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4 Common Mistakes for a Pre-match Meal

Turning up to a game of football without a proper pre-match meal is like lining up on the starting grid of a race without any gas in your car. You don’t stand a chance of consistently achieving your potential if you have not found the pre game meal combination that works for you.

At some point most of us have got it wrong, sometimes resulting in pretty unpleasant consequences. When people do go wrong it’s very often as a result of timing:

1. Eating too early – you give your body a good top-up of fuel, but do it too early so your reserves have depleted too much by game-time (remember your glycogen reserves naturally deplete throughout the day, even if you’re just sitting at a desk). Somehow assuming that a midday lunch will see me through for a 8pm kick-off. It won’t, it’ll just leave you feeling like a shell of a man whist your teammates give you concerned / mocking looks. Not fun.

2. Eating too late – it takes time for the body to digest a meal and turn carbohydrates into glycogen. It happens when you’re in a rush and decide to hoover up whatever you can lay your hands on. Do that too close to the game and you’re not going to feel good: you’ll be carrying around all the weight of the food, but you won’t get any of the benefits. Your body hasn’t had time to turn it into energy yet.

If it isn’t the timing, it’s what people eat that is the other classic reason for getting it wrong. Get starchy carbs and avoid either of these rookie errors:

3. Eating too much protein or fat – protein foods take longer to digest than carbs, so eat moderate protein meals. Fats take even longer still, meaning that you might not feel settled by game time. A fry-up might sound like a great plan before football, but that’s an absolute disaster waiting to happen. You’ll probably have just as much of a chance of digesting your own football boots in time for the game.

4. Eating too much sugar – sugar can give you energy quickly, but it can sometimes cause rapid energy swings in blood sugar levels and result in low blood sugar and, ironically, less energy. You might use some high-sugar foods before a game, but make sure a good portion of your pre-match meal is high-nutrient starchy carbohydrates.

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