Football is a demanding sport regardless of the level – at school, in the youth team, or already playing professionally, football players have to run, sprint, shove, and make plays, and all that requires a particular level of endurance. Of course, the players who want to go pro or who are already there are always looking for ways to improve their game stamina and to be less injury-prone. One of the easiest ways to achieve that is by having a solid nutrition plan that takes a look at not only the food you consume but also the kind of supplements you take and whether your hydration levels are on point.
In this article, we’re not going to dive deep into the world of sleep or nutrition for proper recovery. Instead, we’re going to talk about supplements. More specifically, which ones you should take as a football player to improve your performance, maximize recovery, and feel in tune with yourself every time you step out on the pitch.
So, if that sounds like something you want to learn more about, then let’s get started.
What Supplements Do Football Players Take?
In most cases, football players focus on taking supplements that make their bodies recover better. That includes all kinds of vitamins, amino acids, and any other kind of mineral they might be deficient in or that is lacking in their diet. However, the best supplements are the ones that support higher energy levels, muscle and bone health and that speed up or improve recovery.
Caffeine has many benefits for football players and athletes in general. It helps boost performance and is largely considered to be the only legal performance enhancer as it keeps the mind active, improves decision-making, and allows athletes to remain focused and energetic throughout the course of the entire game. Having said that, consuming large amounts of caffeine can be detrimental to your sleeping schedule, and it may also make you jittery and more nervous than normal, so one way to minimize caffeine intake is by swapping your regular pre-workout supplement for a no-stim one.
Creatine is one of the most researched supplements on the market, and its positive effect on muscle building, recovery, and cognitive function has been proven time after time. It’s completely safe to take and can naturally be found in red meats and seafood; however, the monohydrate form that most people take is a cheaper alternative that’s much easier to ingest on a daily basis. Creatine also helps the muscles perform for longer during high-intensity movements such as running and sprinting, which is of vital importance for football players.
Everyone knows the many benefits of protein powder – it helps you recover faster and build muscle. It is also a great way to make healthy desserts and add variety to a nutrition plan. Nowadays, the market has all kinds of protein powders – vegan, beef, and whey, so it’s a suitable supplement for any and all dietary needs.
We naturally get vitamin D from sunlight, but if you live in a darker, colder climate, it’s likely that you’re not getting enough of it. Moreover, even if you live in a warm area during the colder months of the year, it’s highly likely you’re deficient in vitamin D, especially if you don’t spend enough time outside. Vitamin D, however, is vital for bone health as it helps the body absorb calcium and it also keeps your immune system functioning optimally, so you can avoid getting the cold during winter.
When we sweat, along with water, our bodies lose tons of vital minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and sodium, which are crucial for keeping our bodies functioning normally. A deficiency in electrolytes can cause cramps and headaches, hindering performance and making you unfit to continue playing at the highest level. That’s why most athletes choose to have electrolyte drinks during exercise and in the hours after as a way to replenish all the fluids and minerals that were lost during the game. Some electrolyte drinks contain carbohydrates, too, but we’d steer clear of those as they might have you consuming way more sugar than your body needs.
Now, you might be a bit shocked by this one, but the reality is that beetroot juice is one of the hidden secrets to improving sports performance. That’s because of its high nitrate content, which gets converted into nitric oxide and thus plays a vital role in many bodily functions. Some of the sporting benefits of consuming beetroot juice include:
- Delayed feeling of fatigue
- Improved oxygen delivery
- Better delivery of nutrients to the muscles
- Dilation of blood vessels
It’s a given that you can get the benefits of beetroot by simply including it in soups or salads. Unfortunately, the reality is that many don’t particularly love to consume beetroots, as they find the taste too strong or simply unpleasant. This is where supplementation comes to help, as there are many ways to get the benefits of beetroots without having to actually eat it – in the form of pills or as flavored juice.
Hopefully, this article helped you learn more about the kind of supplements football players take and what their sporting benefits are. It’s hard to claim that some supplements are “the best,” but the ones we’ve shared are those with proven benefits that will help you become not only a better footballer but a better athlete overall. The reality is that even though the market is huge and everyone is promising miracle cures for recovery and improved performance, the supplements that actually have benefits have stood the test of time and were included in this list.
Having said that, you shouldn’t forget the other vital pillars of sporting excellence – proper nutrition, hydration, and sufficient sleep. Without those three in place, regardless of what supplements you take, you won’t be able to perform and recover at the highest level.