When you open up a soccer book to research certain topics, do not always take the information as being gospel or correct. There are 100′s and 1000′s of books that talk about soccer nutrition and the pre-match diet. The majority of the books I’ve read, don’t distinguish the different pre-match meals required for different times of the day. When choosing a pre-match meal, we must consider the time of day in which the game will be played.
Games being played in the morning require a different pre-match meal as opposed to games played in the afternoon or late afternoon. When reading some of the advice in books did you ever consider this? Most books on soccer and nutrition assume you will be playing in the late afternoon or at night and give you the relevant information based on this assumption. What happens if you play in the morning? How does this change your pre-match meal?
Now that we’ve established that pre-match meals can differ due to time of day, lets discuss some of these variations. Even better, I’ll give you some of the best suggestions for a pre-match meal depending on the time of day. Lets start with a game being played in the morning.
Matches played in the morning:
For starters never drink coffee in the morning before your game. Coffee takes a long time to digest and gives you the sensation of something heavy in your stomach due to gastric acid produced by the coffee. Also the caffeine mixed with stress, fear or anxiety could result in nausea, vomiting and headache.
If you have carb-loaded correctly the night before, all you need in the morning for an early morning game is some toast, with a thin layer of honey or marmalade. A glass of juice and a small portion of oats (or similar cereal) is all that is required for a morning game. Notice how i haven’t mentioned pasta once. According to the majority of books and experts, pre-match meals should always contain carbohydrates in the form of pasta. Not in the mornings.
Matches played in the afternoon:
This example of a pre-match meal should be eaten 2-3 hours before the warm up session for a match.
- Main Course: pasta or rice
- Side dish of boiled potatoes with a little oil.
- A small portion of chicken.
- If you drink coffee, 1 cup of coffee will not hurt you at this stage.
- Water. Always maintain your hydration and drink glasses of water throughout the day.
Matches played at night:
When playing a night game, its advisable that you do not eat dinner at dinner time. In this case its better to have a midday meal full of carbohydrates like the one we discussed above. Supplement this with an afternoon snack 2 hours before the start of warm up.
- bread with honey,
- a piece of cake
- or fresh fruit
- Water. (hydration is very important).
As you can see, the pre-match meal requirements can differ. Considering that a match can be played at different times, it would be a mistake to just settle on one type of pre-match meal. Always read and learn about the game, but make sure the information is relevant to you. Ensure that your pre-match meal is suitable and meets your requirements, not the Authors.
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