Hydration for Football Players

Do you want to know more about proper hydration and fluids can improve your performance?

Then you’re in the right place.

This page will break down all areas of hydration, and how to measure and predict your fluid needs.

The best part?

These hydration tips and techniques will start working straight away!

So, are you ready to find out how to hydrate like a pro?

Let’s get started!


Hydration For Football


What is Hydration and why is it important?

Learn the importance of hydration and how proper hydration help performance.

Our football nutrition plan will provide show you exactly how to plan your hydration and nutrition for maximum performance benefits. 

Why is Hydration Important

Drinking water a planned hydration is an important part of any footballers diet. It helps to:

  • Regulates body temperature
  • Allows your muscles to contract
  • Maintains blood volume

When you play football your body sweats to stay at the optimal level. However, this sweats lead to a loss of fluid in your body.

The harder you workout, the more your body temperature increases and the more you sweat.

Therefore it is essential you drink fluids to help replace any fluids lost in sweat and fight against the effects of dehydration.


The rate at which you sweat is often higher than the rate you can drink fluids, therefore you will not be able to fully re-hydrate during a match.

So understanding the optimal fluid intake guidelines is important to allow you to perform your best.


Remember you can actually drink too much fluid, which has a negative effect on your performance. So if you are serious about your nutrition and hydration, then you must assess your swear level and have a proper hydration plan.

5 Benefits of staying hydrated

Dehydration puts excess strain on our bodies, so it’s important that we look after our bodies and stay hydrated pre, during and post training or matches. The main benefits of hydration are that it:
  1. Fights fatigue
  2. Prolong endurance
  3. Avoid muscle cramps
  4. Make you less likely to suffer from dizziness during or post exercise
  5. Increased body endurance


Daily Water Needs

Players must consume more fluids than inactive people. Find out exactly how to hydrate for optimal performance in our footballers diet nutrition plan. 

Our football nutrition plan will provide show you exactly how to plan your hydration and nutrition for maximum performance benefits. 

How much water should you drink a day?

The amount of water you should drink a day depends on you as an individual. Your body composition, age and daily activity will all affect how much water you should drink.

As a guideline authorities suggest 2 litres a day, which is eight 8-ounce glasses.
However, if you train daily and live an active life you should consume more fluids to regulate your water levels.

Try our water intake calculator for a daily water needs guideline:

Recommended Water Intake Calculator

Calculate your own daily recommended water intake using our water hydration calculator:

Recommended Litres per day


How Dehydration Effects Performance

Football is a game of fine margins, so understanding how to combat against dehydrate can give you the boost to overcome your competition. Check out our nutrition plan for strategies to help.

Our football nutrition plan will provide show you exactly how to plan your hydration and nutrition for maximum performance benefits. 

How Dehydration Effects Performance

Hydration in sport plays a huge part on how well you perform. The more dehydrated you become, the more your mental and physical performance decreases.Studies have shown that at losing as little of 2% of your body fluids can lead to athletes suffering from:
  • Increased fatigue
  • Reduced motivation
  • Increase perceived effort
  • Reduced endurance
Whereas losing more than 2% results in more sever conditions such as:
  • Diarrhoea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • And in very sever cases death
Dehydration stops your instestines from being able to absorb fluids, therefore you are unable to level out your body fluid deficit from swear loss.This can make you feel sick and even result in a bloated feeling in your stomach.

Signs of Dehydration

As your body becomes dehydrated signs appear to highlihgt that its time to take on more fluid. These include:
  • Lower levels of urine output
  • Dizziness
  • Dryness of your mouth
  • Dry skin
  • Low levels or no tears
  • Headaches
  • Feeling thirsty
  • Tiredness
  • Urine turns more yellow than usual
If you fail to notice or react to these sings, you will become more dehydrated and th following symptoms will develop.

Dehydration Symptons

There are many issues that arise if you become severely dehydrated including:
  • Drop in blood pressure
  • Increased dizziness, which will make it hard to walk or stand
  • Develop fever
  • Increase Heart Rate
  • Confusion or coma
  • Lack in skin elasticity
  • No urine output
  • Body goes into shock

How to check if you’re dehydrated?

As we mentioned earlier, a great method for checking your hydration level its to check the colour or your urine. Once you have checked, compare your urine colour to our chart for an idea or your bodies water levels. 

Urine Colour Chart

A urine colour chart otherwise known as a urine hydration chart enables you to stay hydrated by monitoring the colour of your urine and act before you reach the more extreme colours at the lower end of the scale.Most of us become dehydrated at least once a day, so by learning to keep your hydration at optimum levels you will experience a higher level of energy on the pitch and during training
Urine Hydration Chart

The lighter the colour of your urine, the more hydrated your body is. 

Most people experience darker urine at the start of the day as you have been sleeping for 8 hours without fluid. This is expected. 

However, if you urine colour reaches the bottom 2 colours at any point throughout the day, then you need to hydrate yourself straight away. 

Top 3 Ways to Prevent Mid Training Dehydration

  1. Sip 7 – 10 ounces of fluid every 10 to 20 minutes whilst training to maintain your hydration levels
  2. React to early signs of thirst by sipping fluid little and often instead of gulping water to avoid getting a stitch
  3. If you’re training or playing for longer than an hour, you will also need to replace electrolytes (found in bananas and coconut water amongst other fruits)
  4. Use a sports drink with electrolyte enhanced water, but only drink up to 1 every 2 days to avoid over hydration


Too Much Water

Find out what happens if you drink too much water and the health implications of over consumption. 

Our football nutrition plan will provide show you exactly how to plan your hydration and nutrition for maximum performance benefits. 

Can You Drink Too Much Water?

Yes you can.Overhydration will effect your performance on the pitch and also make you feel uncomfortable and bloated.If you are doing a light training session or playing in cold winter weather, you sweat rate will be less than high intense/hot weather matches.Therefore your fluid needs will decrease.In fact can be dangerous to drink fluids a higher rate than your fluid loss through sweat. This can dilute the soidium levels in your blood (known as hyponatraemia).Symptons of drinking too much water:
  • Headaches
  • Disorientation
  • Coma
  • Sever cases, death
However over hydration is very uncommon, as you will feel some discomfort from consuming too much water.

Here is a great video by FourFourTwo on how professional players test their urine, calculate their sweat rate and hydrate accordingly. 


Calculating your sweat rate

Learn how to work out the amount of sweat your body produces.

Our footballers diet nutrition plan shows you how to utilise your sweat rate calculation to improve your performance.

How to Calculate your Sweat Loss

The process for measuring sweat production involves weighing yourself before and after exercise. It is important that when you step on the scales you are wearing minimal clothing and barefoot.
How to calculate your sweat rate

Example of Sweat Rate Calculation:

If you drink 600ml during a 90 minute and you pre match weight was 70kg and post match 69kg then:

Players Sweat Rate is: (1 + 2) ÷ 3

  • 1 = Weight change throughout the match: 70 kg – 69kg = 1kg
  • 2 = Amount of water consumed during the match = 600 ml
  • 3 = Match length = 90 mins which is 1.5 hours

Therefore the players sweat rate is: (1000 + 600) ÷ 1.5 hours = 1.7 liters/hr

If math is not your strong suit, you can use this sweat rate calculator to do the work for you.

What next…

Now that you understand what to eat before your matches. Let us know how your pre-match nutrition is going. Leave a comment below with your favorite pre and post match meals.

Other Footballers Diet Articles…
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Hydration Facts and Tips

This section has the top hydration facts that will show you everything you need to know about hydrating properly. 

Our football nutrition plan will provide show you exactly how to plan your hydration and nutrition for maximum performance benefits. 

18 Hydration Facts and Top Tips to Stay Hydrated

  • Muscle tissue contains over 75% water, so without water, fatigue will set in and affect your performance including your acceleration, power, agility, stamina, and flexibility.
  • Dehydration increases your risk of injury due to muscles becoming less responses and a reduction in elasticity.
  • Staying hydrated whilst training or playing a match is important because of your body is sweating which causes rapid fluid loss from your body, and there is no super secret to stay hydrated, it’s actually the obvious…drink, and drink often!
  • An early sign of dehydration is having a dry mouth or even dizziness. Dizziness is caused by the decrease in plasma volumes that occur when exercising because the heart has to work harder to pump blood to your muscles, so if you are dehydrated you don’t have as much water in your blood causing a drop in blood pressure and volume which results in dizziness.
  • Check the colour of your urine when you use the bathroom using our urine colour chart. The colour of your urine is a good indicator of your hydration levels. The paler your urine the more hydrated your you are.
  • Pinch the skin on the back of your hand for a few seconds and let go. If the skin takes a while to return to its normal position this may be a sign of dehydration.
  • Drink electrolytes found in bananas and coconut water at least once a week. They are super minerals that help your body to regulate
  • Most fruits contain both electrolytes and fluids, making them ideal to avoid dehydration, help you stay hydrated and reduce unhealthy snacking. It gives your body a boost of vitamins having multiple benefits on your bodies functionality
  • Drink a large glass of water before you go to bed to enable your body to process waste and remove impurities
  • Drink a large glass of water in the morning as soon as you wake. This will help your body to re-hydrate after a night of no fluid intake
  • Carry a bottle of water with you wherever you go (we recommend a hydration tracker water bottle). This enables you to sip when you are thirsty instead of waiting until you return home to drink
  • If you aren’t a fan of drinking water try adding fresh slices of orange or lime to flavour the water. It acts as a healthy alternative to cordial which has many excess sugars in it
  • Drink a large glass of water 1 hour before a match or training session to prepare your muscles for high impact endurance where they will lose fluid through sweating
  • When you are feeling hungry, drink water. We often confuse the feeling of hunger with wanting food when our body actually wants fluid
  • Try to fit ‘drinking a glass of water’ into your routine. For example, drinking at breakfast, lunch, dinner, bedtime, before you are going out to drink alcohol etc,
  • Buy yourself a large 2 litre water bottle and pour your water from this during the day to help you monitor if you are drinking enough fluid

Muscle tissue contains over 75% water, so without water, fatigue will set in and effect your performance including your acceleration, power, agility, stamina and flexibility


What are the best Hydration Drinks?

This section will go over some of the best drinks for hydrating your body. 

Our football nutrition plan will provide show you exactly how to plan your hydration and nutrition for maximum performance benefits. 

What is the best hydration drinks?

There are endless amounts of drinks available claiming to help hydrate your for better performance.

1: Water

A simple and easy fluid to drink for hydration is mineral water. This provides adequate re-dration for light sessions or for pre match hydration.However as your exercise intensity increases your muscles require electrolytes and carbohydrates to help enhance performance. These energy sources can be found in sports drinks

2: Sports Drinks

Sports drinks also known as:

  • Isotonic Drinks
  • Hypertonic Drinks
  • Hypotonic Drinks

Are the most popular sports drinks to aid in player performance.

These drinks have high levels of carbohydrates  and electrolytes which in muscle energy recovery and promote water uptake in the intestines during a match. The sweet flavour enables players to drink more in one go, which helps to re-hydrate quicker.

3: Caffeine

A very popular ingredient for performance drinks is Caffeine.

Small doses (75-200mg) have been proven to:

Improve performance
Make exercise feel easier
improve concentration
oxidize more fat cells during exercise


Caffeine effects each player difference, so be sure to trial using caffeine drinks in training before matches.


In the past footballers have often had a swift pint post match, with some players even believing the carbohydrates in beer helped players recover.Unfortunately this urban myth is untrue, and alcohol post match actually slows down the recovery process.Check out our guide on alcohol and football performance for more details.


Hydration Supplements

Learn the benefits of hydration supplements.

Our football nutrition plan will provide show you exactly how to plan your hydration and nutrition for maximum performance benefits. 

Why Do Professional Players Take Hydration Supplements?

Hydration supplements are popular with footballers because the body digests them quickly. This is important pre and post match to ensure we maintain a balance of carbs and electrolytes as well as water.

Carbohydrate depletion and dehydration are two ongoing challenges you face as a football player.

Hydration supplements address both of these problems in healthy formulas that release carbohydrate and fluid during exercise, helping players to maintain their maximum performance.

Over consuming carbohydrates makes it difficult for your body to absorb, and under consuming carbohydrates increase fluid delivery but compromise carbohydrate delivery.


To make this simpler, professionals use scientifically backed hydration supplements that are made to deliver the correct balance of carbohydrate and fluid to your body.

Find out more about how you can you can add safe supplements to your diet to improve your performance.

Here is a great video from Science In Sport on how Manchester United players start hydrated and dehydrate with supplements.

Hydration Supplements Ingredients

Most hydration and electrolyte supplements contain complete formulas of protein or creatine to maximize their effectiveness and contribute towards rapid muscle regeneration. The 2 main ingredients in hydration supplements are:

  • Laxogenin – proven to to increase protein synthesis, and muscle recovery
  • Adamantine – proven to boost strength and muscle mass. Adamantine is also a popular nutrient for players whose training has begin to plateau, since it triggers your anabolic rate, helping you to continually develop your body strength and muscle groups

The Best Hydration Supplements

Hydrapharm: Adamantine

Adamantine is a trusted natural muscle builder which actively improves your strength and muscle endurance.Also famous for giving the results of prohormones without impacting your hormones, this powerful anti-inflammatory hydration supplement helps with joint pain and increases endurance by providing nutrients to your muscles immediately post-training.

SiS GO Electrolyte Sports Fuel Hydration Supplements

SiS GO Electrolyte Sports Fuel provides footballers with an easy to digest supply of carbohydrate for matchday energy, as well as stacks of electrolytes to stay hydrated throughout the match. Each serving contains 36 grams of carbohydrate per 500ml

SiS GO Hydro Hydration

SiS GO Hydro Hydration Tablets are effervescent tablets you add to water, with a scientifically based formula designed to ensure you stay hydrated so you can perform your best. SiS GO Hydro contains a generous 0.7 grams per litre of sodium (an important electrolyte that stimulates thirst, improves fluid palatability and promotes absorption and retention). Sodium is scientifically proven to hydrate faster and more effectively than plain water, without the added calories of other sports drinks.

High 5 Zero Hydration Tablets

High 5 Zero is another highly effective effervescent tablet that you add to your water to balance your sodium levels and help you stay hydrated throughout training.

Professional Football Nutrition Plan

Fuel like a pro with your bespoke football nutrition plan. Written by sport nutritionists.