Seasonal Changes in Soccer Players' Body Composition and Dietary Intake Practices
Devlin, BL, Kingsley, M, Leveritt, MD, and Belski, R. Seasonal changes in soccer players' body composition and dietary intake practices. J Strength Cond Res 31(12): 3319–3326, 2017—The aims of this study were 2-fold: to determine seasonal changes in dietary intake and body composition in elite soccer players and to evaluate the influence of self-determined individual body composition goals on dietary intake and body composition. This longitudinal, observational study assessed body composition (total mass, fat-free soft tissue mass, and fat mass) using dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry and dietary intake (energy and macronutrients) via multiple-pass 24-hour recalls, at 4 time points over a competitive season in elite soccer players from one professional club in the Australian A-League competition. Self-reported body composition goals were also recorded. Eighteen elite male soccer players took part (25 ± 5 years, 180.5 ± 7.4 cm, 75.6 ± 6.5 kg). Majority (≥67%) reported the goal to maintain weight. Fat-free soft tissue mass increased from the start of preseason (55,278 ± 5,475 g) to the start of competitive season (56,784 ± 5,168 g; p < 0.001), and these gains were maintained until the end of the season. Fat mass decreased over the preseason period (10,072 ± 2,493 g to 8,712 ± 1,432 g; p < 0.001), but increased during the latter part of the competitive season. Dietary intake practices on training days were consistent over time and low compared with sport nutrition recommendations. The self-reported body composition goals did not strongly influence dietary intake practices or changes in body composition. This study has demonstrated that body composition changes over the course of a soccer season are subtle in elite soccer players despite relatively low self-reported intake of energy and carbohydrate.