Gurpreet Singh Sandhu is one of the leaders of the Indian football team.
As goalkeeper, he has helped the team win on several occasions through his excellent performances in individual moments in matches and over multiple matches in tournaments.
And Gurpreet’s hardwork in training has been at the centre of his amazing performances, as has his dedication to fitness with gym and home workout routines.
Another uncredited aspect of his fitness has been through his dietary plan that has seen him get fitter and stronger. Here he discusses his diet in detail.
Getting in the right mindset
Gurpreet likes to make sure he is in the best mental space before the start of a match.
“When I warm up before a game, as the minutes are passing, all I’m thinking about is the first moment that I’ll make contact with the ball and make sure it’s a good one. I want it to be the foundation of the rest of the minutes that I’m going to be on the pitch,” says Gurpreet.
He likes to treat game days as any other normal day so he doesn’t get nervous.
“Mentality on game day is to stick to a routine because the games are usually played at night. The entire day you can think about the game and stay nervous, or get on with your life and do things normally,” he says.
Gurpreet’s sporting diet
A lot of sportspeople take up specific diets in order to perform to the best of their abilities. Gurpreet has been following a vegan diet for sporting and personal reasons.
He feels a plant-based diet has helped him with better recovery, gut health and fewer muscular inflammations.
When asked about his favourite any-time healthy meal, he said: “My favourite healthy meal is definitely breakfast. There is nothing like it, because I enjoy it so much for the crunchiness of the nuts and seeds that I add. Sometimes the oat clusters that I have, I add a scoop of protein as well. I have it with water, and sometimes if I want to spoil myself, I have it with almond milk with some honey on top, and a coffee next to me. That’s one of my favourite healthy meals.”
Keeper and the King
What does Gurpreet eat before a match?
Gurpreet pays very special attention to the dinner he eats the night before his game. Carbohydrates feature prominently in this meal.
“Usually, it is suggested that on the day before the match you do the carb loading. That’s what I’m looking for in the last meal of the day before a game. I try to eat as much quinoa, brown or even white rice, and also have things like normal dal. Because I’m a vegetarian, I stick to sautéed veggies and tofu. I love all kinds of beans; rajma, chhole, chickpeas, all of these beans. But not too much masala,” says Gurpreet.
When he wakes up the morning of game day, he has a fixed breakfast every time.
“My first meal, usually I stick to the same breakfast throughout the season i.e., some oats with dry fruits, nuts, and a couple of fruits and berries, and a cup of strong Americano coffee,” he says.
Football jargon with Gurpreet Singh Sandhu
He likes to keep plenty of time between eating something and stepping onto the field for a match.
“It is recommended to have a pre-game meal around four hours before the match, as it gives you enough time for digestion as well as sustainable energy. I try to have a lot of complex carbs and healthy fats; peanut butter, avocados, and things like that,” Gurpreet says.
While some athletes might like to snack on something if they feel hungry just before a game, Gurpreet prefers staying hungry.
“I try to not eat anything. Sometimes I tend to go on an empty stomach because I feel it helps me focus more on the pitch. Usually, I don’t have anything before getting on the pitch. Maybe just a cup of coffee or some coconut water,” he says.
Drinks that help Gurpreet through a football match
While he follows a strict eating pattern, Gurpreet likes to keep energy drinks handy just before a match.
“I drink half a can of Red Bull before the game and the other half at half-time. It helps me so much during half-time because you need that instant energy to go out on the pitch and play the second half of the game. So yeah, Red Bull is my ‘go-to’ thing during half time,” says Gurpreet.
Before the match, Gurpreet likes to drink Red Bull half an hour before he warms up, or he sips it slowly until it is time to warm up.
“It helps to take me to that level where I need to be before performing a high physical activity. Since I started keeping a can of Red Bull by my side, it has helped me to gain that focus and it has elevated my game; to be able to perform on the pitch a lot better. I love to do that, and will continue to do that,” says Gurpreet.
Goalkeeper gloves challenges with Gurpreet Singh Sandhu
What Gurpreet eats to recover
Gurpreet’s recovery meal is all about carbohydrates to make sure his body is well fuelled.
“In the post-match meals, we usually stick with carbs. I tend to have a good amount of carbs, be it pasta, a sandwich, or a good amount of rotis. I try to spoil myself in the post-match meal a little bit. Definitely as a vegetarian, for protein I need the dal, the veggies and various amounts of broccoli,” he says.
With such a dedicated diet plan, Gurpreet also makes sure he has time to enjoy his meals.
“I try to keep one cheat meal a month. Being a Punjabi, I love paratha. I love to have aloo paratha with some curd and some chhole masala. That’s my cheat meal. But if that isn’t there, maybe a good vegan burger,” he says.