T Nation

Protein shake at half time?

What are your thoughts on protein shakes (ie surge) at half time for soccer athletes?

I am thinking specifically in terms of increasing endurance and stamina for the second half of the game.

Would implementing this strategy of half time shakes be to difficult for a team setting do to personal tolerance to carbs?

Any input would be appreciated!

I’d be more concerned with their reaction to the shake in the second half. If they aren’t used to it, you could see the shake back up on the field! I would concentrate on keeping them hydrated, and maybe think about overall nutrition the day before and the day of the game. One thin gthat I have tried is Power Drive half an hour before my matches, and it worked great.

Great points Paul!

Fluid intake and proper pre-game nutrition were the first two priorities on my list with the team! I am now looking into other means of helping them perform specifically during the second half of the game.

I like the idea of Power Drive!!!

I wanted to try the protein shake in practice before moving it to game days!


I used to play and can say that it definately could slow them down a bit if they weren’t used to it. If you decided to try this I would go with only 1/2 or 1/3 of a normal sized shake and an even ratio of carbs to protien in order to avoid any potential hypogylcemic reaction later in the game. You will definately want to try power drive and I don’t see why one dose before and one dose during halftime would hurt at all. Carb depleteing and loading might have an interesting effect but you probably play too often to try that. Goodluck!

During competition, they require carb based energy substrates more so than protein…get the protein after competition for post game recovery as protein synthesis takes longer than muscle glycogen replenishment, which is what is required during the competition…sustained preformance requires substained energy…ie glycogen.

The amino acids in concoctions like Surge and the like actually help to stimulate more rapid, efficient glycogen synthesis. Therefore, although the Hebber is correct that carbs are the priority, having some protein will be very beneficial if we consider its effects outside of protein synthesis.

If I recall correctly, a 4:1 ratio of carbs to protein is optimal to serve this purpose.

The amount of carbohydrate is going to be largely dependent on the activity of the athlete. If you’ve got a midfielder that’s been sprinting up and down the field the whole half, then obviously his/her needs will be much greater than a substitute who got in the game for the final one minute of the first half.

RS: Thank you for your response! The potential hypoglycemic response was one of my main concerns and was the motivation of this post! Hence, the trial period during practice where simulated playing will take place.

Timbo: Points well taken. Position and amount of playing time should be considered for individualization.


Nova Coach

Surge would be the ideal supplement. Your looking at an app. 2:1 ratio of fast acting carbs/protein.
The question is when.
Sipping the surge throughout the game may be optimal for muscle energy stores. Performance throughout the game should remain high. Keep the energy levels high without any potential “bonk”.
Keep in mind that the breakfast/lunch meals are extremely important as well. Good protein/fats along with low GI carbs will help to ensure a high level of performance when game time arrives.


I would, without a doubt, puke if given a protein shake at halftime.

I agree with you (BodyIQ) that sipping the drink throughout the game would be of most benefit.

However, this is not a luxioury that the players have! Some of the players actually stay on the field 45 minutes without actually having anything to drink! Is this optimal…NO! But it seems to be a reality in the soccer world!

What I am trying to do is find ways to impove there performance, in terms of nutrition and supplementation, that are realistic and easily applicable.

Nova Coach

as a former player and fan myself I’d say that about half a serving immediately folowing the halftime whisle would be a good idea. there will be no hypoclycemic response as the adrenal hormones are rampaging through the body at game time.


i play basketball and take one of the smaller gatorade bottles [2.5 serv] fill it with 10g glutamine and 1scoop [17-20g] of protein powder. i eat 2-3 hours before i play, then sip this during games [or when i’m playin pickup or whatever] i dont have a formula for use, just sip it as i feel needed. i also slam down water .
maybe an idea

I’m with Tuesday. When I played football, I would have, without a doubt, puked a protein shake onto the field… that is if I hadn’t been warming the bench. Oh well. Anyhow, me thinks good ol’ H2O is the way to go. Ain’t that what the Water Boy said?

Nova Coach-One thing that you could try is to locate bottles around the field, and the players could take advantage of them during breaks in play to run over to the touchline and grab a quick sip. One thing, I don’t know where you are, or what level you are competing at, but in Texas schools, it is a class E felony for a coach to provide or even suggest supplements to an athlete that is not their own child. Also, some governing bodies might take issue with what you give to them. One other thing, I know that you mentioned you talk about pre-game nutrition with them, you need to remind them that what you eat the day of the game won’t help much if you live on Ding-Dongs and Fritos the rest of the week. I work with high schoolers, and I run into that all the time. Like I said, I don’t know who you’re working with, so you may have a different issue.

When I played football, we would have orange halves at halftime, along with lots of water. If it were today, I would have a giant protein shake after the game. Heck, even after my 2.5 hour grappling class, I take in about a 1000 calorie shake/postgame meal. Patricia suggested that I sip a protein shake during the class, but I would puke it right back up. Same with pre-game nutrition - I can’t eat anything 2-3 hours pre-game because it will come back up. It’s a no fail thing.

Its definitely the pre-game that counts. You have to take digestion and utilization of something into account. You are talking about a very short halftime. I found that loading up before a game was best. I would generally have a meal that had a good amount of protein, lots of good fat, and a little carbs a couple of hours before a game. About an hour before I would hork down a powerbar and some gatorade (or something equiv) and I found myself running all over the place without getting tired.