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Extra Time Excellence: Nutrition Considerations for Extra-Time

Extra Time Excellence: Nutrition Considerations for Extra-Time

As the clock ticks beyond the regulation period, the importance of proper nutrition becomes increasingly evident. Whether it's a high-stakes tournament final or a crucial league match, players need to fuel their bodies effectively to maintain peak performance.  
In this blog, we'll explore the key nutrition considerations for footballers facing the challenge of extra time. 

Hydration is non-negotiable:

Maintaining hydration is fundamental for optimal athletic performance, and this holds even more true during extra time in matches. You need to start hydrating well before the match and, most importantly, keep sipping on water throughout the match to prevent dehydration. It is vital to prevent yourself from getting dehydrated, because it can lead to fatigue, cramps, and diminished cognitive function, all of which can significantly impact your ability to contribute on the field. In addition, as you near the end of the match, electrolyte-rich beverages can be especially beneficial to replenish essential minerals lost through sweat.  

Carbohydrates for Sustained Energy:

Extra time means the amount of physical exertion is extended, requiring a more continuous supply of energy. During the break between full-time and extra-time, easily digestible carbohydrate sources like energy gels or sports drinks can help replenish glycogen stores and maintain energy levels. The use of these easily digestible carbohydrate sources is the most beneficial because you can consume them swiftly and your body can absorb the nutrients quickly to fuel you without causing digestive discomfort. These products also include electrolytes like sodium and potassium which helps with hydration levels.  
DISCLAIMER: Any products that you plan to use in high-stakes matches that are likely to go to extra-time should be trialled and tested by you before the event to make sure that they are effective for your goals and do not cause you any problems.

Caffeine Considerations:

Caffeine is another beneficial supplement that has been shown to enhance physical performance by increasing the release of adrenaline in the body, leading to improved strength, endurance, and overall physical output. In addition, caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant that can improve alertness and cognitive function which means you can overcome the fatigue from the rest of the match.  
While caffeine can be very beneficial, it's essential to use it judiciously. You should be mindful of your tolerance levels and avoid excessive consumption, which can lead to jitteriness and increased heart rate.  

Previous article The Role of Carbohydrates in Rugby Performance
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