There is no longer a millimeter of the body of an athlete that is not analyzed to get the most out of it. Nutrition has long been a fundamental part of preparation for any sport. To the talent, the technique, the strength, the speed, the mentality and the rest, the study of the nutritional needs of athletes has been added for a double aspect: the maximum development of their qualities and the prevention of injuries. . And different scientific bodies are involved in this process: doctors, physiotherapists, nutritionists and chefs. A multidisciplinary team of which they have been a part for fourteen years Sergio Brisa and Emanuela Gornatico-founders of MioBio.
«Five years ago a First Division club posed a problem to us: the clubs spend a lot of resources on measurements, metabolic and clinical studies of athletes, to know their metabolism. And nutritional protocols are designed based on these data, indicating which foods are best tolerated and develop their performance. But the responsibility from then on fell on the player and they saw that the protocols were not being followed. Why? Because there are players who do not know how to cook or do not have ideas to vary the menu and end up always eating the same thing or do not want to spend time studying these macros, despite the amount they need, and they ended up ordering food at home, “says Brisa for ABC . That’s where her work and that of Gornati, menu designer and executive chef, come in, in that translation of metabolic data in plates suitable, attractive and varied that allow the player to forget about the kitchen and focus on his sports performance, aware that what he eats is specifically what is best for him. Even bringing the dishes to the soccer players’ table.
They work with First and Second Division teams, with elite athletes and federations (also with amateur athletes), so Brisa and Gornati can paraphrase the saying ‘Tell me who you hang out with and I’ll tell you who you are’ and adapt it to their work: ‘Tell me what sport you play or what position you play on the pitch and I’ll tell you what menu you need’. That’s as far as the details of their medical knowledge that they later transfer to their food proposals. Not all players can or should eat 200 grams of pasta, but 125 or 160. And that information is distributed at breakfast, lunch, lunch, snack and dinner. “We understand medical language because we have worked with many doctors. So it is easy for us to transform that information into varied recipes according to the uses of the athlete. Recipes designed weekly and adapted to the conditions and tastes of each player who ensure you eat exactly what you need». And that changes depending on many variables: the position on the field, if it is game day or rest day, if the game is in the morning, in the afternoon or later in the evening, if he has done more workload in the morning or afternoon, if it’s summer or winter, if it’s coming from summer, like at the beginning of the season or it’s already halfway through. “If we give the player what he needs, we are giving him performance, energy, health, and we can prevent injuries. We work with scientists in areas of prevention and we can guarantee that energy consumption is ideal for each body”, continues Brisa. And he adds: “If there are many goals in the last minutes of the game it is because that player has taken more care of his physique and nutrition, so as not to faint and continue to have energy at the end of the game.”
The Valencian admits that many players continue to eat very poorly, that in the Italian Serie A and in the English Premier League, leagues with which they also collaborate, they are more advanced than in Spain in terms of nutrition. «Sometimes the player is not aware that the main asset they have is his body. That with it they win or lose money. Because of his physique. If he is right or wrong. Sometimes they retire at 33 or 34 years old and that, now, could be avoided and lengthened. And there are very good examples of that: Modric, almost inexhaustible in his 40s. Or Messi, Cristiano, Llorente, Albiol… footballers who had enormous food control». He observes, however, that it is being installed as another part of training even in young players, since they also work with quarries, 16 and 17-year-old soccer players.
MioBio works with a mix of state-of-the-art technology and homemade tradition and proximity foods. Once the data sent by the teams’ medical services is received, Gornati uses artificial intelligence to always find the perfect recipe in terms of weight, ingredients, vitamins and other factors. “My specialty was creating recipes: how to create and combine the products. Over the years we have created a huge number of recipes. There has been a lot of research and many experiences that we are incorporating. And there is still research because food evolves a lot. We eat things we didn’t eat five years ago. And before that choice of recipes was done manually, but with artificial intelligence we can be faster to find the perfect combination and to vary. In a monthly menu there will be no dishes that are repeated. We turn everything around to make it attractive. And we make small daily changes based on what the medical services tell us after how a player has reacted in a match or in training.”
But to reconstruct that data in the form of a plate, the lore. «I have Italian roots, so there is a lot of cauldron food, all homemade and with local food because we can control it better. There are banned foods: artificial seasonings, in powder form; We don’t know what fried tomato or industrial products are. They are red lines that we do not cross. Or the way of cooking, which is also essential: better at a low temperature so as not to eliminate nutrients and maintain the flavor, so that digestion is easier and the player can work and sleep better. And everything in season and kilometer zero ».
They talk to the players to get more information about their tastes. So that the vegetables are not a ‘roll’ and they forget about the grilled chicken and the rice. Some have even incorporated these menus for the rest of the family. They also explain the reason for each dish. The more information the player has, the more convinced that it is the best for him. There are rarely whims, and if there are, they are “healthy whims.” But everything is designed so that the menu is perfect: in nutrients, in flavor, in variety, in quantity. From the doctor to the plate, and from there to the football field.