It takes a lot to be a successful athlete and to stay in peak physical condition throughout your career. Professional sportspeople put in years of hard work and dedication in order to reach their goals, and one of the most important parts of their lifestyle is their diet.
Remaining healthy, whilst also consuming enough calories to maintain the exercise levels of an athlete takes a lot of doing, and the eating habits of those such as footballers tend to be high-protein, low-sugar diets that promote muscle growth and stamina. However, there are many footballers that are turning to new ways of eating in order to keep their bodies ready for action, in particular, consuming a plant-based diet.
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Veganism has seen a huge rise in the UK in the last few years, with people switching not only for moral reasons but due to the environmental and health benefits that a vegan diet can provide. Therefore, it is unsurprising that people whose job it is to be in excellent health would look into it. Lionel Messi, the Argentine national player who also represents Barcelona, decided to switch to a plant-based diet after failing to secure a win for Argentina in the 2014 World Cup. His nutritionist, Giuliano Poser, has helped Messi to lose around three kilograms since they began working together, and one of the biggest things that he promotes is a plant-based diet packed with fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
Furthermore, many players have said that they have recovered faster from injury after switching to a vegan diet. For example, Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin suffered from a recurring ankle injury last season and claims that since moving away from meat he is healing faster than ever and plays full 90-minute games without issue. He also states that: “I was waking up in the mornings and had so much energy, whereas before I used to be that person who would snooze the alarm five times before they got out of bed.” Many people who have gone vegan have reported that their energy levels skyrocketed, possibly due to the fact that they no longer have to digest lots of heavy food, which weighs down the body and makes you more lethargic. Bellerin has even uploaded videos to Youtube discussing his reasons for his switch and the details about his vegan diet, encouraging others to try it out.
Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe has also turned to veganism in order to stay on top of his game as he enters his mid-thirties. He believes that he has a better understanding of his body after combining his diet with practising yoga and massage. He also says that he doesn’t find any part of his regime hard because he “know the feeling of scoring goals”, and that keeps him motivated to keep working.
We’ll see in the tournaments ahead whether these new lifestyles pay off in terms of scoring goals and winning matches but as the odds of Barcelona beating Sevilla 1-0 in their upcoming match in the Spanish Super Cup are 8/1 on williamhill.com, it looks hopeful.
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