Energy: When you should use simple & complex carbohydrates

In a game, you will sprint a lot but also play for long periods of time. Your body needs energy from carbohydrates to do both. The thing is, different carbohydrates work with your body in different ways. 

What you need to know!


A footballer’s diet needs carbohydrate for energy. Knowing the difference between simple and complex carbohydrates will help you perform on the pitch and recover off it!


Gareth_Bayle_Wales_training_session_doing_sprintsEXPLOSIVE BURSTS: Simple Sprints.Press Association


Simple carbohydrates: Fast burst of energy for the body and burned quickly: Sharp sprints

Complex carbohydrates: Slow energy is released to the body over a long period: 90 mins

Keep it simple



Collection_of_Carbohydrate_rich_foods_on_a_tableKNOW YOUR CARBS: Simple or Complex?





The main difference between the two is where they come from. Complex carbohydrates come from healthier, natural sources (fruit and vegetables) meaning for a player they are superb as they also contain vitamins and minerals.


Getting the right carbohydrates into your body is so important for energy
The football4football training team


To stay one step ahead of others in the game, foods that are eaten should be more complex than simple. Instead of just providing energy in a quick burst, they will provide energy over longer periods, making you perform for longer in training or a match.


Gabriel_Obertan_gets_away_from_Marc_TierneyKEEP RUNNING: Staying one step ahead...Press Association



Improving energy levels by eating


Approximately one-third of your total daily food intake should contain carbohydrates (according to the government's Eatwell guide). Meals need to be full of vegetables and a complex carbohydrate (brown rice or potatoes) to sit alongside the protein. Snacking on nuts, seeds or fruit is also another benefit instead of the usual sweets or chocolate, which do have a role at the right time and place.


Knowing the difference of when to have simple & complex carbohydrates will help power your performance
The football4football nutrition team



Final Note

Remember carbohydrates are the most important source of energy for your body!