One of the jobs that nutritionists, rehabilitation workers and physical trainers from football clubs and other sports are currently focusing on is to create nutrition and supplementation guidelines to try to prevent sports injuries. Today, we discuss how glycogen replenishment can prevent injuries in the world of football.
What is glycogen?
Let’s start with the basics. Do you know exactly what it is and what it’s good for, in terms of your muscles? Well, it’s quite clear:
Glycogen is obtained through dietary carbohydrate intake or through supplements rich in this nutrient. Do you now understand why athletes, especially those related to endurance, always make significant carbohydrate loads?
The experts’ recommendations speak of a preload of about 10g of carbohydrates per kg of weight per day; always talking about a preload before a high intensity training or a match.
Football, with an estimated duration of around 90 minutes, is not a sport in which carbohydrate intake is recommended during practice. It should also be taken into account that it’s a sport in which there are no breaks during its celebration (except for the halftime break).
With the right load, you’ll also be able to ensure proper muscle recovery, which will reduce the chances of becoming injured.
Throughout this post, we want to offer you a series of guidelines that professional football teams follow on a daily basis to prevent their top stars from getting injured.
Glycogen in football
How can they measure this data? The technology used in the world of football today would surprise you. Many of the footballers you see in the top-flight matches broadcast on television each week wear waistcoats under their team’s shirt that record their movements.
This data is not only passed on directly to the clubs’ technicians and trainers, but many of them are offered directly to the fans of the broadcasts.
As mentioned above, in sports such as football, which do not go beyond 90 minutes (in the vast majority of cases), glycogen replacement is not recommended during matches. However, its importance does increase in post-match data.
The aim is to improve and accelerate the recovery of muscle fibres, leaving them ready to give their best in the next football match. The importance of glycogen replenishment in periods of high match congestion (when there is no more than a 96-hour break between matches) is greatly enhanced.
Studies on glycogen and football
Research carried out in 2011 on 16 elite football players revealed that glycogen loss after a highly-demanding football match continues to occur up to 48 hours later.
Therefore, the importance of glycogen replacement becomes key in the hours following the end of the competition.
In a second study (Reilly T, Drust B and Clark N) it was shown that one of the consequences of continuous exercise during 90 minutes of a football match is that the capacity of the muscles to generate force decreases.
This is because the glycogen reserves in the muscles are reduced at the end of the games, especially if the training load has not been reduced in the preceding days.
How are injuries avoided through glycogen replacement?
Many specialists working with footballers in professional clubs claim that the risk of injury in football increases as long as there has not been a minimum of 96 hours between major efforts, i.e. between matches. This increase in muscle injury is up to 6 times that of a longer rest period.
And what is the main reason for this? Lower concentrations of muscle glycogen, resulting in increased fatigue and subsequently decreased performance. So, recharge your glycogen levels after a match!
Steps to follow to replenish glycogen after a match
We can assure you that all these recommendations for glycogen replacement in football are followed on a daily basis by professional clubs, in many cases based on the use of our HSN brand supplements.
Take note and put it into practice!
Increase your glycogen replenishment after your matches by following these tips:
1. Carbohydrate Intake
Take up to 1.5g of carbohydrate per kg of your body weight every hour for four hours after the end of the football match.
For this, you can ingest carbohydrates through the diet or do it through food supplements, like the ones we have in our online shop.
2. Protein Intake
Taking it together with carbohydrates will further stimulate glycogen resynthesis. Our recommendation is to take 0.3g of whey protein for every kg of body weight after the match.
In addition, its intake every 30 minutes will lead to increased rates of glycogen synthesis.
3. Whey Protein to increase recovery
Appropriate consumption of up to 2g per kg body weight of whey protein per day will support the recovery of footballers during periods of heavy competition.
That’s to say, in those periods where matches accumulate and there is no appropriate rest between matches of more than 96 hours, the Whey Protein is more than necessary for the footballer.
What is our recommendation from HSN? Using Evolate 2.0. This is our Whey Protein Isolate, with a superior protein score of 90%. In addition, it includes the enzyme complex Digezyme, which will improve the digestion of the protein and its absorption.
4. Creatine Intake
Taking creatine together with the carbohydrate intake post-matches will provide a better restructuring of the phosphocreatine reserves.
5. Taking Casein before sleeping
Coaches and experts recommend footballers take whey protein supplements with high Casein content.
What’s the reason? Casein is the slowest releasing protein, so it promotes the anabolic state during rest and sleep.
Have you taken note of how you should act after football matches to properly replenish glycogen levels? Follow the routines of the football professionals and you’ll be able to reach maximum performance.
- Gunnarsson TP1, Bendiksen M, Bischoff R, Christensen PM, Lesivig B, Madsen K, Stephens F, Greenhaff P, Krustrup P, Bangsbo J. Effect of whey protein- and carbohydrate-enriched diet on glycogen resynthesis during the first 48 h after a soccer game. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2013 Aug;23(4):508-15. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0838.2011.01418.x. Epub 2011 Nov 23.
- Reilly T1, Drust B, Clarke N. Muscle fatigue during football match-play. Sports Med. 2008;38(5):357-67.
- Bangsbo J1, Mohr M, Krustrup P. Physical and metabolic demands of training and match-play in the elite football player. J Sports Sci. 2006 Jul;24(7):665-74.
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