John Terry in action against Liverpool
John Terry in action against Liverpool

John Terry was back in training on Monday, a week earlier than the rest of the squad. Its this attitude and willpower that mean even at 34 years of age Terry is still considered one of the best defenders in the league.

As England’s golden generation near the end of their careers Terry is one of the only ones still at the top of his game. Lampard and Gerrard have gone to America to see out their careers with ease, Ashley Cole is playing a bit part role at Roma, and Michael Owen and Rio Ferdinand have both hung up their boots to focus on a career in the media.

Whereas Terry played every game last season and was named in the PFA team of the year. So how has Terry managed to prolong his career further than the others? There were images of Terry in the gym this week whilst many other players were pictured on the beach enjoying their off season which typifies the professionalism of our skipper.

From the start of his career he has taken care of his body and is now reaping the rewards. It shows how important a healthy lifestyle is for modern day footballers and why they should eat the right foods. The physical demands in the Premier League are so great today that without the right lifestyle they will fall short.

We wanted to find out about the dietary requirements of modern footballers and why players such as Terry have prolonged their career by maintain a healthy lifestyle. With the help of the World Sports Food Fight we discovered what players are eating on a daily basis.

Last season Premier League players ran on average 6.5 miles per game. This also involves lots of sprinting, cutting and tackling. When you’re competing against players sometimes in their early 20’s it is a huge job for a 34 year old defender. In fact the players can burn up to a massive 3000 calories during a 90 minute match so must ensure they fuel their bodies by eating the right diet.

This means that on a daily basis footballers consume 500 calories more than the average man. But whereas your average Joe isn’t burning the majority of calories they intake, footballers are in training every day which means they remain lean and agile to ensure they can cope with the fitness requirements on match days.

It’s not just about eating the right amount of calories though, a footballer needs to make sure they are getting the calories from the right sources. The average man would get through their day eating bacon sandwiches, pizzas and snacking on crisps and biscuits. Terry hasn’t achieved so much in his career eating these kinds of food though and the dieticians would make up a plan for the players that is very different to average Joe.

Footballlers swap the breakfast of bacon and tea for cereal, fruit juice and fruit. This provides the players with enough energy to complete their morning training session. The players burn off so much energy that they need to eat a lot of carbohydrates. So a lunch of bread and a smoothie with a muffin for desert keeps their energy levels up. Then for dinner more carbohydrates as a serving of pasta is consumed and a desert of ice cream means more calories are consumed. Its not just at meal times though where footballers consume calories as they will also snack on chocolate and yoghurt.

All the training and eating right should ensure that players are in the best possible condition for games. But matchday preparations also involves keeping to a strict timetable when it comes to eating. There should be no large meals 3-4 hours before kick-off and any small carbohydrate snacks should be consumed at least an hour before the match to allow digestion.

As the Chelsea players begin their preparations for the season opener in the charity shield against Arsenal on August 2nd the World Sports Food Fight will help you realize what the players are eating to prepare for the match. The educational tool can also be used by any young athletes to help them improve performance.

It’s not just footballers that can use the interactive piece. There is information on a range of different sports including Rugby, F1 and Swimming. You can compare the diets of each sportsmen and see why a set amount of calories is needed for each sport. Have a look at the interactive for yourself to find out what your favourite athletes are eating and how you can improve your performance.