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Optimising Performance: Strategies for Reducing Body Fat in Elite Footballers

Learn effective strategies for reducing body fat in elite footballers. Our comprehensive guide, curated our INTRA expert performance nutritionists, delves into our work within football nutrition and diet optimisation for peak on-pitch performance.


Reducing body fat is a common objective among elite footballers to enhance their on-pitch movement efficiency. This requires a balanced approach, combining careful training and nutrition planning to avoid compromising health or performance. This post explores effective considerations from our INTRA team of renowned football nutritionist to achieve optimal physique without sacrificing performance.

Our managing director, Mr James Collins, lead the recent UEFA Nutrition Consensus in elite football which highlighted that body fat percentages are typically range from 8-13% in elite male players - however lower and higher values have been recorded.

Balancing Energy Deficit without Compromising Performance

Understanding the balance between calorie deficit and maintaining performance is crucial. Excessive energy restriction can impair immune function, increase injury risks, and reduce overall performance, particularly on heavy training days or match days.

Protein Intake for Lean Mass Preservation

A key strategy in reducing body fat while preserving lean mass involves increasing protein intake. Our football nutritionists recommend 2.0-2.4g of protein per kg of body mass daily during weight loss phases.

Timing and Realistic Target Setting

The off-season and pre-season periods are ideal for significant body composition changes. Setting realistic targets and regularly monitoring body composition and weight is essential for success.

Add Performance Data to individualise

Performance metrics, such as training or match data (eg, GPS) or functional tests (eg, countermovement jumps), alongside body composition measurements are in important guide as to what is optimal for the individual player.


In conclusion, reducing body fat in elite footballers requires a strategic approach, balancing nutrition and training. Guidance from experienced performance nutritionists is vital in setting realistic goals and ensuring athletes maintain peak performance while optimising their fuelling and recovery from training.

Frequently asked questions

Q1: How does reducing body fat impact a footballer's performance? A: Reducing body fat can potentially enhance on-pitch movement efficiency, but it must be carefully balanced to avoid negatively impacting performance, especially during harder training sessions.

Q2: What role does protein play in a footballer's diet when reducing body fat? A: Protein is crucial for preserving lean mass during weight loss. Football nutritionists recommend a higher intake to support muscle maintenance, during periods of reduced energy (calorie) intake.

Q3: When is the best time for a footballer to focus on body fat reduction? A: The off-season and pre-season are the most suitable periods for significant body composition changes, allowing for focused efforts without the strain of match schedules.

About us

INTRA Performance Group is a global consultancy with a rich heritage of providing performance nutrition services within elite sport, entertainment and business - maintaining a portfolio of Europe's top performers and organisations.

INTRA Performance Group is the leading organisation in elite football nutrition having worked extensively with; Arsenal FC, Chelsea FC, France and England national teams and UEFA. We have worked with more than 60 different nationalities across elite football, with significant Champions League and World Cup experience.

To learn learn more about our personalised nutrition programmes, please see the contact form below.


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