This week we’re focussing on how to eat and improve your nutrition like a Premier League footballer. An intense schedule has been set out for the players over the next few weeks and eating well is vital to it all. We’re going to dig into the diets of our ambassadors and hopefully provide you with some useful tips you can apply to your own daily food intake. If you’re looking for the lowdown on all things premier league training it can be found here. If you're wondering what Supreme Products Alex takes, don't worry, just scroll to the bottom and we've added them there!
Nutrition is Everything
You may have heard many phrases such as ‘Fitness is 80% Nutrition, 20% Exercise’ or even ‘Abs are made in the kitchen’. Although exercise is of course important to fitness, these common phrases do have some truth to them. The point they try to emphasise, is that nutrition is very important. The one we prefer most is: ’You cannot out train a bad diet’. No matter how hard you work, if you’re eating poorly, you’re unlikely to see improvements. By making changes to your diet, and making these a habit, you’ll fast see your fitness improve.
Nutrition and Football
Nutrition plays its part in your energy levels, concentration and muscle recovery. Each one of these is vital to a Premier league footballer, especially with the intense schedule they’re facing. Most players have their own preference on the weight they’d like to play at, the muscle to fat ratio and their overall fitness level. Fortunately, they are surrounded by some of the best nutritionists and sports science experts in the world to help them reach their peak potential. To quote our Ambassador Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain:
“I feel I play better when I am leaner. I have more energy and can move faster. We play intense football and it's important that I can cover a lot of distance and press throughout the game. For me, maintaining a lean physique is the key to that. I eat a high protein diet, lots of greens and complex carbohydrates to maintain lean muscle mass and high energy levels’
So, to simplify, there are 3 pillars to nutrition: Protein, Fats, Carbohydrates. Each of these are vitally important but the quality of these three pillars will define your body composition. As long as you follow some of these tips then the rest will come to you naturally. Remember, improving your diet needs to be a habit, not a quick fix. So start with small improvements.
Firstly, Protein can be considered the key to being lean. It is the building block for muscle growth and with a higher protein diet you’re going to see a leaner physique and importantly, improved muscle recovery.
However, quality is everything. We can use toast as an example here. Bread, depending on the type you go for, will average around 4g of protein per slice. Not bad! However, we would not consider bread or a slice of toast as a ‘high protein source’. This is because it is far outweighed by carbohydrates. Meaning if you wanted 20g of protein from bread, you’re looking at 5 slices and that comes with a lot of carbohydrates. It goes without saying that this will not make you lean!
Secondly, the protein in bread is not considered ‘complete’. A complete protein is one that contains all of the essential amino acids (building blocks) for muscle growth and repair.
For protein intake it is about quality and to build lean muscle mass its about consuming a good amount each day. Try to aim for around 1g of protein per lb of weight. Eggs, meats and fish are a great way to consume quality protein. If you’re vegan or vegetarian, a good mix of high protein Vegetables, beans and legumes is the key to quality protein intake. Remember supplements are there to help you too, but we’ll get to that next!
As Alex mentions, complex carbohydrates are the way to go. These are different to simple carbohydrates. For example, sugar is a simple carbohydrate. We use it as soon as it enters our body or it is converted to fat and stored. These types of carbohydrates are great just before training and working out for a burst of energy. However, they should not form a part of your meals where possible.
Complex carbohydrates have a lower glycemic index. This means they do not cause a blood sugar spike. A spike in blood sugar (and therefore insulin) is going to make you hungry and thats when we reach for the bad stuff!
Complex Carbohydrates, give you long lasting energy and tend to have higher protein levels too which is a bonus. Foods such as Brown rice are a staple in a footballers diet, try to swapping your white rice for this super carb!
We have always been taught that fats are bad and we should avoid them at all costs. However, this is simply not true. Fats are great for energy and as long as we get the balance right, and consume the correct types, then fats are fantastic for our overall health.
An interesting story is that of the oldest mummified body, found in France from 5,300 years ago. Upon inspecting his stomach they found a very high amount of fat from a goat he had eaten. It is understood that when hunting, our predecessors would be out for a couple of days without food. By eating a high amount of fat, this would provide enough sustenance to get through that entire period without worrying about food!
In all, there are 4 types of fat to keep your eye on. Saturated Fats, Unsaturated Fats, Polyunsaturated Fats and Trans fats. We’ll dive into each of these another time but if we’re to single out one in particular to avoid, it is trans fats. These are fats that we cannot really use and are typically artificial, you will find them in crisps, junk food, fast food etc. Unlike the other fats, they have no real benefit to us,
Find a good balance of the others by consuming Nuts, Avocado, Fish, Flaxseeds.
Vitamins and Minerals
We need to mention this since it is very important. Vegetables should from a part of every meal in some way or another. Vitamins and minerals are key to a healthy balanced diet. Brocolli, Spinach, Kale are often popular since dark green veg is usually highest in quality vitamins and minerals. Either way, make sure it features somehow every time you sit down to eat!
As you can probably imagine, reaching the levels of protein, carbohydrates and fats needed can be challenging when training as hard as a Premier league athlete. This is where supplements help, and they can help you too. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain uses our Whey Isolate, Recovery and Pre-Workout.
Each of these can be used at different times:
This is our purest form of Whey protein. It is triple filtered for an increased protein per serving and minimal fat (as close to 0g as you can get!). This is your go to option to increase protein intake, it can be use as a snack or at breakfast. You can swap it out for our Whey Concentrate which is not as lean but still great!
Our Recovery blend contains our Whey Isolate plus lean complex carbohydrates and L-glutamine (important for muscle recovery). This is best taken post exercise to replenish lost carbohydrates and to feed your muscles with that all important protein.
The clue is in the name here! To be taken before a workout, this is high in caffeine and high energy ingredients. It will increase your focus, motivation and energy levels so that you can squeeze the most from your workout.
We’re going to stop here for today, but for any questions remember you can drop us a message in the chat!
The Supreme Nutrition Team