Drinks are really common in a football player’s daily diet. They come in different shapes and forms. Some promise performance enhancements while others are geared towards recovery and regeneration. It is quite common for players to get confused by this abundance of products available.
Today’s article is a small guide that will help you make the right choices when it comes to picking what is best for your needs.
Top 10+1 Drinks For Football Players
- Hypo-/Iso-/Hypertonic Sports Drinks
- Chocolate Milk
- Coconut Water
- Electrolyte Water
- Protein Smoothie
- Energy Smoothie (High-Carb)
- Caffeinated Drinks
- Protein Shakes
- Ginger Shots
- Pickle Juice
Each of those drinks serves a different/mixed purpose. Some of them are geared towards performance, others towards recovery, while some of them serve both.
To choose the most appropriate drink, you first have to make a small analysis of your needs. This can be done by asking yourself a series of simple questions, the most important of which is; at what time/instance during the day do I want to consume my drink?
It now makes sense to say that if you want to maximize the results you get from your nutrition, you need to dig deep inside your needs and discover what your body requires to achieve the goal you have in mind.
Having said that, let’s split the drinks mentioned above and categorize them based on their use and the benefits each provides.
What To Look For In Performance-Oriented Drinks
When it comes to performance, there’s a handful of criteria our drink needs to serve in order for it to be considered effective. The dosages of each ingredient/nutrient should align with your macronutrient intake goals for the given day/event.
These criteria can be summed up in this list;
- Water = Hydration
- Simple Carbohydrates = Load Glycogen Stores
- Minerals/Electrolytes = Improve/Prolong Neuromuscular Function
- Caffeine (Not Required) = Stimulus = Boost Performance
Top 6 Drinks To Maximize Football Performance
Here are the top 6 drinks that can help you maximize your performance on the football pitch. Enjoy them either before or during your training or game to achieve the desired results.
I’m sure you saw that coming, didn’t you?!
Hydration is key to overall health and subsequently football performance. On the other side, dehydration can cause a series of unwanted symptoms that can be detrimental to performance, such as headaches, lower energy levels, less lubricated joints, reduced cognitive ability, etc.
Going into a game or training session? Make sure you’re well-hydrated by checking the color of your urine. The darker the color the less hydrated you are. Aim for a light yellow color. If you’re drinking 40-60ml of water per 1kg/2.2lbs of BW per day, you’re most probably good to go!
Hypo-/Iso-/Hypertonic Sports Drinks
Sports drinks, especially isotonic ones, have been really popular for the last two decades. There are all sorts of options you can choose from based on what you want/need.
No matter what sports drink you choose, they all have the same characteristics but at slightly different analogies. All sports drinks contain water, simple carbohydrates, and electrolytes. Water aids hydration, simple carbs offer higher glycogen levels (ATP = energy), and electrolytes can improve neuromuscular function and your overall well-being.
Depending on the quantity of those ingredients, sports drinks are categorized into hypotonic, isotonic, and hypertonic sports drinks.
All of them can help you enhance your performance. We suggest consuming any type of sports drink before and/or during performance to give your body a slight energy boost. Using them as a quick refill instead of plain water is also a great method you can integrate into your game.
Coconut water has some amazing health benefits. It is really high in minerals such as magnesium and calcium, making it a great drink both before and during exercise.
Apart from helping you achieve good levels of hydration, its richness in minerals and antioxidants aids your body’s neuromuscular function, which is key to high performance.
Enjoy coconut water as a water alternative and consume it before and/or after a training session or game.
Electrolyte Tabs/Pickle Juice
Magnesium, calcium, potassium, etc. are all really important minerals that can help your neuromuscular system work better for extended periods of time. Great for preventing muscle cramps and ensuring that your body will function at its best for longer.
Consume both before and during performance to see great results.
Pickle juice is another great source of minerals, primarily sodium, which is lost due to the high sweat rate. Although not common, pickle juice is widely used in endurance sports so you can definitely give it a go and see if it is effective for you!
Energy Smoothie (High-Carb)
Smoothies have been around for a while now. They’ve also gotten more popular in the sports world, with athletes and sports nutritionists coming up with different recipes that aid the athlete’s performance and recovery goals.
As far as performance is concerned, smoothies high in simple carbohydrates are deemed the most effective smoothie options.
Here’s a recipe from our article “ “
- 200-250ml Water
- 1 Orange
- 1-2 Beets
- 1 tsp. Sugar/2 tsp. Organic Honey
The combination of those ingredients offers a variety of benefits to football performance.
- Water = Hydration
- Orange = Simple Carbs = Increased Glycogen Stores
- Beets = Increased Nitric Oxide = Boosted Stamina
- Honey/Sugar = Simple Carbs = Increased Glycogen Stores
Consume this drink about an hour to two hours before training or playing the game.
Caffeine is a stimulant you can find in beverages such as coffee, black tea, etc. but it can also be consumed in the form of tablets, gum, etc.
Caffeine is a well-known performance enhancer. It was found that moderate caffeine consumption can lead to significant increases in jump performance, repeated sprinting ability, and total running distance.
Furthermore, caffeine is linked to better cognitive ability and focus.
To get the most out of your caffeine consumption, we suggest an intake of 150-200mg of caffeine 5-60 minutes before performance. Be careful though. Do not exceed the suggested daily dosage of 200-400mg as this can cause overstimulation, anxiety, and cardiovascular health issues. Also, make sure to consult your doctor for further details on caffeine supplementation.
What To Look For In Recovery-Oriented Drinks
As far as recovery is concerned, protein is our priority. Along with protein though, your additional purpose is to replenish the fluids and nutrients you have lost (water, glycogen, minerals).
It is really hard to find a drink that serves all these purposes. Therefore, you might consider a combination of drinks or just opt for a drink and a nutritious meal to cover your needs.
Here are the main characteristics of a recovery drink;
- Water = Re-hydration
- High-protein content (>20-25gr) = Muscle Recovery & Growth
- Simple Carbs = Refill Glycogen Stores
- Minerals/Electrolytes = Replenish Minerals, Limit Muscle Cramps, Neuromuscular Recovery
Top 8 Drinks For Football Recovery
After intense activity your body has lost a great number of fluids, leading your body (close) to a dehydrated state.
This is something you wanna combat by replenishing the fluids you’ve lost during exercise. The best and most simple way to do this is by drinking water.
A rehydration method that is really popular in the sports industry includes weighing yourself before and after exercise.
For every kilogram/2.2lbs you lose, you shall replenish with 1 liter of water immediately after exercising. This is = an effective way to achieve good levels of hydration again.
REMINDER: hydration is key to better cognitive function, joint, and muscle lubrication. Drink your water!
Hypo-/Iso-/Hypertonic Sports Drinks
Except for being great for performance, sports drinks are effective recovery drinks as well.
After exercise, your body hasn’t only lost fluids, but it also got its glycogen and mineral stores (sodium, magnesium, potassium, etc.) depleted. Sports drinks can be used to replenish all the nutrients you’ve lost and bring your body closer to normal conditions again.
For recovery purposes, we highly suggest an isotonic or hypertonic drink to quickly bring your nutrient levels back to normal again. Consume it directly after exercising or alongside your post-training/game meal.
Yup, you read that right!
Its great content in proteins and simple carbohydrates makes it a basic recovery drink. Furthermore, the minerals it contains make it an even better option amongst other recovery drinks available in the markets.
It might not be the ideal one, but it definitely is a great, convenient, and tasty option many football players are going to enjoy after a hard training session or game.
Coconut water is high in water and minerals making it a great drink to consume any time during the day, either before, during, or after exercise.
After having lost a great number of fluids and minerals, coconut water is a great alternative to water to aid and speed up your recovery. great for post-training/game consumption!
Electrolyte Tabs/Pickle Juice
Just like coconut water, electrolyte drinks can be highly beneficial for post-exercise recovery by replenishing the minerals that you’ve lost due to the high levels of neuromuscular action that are required in the game of football. Enjoy an electrolyte tab/powder with plain water or some juice to convert it into a sports drink!
Shakes and smoothies are widely popular amongst athletes. They offer convenience, taste, and a high nutritional value.
When we’re looking at recovery, we wanna focus on protein intake, since protein is the nutrient that is primarily responsible for muscle recovery and growth.
Here’s the recipe you can originally find in our article “Smoothies For Footballers | This Is How To Fill Your Nutritional Gaps“
- 250ml Milk (Skim/Chocolate/Soy)
- 30-50gr Whey Protein or 250gr Greek Yoghurt
- 1 Medium Banana
- Mixed Berries
- 50gr Rolled Otas
- Handful of Spinach
- 1tbsp. Chia Seeds
Ginger shots have been really popular in the health and fitness field. It’s now time the become popular in the sports performance field as well!
Ginger is full of antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties, making it great for your overall recovery and health. On top of that, ginger is great for digestive health and immune function.
Including ginger shots in your weekly diet can give your immune system a great boost and help you feel better and recover faster.
4 Drinks To Avoid As A Football Player
- Energy Drinks
- Caffeine (Post-Exercise)
- Soft Drinks
All of these drinks can have detrimental effects on your performance, your ability to recover, and your overall health. It is suggested that you limit the intake of the mentioned drinks and always put a high nutritional value as a priority when choosing something to eat or drink.
Moderation is key!