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5 tips to improve your performance on the pitch

Southampton FC Head of Sports Science Alek Gross gives his top tips for maximising your training and performance both in the gym and on the pitch.

1. "If you train the same, you stay the same"

Training should continually overload and stress the body's physiological systems. If you only ever do the same type of training you won't stress the body sufficiently to stimulate adaptation. Keep things interesting and varied and you will reap the rewards.

2. Your body adapts during recovery, not during training.

There needs to be a careful balance of training and recovery. If you continually train, your body doesn't have time to adapt and your performance will decrease leaving you more susceptible to injury. Make sure you build regular periods of rest into your training regime.

3. Sleep right

If sleep is poor then the ongoing cycle of under recovery and elevated physical load is likely to cause an imbalance linked to overreaching, overtraining and fatigue related injury. Short term sleep deprivation is known to negatively affect cognitive function, decision making and neural function which are linked to injury risk and poor performance. Sleep deprivation or disruption of over 64 hours has been linked with lover levels of power and strength which also cause performance concerns and heighten the risk of injury. Improve sleep by creating a regular and relaxing sleep routine. Make your bedroom more sleep friendly and avoid blue light (phones, laptops, tablets) an hour before bedtime.

4. Eat right

Nutrition is another important pillar of recovery. Don't neglect carbohydrates, if you are exerting yourself your glycogen stores, which are your body's primary fuel source, become depleted and carbohydrates help to replenish them. You also need to ensure that you are meeting your recommended levels of micronutrients to help avoid illness, make sure you get plenty of fruit and vegetables and supplement your diet with a high quality multivitamin such as Healthspan Elite's Gold A-Z MultiVitamin.

5. Track and monitor

Record what you do and how you have performed. This will give you feedback on your physical state, and should you see your physical scores flattening out or reducing then you will need to amend the type of training you are doing. It also provides motivation to adhere to training programmes and continue to improve. You can also see which training works for you and which doesn't as not all people respond the same way to training stimulus.

Alek is Head of Sports Science at Southampton FC. Previously, he taught sports science at Leeds Metropolitan University, as well as lecturing at the University of West England.

Find out more about Alek Gross.

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This article is written by nutrition professionals, and is aimed at nutritionists and athletes. It is not intended to replace advice from your own doctor or nutritionist. Please consult a professional before trying supplements.