T Nation

Help with my Nutrition/Supp's


Hey everyone,

This is kind of a long post, so please bare with me and thanks in advance for your time and constructive input. I'm new here but not entirely new to physical training - I lifted weights and read T-Nation and men's health forums religiously since my jr year in high school for about 4 years when my focus shifted to soccer fitness. I admit that I haven't visited these forums since moving out for college a couple years ago.

So here's the thick of it:
I need some help figuring out again what foods I should be eating and when on a daily schedule that affords proper nutrition for my sport and it's game/training schedule. Additionally, I am a full-time student in college (majoring in Biomedical Engineering), so I need to work around a college student's budget.

My sport is soccer - I play the striker position or midfielder position in a very competitive league: Major Division adult men's based in the Coast Soccer League (1 step below the premier league or about 2 below the MLS). In official games, I typically play 60-75 minutes of actual playtime out of the 90 min game. My off-time being when I am subbed out for rest.

I made it onto the team in October and have played well with them - the problem has been my diet and nutrition. I've never played or trained at this level before, and it's obviously very demanding. I don't really have a set diet at the moment except I eat clean foods only (I have maybe 3 cheat days/month, usually Chipotle).

I have started an intense conditioning training 2 weeks ago in addition to normal games/practice...and since then my body has been completely drained of energy at times and I feel that I haven't been loading it right or eating correctly for recovery. I'm used to controlling my diet in a less demanding way of soccer, and I used to bodybuild in the gym a few years ago but those nutrition plans are very different from my needs now and I'm lost.

My soccer schedule:
Typically a full 90min League game every Sunday morning/afternoon, a 90-120 min scrimmage game every Tuesday night. During the morning/afternoon on Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs and Friday I have conditioning training and/or technical training (skill work, ball control, shooting, etc). The conditioning training exercises vary every day, but typically alternate daily between a focus on sprints or on endurance runs.

Conditioning usually is about 1-1.5 hours long. Additionally every other day there is a full body circuit consisting of bodyweight exercises like pushups, lunges, squats, etc. This circuit takes maybe 15 minutes or so. Technical drills are generally an additional hour, and while their focus is not so much on physical training, they do certainly add to the wear factor.

My diet right now is inconsistent with exception to my breakfast: usually 2 eggs and either whole grain bagel or oatmeal. Sometimes with a grapefruit or half of a pomelo. I generally have 2-3 large meals each day and 2 snacks. I probably take in about 2200 calories a day, mostly carbs and protein. Maybe 15% of it is fats, and of those I'd say 90% or more is from unsaturated fats, mostly polyunsaturated. My snacks are typically edamame, roasted almonds or peanuts, or a whey protein shake.

Other than that my lunch/dinner meals are pretty random. I grill chicken or pork loin often, tilapia and someimes shrimp for my main protein sources. I eat brown rice often and make pasta maybe one night a week. One meal I consistently eat each week is chicken tortilla soup loaded with veggies. I try to eat steamed broccoli, butternut squash or sweet potatoes a few times a week, as well as one whole fruit + a salad each day. I have no real restrictions on things I'll eat, except I typically avoid fastfoods :slightly_smiling:

supplements I currently use:

MGN pure whey isolate 2x1scoop servings per day
Opti-Men vitamins 2-3 per day
1500 mg Glucosamine w/ 1500mg MSM
*CoQ10 - 100mg daily
*ON's Tribulus caps 625mg 3 per day
*Ai Sports RecoverPro BCAA 4:1:1 ratio - 2 scoops taken before and after workouts/games
*Endurox R4 - one serving after each workout/game

*=I'm considering dropping these supp's. I'm also considering adding creatine monohydrate and fish oil. Also thinking about taking an inexpensive 200mg caffeine pill an hour before trainings to help compensate for days I'm lacking energy.

Again, thanks for your time and any input you can provide.


Height and Weight would be a good start.. as well as, what exactly is your question? you want us to list foods that are 'ok' to eat?


Sorry...forgetting the basics: I'm 23 years old, 5'10 and 180 lbs. Body fat ~10%.

And I know what foods are 'ok' but my trouble sometimes is discerning when to eat which foods. For example, should I have a carb heavy meal to prep for my sunday league game? What kinds of foods are okay to eat in the hours leading up to it or the night before? Some days when I'm doing conditioning training, I feel completely drained of energy - is that due to eating too heavily x amount of hours beforehand, or is it due to my body being worn out from repairing muscle tissue from the training of the day before?

I generally take in about 2200 calories/day...maybe 10-15% usually is fats, the rest is split pretty evenly between proteins and carbs. According to a calorie calculator, I should be taking in a couple hundred more cal's though.


You are feeling drained because you are eating way below maintenance for your activity. Also, your fat intake is low.

Things you seem to have right: animal protein, veggies, limiting cheats.

Possible issues: breakie, i'll leave wheat alone since you seem to limit it.

Breakfast: either eat more eggs (4-8) and cut the carbs to control calories at that meal, or eat oatmeal with whey protein shake and some healthy fats. Make sure your oatmeal is plain, you can add 5-10g brown sugar for taste - that is 1-2 teaspoons. Flavored packets are half sugar, don't eat that crap. The oatmeal would go well within an hour or two of practice, once again with a whey shake, and some peanut butter or coconut oil added to slow absorption.

During practice, you need hydration obviously, but make sure you get enough salt, this may be contributing to your dead feeling. Depending on how much you sweat, 1/4-1/2 teaspoon. If you are eating clean, you should probably use this much salt in addition to your cooking too, otherwise sodium will be low.

As for carb heavy meals, this is better left for recovery, within two hour after training, if you are happy with your leanness, you could also hit up carbs in the second postworkout feeding.

Add some avocados for healthy fats and don't be afraid of plain yogurt - whey mixes good to make a pudding-like protein treat.

If you want more, you will have to layout what your do now on a few of your most typical days, This is the easiest way to make good suggestions. Please include weight descriptions as accurately as possible, raw is best, even if it is a package of X items that weigh Y whatever.


We're of similar builds. considering your high activity level, i'd be prompted to say the lack of energy is due to such low calories. Bump them up. maybe somewhere more like 3,000kcal. I'd get protein levels to somewhere like 250g, fats <65g, carbs ~200g.

As for when to eat what... Focus carbs around "training". Before or after/ at what time is really a choice you have to make based on how you feel. I personally hate doing any sort of activity on a full stomach, i much prefer being relatively empty. If you're getting adequate cals throughout the day, and the right ones (not shit junk food), then when you eat them will pretty much be up to you.

The dead feeling while training is again probably due to low calories. If you don't already, drink some gatorade with BCAAs mixed in during training, especially if you haven't eaten a "quality" meal beforehand. Said quality meal should be a combination of protein and carbs, between 1 & 2 hours before your planned activity.

Mornings should have a decent amount of carbs, maybe from a piece of fruit or so, plus a good amount of protein.
Post-training should be loaded with carbs and protein, preferrably within 30-45 minutes.
throughout the day snack on things like nuts, cottage cheese, or veggies.

If you are truly as active as you've laid out, you really don't need to be too picky in what you eat. Focus on good, whole, unprocessed foods. Get in the calories in the day, that is more important than timing.

and dont forget to SLEEP!


That is around 2400 Kcal, he needs more carbs and fat, more like 200-250g PRO, 250-300g CHO, and 100g FAT. If his body fat is what he claims, then this should be fine with the high activity levels, I was also thinking around 3000 Kcal, but that may be a minimum.

This is pretty dead on, perhaps more than just a piece of fruit in the morning. Even a large banana is 30-35g of carbs, 50-75g of oats would put him the right range with a piece of fruit.

As for the fat, this is an area where quality calories can be easily taken in - and they are needed. In this case <65g per day is restricting a bit.


I may have lowballed a little bit. However, i am a HUGE fan of low fat on when consuming high carbs, and would say that 100g would be slightly high, i'd aim for around 80g, tops.

I'd agree, a bowl of oatmeal, with a protein shake/eggs/ham steak, PLUS a piece of fruit would probably be best.


Hi buddy,

Im theBird; T-Nation's resident semi-pro soccer player.

As you know been soccer players, we burn many kilojoules, and it can be hard to get all of them by eatng clean. So I use the 80/20 rule; aslong as your clean 80% of the time its all good.

Just do give you an idea, here is my typical day during the season;

730am; oats, 4 eggs on sourdough toast, coffee
1000am: nuts, maybe a protein shake
100pm; salmon/chicken and rice or sushi
4pm; protein shake, and some nuts and maybe a vegetable juice and some dark chocolate
5pm: pre-traning snack of jelly on toast and a coffee
8pm; dinner. meat and vegetables. most carbs from potatoes.
9pm; protein shake if hungry

supplements; fish oil, whey, creatine, curcumin.
cheat day: i start cheat day right after the game. Get into the pizza and beer, although I some times indulge in some extra carbs the night before game day.
secret; chicken soup. eat a medium bowl of chicken soup, the day before, on game day, and the day after.

Im happy to answer any more questions. Do you still lift? What program are you on?



Please reread the part about his activity levels:

I am not trying to pick a fight with you, I have seen you give some good advice in other threads - and even in this one - but you are wrong on this one.

If anything his energy requirements could be higher. Even if we take 250g Protein, 300g carbs, and 80g fat, that is less than 3000 Kcal. An extra 20g would put him at 3100 total. 200g is not high carbs for someone doing this amount of training, it is low carb. Many athletes in endurance type sports have found that eating up to 30% calories from fat actually helps recovery and body composition more than getting calories from carbs.

I have worked with many athletes from beer league to just missing a pro cut or olympic podium as well as sedentary people. What works in different situations varies greatly and even between people. I have no doubt that it works for you and likely others in your situation, but for others, they may get more results from less carbs and more fat, either for physiological or psychological reasons. There is no doubt that carbohydrate and fat consumption must be controlled in a given situation to limit consumption of calories from these 'energy nutrients', but this is not the case here, like many young athletes eating clean, he is undereating by half his current intake.


Thank you guys very much for the inputs! As a side note, my activity level and body are quite accurate to how I've described them...I'm not sure why someone would lie about something like this, as I'm just seeking help and it isn't anything to brag about imo.

I'm glad to get advice from another soccer player. Now that you mention it, I'd say about half of my teammates do hit a fast food joint right after our Sunday games. Also, the only times I have a beer is sometimes (not every week) an hour or so after my Tues scrimmage game or Sunday game I'll have 1 Guinness. I've read somewhere that dark beers can help lessen inflammation and actually aid recovery? Also, do you typically train with about the same activity level? I'm not currently doing any training or lifting aside from this soccer conditioning programs and the body weight circuit training included in it 2-3 times per week. I'm not entirely sure if you've been down this road of training, but its very exhausting and I find myself always in some state of recovery whether its from muscle building from training or from bruises/injuries from the games. I currently could not fathom including a lifting program in addition to this. However, this conditioning training program will last until late March or early April when the season slows down (our season runs from mid Sept to end of April usually). During that time I'll probably take the rest of April off from training aside from something like a 2-3 time weekly 2 mile run as maintenance. But starting in May I plan to take it upon myself to essentially repeat this conditioning program (with a stepped up pace) to get ahead of the game for next season. I want to move up to Premier League - hoping to get a tryout invite after next season.

Peter Orban and EightOhFive:
So should I be shooting for 3000 cals each day? And EightohFive, I know I'm not swimming 50 miles per week but Michael Phelps consumes about 12,000 cals per day in his prime training season for the last olympics so I can kind of understand how I should be eating a lot more. I could certainly start by eating more eggs each morning (4-5 okay?) and adding a couple snacks involving peanut butter to help out. Or have a sandwich/burrito with avocado spread on. I suppose I've had my fat intake so low because I've always been afraid that I wouldn't burn it off, and I think because of that I have been missing out on the energy it provides. I really don't like to do cardio with the feeling of food in my stomach (makes me sluggish and feeling a bit sick) so how soon before that should be my last big meal/lunch? I'm fine having a shake or light snack within an hour before training. I'm doing my grocery shopping today after conditioning in a few hours, so I'll definitely be checking back here before I go for some quick adjustments to my shopping list. Also, should my eating habits change when we have bye weeks? This coming week is a bye, so we stil scrimmage on Tues but it means Sat and Sunday this week will be without strenuous exercise. On Sunday I'll probably go for a 2 mile jog and might do the bodyweight circuit training but that would be it.

As for the supplements, I am definitely going to drop the bcaa's I think. I feel like I'll be getting enough from the foods I'll be eating. I will begin taking creatine though (going to load up 5 days at 20g each, then probably going to maintain it at 10g/training day and 5 for non-training aka saturday lol). Instead of getting fish oil, I'm simply going to eat more fish each week (thanks to costco making it more affordable). I'm also going to drop the tribulus since I don't think it really benefits me and I could allocate those funds to the added groceries. On Sunday, I did begin making my own sports drink to help with sodium/sugar intake and it certainly seemed to help. It was cheap and easy too - made a quart (4 cups water, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup orange juice, some lemon juice, 1/2 tsp salt).

Thanks again to everyone!


@the todd

Sorry if there was any confusion, my previous post was directed at eightohfive. He had lots of good advice, I just think he may have missed the amount of work you do.

If you eat well, don't worry about when you eat before, go with what feels best for you. During training weeks as you describe, I would shoot for 3000-3500 Kcal, if that is not enough, you will know by how you feel. For off days, the 2500-3000 range will do unless you need more for recovery, you can vary based on whether you exercise that day or not and on how you feel. Walking also helps recovery, so don't be afraid to do that too, it will not tax your system that much calorie-wise.

About eggs, 6-8 on training days plus carbs, 4-6 on off days with fruit and veggies. Go with how you feel, don't worry too much an egg is 70-80 Kcal. Spring for omega3 if you can.

I wouldn't bother loading creatine, your 5-10g dose is fine. You could even get away with 5g per day. As for the sports drink, you can always get some made up from a bulk site to limit the fructose intake, it really makes a difference for some people, it wouldn't cost so much, potato starch is probably the way to go. The BCAAs would go well with this. You can get this bulk too and save some coin. I would consider keeping the fish oil as you would be hard pressed to get that much unless you ate it every day. Consider ZMA.


^what he said.


Thanks again guys!

Yesterday I counted my cals and I ate about 3,100 calories - more than I've eaten for at least 2 years back when I was building. This morning I was absolutely starving when I woke up though! I had 6 eggs (scrambled with about 5 tsp of olive oil, some minced garlic and ground cayenne pepper), about 1 cup of oatmeal with brown sugar and some diced apple in it, an entire grapefruit, a glass of milk and a glass of mango/peach juice. I'd also like to report that I'm sufficiently less sore from yesterday's grueling workouts and I feel pretty well energized! What a difference. I did have an odd sensation this morning and during dinner last night, where my stomach was totally full of food but I still felt really hungry - what's up with that? I ended up snacking on almonds+peanuts about 30 minutes after dinner but this is strange to me.

I ended up passing on the omega 3 eggs because they're about twice as expensive as normal eggs at costco here :confused: But I am taking omega 3 fish oil caps (2 a day), and my bread has omega 3's in it, so hopefully that will be sufficient. I'm still waiting for my creatine shipment to come in to start that (should be thurs) and plain caffeine pills (200mg) will be with it, just in case I have a sluggish feeling day. I'm going to see how this new diet affects me over the week or 2 weeks even before I start considering zma. Also in reference to walking to aid recovery...when college is in session, I typically walk a bit mon-thurs when I'm there. Right now I'm on winter break still until the week after next, so I'll try walking a half mile or so before training sessions. Tonight will be interesting for the diet since it's our day of conditioning, tech drills, plus the 90-120 min scrimmage tonight at 830. Should I shoot for 3000 cal's before the game and then eat another large meal after the game? Or just kind of eat when I'm hungry but nothing dense for a couple hours before the game so I don't die out there and eat whatever I can to hit the 3500 mark?


Stop worrying about numbers, go with how you feel. Eat slow and chew everything well. Anything less than 2-3 miles walking is little different than getting up to take a shit (a bit of dramatic license there, but I think you get the point). With fish oil if it is 30% EPA/DHA you are looking for around 10 a day, anything less is garnish, whatever is in bread is from flax and is not the same as EPA/DHA, it is still good for you - in fact you should get some ground flax and add a table spoon to your oats - but will not convert to EPA/DHA in significant amounts.

I like your wait a week or two approach before adding supplements, this is a good way to measure the effects of each component of change separately. The other things you will want to look at in the future are limiting bread and wheat products and the fruit juice. Substituting more fruit and starchy carbs like potatoes and rice will allow for a higher micronutrient intake. However, if things work fine, you may not need this tweak so much.


319 posts eh Pete? Why the hell aren't you dropping all this knowledge on a more frequent basis?!

OP - Read all these posts over again, let it sink in. Follow it, and keep us updated if you've got the time.
i wish ya luck


Hi buddy,

Im not too sure about the beer, but I doubt it. I usually allow myself a beer after the game, although after I have skulled water and some powerade. I lift 3 times a week. A chest and back day, a lower body day and a shoulder day. Although I also do some cardio, rehab and sometimes skill work on shoulder day. All lifting sessions are explosive in nature and only take about 30-40 minutes after Ive warmed up.
This season I might be playing for a new team, that has more training sessions, so I might have to cut back on the lifting.

And I know what you mean by recovering from knocks and bruises from the game. Some days it takes me 2 whole days to recover. I highly recommend a dip in the oean in the morning after the game day. Does wonders for recovery.



Well I couldn't find the exact article I remember reading about beer benefits but I found a similar one: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,592983,00.html
After my games, I usually have about 28 oz of a homemade sports drink (I drink maybe 4-6 oz during the game), and about 20 oz or so of water (drink maybe 4 oz during the game just to wash down the sports drink; don't like the taste when I'm running). On an average day, I drink close to 2 gallons of water spread out through the day, and take my jug with me everywhere. And like you said, the only time I'll have a beer is after a game - so I have 2 a week, but sometimes I will skip the beer. During the off-season, I think I may add a light weight routine like you mentioned in addition to my 2nd round of conditioning training. I find it more feasible then since I won't have any real games to worry about. I'll still do occasional drop-in games but that would be all.

Peter Orban:
Alright Peter I'll atop focusing on the numbers. My calves are pretty sore from yesterday (did have 2 goals and an assist last night though), so I'm going to implement a 'recovery aiding walk' for 2 miles at the track today before today's training session. I don't know the full details of today's workout yet, only that after stretching we will be starting with a 2.5 mile run (our goal for that is to be under 15 min right now). I'm expecting agility drills afterwards. I've been taking notes in a journal after each training session for the last couple weeks so far in order for me to repeat this training in Summer, so if you guys ever want to know specific training activities, ask away. The only real consistency with the training though is everyday is a little bit different. There's maybe 15 or so different drills/activities we've done so far, but they're always mixed up and grouped differently each training day. Also, the fish oil I got does contain DHA/EPA but I can't find a percentage stated anywhere. I will try to eat more fruits as opposed to starches when I can. I typically eat about 3 fruits a day: 1 with breakfast, 1 before training/game and 1 within an hour after. The fruits change but are typically either an orange, grapefruit, pomelo or a banana since those are my favorite. Occasionally I'll top my oatmeal with some kind of berry (whatever happens to be on sale) whether its blueberries, raspberries, blackberries or strawberries, but if they're not on sale then I usually don't have those unless they're in season and therefore cheaper anyways. I hate frozen fruits unless its for a shake.

It may sound obsessive, but I do read/reread this post everyday since I originally posted it. It helps me keep these ideas in mind and reminding me of things to look for. I don't want to miss anything and feel like I'm wasting anyone's time that you've taken out of your day to help me out. I'll post back here with updates or new questions whenever I can and it makes sense to do it :slight_smile:


@the todd:

We are glad to help. No need to cut starches from good sources, it is the fruit juice you should watch for. Replace fruit juice with fruits, and replace wheat with potatoes, rice, oats as much as possible, no need to cut anything completely if thing are going well.

With the walking take it slow and stretch the sore muscles. Massage them after. Consider a foam roller:

About the fish oil, the typical cap is 120mg DHA/180mg EPA out of 1000mg, that is 30%. I know Costco has these.

I get frozen raspberries from walmart. They usually have from Chile, excellent condition. I nuke them for 1.5-2.5 minutes depending on which microwave I use and put them in plain yogurt with protein powder a banana and some ground flax seeds. Very tolerable this way, but I get what you are saying about frozen fruit. Definitely a texture thing.

About the beer, sure some study shows it has antioxidants, but does this outweigh the alcohol? Does a litlle alcohol in moderation matter? Hard to say based on all available evidence I have seen (I wrote a paper on this in nutrition biochemistry over a decade ago). I think if it helps you unwind and you control intake as you have stated, the benefits that stem from the mental stress relief and relaxation aspects are far more important than any purported 'health' effects.

I have nothing to quarrel with theBird's comments, but if you are near the ocean, his advice to take a dip is a good one, otherwise a 20-30 minute soak in water as hot as you can stand with 600g epsom and/or sea salts will help recovery and soreness. Drink a couple cups of water before and take a cool shower after.


Thanks Peter!

I really do not drink more than 1 cup or so of juice a day. I generally have just been using it to mix in creatine or use some to make my sports drinks. Same goes with drinking milk - about 1 cup a day to go with my protein shake. The rest of the day all I drink is water, as I mentioned to TheBird earlier, I have about 2 gallons every day of it. I feel that I could eat more fruits though.

What an excellent foam roller article! I've used one at my old gym a handful of times but never really knew the science behind it. It was just sort of thrown at me by a trainer and told me to use it haha. But now I'm going to have to pick myself up one. I'll start doing it before practice/games - will it hurt any to still do stretching with the team at practice after I've foam rolled?

The fish oil I got was indeed from costco...I believe yesterday I had about 6 of those caps, but I'll work on getting it up to 10. I like the usage of the frozen berries...maybe next shopping trip I'll pick some up and give it a try. Also with the beer, I'm out of it right now and don't see a need for it really so I'm probably not even going to get any more until I begin getting swamped or stressed with schoolwork. At the moment, I can't really justify using it to help me relax. I also do have a bottle of 3mg melatonin pills for nights that I have issues falling asleep. I do not take them daily and am afraid to become dependent on them, but they definitely do seem to help on restless nights.

I'm about 15 minutes from the ocean...but it's quite cold this time of year haha so I don't know that I can promise on using it until late spring or summer. In the meantime, I'll give the 600g epsom salt bath a try on days I'm particularly sore. My calves already recovered by yesterday from their soreness - I'm thinking this diet is making the difference for sure with recovery.

On a side note: yesterday I was given a free trial thing of Cellucor C7 powder for preworkout. So I threw it in about 45 minutes before training...big mistake I think. We began with the 2.5 mile run - and about 1.75 mi through it, I felt like I was going to black out. My vision had black dots and the colors were turning a blue-ish tint and needless to say I had to stop for a couple minutes before continuing the run. I remember in nutrition class a couple years ago, that side effects from too much of something (I can't remember if it was nitrogen in the blood?) can cause the blue-ish tint in vision. But I'm attributing that to the C7. I did fine on the agility runs later in training, but was left with an awful bloated feeling and a headache pretty much the rest of the day.


Well I guess you learned a good lesson about that product. It does have some powerful substances in it, I generally like to stay with stuff like beta alanine (which can cause stomach issues in some people around workout) and citrulline malate on top of a carb/electrolyte drink and perhaps BCAAs or a hydrolysed protein of sorts. Beta alanine can be taken in small doses throughout the day to get the 5-6g required. Citrulline malate is usually dosed 8-10g per day. I think the beta alanine is the more important of the two if you had to choose.

You should be fine for stretching, just don't push it too hard and focus on the whole of your body and other muscles around the joint, not just the muscle you are stretching - make sure the rest of you posture is perfect.

You are correct about your melatonin usage, it works best when used infrequently or for a few days after timezone or sleep schedule changes to help set the new schedule. Magnesium citrate 300-450mg would also help on these nights (or ZMA).

By relaxing, I mean have 1 beer and chill. Just grab one when out in social situations, no need to stockpile at home.