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The Journey of a National Soccer Team To Success: Meet the Belgian Red Devils

Dana Ryan, Ph.D., MA, Director, Sport Performance and Education | Herbalife Nutrition​ | July 10, 2018
Greatness begins with good nutrition. #HerbalifeNutrition expert Dana Ryan shares her work with the Belgian Red Devils @BelRedDevils as they prepare to compete on the world's stage 🌏⚽️🏆 #BehindtheResults https://hrbl.me/2NFLfQPClick To Tweet

The Belgian Red Devils qualification for the world’s biggest soccer tournament was achieved while setting a record: the team scored an amazing 43 goals (an average of 4 goals per match), while conceding only 6. But the success of these extraordinary athletes did not happen by chance or overnight.

 

Having come so far, the team is currently focused on maintaining emphasis on what has got them where they are now: training hard, sharpening their skills and minimizing their weaknesses. Good nutrition plays a key role in this process: it is one of the pillars of success when it comes to sports performance and a necessary daily component in preparation and recovery. The eyes of the world are upon the Belgian Red Devils and Herbalife Nutrition is there to support them every step of the way.

 

The team has used Herbalife Nutrition to fuel them as they prepare to compete this summer. Dana Ryan, Director of Sport Performance and Education for Herbalife Nutrition, met with the team nutritionists a few months ago to discuss best practices and daily product integration to help the team perform at it’s peak this summer. The Belgian Red Devils rely heavily on Herbalife24 CR7 Drive for on the pitch performance* and Rebuild Strength which contains carbohydrates and proteins to help the players recover** and support their muscles*** so they can stay on top of their game every day.

 

These products serve specific purposes: Herbalife24 CR7 Drive is a sports drink that not only provides them with energy during the game, but also with adequate electrolytes –which they lose through sweat, impacting their hydration status. So, the Belgian Red Devils get both fuel and hydration by consuming pre and during a match. Post match they use Rebuild Strength, which is a combination of carbohydrates and protein. The body utilizes these ingredients to help the body replenish glycogen stores** and begin the muscle maintenance process***. This is essential because while they are training, just like for anyone exercising, they break down muscle fiber, making it really important that within 30 minutes of a match or training that the players provide their body with these two nutrients.

 

Furthermore, playing a tournament in a foreign country can be tough on a team. There are different climates, altitudes and long distances to be traveled. Not to mention the team can be away from their home for more than a month! That’s why having the right nutrition and preparation is key.

 

When traveling, athletes should try and keep as many things as consistent as possible. Of course there is going to be anxiety and excitement, but that’s why having a good, solid nutrition plan is important: it’s one thing that is not going to be variable. The rooms, the restaurants, the climate is going to be different, but if they keep their pre, during and post training nutrition the same, their body will be prepared to perform at its best.

 

The lights have shined brightly on the Belgian Red Devils this summer; they went from being the team to watch to the team to beat, and they are now a few matches from becoming the world’s best. Whatever their final result may be, they have already made an entire nation and the Herbalife Nutrition family incredibly proud.

 

 

*Carbohydrate-electrolyte solutions contribute to the maintenance of endurance performance during prolonged endurance exercise. 

**Carbohydrates contribute to the recovery of normal muscle function (contraction) after highly intensive and/or long- lasting physical exercise leading to muscle fatigue and the depletion of glycogen stores in skeletal muscle.

***Protein contributes to the maintenance and growth of muscle mass.