Tune in to episode 5 about soccer here. This blog post brings you the key takeaways to learn from and implement to help you achieve your goals! Manchester United players Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw and Lee Grant join Charlie and James in our Soccer Special podcast this week. Top Takeaways Take matchday minus one seriously. Eat well, sleep well and stay hydrated in the 24 hours before a game, the most important day for nutrition. Matchday minus one is even more important for performance than the pre-match meal. Eat plenty of carbohydrates which affect how much energy and focus you have and how alert you are during the game. For a 75kg player, that means 600g of carbs! You and your legs should feel fresh and your muscles should be loaded with glycogen to start the match fully fuelled. Take care of your nutrition before, during and after matches. At halftime, the Manchester United players fuel up with hydration and energy drinks and gels to feel energetic all the way through the match. After a game, players are expected to eat on the hour, every hour for 3 – 4 hours. This is the most crucial time to refuel. Good nutrition gives you an edge over your opponent. Harry is competitive in all aspects of his sport. If your nutrition is even a little more on point than your competitors, you give yourself the best chance to win. Nutrition is just as important for your mind as for your body. When you eat well, you can train better, but it also mentally puts you in a great place. Feeling strong and confident is good for you both on and off the pitch. Stay hydrated. It is crucial to start a game hydrated and to consume fluids during the match and recovery. James recommends 500ml of water or hydrating fluids per hour, more if you are playing in hot conditions. This is as important for mental as for physical fitness and wellbeing. Sleep matters. Soccer players often have only a few days to recover between matches. It takes your muscles 2-3 days to fully recover, and sleep during these times is important to allow your body to rest and restore. Top Synergies Get to know your body. This is especially important as you mature as an athlete and your body’s needs change. Fuel for the work required. This proves to be as true for soccer players as for cyclists (episode one and episode four) and boxers (episode two) as applies to athletes of all disciplines and levels of professionalism. You will perform best with a coach and nutritionist. Most professional clubs have several full-time nutritionists in their academy and specialists working with the top team. Harry, Luke and Lee agreed that soccer has come a long way and they are certain that working with nutritionists has been a key to their successes. Having a manager that pushes you to get the best out of you will also help you to feel confident – believing in yourself is a big deal in soccer. Being mentally strong will help you through an injury and to the top. Being motivated to get back to doing what you love and not getting discouraged will ensure you can come back strong after an injury or setback. Strong ambition is great for young players to enable informed decision-making. Final words of wisdom: When it comes to nutrition and training, do the right things more often than not. Written By Julia Deufel - content writer and consultant Julia runs her own marketing consultancy, working with businesses and non-profits in education, nutrition, fitness and the arts. She also teaches a blend of HIIT and Pilates she developed and is an avid indoor cyclist. Julia is an advocate of effective altruism and believes in the power of sport to change lives.