For those of you that play football, you’ll be familiar with the strain 90mins of football can bring. If you’re one of those lucky few that lasts a whole season without picking up some muscle strain, tendon tear of ligament stretch then great. To those who aren’t so lucky, and to those that are…Set yourself up for a long and successful season with this optimally balanced supplement stack!
#1 Whey Protein
Whey protein is integral to muscle repair and recovery, so to those of you that have played 90mins of football, the short sharp sprints and changes in direction can put a lot of strain on your muscles. So at the end of the game ensure that you get some whey protein in you within 30mins after the match.
BCAAs are excellent for muscle growth and recovery before and during any form of physical exertion. There is a lot of overlap between BCAAs and whey protein, many people think that if you’re taking whey protein then you don’t need amino acids, well I’d disagree because they work slightly differently, making BCAAs ideal for before exercise and whey protein great for after. Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine comprise the BCAAs and Leucine is known to actually stimulate muscle protein synthesis during exercise whilst the other amino acids act as building blocks and help to stave off muscle catabolism (breakdown).
Beta- alanine buffers your blood, meaning it acts like a sponge soaking up excess hydrogen ions which are responsible for making the blood more acidic, which usually leads to the familiar muscle burn and cramps associated with intense physical activity. So by reducing the acidity of the blood you enable more oxygen to reach the muscle, as well as improving muscle endurance. Take Beta- alanine for weeks leading up to the game in order to maximise its effects.
#4 Isotonic Beverage (same osmotic pressure as the body)
An isotonic drink is ideal for before, during and after your match because it delivers fluid in the osmotic pressure as the body’s water, consequently you absorb it better and equilibrate the electrolyte/water balance. Isotonic drinks also deliver carbs which optimise your glycogen stores for during the match, as well as replenishing them after. Consume approx 500ml of isotonic fluid before the game, intermittently during, and immediately after for best results. The most cost effective way is to buy the powder and mix it yourself…a great option is High 5 Isotonic.
Omega oils are NOT just for health conscious people, they also have a very functional role in sport, particularly football. A good omega oil delivers omega 3, 6 and 9, with omega 3 offering anti-inflammatory properties for the joints, muscle and the rest of the body.
Glucosamine has been speculative over the years, but current research suggests that it is effective at reducing inflammation in joints and connective, as well as maintaining their structural integrity. Most of the studies have been performed on people with arthritis and rheumatism, but I am surmising that this is transferrable to football too.
A multi- vitamin is the bread and butter of the supplement world, yes you should aim to get most of them through your diet via whole foods, however it is possible that the strains exerted because of intensive exercise may mean you’re habitual intake isn’t enough. A multi-vitamin and mineral is great for maintaining cell integrity, structure and function, joint integrity and supporting your immune system.
So considering everything together, I believe that this supplement combination will keep you going until the final whistle.
And here's a few outtakes for those of you that are super impressed with my football skills, I can pull that trick off first time, every time... honest!