• Pay particular attention to hydration – drink at least 3 litres of water per day
  • Follow healthy eating guidelines e.g. 5 daily portions of fresh vegetables and fruit, reduce salt, saturated fats and sugar intake
  • Taper your training right down so you are fresh for match day
  • Aim to eat 5-6 g of carbohydrates per Kg of body weight in the lead up to the game
  • Choose carbohydrates from mixed sources and make sure they are slow release (low glycaemic index “GI”) foods such as wholemeal or granary breads and porridge
  • Spread your intake out over the whole day


  • DON’T over-eat carbohydrates. Adequate glycogen stores are great – carbohydrate loading is not
  • DON’T eat all your carbohydrates in the evening meal – spread them out through the day

DON’T forget about protein and ‘good’ fats – keep to mixed meals

DON’T drink alcohol



Any new nutritional strategies must be tried in training and assessed before considering their use in a match.  Match day is not the time to experiment.



  • Consume a substantial meal comprising unrefined carbohydrates and some protein 4-5 hours before the game e.g. chicken breast with vegetables and pasta, whole wheat spaghetti bolognaise, poached eggs on wholemeal toast with baked beans
  • Consume your last solid food 2 hours before the match; have liquid foods after this
  • Make sure all carbohydrates consumed before the match are unrefined carbohydrates
  • Weigh yourself before the warm up without your kit on (so that after the match you can calculate how much fluid you have lost)



  • DON’T make any changes to match day nutrition without having practised them before in training
  • DON’T eat refined or sugary carbohydrates before the game




  • Consume 30g of liquid carbohydrates during warm up and again at half time. Make sure this is around 7% solution. That means 35g of powder to 500ml water. Or approx 500ml of a sports recovery drink
  • Sip this at any opportunity (injuries, stoppages etc). This helps with energy levels during the second half and also helps recovery



  • DON’T eat solid carbohydrates during the match (e.g. jelly babies, jaffa cakes). Liquid is more easily absorbed, has less potential to upset digestion and helps hydration.




  • Weigh yourself after the match, without kit
  • Replace each 1kg of weight lost with 1 litre of water, mixture of fruit juice and water, or isotonic drink (e.g. a sports recovery drink) over the next 3-4 hours
  • Start replacing lost glycogen with high GI foods as soon as possible
  • Aim for 0.75 grams of carbohydrates per kg of body weight (75g for a 100kg athlete) immediately after the game, then again 1 hour later, then 1 hour after that


  • Drinks are best for this initially then real food afterwards – and After 2 hours switch back to lower GI carbohydrates



  • DON’T drink alcohol until properly hydrated, take it easy when you do. Alcohol impairs muscle development if drunk in excess and also makes any soft tissue injury much worse by increasing inflammation.
  • DON’T drink caffeine until properly hydrated
  • DON’T forget about protein, tired fatigued muscles need building blocks as part of proper recovery