What to Eat Before a Trial?So you’ve got your football trial date in the diary, now its time to plan your trial preparation to help you perform your best at your trial.Physical and mental preparation is important, but players often overlook a proper nutrition plan geared towards the big day.Consuming the right fuel can give you the extra boost needed on the pitch and stop you flagging the final 10 minutes.The below PlayerScout guide will provide modern sports nutrition strategies to ensure you can give your all at your trial. Concentration on pre, during and post nutrient timing windows.Want to know more: this guide is specific to preparing for a PFSA football trial, however, to ensure you perform your best all season check out our latest nutrition advice.
First Things First Why Do We Need to Fuel Up?No matter how well you prepare for your trial (or how much heart, determination and energy you put in on the day), you can never reach your maximum performance level without specific performance-related nutrition.Most likely, Fatigue will hamper your chances of performing your best. The main causes of this are:
- Depletion of glycogen stores (Glycogen is an important fuel source for the body)
- Low blood sugars (hypoglycaemia)
- Hyponatremia – Occurs when drinking too much water
- Gastrointestinal upset and discomfort – Eating foods before trial you’re not using too or have an intolerance too
What to Eat Before Your Trial?Fueling to prepare for your trial should start around 7 days before your assessment date. You need to take on healthy food options, keep the body hydrated and get enough sleep.The importance of eating the right food before your trial will:
- Ensure you maximise your muscle and liver glycogen stores – This is similar to a formula one car having a full tank before a race
- Ensure you have optimal hydration levels – Trialling in a dehydrated state will put you at a disadvantage from the start
- Help you avoid starting your trial hungry – However, this must be balanced as too much food intake before the trial will cause stomach upset
Carbohydrate Intake Before Your TrialFor you to perform your best, you need adequate amounts of carbohydrates supplied to your body.
Good quality and quantity carbohydrates = High energy and performance Low quality and quantity carbohydrates = fatigue and impaired performanceProper pre-trial fuelling must focus on consuming the right amount of high-quality food in the days leading up to the trial.
But How Much Carbohydrates Do We Actually Need?When it comes to carbs, the 24 hours leading up to your trial are the most critical.This period is split into 2 key areas. The 4-24 hours before the trial and 0-4 hours before the trial.4-24 hours before your trial During this time you want to fill your muscles and liver with glycogen, so when you start your trial your tank is full of energy.All meals should consist of 60-70% carbohydrates.0-4 hours before your trial During this period our glycogen stores should be full, so anything now is just to keep the tank full and ready to trial.Your carbohydrate fuelling should focus on:
- Simple carbohydrates food and drinks that are easily digested. This will ensure you are not hungry during the trial
- You should aim to consume between 1-4 grams of carbohydrates per kg of your body weight
Carbohydrate Meal and Snack IdeasHere are a few quick and easy high pre-trial carb meal and snack ideas to give you high amounts of energy.Snacks (Carbohydrates in grams):
Wheat Biscuit Cereal (30g)
= 40.5 grams
Medium size Banana
= 70.6 grams
2 slices wholegrain bread (with butter)
Medium size Banana
Orange Juice (150ml)
= 67.5 grams
= 34 grams
= 66.1 grams
Some examples of foods that provide 140g of carbohydrates for a pre-trial meal (suitable for a player weighing 70kg)
Pre Match Meal 1:
2 scoops of breakfast cereal
1 x Banana
Pre Match Meal 2:
3 thick slices bread and honey
Pre Match Meal 3:
2 scoops boiled rice
2 slices bread
Pre Match Meal 4:
Spoonful of syrup
Pre Match Meal 5:
60g sports bar
500ml liquid meal supplement or fruit smoothie
These examples show how a 70kg player can reach 140 grams of Carbs in the 6 hours leading up to a match.
Note: other foods can be consumed on top of this amount.
What to Eat During Your Trial?If you have fueled correctly before your trial, you will have enough in the tank for the first 60 minutes of the trial.
After the hour mark, you need to consider carbohydrates that are oxidised at a high rate. E.g., Glucose, Sucrose, Maltodextrins and starches.
A great supplement to take around the hour mark in Dextrose.
This is the only time when taking on products with a high mix of sugars is suitable in your diet. Supplements gels are also suitable.
If your trial is longer than 60 minutes you must look to take on between 30-90g of carbohydrates per hour.
The amount is specific to your tolerance levels. Anyone new to refuelling during exercise should aim for the lower range of 30g per hour.
The most convenient sources of carbohydrates to take on during your trial are:
- Sports drinks (isotonic)
What to Eat After Your Trial?To impress the scouts and managers are your football trial you will need to leave everything on the field. This involves working at a high intensity throughout and will result in your body using up all of your muscle and liver glycogen stores.
Therefore you must replace these stores by refuelling immediately after your trial has finished.
For optimal recovery, you have a 30-minute window after your trial to consume carbohydrates. During this time you should take on simple carbs (high glycemic index) as the body can absorb these quickly.
Aim for: 1-1.5 grams of carbohydrates per kg of body weight
Here are some recommended post-trial carbohydrates:
Protein Consumption After Your TrialSo, you’ve given your all at your trial. No doubt your body feels battered and broken and your legs, in particular, feel like jelly.
Don’t worry, this is normal. But now you need to recover ASAP.
Therefore, taking on protein will help repair your body and positively influence muscle protein growth.
Within 30 minutes of your trial, you should aim to consume 0.2 grams per kg of your body weight.
Examples of whole foods that contain protein are: