Playing soccer relies heavily on your stamina and energy levels. There are extended periods of running with many all-out sprints sprinkled throughout very frequently. The faster player often wins loose balls. If you are looking for ways to maintain your energy on game day, try these tricks out.
The foods you choose to eat can have a dramatic impact on your energy levels. Sugary foods can produce a sugar high, followed by a crash in energy. It is best to avoid these sugar-filled foods and to choose healthy, energy-sustaining foods. Lean proteins, fruits and vegetables are always an excellent choice for a well-balanced, nutrient-dense meal. Fresh fruit, such as oranges, nuts, whole grains, whole-wheat snacks and peanut butter are great pre-game snacks for energy. If you are wondering are protein bars good for you, it depends on what the ingredients are. Always check labels to watch your sugar intake.
Dehydration is linked to poor performance and fatigue, making hydration status a priority for maintaining energy and optimizing your performance on the soccer field. You should drink 64 ounces of water daily and increase your water consumption during games or intense workouts where you are sweating profusely. Snack on water-rich foods such as watermelon and cucumbers for additional hydration. Sports drinks with little sugars can help to replace electrolytes that are lost through your sweat. Energy drinks are not a smart choice for increased energy or sports performance as their effects wear off quickly, and they may harm other parts of your body, including your heart.
3. Carb Load
Carb loading for dinner the night before your game can help you to build up energy stores. Stick to complex carbohydrates instead of refined carbs to avoid a sugar crash. Whole wheat pasta, legumes and sweet potatoes are great carb-loading dinner choices.
Do not do anything to exert yourself the day of your game. Be aware of workouts leading up to game day and any activities you do on game day. If you have time to nap, that may be beneficial for you. Otherwise, try to limit strenuous activities and excessive time in hot weather and direct sunlight. It is good practice to rest as much as you can before a game.
5. Sleep Habits
Speaking of rest, your nightly sleep habits significantly affect your energy levels for days to come. It is essential to establish healthy sleep habits that you follow each night. Our bodies need 7 to 8 hours of quality sleep per night. You can do several things to calm your body and mind before bed to help facilitate sleep. Limit your phone, television and other screen time before bed. Screen time can stimulate your brain, making it harder for you to fall asleep. Relaxing activities such as meditation, warm baths and reading are excellent as part of your nighttime routine.
Use breaks as a brief period to let your body recover instead of being upset your coach pulled you off the field for a minute. Half-time is an excellent time to take a breather, drink enough water and eat a quick, light snack to provide your body with the fuel it will need for the second half of the game.
Soccer is a high-intensity sport that requires a lot of running and sprinting. If you want to have maintained energy levels during your game, you must train hard to prepare your body for the work required to do on the field. This includes building up your endurance, stamina and strength. Sprint intervals, distance running and weight training can all help you prepare your body for the strenuous sport you love.
When you focus on your energy and adequately care for your body, your performance on the field will improve. Taking care of your body includes getting enough sleep, resting on game days, eating a nutritious diet and staying hydrated. Form great habits during the season and keep practicing them in the offseason and throughout your life. Listen to your body and know your limits.