Have you ever wished you could be a fly on the wall, following a day-in-the-life of professional soccer players? What time do they get up in the morning? What do they eat? How do they train? Are they running and jumping and kicking a ball all day, or do they have free time to go to restaurants and bars with their friends? How on earth do they maintain those six-packs?
Perhaps you’re an amateur soccer player wondering if the professional lifestyle is right for you, or maybe you’re just curious about what it’s like to play soccer in the big leagues. Either way, here’s a typical day in the life of professional soccer players.
Professional soccer players usually rise before the sun with an early morning conditioning workout, training session, or weight-lifting time. It can definitely be difficult to get up when it’s still dark outside, but a blaring alarm clock, good music, and a high-quality solar battery can help. Professional athletes also often say that they aim to get eight hours of sleep a night to maximize their training potential; therefore, even if they’re getting out of bed early, they’re likely turning in by 9 pm the night before so that they don’t wake up tired and groggy.
Usually, a pre-workout breakfast looks like a protein bar and a glass of water. However, after a hard morning workout, professional soccer players earn big breakfasts that provide lots of calories. Many athletes look to consume up to 5,000 calories a day in order to fuel up for their performance, and to start the day, breakfast should be made up of about 50% carbs, 25% protein, and 25% fat. Typical athlete breakfasts include a mixture of fruit and vegetables, yogurt, eggs, breakfast sandwiches, avocado, oatmeal, cereal, peanut butter, and more.
For most, one workout a day is enough. For professional soccer players, however, two workouts a day is the norm. If the morning featured a conditioning session with laps around the track, the afternoon might feature a technical session that focuses on foot drills. Or, if the morning featured a weight lifting session, perhaps the afternoon is reserved for running. Either way, professional soccer players usually train about two times each day, six days per week. The seventh day is reserved for a little bit of relaxation and recovery.
Often, the second training session in a day is followed by a hearty lunch and a well-deserved nap. Lunch often includes sandwiches with lean meat, salad, cheese, wraps, cooked vegetables, almonds, grilled chicken, or anything that provides vitamins and minerals. Afterward, all that hard work is rewarded by a Netflix episode and a quick nap.
When athletes rise from their naps, it’s time for dinner. This is usually the biggest meal and encompasses delicious and nutritious foods like spaghetti with meat sauce, vegetable and tofu stir fry, chicken and potatoes, chickpea salad, shrimp and grits, and more. Most athletes put an emphasis on meat for dinner so that they can get their protein fix.
After dinner is where athletes get to enjoy a little bit of free time (before their early bedtime, of course). While some athletes choose not to drink alcohol or eat sugar, others do so in moderation. A low-key trip to the bar or a movie night with popcorn and candy in can provide some much-needed social time. However, soccer players save most of their big outings for the off-season.
It’s worth mentioning, also, that hydration is a huge part of athletes’ lives, as drinking water is what keeps them energized, mobile, and agile. Water is magic; it improves muscle function, regulates blood pressure, and improves circulation. In fact, athletes should drink about one ounce of water per pound of body weight. For a muscular, dense soccer player, that’s a lot of water. Soccer players usually keep a fully-filled water bottle on them at all times so that they remember to sip throughout the day.