Mike Hind MBE talked about sports nutrition during the last session in a short series of 3 during lockdown 2 for Billingham Synthonia Ladies. He has been training people for over 12 years and has built up an excellent reputation which includes being crowned ‘The Best Personal Trainer in the UK’ by National Fitness Awards 4 times. Mike has worked with a lot of people supporting their weight loss goals. This includes Darren ‘Dibsy’ McClintock which has led to him becoming a household name.

Mike with Darren ‘Dibsy’ McClintock at the Great North Run

He has also worked with various Premiership and International Footballers, European Champion Boxers, Professional Bikini Athletes and TV Stars.

What should young footballers consider when preparing nutrition?

Mike explained he looks after the nutrition of a lot of people in football including a coach who works with U14’s who are in an academy system. He also commented on how he is keen to get feedback on how people are doing, especially with the young players.

Feedback on the behaviours of younger players in the football academy varies from player to player with some very organised and regimented, while others not always following the basics of good nutrition. For example. when they are away of tour, some players will spend their allowance in one go on ‘junk food’, while others will take their time and purchase ‘natural foods’ with good nutrition.

Mike’s advice to young footballers was to:

  • Eat foods that are dense in nutrition and fulfilling.
  • Be careful of what you eat but do not starve yourself.
  • Be aware of what works for you, we are not all the same!
  • Find out what works for you that is sustainable.
  • Don’t be frightened to eat carbs and come off plan.
  • Eat based around intensity of workouts, training & games.
  • Remember fuel & recovery is important.

Being organised by preparing good nutritious meals is important or at least having the awareness to make good food choices when options are limited

Mike Hind MBE

How to optimise performance / fad diets

Mike emphasised that there a lots of ‘fad diets’ out there with lots of people stating their way is the best way. He stressed we are made differently and what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for another so be careful about the ‘latest’ or ‘newest’ diet.

One of his clients, footballer Martin Braithwaite (currently at Barcelona FC) focused a lot on his diet to get the best out of himself and while he will have focused equally well on others parts of his game his nutrition helped him to be ready to play when called upon because he had stayed focused on his fitness / nutrition.

Depending on the current level of players fitness, nutritional results will vary in terms of changing nutrition but any gains will be beneficial and will be reflective of the level someone is competing at. Mike suggested that whatever their level, players should set short term & long term goals including building in appropriate rest periods.

Remember your body recovers when it rests. Recovery is very important and good nutrition also helps with this.

Sports nutrition for different positions

Sports nutrition can be determined by what sport someone plays or even the position they play in football and goes hand in hand with S&C. This can include weights or effective use of body weight.

Goalkeepers need to be able to be more effective in a jump test, a striker focused on explosive sprints where someone playing a wing back role needs a lot of endurance.

Individual players need to decide what they want to achieve but also what is required based on their position.
Their nutrition needs to reflect this.

Look up to someone like Ben Gibson who is dedicated to sports nutrition, including doing his own research, asking questions and having the mindset to be the best he can.

There was a bit of discussion around being ready as any sportsperson because you don’t know when you get a chance, whether that is a footballer, boxer or any other type of sportsperson.

If you aren’t picked for a team that is someone else’s decision, it is out of your control but if you aren’t ready physically due to lack of good nutrition that is down to you!


An honest overview of supplements with only a few supplements suggested if players want to take them but would only be used for convenience and not a meal replacement.

Get what you can from foods first and foremost. Don’t waste money on supplements. Invest in time to eat well.

Mike suggested players doing meal preps, ideally themselves, which will be cheaper or if anyone had the financial resources to do so they could purchase ready made meal preps.

If a player is stuck due to lack of planning, they could grab a RTD (Ready to Drink) along with a banana.

There was a discussion around what was considered suitable for water intake daily and also the importance of coming off plan weekly.

Make one change

To get started with changing a diet Mike suggested that players should look to make changes that they can sustain rather than going for everything in one go.

It is important to make changes that are sustainable.

Advice for young players

There was some great advice around nutritional intake after hard training sessions, games etc. and the impact of alcohol including the choices players have and the various consequences.

It was great to get Professional Bodybuilder Ashleigh Jackson, who is the current British Champion & IFBB Pro Elite Athlete, to comment and provide some advice to the girls of Synners. This led to a few questions, including discussion around lifting weights using time under tension.

Mike with 2019 British Champion Ashleigh Jackson

Ashleigh talked about the social pressures of doing bodybuilding and explained she lost some friends because they didn’t understand her commitments to the sport. However, some of her friends did understand and those are the ones she is happy to have in her life.

It was clear that Ashleigh had the intention to be the best she could be and she talked about how hard she trained plus also how she would go to social events with her meals and not drinking alcohol.

To conclude Mike and Ashleigh provided the following advice:

MIKE: Listen to everything you are taught, never stop learning.

ASHLEIGH: Get the goal in your head and stick to it. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t achieve it and don’t listen to social media.

For further details about what Mike and Ashleigh do you can check out Mike Hind Fitness

On behalf of everyone at Billingham Synthonia Ladies I would like to thank Mike & Ashleigh. The girls were really inspired by both of you and looking forward to visiting your gym soon.


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