Some soccer players abstain from food before a practice or game. They think exercising on empty will help them burn more fat and attain a leaner, lighter physique. True, when you exercise on empty, you will burn more fat. BUT, burning fat differs from losing body fat. Losing body fat depends on your calorie intake for the entire day. That is, you can do a fat-burning Saturday morning soccer practice but then, if you stop for a few donuts and a latte, followed by generous meals the rest of the day, you’ll erase that deficit quite easily!
The benefits of eating before a soccer game or practice include:
-You’ll have a better workout.
-You’ll feel more alert and have energy to enjoy the entire workout.
-You’ll provide your muscles with the fuel they need to optimize performance.
-You’ll be able to exercise harder and get more from your efforts.
-You will have more energy at the end of the session and need less time to recover.
-You’ll help curb the hungry horrors after the workout.
If you want to lose body fat, I suggest you plan to do that when you are sleeping, not exercising! (Sleep, after all, is a fat burning activity--if you still thank that burning fat equates to losing body fat). Your better bet is to fuel by day, have energy to enjoy an active lifestyle, and then diet (eat a little bit less) at night. Give it a try!
Eat smart, play well,
PS: For more information on how to lose weight and maintain energy for exercise, read the weight loss section in Food Guide for Soccer: Tips and Recipes from the Pros. The information will give a kick-start to your New Year’s Nutrition Resolutions.