Football players are some of the biggest, baddest dudes on earth. They spend hours slamming into other people, getting slammed into by other people, and running, running, running. Before each game, players are faced with the decision of what they’re going to put into their bodies in order to make sure they’re properly fueled up for the Herculean task ahead. So what exactly do they eat? We tracked down answers from ten professional football players, and from ritual cookies to spaghetti and eggs, they’re pretty fascinating.
According to Ask.com, a football player can burn well over 1,000 calories over the course of a game. These guys are professional athletes, after all, so it goes without saying that they can essentially eat whatever they want and get away with it. That doesn’t mean that a diet of donuts and pizza will prep your body for the big game, though: every NFL team has an in-house nutritionist who works with players on an individual basis to fine-tune an eating regimen that works for them (just like the strength and conditioning coach works on individual workout regimens).
These eating regimens usually revolve around eating lots of protein, an athlete’s best friend. They suggest lean proteins and carbohydrates before games, to help keep the energy up and the muscles strong. But each player is free to interpret these guidelines in their own way, and some who prefer not to eat a lot before a game eschew it altogether (Alex Rodriguez eats just a bowl of fruit before each game).
All professional NFL chefs set out a pretty ridiculous spread in the locker room before a game, from which the players can take their pick. A lot of the rookies go nuts, grabbing a little bit of everything like they’re at a Golden Corral, but the veterans know that making the right choices before a game can seriously impact how you play. So read on to learn what ten professional footballers choose to eat in the hours before gametime.