Youth Players, Are You Eating Enough?
Are you getting enough fuel to power your game?
Consider that youth footballers can cover up to approximately 8km in just one game. Couple this with high training loads and tremendous energy requirements for growth and existence alone, and you can begin to appreciate just how much energy you are expending every day.
A study involving top youth footballers, swimmers and track athletes discovered how all three groups were failing to meet the recommended daily calorific intake (at least 3,000 calories per day for young athletes). The footballers in particular were deficient in vitamin D, calcium, zinc, iron and magnesium, and had little knowledge of nutrition.
If you don't provide your body with enough fuel, it will not perform at its optimum level and will struggle to recover and rebuild following exercise, leading to injuries.
Footballers are primarily endurance athletes; we are required to work at a moderate-high intensity for a prolonged duration with short periods of rest. This type of exercise requires a great deal of energy to maintain and many youth players fail to eat enough to meet the energy demands.
Reasons for this include feeling anxious and distracted prior to training/matches, which dampens the appetite and also simply eating the same amounts as a normal sedentary person would.
You can calculate your daily recommended intake or RDI easily by clicking here
Always try to consume foods which are nutrient rich and come from nature (vegetables, fruit, lean meat). Processed foods contain chemicals which are harmful to your body and have little nutritious value per gram.