Hardcore athletes know they need to fuel their bodies correctly if they want to perform at an optimal level. This is especially true of FIFA soccer players, who are some of the most elite athletes in the entire world. Training sessions can last for more than 8 hours a day. They need to be as picky about what they put into their mouths as a high strung three-year-old, but instead of limiting their diets to chicken nuggets and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (with the crusts cut off), they fuel their bodies with the right combination of nutrients to give them the power they need out on the field. For them, it’s all about the energy. FIFA players diets probably look a little different than your daily eats, especially considering the dozens of countries that they hail from, but though you may not end up as hardcore in your diet as they are, you can learn a little something from these physical specimens to improve the way you feed your body for everyday performance.

Carbohydrates

Professional soccer players enjoy foods from around the world and their diets are as varied as the countries they play for. This is especially true of the carbohydrates they eat. Whether it is tortillas in Mexico, pasta in Italy, or rice in Japan, every FIFA player knows that carbohydrates are an integral part of their diets. Bodies can only store carbohydrates for one day, so athletes are constantly refueling with this important energy source. You can find your source of carbs in breakfast cereals, rice, bread and potatoes, to name a few.

Protein

Athletes know that protein is an important tool for building muscles. The stronger the muscles, the more efficient the use of energy. The good news is, how much protein you consume is not as important as when you consume it. They eat their protein immediately following a workout for maximum benefit. You can follow suit and eat your protein after a trip to the gym or the most strenuous part of your day. Everyone thinks of meat when they think of protein, and beef, pork and chicken are all excellent sources of this vital building block. To mix it up, next time you reach for protein, think outside of the box, and grab a handful of nuts, some cheese or a glass of chocolate milk.

Vitamins, Minerals, and Antioxidants

Elite soccer players work hard to ensure they take in the right balance of the smaller, easy to overlook details of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. The best way to hit the mark on getting all that you need in this category is to eat a variety of foods. Eating “the rainbow” is a fantastic way to mix up the nutrients you get from your fruits and vegetables. Try to eat green, blue/purple, orange/red and white produce every single week. Another way to make sure your produce is at its highest nutrient density is to focus on foods that are in season. Aiming to mix and match in your diet will also give you access to many different vitamins and minerals. Finally, try not to completely cut out any entire food group. You run the risk of eliminating a valuable vitamin or mineral.

Hydration

Everyone knows the icing on any cake is the best part, and the icing on a soccer players nutrition cake is their hydration.  All the training and elite level competition leads to lots of sweat. As the body loses water, it is imperative that they replace it just as quickly to maintain the well-oiled machine that is their bodies. Take the hint from these athletes from around the world and stay hydrated. The recommended amount of water for the average person is 64 ounces a day. Is water too boring for you? Don’t sweat it. Sports drinks and milk can offer all the same benefits.

No matter if a FIFA soccer player is from Greece, Brazil or the United Kingdom, you can take a page out of their playbook and follow their example for fueling your body. Who knows? Maybe it will help you score a goal of your own.