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Refueling: What to Eat During a Football Match


So you now know what to eat before a football match, another important part of a footballers diet is what to eat during a football match.

RememberFootball nutrition is simple if you have a plan to work towards.

Below we will provide nutrition tips to keep you motivated and break through the pain barrier.

So, what can you take on during a match to make sure you don’t fatigue, falter or slow down?

First up, let’s get the basics…

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What Does the Science Say?

Experts suggest that carbohydrates such as:

  • Glucose
  • Sucrose
  • Maltodextrins
  • Starches

They oxidise at high rates, making them perfect fuels to take on during a match. One of the most popular simple carbohydrate supplement to take up during a match or training is Dextrose.
Dextrose Tablets

The main aim during a match or intense training session is to consume products that contain a mix of sugars, (CHO gels are good options).


Timing is important. If you’ve taken your pre-match nutrition seriously, you should have enough energy to carry you to at least half time. But as you reach the 60-minute mark, you may need to take on more carbohydrates.

Taking on carbohydrates during a match or training reduces fatigue, whilst also reducing your reliance on stored glycogen in your liver and muscles.

The best part is…

If your glycogen stores are depleted, this carbohydrate intake can provide an alternative energy source, allowing you to compete for longer.

Check out this video of what Tom Ince takes on during a game:

How to Work out How Many Carbs You Need?

When you take on carbs during a match, you must aim to replace the lost glycogen without consuming too much that it will cause an upset stomach.

The amount depends on two factors:

  • How fast your muscles use the consumed carbohydrates
  • The rate of intestinal absorption and gastric emptying

Thankfully, you will not have to work this out, as there are general guidelines for you to work towards.

At the 60 minute mark…

and every hour after that, you should look to take on between 30-90g per hour. The 30-90g range is a big difference because it all depends on how your body tolerates taking on the extra carbs. If you are new to refueling during matches, we suggest starting at the 30g range and also practice refueling in training.

Some of the most convenient and cheapest options are:

  • Sports Drinks
  • Carbohydrate Gels
  • Bananas
  • Oranges

Sport Drinks

Should You Consume Protein During a Match or Training?

Many sports enthusiast suggest that taking on extra protein (Branch Chain Amino Acid’s) during training or a match will help your performance.

This theory has circulated for several years and is regularly discussed around the fitness and bodybuilding industry.

The idea suggests…

Taking on protein (BCAA’s) during intense workouts, training or matches will:

1) Lead to a reduction in fatigue
2) Improve energy production

Although research supports protein intake during intense exercise, it is by far conclusive.

Therefore as it stands, consuming protein or any BCAA supplement will not have a beneficial outcome in your matches or training. So save your money and stick with fast digesting carbohydrates.

Should You Take on Healthy Fats During Exercise?

Avocado Healthy Fats

Simply put, NO!

There are no performance benefits from consuming fats during your training or matches. In fact, the results could be detrimental, causing upset stomach and poor performance.

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