adequate amount of water during each game. Make a couple of bottles of a magnesium based electrolyte drink for your child to sip during the day.
Encourage your child to continue drinking water and electrolyte during both quarter-time breaks and in between matches – dehydration is a major issue that can lead to poor performance and ill health.
Making you own pre-mixed protein drink is a great idea for during the day. Blend up a double amount in the morning, and take half along during the game. This will provide them with the energy that they need, and the variety that they want.
A few snacks can be taken to help boost energy levels and prevent hunger. Lollies and chocolate should be avoided at all times – especially during the game. These will only provide your child with a short burst of ‘sugar' energy that will result in a slump shortly after.
Fruit, or half a protein bar are much more effective in providing your child the energy to finish the game. Something as simple as half a banana, or a few bites from a protein bar at half time can make all the difference to your child's performance.
It is also important to ensure that your child eats something small in the break. If lollies, chocolate or sucking on a bit of orange is the norm, encourage the players to have a few bites from a protein bar, or to share a banana. This ensures that the kids have enough energy and focus to finish a full game.
Quarter Time: Use your own magnesium based electrolyte formula. Do not use Gatorade – you do not need sodium/sugar or chlorine.
Half Time: Use either a magnesium based electrolyte formula and a piece of fruit or use the protein drink that you made in the morning. Use around 250-400ml as required and sip a small amount of your electrolyte water. If you elect to use fruit, a banana is an ideal option. Remember the ‘riper' the banana, the better. The more rip and blacker the peel, the higher the fructose content of the banana.
Three-Quarter Time: Use your magnesium based electrolyte formula; include half a piece of fruit if required.
- Drink the electrolyte formula as required.
- Take the time to stretch at least 10-15 minutes. The big difference between “elite” and “normal” athletes is preparation. The stretch post-match prepares you for next weeks' match. Begin preparing now.
- Ice any injuries in a pattern of 20 minutes on/20 minutes off. Instant Ice packs are now available on Emed. These are a great idea to keep in a sports bag in case of injury.
- Half an hour to an hour after the match, use the second protein drink from the morning. This is the best possible workout meal as it is a balance protein/amino acid and trace mineral formulation.
- Alternatively, use the Musashi post work out pack. These packs contain a collection of products that will ensure a speedy recovery, and will give you what you need to play at your best week after week. A pre-mixed protein drink from Musashi is also a good option. Â‚àö¬¢Â‚Äö?á¬®¬¨¬ÆÂ‚àö¬¢Â‚Äö?á¬®¬¨¬ÆP30 protein drinks contain 30 grams of protein, and are suitable for smaller athletes, whilst the larger P40 contains 40 grams of protein for larger athletes. All products are available on Emed.
- For elite/high end athletes, a source of Branched Chain Amino Acids would be a good idea. Musashi have a very comprehensive product called ‘Muscle Recovery' that contains a specific blend of Branched Chain Amino Acids to help decrease muscle protein breakdown during heavy or extended exercise.
- Encourage the athlete to continue sipping the electrolyte drink as required during the entire day.
After the Game – Meal
Coping with tired, hungry and sometimes grumpy footballers at the end of a long day can be a challenging task. The temptation to go to a fast food outlet on the way home for an ‘easy' meal can be huge, and the pressure from your children can make it even harder to resist.
The problem is, recovery after each day's game or training session is essential to maintain your child's best performance and health – and the food that they consume immediately after plays a big role in this recovery.
Ideally, recovery snacks and fluids should begin within 30 minutes of finishing exercise. This can sometimes be hard after a long day, however ensure that you pack extra for after the game.
By allowing your child some pre-made protein drink, this will satisfy their appetite, and give them the slow-burning energy they need to make it home (and past McDonalds) satisfied.
You may not be in the habit of having a meal ready at home, but preparing something before you leave for the day is the best way to ensure your family eats healthily. It will also save the family time a money, and will keep your tummy full a lot longer than a greasy burger will!
One solution is to have food already prepared in the fridge or freezer – simply reheat while showers and unpacking of sports bags takes place.
Another solution is to have a collection of quick-to-prepare recipes on hand. Purchase the ingredients that you need the day before, so you won't need to visit any supermarkets on the way home. Have a look at the recipe selection at the end of this booklet for some delicious and nutritious recipes.
If you must have grog… Try to avoid alcohol until after the evening meal. Alcohol slows recovery, impedes muscle recovery and healing, and is an excellent way to put on unneeded weight.
The night meal should ideally contain a good protein source. Focus on chicken breasts, kangaroo, scotch fillet and steamed vegies.
The next day… Upon waking, consume a 3 egg omelette or a protein based meal.
Following breakfast, take a 10-15 minute walk, followed by some light stretching. Consider some active recovery in the pool. Light swimming or even floating is an ideal way to promote injury recovery and build lean muscle tissue.