Back in the day, before football became all professional and commercial, some players used to go out the night before a match, have a few beers and a burger then turn up at half past two the next day ready(ish) to play. That was normal. Few people understood the connection between diet and performance then.
Things are very different now. An advanced understanding of sports nutrition plays an important role at every football league club. Specialist Sport Science departments and periodised nutrition programmes being the new normal. Sports Nutrition jobs are now available in every sport and Performance Chef jobs are rapidly catching up.
We all know how vital nutrition is to fuel the body and also to repair the damage of punishing daily workouts. We also know how well the players are fed and watered when they are at the club, with nutritious breakfast, snacks, lunch and drinks all provided during training and match days.
Performance Nutritionists work closely with strength and conditioning staff and the club’s own Performance Chefs to ensure that the food the players eat during the day is top notch. However, when they get home after training and need an evening meal, they may have some guidance from the club, but many will not know how to implement it and make a tasty, nutritious meal.
Elite footballers are young men who may be away from the comforts of home for the first time and many of them can only do very basic cooking. Yet their periodised nutrition programmes require them to eat precise amounts of the macro-nutrients in their main meal every evening. X grams of protein, y grams of carbohydrate and z grams of fat.
The optimum ratio of carbohydrate to protein to fats changes daily, depending on factors such as match day schedule, injury status, travel arrangements, training schedule and even individual training activities. The ratios are not even necessarily the same for any two players on any given day. In addition to the macros, it is important for players to maintain healthy levels of vitamins and minerals in their diets to help with recovery, sleep and general good health. No-one performs well after just 3 hours sleep, or when dealing with a cold.
In the modern, professional, highly-lucrative game, most footballers take their job very seriously. They understand that they need to be professional in every aspect of their career, from media interaction to lifestyle choices. The smart players are beginning to understand that looking after their body and mind off the pitch allows them to perform at their best on the pitch. In turn this leads to career longevity and increased earning potential. The best players are also the best paid players.
More and more elite professional football players are turning to Performance Chefs to combat the exhaustion of a long season and to ensure their performance and recovery times are the best they can be, by eating the right combination of vitamins and nutrients and at the right times. Rather than it just being another nice luxury that their high salaries can provide, they are beginning to see it as an investment in their careers. The smart ones are choosing chefs who understand and focus on Performance Nutrition rather than simply cooking nice food. Most chefs can make nice food, but not many think about tailoring that food to meet the precise requirements these players need.
This is where Discreet and Delicious come in. Our Performance Chefs already have a good understanding of performance nutrition. However, we also like to work with the player’s personal or club Nutritionists to ensure that we are providing exactly the food that they need and none of the food they shouldn’t have.
A lot of the food recommended by nutritionists, whilst undoubtedly good for the player, can be rather dull and uninspiring. What we do is add the cheffy know-how to make those foods interesting and tasty without diluting the nutritional value.
They don’t need to worry about understanding the nutrition advice they are given and what food they are eating. They can trust us to feed them the right food and make it taste delicious. We work with them to make tweaks to flavour and texture until it is just as they like it… spicier, sweeter, thinner, crunchier.
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