A Guide to Proper Nutrition for Futsal Players

Eating healthy food and maintaining a proper diet are key areas for any player to think about. The progressive physical development of a high-performance futsal player depends not only on the intensity or duration of training sessions, but also on nutrition, which is allowing the body to recover from the stresses and increase the strength and power of the player.

Let’s talk about the nutrition of players and find out what should be included in athlete’s diet, what is better to exclude and to what you need to pay more attention when choosing products. For most high level players, this article may not be as useful as for beginners, since their food is monitored by trainers or dietologists, who ensure players eat and rest correctly. Therefore, we will focus on young athletes who want to balance properly their diet. So, let’s get it right this time!

Food composition

We will start with calories. During the training period, a futsal player should consume about 60-67 kcal per one kilogram of his body weight. It is important to calculate the correct ratio of macronutrients – the big three of proteins, fats and carbohydrates. In our case, the following daily ratio will be good – 1: 0,8: 4.

Now let’s look at each nutrient. We will start with a protein that should be consumed daily in the amount of 2.3 grams per 1 kg of weight.

The typical athlete’s diet includes animal-based protein foods that are unprocessed and low in saturated fat, like:

  • eggs;
  • poultry meat;
  • beef;
  • cheeses;
  • diary.

Picture: Unsplash/Joseph Gonzalez

If we are talking about the proper nutrition of players, it should be noted that steaming and boiling meat is the best method of cooking it. Deep-fried foods may be tasty, but they are definitely not healthy.

Plant-based proteins, such as beans, potatoes, oatmeal, rice and buckwheat, also should be included in your diet to help you to be lean and athletic.

Fats. This word continues to be used as an insult when it’s really not. In fact, it’s not the fat that makes people fat, it’s the excessive carb consumption. Fat is an essential component of a healthy diet and the body’s most concentrated source of energy, providing more than twice as much potential energy as carbohydrate or protein. It’s important to eat the right types of fats in appropriate amounts. During prolonged training, a daily intake of 1 gram of fat per 1 kg of body weight per day is advised. You can get the “right” fats you need from such products:

  • butter;
  • fish fat;
  • cheeses;
  • sour cream;
  • oil from various seeds;
  • nuts.

Carbs. Carbohydrates are divided into simple and complex. The difference between a simple and complex carb is in how quickly it is digested and absorbed. So, 70% of all carbs you eat should be complex, else can be simple carbohydrates. You can get complex carbohydrates from:

  • brown an wild rice;
  • vegetables and fruits;
  • different groats;
  • bread (whole-grain);
  • whole-wheat pasta.

What to exclude from your diet?

Now let us move on to an unpleasant aspect of healthy nutrition – the food prohibitions. It’s true that some foods contribute empty calories into your diet, which serve no nutritional benefit. Such foods should be limited or even better eliminated entirely from your diet:

  • sugary drinks;
  • fast-food;
  • alcohol;
  • candy bars;
  • pastries, cookies and cakes.

In general, just try to avoid any foods that contain trans-fats, corn syrup and added sugars. Additionally, before a game, you should avoid:

  • fried meat;
  • hot and spicy food;
  • beans;
  • nuts/seeds;
  • butter.

On the game day (last meal about 2 hours before the game) your meal should be high in carbs, strong in protein and low in fat, and you’ll be on your way to success. Recommended products are:

  • grilled or boiled chicken, turkey, or fish;
  • vegetables/salads;
  • high-fiber rice/pasta;
  • natural yogurt;
  • eggs.

While this may be an obvious one for most athletes, the importance of hydrating cannot be overstated. If you don’t have enough water before you get on the pitch, it can hurt your performance, plus you’ll put yourself at an increased risk for injury. So remember to drink enough water to cover your body’s needs (at least 2-3 liters of water a day).

The best post-game foods, which will help to recover your body from a tough game, are:

  • fish, cooked in any way;
  • vegetables/salads;
  • stewed vegetables;
  • a lot of fruits.

There’s also one food you can bet is in most professional athletes’ fridges, it’s Greek yogurt. In terms of a recovery food, it has everything in there – it has protein, a bit of carbohydrate and electrolytes, as well as calcium and probiotics.

Picture: Unsplash/Dennis Klein

About food portions

Of course, you need to control the amount of food you should be eating. Consuming too much even “right” products will lead to negative effects such as weight gain. Usually, the average daily consumption of the futsal player at each meal should be broken down as follows: 20% for breakfast/snacks/dinner and 40% for lunch.

What and when should you eat daily? Here’s a meal-by-meal rundown of how your eating schedule should look like:

  1. Breakfast: whole-grain foods, eggs, fruits and fresh juices.
  2. Lunch: protein-rich foods, soups, beans, vegetables.
  3. Snack: dairy products, seeds, nuts, fruits.
  4. Dinner: fish, stews, vegetables.

A futsal player’s diet plays a big part in what they achieve out on the pitch and it is better to adjust it either with your trainer or with a doctor. You must not forget about the individual aspects of each organism, therefore it is essential to be mindful of the choices you make for your personal health and well being. It is also important to follow your trainer’s advises in order to gain optimum physical fitness and to get in great shape quickly and without causing harm to your body.

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