Shamrock Rovers: Recovery is Key

Ronan Finn, Shamrock Rovers football player

For me, nutrition is the most important thing about being a professional athlete.  It’s a given that every team will train and spend hours on the pitch practicing drills, improving fitness and fine-tuning the technical skills, however, in order to be successful in the game you need that little bit extra. People always talk about the 1% that separates the best and puts them out in front and for me that is nutrition. And at the heart of my diet lies Herbalife.

Training takes place at set times and lasts for a few hours a day but looking after what you eat and drink is a full-time, around-the-clock job. A team coach can make sure you complete a drill in training but a nutritionist can’t always monitor your diet, it’s down to every individual to maintain for themselves. This is where Herbalife plays a key role in my day-to-day lifestyle and I think everyone who takes their sport and fitness seriously should consider Herbalife. I have no doubt that Herbalife is a factor that allows myself and the guys on the team to compete week-in week-out and challenge for trophies.

There are two big challenges I face during the week in terms of preparation and nutrition. The first of these is getting enough sleep. As a rule of thumb, I always try to get 8 hours sleep which can be tough especially with early morning training sessions. I find that a good night’s sleep sets me up for the day ahead but the most important thing about sleep is that this is when your body repairs itself and enable muscles to recover. Therefore, it’s a must to get good-quality sleep and make sure there are no distractions to keep you up late at night.

The other big challenge for me is meeting my macronutrient requirements. Simply put, this means getting enough Carbohydrates, Fats and Proteins. Following a game or heavy training I like to take a Herbalife 24 Rebuild Strength shake within 30 minutes followed by a full meal within one hour. High in both whey and casein the protein helps with the growth of muscles and has an optimum level of high quality carbohydrates to fuel the body post-workout. The shake is also rich in key nutrients such as iron which aids energy-yielding metabolism and red blood cell production

As a footballer or elite athlete its key to consume carbohydrates as part of our diets while also keeping protein intake high. However, at times we need to tailor this macronutrient intake to suit our needs. If we are less active or perhaps recovering from an injury, a reduction in carbohydrates can ensure you stay at optimum fitness levels. By tracking what you eat/drink regularly, you can ensure you are doing what is best for your body at different times of the training week.

The other key area to focus on, and it can be neglected by a lot of sporting individuals and athletes, is the need for protein intake post exercise. Muscles break down during exercise (that’s why they feel sore) so it is so important to consume proteins like a Herbalife shake to ensure optimum intake in a convenient/easily consumable manner.  Remember to ignore the fads and let science and nutrition help you become a better athlete.