How much energy do you really have?
A well-planned eating strategy will help you get the most out of your training programme. Not only will you have more energy day to day, you’ll recover more efficiently between training sessions and matches, reduce the risk of illness or affects of overtraining and help you perform to the best of your ability consistently. Each sport has its unique nutritional demands; however, the same basic principles apply across the board.
Failure to consume sufficient energy can result in loss of muscle, slow recovery, increased risk of fatigue/illness/injury and hormonal dysfunction (in females). Using our bodyweight in KG, it is possible to calculate how many calories we as footballers need per day just to maintain our current level of activity and weight. Drop below this figure and you will begin to lose weight, go over this figure and you will start to gain weight.
How to calculate your daily energy requirements
- Calculate your BMR (The amount of energy you require to function normally at rest)
Males: BMR = weight in kg x 24
Females: BMR = weight in kg x 22
Me: BMR = 83 x 24 = 1,992 calories
- Calculate PAL (Physical Activity Level)
Sedentary Mainly sitting = 1.2
Active, exercise 1-2 x per week = 1.3
Moderately active, exercise 2-3 x per week = 1.4
Active, hard exercise more than 3 x per week = 1.5
Very active, exercise hard every day = 1.7
- BMR x PAL = Daily calorific needs
Me (couple of recovery days per week so more like 1.6)
1,992 x 1.6 = 3,187.2 calories per day
Use this method to calculate your daily energy requirements to maintain your current activity levels and weight, I will talk about the different sources this energy should come from in our next blog.
A great tool to track your energy intake is MyFitnessPal, this downloadable app will give you a vital insight into your eating habits and will clearly show you whether you are over or under indulging in certain food types.
It’s also a great way of realising how much you actually need to eat to hit a certain calorie target, in my experience most players are under-eating, or eating too much from one food type – as ever finding balance is the key.
Even tracking your diet for one day could be the eye opener you need to realise that you need to make a change, as day to day our eating habits are generally consistent.