Soccer, or football for our European friends, is an incredibly draining and taxing sport, both physically as well as mentally, and because of this, it can take its toll on the body. Sport in general is very physically demanding, but soccer is especially tough because it requires players to constantly be on their feet, running for much of the time, for 90+ minutes each game, and then of course, there is the work that needs to be put in, in the gym, as well as on the training pitch. Soccer players, although they often get a bad rep for theatrics and diving, work extremely hard and put their bodies through a lot, and because of that, they need to ensure they are able to rest and recover as quickly and as effectively as possible. That means that, on top of eating right, drinking plenty of water, and getting enough sleep, many soccer players also rely heavily on supplements, and for very good reason. When we think of supplements, we generally imagine bodybuilders and people looking to train like a bodybuilder, with the ultimate goal of building muscle and burning fat. However, some people use supplements to assist them with their chosen disciplines and to improve their athletic ability, and if they choose correctly, these supplements will indeed help them to do just that. If soccer is your sport of choice and you’re looking to take your game to the next level, here’s a look at 7 top supplements for soccer players, that will benefit you and your overall game in a number of different ways. Some of the main supplements elite soccer players use include the following:
Fish oil supplements
First on our list we have fish oil supplements, with Krill oil and Cod Liver Oil both being great examples. Fish oil supplements are absolutely crammed to the gills (pardon the pun) with omega 3 fatty acids, which are incredibly, incredibly healthy and provide so many unique benefits to the body that it would take an age to list each and every single one. In terms of playing soccer, fish oil supplements are ideal because they help to lubricate the joints and prevent stiffness and tightness. This in turns improves mobility and helps reduce pain and feelings of discomfort. Many soccer players pick up knee injuries whilst running, because the knees are forced to absorb so much punishment as they are constantly being used. The omega 3s in fish oil supplements however, help to lubricate the joints and protect them, so they don’t feel stiff or tender when you’re running or being physically active. Fish oil supplements also reduce inflammation, which again, is great for pain management, and they also provide numerous benefits for the brain, which is important as there is a lot of thinking and psychology involved in playing soccer, so the sharper your brain, the sharper you will be on the pitch. Then of course, there is the added bonus that fish oil supplements just generally provide overall health and well-being benefits, so the healthier you are, the better a player you will be.
Whey protein powder
Whey protein powder isn’t just for people trying to bulk up and build muscle, and it is certainly not mutually exclusive to bodybuilding. Soccer players of all levels will rely heavily on whey protein powder supplements, because they’re so beneficial. Whey protein powder is enriched with proteins, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that assist with the growth and repair of muscle tissue. After training, or after a game, as you will have used so many different muscles, and worked them so hard, the muscles will become sore because they will have been damaged and worn out. By simply walking, you are using your muscles and putting them under a certain degree of strain and stress. By running around for 90 odd minutes however, your muscles, especially those in your legs, will be sore, will be damaged, and will be worn down, so they will need repairing quickly. Whey protein powders initiate protein synthesis and they assist with muscle growth, repair, and recovery in the process. After a tough game, you want to be well rested and in the best possible condition when it comes to your next game/training session, and whey protein powder will help ensure that you are able to do just that.
Creatine is a naturally occurring amino acid found in certain meats and seafood, as well as our very own bodies. In large dosages, experts have found that creatine can help increase energy levels and muscle productivity, by enhancing the production of ATP, also known as Adenosine Tri-Phosphate. ATP is what the muscles prefer as a main source of fuel, and so the more ATP that there is present, the harder the muscles can work, and the longer they can work before they fatigue. Creatine helps to prevent the build-up of lactic acid and other by-products of strenuous exercise, which is incredibly important as lactic acid is a primary cause of muscle cramps. If you’ve ever watched a soccer game go into extra-time, after around 90 – 100 minutes, you’ll see more and more players going down with cramp. Creatine could help prevent the build-up of lactic acid for just a little longer, helping you to fight off the effects of fatigue and to perform at your absolute best on the pitch. Optimally, 5g of creatine per day is sufficient enough, so why not give it a try today?
BCAAs, or Branch Chain Amino Acids, are the building blocks of protein molecules and are so, so important when it comes to the growth and recovery of muscle tissue within the human body. There are a number of amino acids, both essential and non-essential, yet there are three that make up BCAAs, and these three in particular, often get the most attention for all of the right reasons. BCAAs are made up of: leucine, valine, and isoleucine, and they function by helping to initiate protein synthesis, speeding up muscular recovery, assisting with glycogen energy production, and, as they are easier to absorb, they get to work almost instantly, and can instantly help to repair damaged muscle tissue, both during, and after strenuous physical exercise and exertion. Soccer is very much a sport that requires a great deal of recovery, and no supplement stack placing an emphasis on recovery, would be complete without BCAAs.
Vitamin D supplements
Vitamin D supplements are also very popular amongst soccer players, and contrary to popular belief, you cannot get vitamin D from direct sunlight. In actual fact, it is the rays emitted by the sun, that allow the body to absorb vitamin D, providing of course, that you have vitamin D in your system in the first place. Studies have found that vitamin D can assist with the optimization of fast-twitch muscle fibres, that are essential for explosive movement and power. Soccer is a sport in which explosive power is essential because you will be sprinting in short bursts, plus of course, there is the power required to kick the ball in the first place. Vitamin D supplements are therefore very beneficial for soccer players and come very highly recommended.
Super Greens are powdered supplements made up of healthy plant-based ingredients. The ingredients found in super greens powders are full of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, antioxidants, and countless other nutrients that the body absolutely thrives upon. Whilst there is no direct benefit for soccer when it comes to Super Greens, what Super Greens will do, is provide overall health and well-being benefits, helping to keep you fitter and healthier in general. Your immune system will become stronger, you will have more energy, you brain health will improve, and your health in general will improve. Obviously the fitter and healthier you are, the better you will be when it comes to playing soccer.
Vitamin B supplements
There are a number of B-complex vitamin supplements, and ideally you should include as many of these in your supplement stack as you possibly can. B vitamins are water soluble, they are easily absorbed, they improve digestive health, they help strengthen the heart and cardiovascular system, they help regulate hormone and blood glucose levels, and they improve a person’s metabolic rate. B vitamins help to enhance the metabolism and therefore increase natural energy supplies. As a soccer player, or any other form of athlete for that matter, this is where you really feel the benefits because the more energy you have, the faster you will be able to run, the more you will be able to run, and, well, the more energy you will have out on the pitch. Whilst other players may be tiring and struggling with fatigue, a B vitamin supplement could help you go that extra mile and could provide you with that much-needed edge over your competitors.