Get Fit Like A Footballer | Endurance
Your ability to last an entire 90 minute match (and go at pace into extra time) is determined long before the ball is placed on the centre circle. Instead it’s largely determined by your food choices in the kitchen and what you put in your protein shaker. This might sound odd to many we know, but whilst an impressive V02 (lung capacity) will help, understanding how food is used as fuel has been shown to have a profound impact. Which is why we’ve asked Matt to detail the benefits of Protein Porridge, Nut Butter and Genesis Pre-Workout and detailed exactly how each would help improve your endurance.
Carbohydrates are our body’s primary fuel source. What this means is the high-carb foods we eat like rice, bread, fruits and vegetables are stored as muscle glycogen and used to fuel 90 minutes of football. This is based on research published in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition that studied the effect carbohydrate intake has on people’s 30km running time. Scientists monitored performance when subjects consumed a high-carbohydrate sporks drink before racing compared to when they just drank tap water. What did they find? In summary, “Running speed was maintained throughout the race in the high-carbohydrate trial, whereas a decrease in the running speed occurred after 25km in the water trial.” Essentially what this means is around the 25km mark they were running low on muscle glycogen and therefore running out of speed, strength and stamina. This led scientists to conclude, “This study shows that performance time for a 30-km road race is improved after ingesting a carbohydrate drink.” In summary, watch the video on Protein Porridge which is a great source of low glycaemic index carbohydrates that provides a slow and sustained release of energy to the muscles.
Above we said, “Carbohydrates are our body’s primary fuel source.” For many this is true. But research published by Nutrition Focus New Zealand Limited offers an alternative point of view and encourages us to harness the power of dietary fat for those longer endurance-based events. They start by saying, "The number of grueling events that challenge the limits of human endurance is increasing. Such events are also challenging the limits of current dietary recommendations (solely relying on carbohydrates).” They continue to add, whilst many have favored carb-loading before training or competing for years, "There are some situations for which alternative dietary options (adding fat to the diet) are beneficial." Why? Because researchers from the Centre for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado claim, “Glycogen (carbohydrate) storage capacity is approximately 15 g/kg body weight.” To use another sporting example, this means a small footballer weighing 67kg would only be able to store 1,005 grams of carbohydrates at the very most. Meaning they could rapidly “burn” through that amount during a fast-paced 90 minute match that heads into extra time. Put simply, longer endurance-based events could benefit from the fats found in Nut Butters.
Genesis Pre Workout™ contains over 20 active ingredients, but 2 specifically have been shown to improve endurance. The first is caffeine which researchers at Yale University found as little as 200 milligrams of before a workout increases strength endurance. Experts believe it stimulates the production of the neurotransmitter beta-endorphin, which studies show can reduce pain and perceived fatigue. Less pain + reduced fatigue = a superior workout. It’s a simple equation. Next is beta alanine, a non-essential amino acid increases the concentration of the dipeptide carnosine in your muscles. Which enables them to work harder for longer. It also prevents lactic acid build-up during intense exercise, reducing fatigue. A study at Florida Atlantic University found taking beta alanine before training significantly enhanced endurance performance. So you can train harder for longer, create more microtears in your muscles, and bulk up faster.
THE 4 AREAS OF FOOTBALL FITNESS
The best footballers in the world are also incredibly well-rounded athletes. There is no “chink in armour” when it comes to their strength and conditioning, food or fitness. Which is why we’ve broken down the 4 key areas of footballing fitness and categorised them below: Endurance, Speed, Strength & Power and Mobility & Recovery.