To bring it on the field (and with the Women's World Cup coming up!), this feisty forward balances clean eating with the occasional indulgence
We're psyched to see the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team take to the pitch at the FIFA Women's World Cup in Vancouver this month, with their first match on June 8 against Australia. The one big question on our minds: What do the players need to eat in order to keep up with such an intense training schedule? So we asked, and they dished. Here, forward Sydney Leroux talks fried eggs, staying hydrated, and Twizzlers. Check back for more interviews with some of our favorite players about how they fuel their bodies to kick major butt on the field, and tune in to the opening day of games today! (And check out Sydney Leroux on Tattoos, Boss, and Her Goal Face.)
Shape: What has being an athlete taught you about proper nutrition that you might not have known otherwise?
Sydney Leroux (SL): What you put into your body is most likely what you’re going to get out. I never really ate well growing up. My pre-game thing with my mom when I was young was to go to McDonalds or Tim Horton’s. I would get an iced cappuccino and a Long John donut. Now, I could never do that and still perform. It’s really important to be able to do everything in moderation. You can’t be too extreme with your diet. That’s not me.
Shape: You’re a big fan of drinking BODYARMOR to hydrate for games—why is proper hydration so important to help you to prep and recover?
SL: BODYARMOR is a very important part of my training. It’s a natural sports drink, so there are no artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners, it has more electrolytes than any other sports drink, it’s high in potassium, and low in sodium. Water is great to stay hydrated, but you also want to put things back into your body that you’re losing when playing. It’s a better natural option for me to restore those electrolytes.
Shape: What is your go-to meal the night before a game?
SL: I probably have some spaghetti or maybe some miso-glazed salmon. I’m pretty simple—definitely some carbs and protein.
Shape: What do you eat right before a game?
SL: I always have a fried egg, mashed potatoes, and pancakes for protein and carbs. I don’t like when my food touches though, so they’re not mixed together!
Shape: Do you have any other quirky eating habits?
SL: On my eggs, I need to have ketchup, Tabasco, and Sriracha! I’m a big Sriracha fan—I will put that on anything!
Shape: How many calories do you eat on game day compared to a normal day?
SL: Sometimes nerves get to you, so you’re actually not that hungry, but you know that you need to be putting things into your body so you can perform. I try to eat as much as I can without feeling slow, full, or bloated. So I’ll put into my body whatever I’m feeling that day—it varies game to game.
Shape: Are there any nutrition rules that you try to stick to?
SL: Not really. I’m not too strict with what I eat. I’ve done pretty well with keeping my body in shape and feeling good, so I try not to be too crazy about what I can and can’t eat. (Psst: Have you checked out our list of the 50 hottest soccer players?)
Shape: What’s your strategy for eating healthy when you’re traveling?
SL: It’s hard to find healthy options out, but sticking to things you know will be balanced is a good plan. I’ll usually just go to a grocery store and pick up some fruit—I love peaches! There's a Wegman’s near where I live and I swear they have the best peaches I’ve ever tasted! Sometimes I’ll go out and eat really healthy; sometimes I won’t.
Shape: Are there any specific foods from your native Canada that you miss when you’re busy training in the U.S. or traveling?
SL: Yes! A poutine! It’s fries, cheese curds, and hot gravy. So good!
Shape: What's your favorite "splurge" food?
SL: Chips and guac! But I’m also a candy person…I don’t really like chocolate, but I’m very into like Swedish Fish and Pull ‘n Peel Twizzlers—stuff like that!