Inside The England Team’s Health & Fitness Secrets

By Ellie Smith

2 weeks ago

How do the Three Lions stay on top of their wellbeing?


As they prepare to battle it out for the Euros trophy, how do England’s footballers stay on top of their game? It’s not just about the training: the team have a whole host of tricks up their sleeve to keep them fuelled and energised – and to deal with the pressure that comes with playing high-level sport. From drinking pickle juice to practising yoga and donning Oura rings, we delve into the health and fitness secrets of England’s footballers.

5 Health Hacks Of England’s Footballers

 

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Nutrition

Naturally, nutrition is crucial for footballers’ success, particularly during the Euros, which involves playing numerous physically-demanding games in a row. ‘We have a couple of nutritionists at the club level and we also have one here with England,’ said captain Harry Kane. ‘Nutrition has become a significant part of sport, particularly football. Considering the number of games we play, recovery is crucial, and food plays a big role in that – ensuring we get the right nutrients at the right time.’

He added: ‘I will have salad and veg with every meal. I try to get as many nutrients as I can from food. I balance protein and carbs, leaning more towards carbs before a game. On lighter training days, I might cut out carbs for a meal and go for protein and veg.’

For a midfielder like Jude Bellingham, a single match could involve covering up to 13km and expending around 2,000 kcal – so how does he stay fuelled? According to Spanish outlet El Chiringuito, Bellingham follows a strict nutritional plan which involves eating four meals a day. Regular dishes include Greek yoghurt and oats for breakfast, and dinners of grilled meat (such as chicken or turkey) and vegetables.

Declan Rice’s secret? ‘I have four pancakes before a game. Covered in syrup or honey,’ he revealed in an interview for Men’s Health UK. ‘I swear to God, it’s the best thing… When I joined the club, I could see the [Arsenal] players eating them and thought to myself, “What is going on here?” But honestly, it’s been a game changer.’

Pickles

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Pickle Juice

Even top athletes get muscle cramps – so what do they do when one strikes mid-match? Knock back a shot of pickle juice, apparently, as demonstrated by Kieran Trippier, who was seen sipping one after falling to the floor in England’s match against Serbia. The drink is widely used by people in the sports world as it’s said to reduce muscle cramps – likely a result of the acetic acid (a by-product of fermentation which gives the brine its sour taste), as well as the salt. 

Yoga

Yoga is another part of the England team’s recovery. Players including Harry Kane and Kyle Walker were seen taking part in a class at their hotel in Germany back in June, led by teacher Dr Rebekah Jade Lawrence. Posting on Instagram, she wrote: ‘Wow, thank you England football team for inviting me to teach yoga as part of your recovery process in Euro 2024. Yoga is such an incredible tool and practice that can benefit athlete recovery and performance in so many ways.’ The squad do yoga on a semi-regular basis on recovery days, and were seen taking part in similar sessions during the World Cup in Qatar.

Compression Boots

Between games, players including Harry Kane use special recovery boots to help ease tired  muscles. Described as ‘the most advanced dynamic air compression system on the planet’, the zip-up Normatec 3 boots work by applying massaging pressure to the legs, feet and ankles. They’re commonly used by athletes, but interestingly also by musicians including Drake, who use them to help recover after performances.

Oura Ring Gen3

Oura Rings

Eagle-eyed fans have noticed numerous England players sporting Oura rings, the trendiest wearable fitness tracker of the moment. According to reports, the whole team were given one ahead of the Euros. These nifty high-tech devices track everything from sleep data to heart rate variability and blood oxygen rate, and provide players with regular updates on their body condition throughout the day. On the Oura website, it says: ‘Whether you’re managing a professional sports organisation or training elite forces, ensure your team is always performing at the highest level with precise biometrics. Use accurate, continuous data to prioritise rest, adjust training schedules, monitor recovery, and detect signs of illness, injury, and fatigue.’

Footballer John Stones was a fan prior to the Euros. Speaking last year, he said: ‘The first thing I do once I’m out of bed is check my Oura Ring to see how I’ve slept – it’s addictive. It tells me how long it took me to fall asleep, how much REM (rapid eye movement) and deep sleep I managed, how many times I woke up…it’s mad.’