It's been a strange time for Premier League football clubs as a stop-start 2019/20 season finally concluded in July and Wolverhampton Wanderers finished in 7th place for the second season running.
Precision Fuel & Hydration are the official hydration partner of Nuno Espirito Santo's men and we spoke to their Head of Nutrition, Dr Mayur Ranchordas, to find out how the players adapted to the 100-day break and changes caused by the coronavirus pandemic...
Hi Mayur, it's been another fantastic - if unusual - season for Wolves in the Premier League. How did lockdown and the initial postponement of the season affect how the players approached their nutrition?
It was a bit of a nightmare to be honest as it happened all of a sudden after we got back from our Europa League game in Greece, where we drew 1-1 against Olympiakos in the first leg of our round-of-sixteen.
The majority of the lads are really good with their nutrition so we supported them by providing them with a weekly groceries parcel that included meat, fish, fresh vegetables, fruit, yogurts, etc. and I provided recipes and meal plans for the lads who wanted and needed them. We also stayed up to date with the players by taking their body weights on a weekly basis.
How did the break affect the players' fitness? Were they left to their own devices or did they have a set training plan during the break?
They all came back in great shape which says everything about their professionalism and the way they approach their sport.
To be honest, we followed a similar process to what we do for pre-season where the players are obviously away from the training ground for an extended period, whilst they had access to all of the sports medicine and science team remotely as well.
The players have been living in a 'bubble' and taking a COVID test twice a week; how has that affected the way they approach training and go about their daily lives?
It’s a different way of working but the Premier League have been great and the processes put in place have clearly worked.
We train as normal but with all of the Premier League procedures in place, we have continued to give the players and staff weekly food parcels so that they don’t have to go out to the supermarket.
You no longer go about your daily life and go out and about like you would have normally done.
The season re-started in the hotter summer months following a 100-day suspension in the UK, how has that affected the way you approach hydration?
The weather has certainly been mixed!
On the hotter days we've been using the Precision Fuel & Hydration products recommended to each individual player based on the sweat testing we did in pre-season.
During the warmer weather we added additional Precision Fuel & electrolytes throughout the week, as well as on the day before a match and on match day.
The season isn't over yet for Wolves as they're in the knockout stages of the Europa League.
With the remainder of the tournament set to see the quarters, semi-finals and final all played in Germany. What are the challenges that travelling creates for you?
Germany will be like a mini World Cup or Euro’s tournament so we will approach it the same way as when we have fixture congestion at home.
After games, the nutrition menus will be the same and the recovery and re-hydration strategies will be the same as what we do when we play Thursday night and then again on Sunday.
We will be taking our chefs out to Germany as well to make sure the players feel like they're getting the same food as when they're at home.