The Best Legal Supplements For Football

Professional Advice for Maximizing Your Football Performance – Diet, Training, and Supplements

Table of Contents

Football is a demanding sport at any level. From high school to the NFL, football players are always looking for ways to take their game to the next level. One of the easiest, yet most overlooked, ways to do this is to have a solid nutrition and legal supplements for football plan. Supplements will ensure you get the most out of your workouts and perform at your peak for four quarters.

The Primary Goals of The Football Player

How well you manage the next few months will determine your success on the football field next fall. You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again: championships, won in the off-season.

Your early-morning lifts and afternoon speed sessions will lay the foundation for victory next season, and every little edge you can gain between now and two-a-days will be crucial to your development as an athlete.

NFL Football

Whether you’re looking to make varsity, earn a starting spot or solidify a scholarship offer next season, Muscle Labs USA has the info and advice you need.

After polling some of the nation’s most respected coaches, training experts and NFL players, we’ve compiled a go-to guide to hitting your off-season goals and dominating the gridiron next fall.

1. Set Goals

New Orleans Saints tight end Benjamin Watson says, “A football player at any level must set goals. Goals give you a mark to shoot for and keep you motivated when you face adversity.”

Three-step plan for setting and achieving your goals this off-season:

First Goal

Take time to think about why you want to play the game of football. Is it for fun, exercise, to earn a scholarship or to stay busy? Be honest with yourself and don’t neglect what you want to accomplish because you think it’s unattainable.

Second Goal

Write it down or mark it in your mind. Some people like to write goals down, others can simply put their goals on a billboard in their mind. Do what works for you.

Third Goal

When you train, eat and sleep, always remember the “why” of what you are doing. It may take sacrifice in one area or another of your social life, but be willing to count the cost.
What if you fail to reach a short-term goal or an unforeseen circumstance throws a wrench into your plan of action? “It’s just like taking a trip in a car. If you hit a roadblock or rough patch on the road, you don’t just stop—you re-route how you get there and work to get to the same destination.”

Add Lean Muscle

The best thing a football player can do is put on 7 to 10 pounds of lean muscle and drop three percent body fat.
Lean muscle is the engine behind power and speed.

How do you pack on lean muscle?

-Train with weights four days per week
-Meet your protein needs (1g of protein per pound of bodyweight)
-Observe the “Big Boy at Night/Big Boy in the Morning” Rule. If you go out with your friends at night, get up in the morning and get your work in. Nothing gets in the way of workouts.

Dialing in on your nutritional needs. Eat breakfast, eat five meals per day, have a snack 60 to 90 minutes prior to working out and [another] within 30 minutes post-workout, [including] lean sources of protein, complex carbs and healthy fats. Adding legal supplements for football players is a great option as well.


A sure fire way of minimizing the time you spend recovering and instead maximizing your performance is dietary choices.


2-4 servings of fresh fruit (apples, bananas, oranges, grapes, cantaloupe, peaches)
A piece of fruit is great before or after workouts.


3-4 servings (broccoli, carrots, spinach, corn, greens, cauliflower, cabbage)


6-8 servings (rice, pasta, potato, beans, cereals, breads, muffins, pancakes)
White foods are all fast digesting (simple) carbs that spike your insulin levels, white rice, white bread, white potato’s, etc. Brown foods are slow digesting (complex) carbs that do not spike Insulin levels and provide all day energy, Brown rice, whole wheat breads, sweet potato’s, etc.


2-4 servings (low-fat milk, cheese, yogurt)


4 servings (beef {at least 85% lean}, chicken, turkey, egg whites, fish)
The saturated fat in red meat helps keeps testosterone levels high.

Get lean and big with FISH!

Fish such as Salmon, tuna, trout and bluefish are high in Omega 3 fatty acids.
Omega 3’s make Glycogen, which is the main source of energy for training, muscle growth and repair.
Omega 3’s also fight muscle inflammation in the body and spare the loss of Glutamine, a vital amino acid, which plays a backup role in the muscle recovery process by boosting the immune system.


Consume 8 cups or 64 oz.

BREAKFAST – “Breaking Your Fast”

Your body is “fasting” while you sleep each night. When you wake up, your system needs a “kick start.” Breakfast is very important in maintaining blood sugar levels and keeping your metabolism running. If you are short on time each morning, plan ahead to ensure that you can eat something for breakfast. Prepare something the night before or purchase items that you can eat “on the run.”

Whole eggs add Vitamin B, which is crucial for energy production in the body and repairing DNA.
Oatmeal is a complex carb that digests slowly, providing an excellent source of prolonged energy.


Post Workout Meal Nutrition -?what to eat after a workout
The post workout meal (the meal you eat after a workout) is probably the most important meal of the day for anyone who is into nutrition and fitness.

What you should and should NOT eat after a workout.

Simply put, aside from water (which you should already know you need) your post workout meal needs to contain 2 things, and it needs to not contain 1. You should be eating protein and carbs. You should NOT be eating fats.
Fat is NOT a bad thing (when it’s the “good” fat) and it is an important part of everyone’s diet. However, there just happens to be a certain time when fat (good or bad) wouldn’t be good to eat. This of course is in the post workout meal. Simply put, fat slows down digestion. In this case, it would be slowing down the digestion of protein and carbs. This, as you’re about to find out, is the exact opposite of what you want to happen.

How long after my workout should I eat my post workout meal?

Soon… really soon. As soon as you can. There is this “window of time” that exists after your workout during which it would be the most beneficial for your body to receive its post workout nutrition. Typically you’d want to try to get this meal into your body within 30 minutes.

Post Workout Protein
Protein is one of the top supplements along with legal steroids that football players use.

Eating this meal soon after a workout is important, but just because you are putting the food into your body quickly doesn’t actually mean the food is being digested and used by your body equally as quick.

While egg whites, chicken and tuna fish are fine sources of protein that I personally eat daily, they aren’t the ideal type of protein for the meal after your workout.

These foods are WHOLE foods, and the protein in whole foods digests pretty slowly. You may have eaten a high protein food in your post workout meal, but by the time the protein is digested and finally ready to be used by your body, a whole lot of time would have passed.

This is why the ideal source of protein to eat after your workout is a whey protein powder mixed with some type of liquid thus creating a whey protein shake.

Why Choose Protein Shakes?

A whey protein shake will be digested by your body much quicker than a whole food because it will be a liquid. And, not to mention, whey protein is the fastest digesting protein there is. This is what makes whey protein pretty much the official choice of most people as their post workout meal protein source.

As for how much, try to consume between 0.15-0.25 grams of protein per pound of your body weight (so a 175lb person would shoot for between 26-43 grams at this time).

Post Workout Carbs

Secondly, after your workout Carbs are actually an extremely important part of your post workout nutrition. Carbs will be used by your body to restore muscle glycogen. If your post workout meal doesn’t contain carbs, your body may actually instead break down muscle tissue for this same purpose. That would be a bad thing. Carbs also create an insulin spike which helps to move nutrients into your muscle tissue quicker.

So, now that you know you need them after a workout, what kind do you need? Well, you know all about good carbs and bad carbs by now, right? Funny enough, this is actually the only time when “good carbs” and “bad carbs” switch roles.

This doesn’t mean start eating cookies, this just means that typical good carbs (whole wheat bread, brown rice, etc) contain fiber, and fiber slows down their digestion. This is actually what makes them “good” any other time of the day. But by now you know the post workout meal is all about speed. And when it comes to speed, simple carbs beat complex carbs.

A food like a baked potato is an okay choice for a carb source after a workout. However, just like protein, whole foods in general aren’t really the most ideal choice at this time. This is where a little something called dextrose comes in. Dextrose is not a supplement… it’s actually just a type of sugar. I know, I’m basically saying you should eat sugar. While that would be insane any other time of the day, your post workout meal is the one exception.

Along with whey protein, dextrose has also become almost an official choice for a post workout carb. Most people should look to consume somewhere between 0.25-0.4 grams of carbs per pound of their body weight from dextrose (a 175lb person would shoot for between 40-70 grams).


You need to eat more food. Even then, gaining weight may not be easy for some athletes. If you are training hard, you may burn up everything you eat and then some.

A pound of body weight equals 3,500 calories. To gain even 1 pound, you need to eat 3,500 more calories than your body uses. You can realistically and safely gain about 1 pound per week. Doing so means eating an extra 500 calories or so each day. The actual number of calories needed depends on such factors as age, gender, muscle mass, exercise level, metabolism, and climate.

How to go about it :

There are three basic ways to increase the number of calories you eat. You can:
1. eat larger portions at each meal
2. eat more meals each day
3. have nutritious snacks between meals

Tips to Consider

To ensure the greatest recovery and muscle building, eat within 30 – 45 minutes after weight training. This snack should include carbohydrates & protein – ideally the snack would be about 80% carbohydrates & 20% protein. If you do not like eating right after a workout, then drink a protein shake or a similar drink. The benefit from the post-workout snack is 3 times higher if consumed IMMEDIATELY after the workout.

Do not only rely on just adding protein to your diet. While protein is important to muscle recovery & growth, your body needs the fuel provided by extra carbohydrates. Any extra protein that the body cannot use will either be excreted as waste or stored as fat..

Eat higher calorie foods; just make sure the fat content isn’t too high – a good rule of thumb is to limit or avoid foods with 6 or more grams of fat per 100 calorie-serving.

Add calories to milk by adding instant breakfast mixes, powdered milk, or other flavorings.

Increase the caloric density of foods by adding peanut butter, honey, or other spreads.

Select a high-calorie, healthy dessert. Examples include oatmeal-raisin cookies, carrot cakes, muffins, and sweet breads.

Understand that some of the weight gain may be in the form of fat. However, you must make sure that your weight gain is as lean as possible to ensure that you retain your speed and athleticism.


1. Consume a diet high in COMPLEX carbohydrates (bread, cereals, pasta, rice, potatoes, fruits, vegetables). Weight is often gained by eating too many foods with SIMPLE carbohydrates (sugars, sodas, desserts).

How to eat to gain or lose weight

2. Continue to drink water. The body needs water and any “water weight” that is lost always comes back.

3. Try to reduce unnecessary calories from your diet each day, but avoid reducing your intake too much – losing weight too quickly may result in a loss of muscle mass & can be harmful to your body.

4. Decrease the fat in your diet. Fat has twice as many calories per gram as carbohydrates or protein. Limit the amounts of butter, margarine, oils, dressings, mayonnaise, and grease.

5. Avoid low carbohydrate/high fat diet fads. When you come off such a diet, the weight usually comes right back.

6. Eat several smaller meals throughout the day. This helps keep the body’s metabolism running at a faster pace, constantly burning fat. People with deviations in their energy balance have the highest body fat %.

7. NEVER SKIP BREAKFAST – the body needs energy after sleeping during the night.

8. Eat slower. Eating fast results in eating more.

9. Avoid junk foods – they have little/no nutritional value and are high in fat.


Benefits of Water

Water is an important nutrient for athletes. Water makes up 60% of your total body weight and 70% of your muscles. The most important thing to remember about water is that it cools your body. As your body temperature increases, you sweat; when the sweat evaporates, your body cools down.


If you begin a physical activity without enough water in your body or if you do not replace the water that is lost to sweat, you may become dehydrated. Once you become dehydrated, you can no longer sweat and rid your body of the heat that builds up when you exercise – your muscles lose their ability to function properly and your body loses its ability to cool down.

Dehydration can be very dangerous. Some of the first symptoms include thirst, clammy skin, chills, throbbing heartbeat, and nausea. When you become more dehydrated, you may develop a headache, cramps, shortness of breath, and/or dizziness. At the most serious level of dehydration, you can experience hallucinations, visual and/or hearing problems, a swollen tongue, and/or kidney failure.

Steps to Avoid Dehydration

1. Drink plenty of cool water before, during, and after practice and competition as a preventive measure. Cool water is absorbed faster than warm water. On average, an athlete should drink at least 64 ounces of water each day. During particularly active periods or during times when the weather is extremely hot or humid, you may need to drink more than what is recommended here.

2. DO NOT RELY ON THIRST. The feeling of thirst lags behind your actual need for water. If you wait to drink only after feeling thirsty, your water intake is already behind, and you will likely become dehydrated.

3. Drink water every 15 minutes during activity (the frequency and volume of water needed will depend on the activity and climate).

4. Avoid soda, coffee, and tea before practice or games. These are diuretics, which draw water out of the body.
5. Drink at least 8 ounces of water or a sports drink for each pound that is lost during exercise.

6. Check your urine. It should look clear or lightly yellow (like lemonade). If it is dark (or looks like apple juice), you are dehydrated and in need of water.

7. If you are trying to lose weight, SPORTS DRINKS, (Gatorade, Power ade, etc) are NOT good for you at any time other than during or immediately after a workout. Their function is designed to replace electrolytes lost during exercise through sweat. At any other time of day they are just additional carbs, sugars and salt.

Training and Weight Lifting

Benefits of Weightlifting Training for Football Players

Below are three reasons why performing cleans and snatches with football players may lead to increased performance of general athleticism.

Leg Strength and Power

A 2004 study found that Olympic lifting programs elicited an 18% increase in squat 1RM and a twofold greater improvement in 40-yard sprint times when compared with “powerlifting-based programs”.

Additionally, this same study concluded that Olympic-lifting based programs offered a significant advantage to vertical jump performance than powerlifting-based programs. Once can conclude that weightlifting exercises (and often in conjunction with traditional strength lifts) can be a great recipe for maximal strength and expression of power.

Training and weightlifting for football-on and off season.

Improved Peak Power

Peak power is the ability to express maximal power outputs in the smallest amount of time frames, which is highly beneficial for explosive sports such as football.

Olympic lifts, such as the clean and snatch, as well as the push press, have been shown to be some of the best exercises one can do in the gym to increase overall power and strength.

Increased Skill Complexity Translates to Improve Athleticism

Research has repeatedly indicated that the Olympic lifts require high amounts of muscle coordination, strength, power, and neurological adaptations. While these lifts are the most complicated and time-intensive to teach athletes, “short-term training effects of the weightlifting movements seem to be more beneficial for improving performance.

The greater skill complexity required for the weightlifting exercises facilitates the development of a broader physical abilities spectrum, which seems to be better transferred to performance”

Weightlifitng Exercises for Football Players

Below are weightlifting variations that can be used with football players to increase lower body power and general athleticism.

Hang Power Clean/Snatch

The hang power clean has been suggested to have a strong correlation with jumping and sprinting performance. Research suggests that it can be used as a benchmark exercise for strength and power, however should not replace technique and skillful practice of jumping and sprinting mechanics (5). The snatch can also be integrated similarly to the clean, as long as coaches take the time to properly teach overhead technique and mechanics.

Power Clean/Snatch

The power clean and power snatch are clean/snatch variations that can be done to increase strength and power. The power clean/snatch is done from the floor (rather than the hang), and ends with the athlete receiving the load in the partially squatted, athletic position.

Clean and Snatch Pulls

Clean pulls are another exercise that can be used in conjunction with the snatch and clean (full squat or partial squat variations) to increase peak power. Often, these pulls can be integrated into training programs to progress lifters towards the power clean, enhance technique of the lift, and offer similar training stimulus as the clean and snatch without the need for as much flexibility and mobility in the shoulders, wrists, etc.

Note, that the clean/snatch pull may be used as a replacement for the clean/snatch, as long as coaches understand the all the benefits of the full/partial squatted clean/snatch will not transfer (such as eccentric loading and reactive phases of the receiving position).

Power Jerk

The power jerk can be used to increase total body power and strength, as it utilizes the legs, hips, shoulders, chest, and triceps. This is a more advanced pressing movement, and is dependent on a lifters ability to time the receiving position correctly. That said, some coaches may opt for the push press instead (see below).

Push Press

The push press is a movement that translates to lower body, upper body, and core strength and power. Research suggests that the push press actually has similar, and even slightly higher maximum mean power than that of the jump squat, making it an effective exercise to increase total body power and integrate upper body pressing. Loads of 65-75% of repetition max were shown to be the most effective at increase power (6).

Leg Training for Distance Runners

In the below sections we offer coaches and athletes lower body strength training exercises to improve strength, hypertrophy, and muscular power (unilateral and bilateral) in football players.

Squat Variations

Below are a few bilateral and unilateral squat styles coaches can use to develop leg strength and posterior chain musculature.

Back Squat: The back squat is a basis for building leg strength and posterior chain development.

Front Squat: The front squat can be used to increase quadriceps development, enhance anterior core strength, and decrease load upon the lower back in times looking to decrease training volume.

Split Squat: The split squat is a unilateral exercise than can be done to increase unilateral leg strength, power, and function. Note, this exercise still allows for a lifer to place the other foot on the floor, decreasing the balance needed when compared to the Bulgarian split squat.

Two Other Squat Variations

Bulgarian Split Squat: The Bulgarian split squat can be done to increase unilateral strength, power, muscle development, and challenge balance needed in single-legged sports.

Step Up: The step up can be used to increase unilateral leg strength and increase unilateral balance and movement under load.

Deadlift Variations

Below are a few bilateral and unilateral posterior chain exercises to increase the strength, muscle, AND explosiveness necessary for powerful movements.

Conventional Deadlift: The conventional deadlift can increase strength, muscle hypertrophy, and endurance of the hamstring, glutes, and erectors.

Romanian Deadlift: The Romanian deadlift can be swapped to increase hamstring and glute development due to the positioning of the less and the slight knee bend.

Sumo Deadlift: The sumo deadlift can be done to increase general hip and hamstring strength, muscle mass, and develop the posterior chain. Additionally, this can help increase hip mobility and strength.

Other Deadlifts To Try

Trap Bar Deadlift: The trap bar deadlift can be used to increase lower body strength and muscle mass while lifting lower back strain/stress, a common overuse and injury prone area for lifters.

Single Leg Deadlift: The single leg deadlift is a unilateral deadlift variation that can help to increase development of the hamstrings, glutes, and establish greater knee, hip, and core stability.

Upper Body Training for Football Players

In the below sections we offer coaches and athletes upper body strength training exercises to improve strength, hypertrophy, and muscular power (unilateral and bilateral) in football players.

Bench Press

The bench press is a popular upper body strength and hypertrophy exercise to increase chest, triceps, and shoulders strength; all of which are necessary for blocking, contact situations, tackling, and most football movements.


Rows can be done to increase back strength and size, as well as creating symmetry for the athlete and increase overall strength.

Pull Ups

The pull up is another upper body pulling exercise that can increase back strength and hypertrophy; both of which can aid in tackling, gripping, and pulling movements found in football.

Military Press

The military press is a shoulder pressing exercises that can be done seated, standing, with a barbell, or dumbbells. This movement can increase pressing strength, upper body hypertrophy, and increase strength and power potentials in blocking, tackling, and contact situations.


Biceps, triceps, and forearm (grip) training can be integrated into workouts to increase arm and gripping strength and improve overall muscular development of football athletes.

During Workout Hydration Guide

Goal-to prevent excessive dehydration (which is a loss of greater than 2% of total body weight from water deficit) and to prevent adverse changes in body salts.

1. Periodic fluid breaks throughout exercise are needed.

2. Composition of fluids to be consumed:
a. Water is preferred initially (first 1-2hours)
b. Sports drinks, if used, are helpful after 1st hour of intense exercise
c. Sports drinks should contain approximately 20-30meq/L sodium, 2-5meq/L potassium, to replace salts lost in sweating and 5-10% carbohydrate to sustain energy for exercise performance. Read Labels!!

3. Football players in full uniform have some of the highest reported fluid and salt losses of any athletes; even more so than distance runners!

After Exercise:

Goal-to fully replace any fluid or salt losses from exercise.
1. Consume a normal meal or salted snack with a sufficient volume of water to restore normal salt and hydration levels.

2. Drink (gradually over the next few hours) about 1 liter of fluid for every two pounds of body weight lost during exercise.

Drug Free Performance Enhancers and Best Legal Supplements for Football Players

1. Protein Powder

Proteins are the Lego blocks of muscles. If you don’t consume enough protein, you’ll never be able to build the muscle or strength you want. Although plenty of expensive brands of protein are available, plain whey protein concentrate or isolate will do just fine.

2. Fish Oil

Whether you’re just training or in the middle of your season, your body, guaranteed to take a beating. Fish oil not only helps your body deal with injuries, swelling and inflammation, it also lubricates your joints so they get less wear and tear.

3. Green Supplements

I have yet to work with a football player who eats enough vegetables and gets the right amount of vitamins and minerals daily. If you lack these nutrients, you’ll have a harder time building muscle and making it through games without tiring or cramping. By adding a green foods supplement to your diet, you can consume a few vegetable servings at a time with a liquid, a powder or a pill.

4. Creatine

You may eventually hit a training plateau that you just can’t outwork. This is where creatine comes in. It can increase strength and size by stimulating muscle growth; however, it should be taken during the off-season, particularly if you seem to be stuck at your current strength and size levels. Some experts are hesitant to recommend creatine to young athletes, so be sure to consult your doctor and trainer before trying it.

5. Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)

BCAAs are the building blocks of protein. So why take broken-down protein instead of protein itself? During the long process of digestion, protein breaks down into amino acids the body can use. By taking BCAAs during or after your training session, you give your muscles the exact amino acids they need quicker.

6. Caffeine

Everyone needs a boost now and then, and caffeine is Mother Nature’s version of a swift kick in the pants. You can take 50 to 200mg in the form of coffee or tea before a workout to make sure you have the energy to train your hardest and get the most out of your time in the weight room.

7. Vitamin D

We all know vitamin D comes from sunlight, but do you know if you’re getting enough? If you’re like 95 percent of the population, you’re not. Vitamin D plays a huge role in helping the body absorb calcium, which keeps your bones strong. It also helps keep your immune system functioning optimally so you can spend more time on the field and less in bed sick. When out in the sun during two-a-days, you won’t have to worry too much about vitamin D.  But if you’re holed up indoors during the off-season, you probably need a vitamin D supplement.

8. Coconut Oil

If you’re spending all day in class, it’s hard to get enough healthy calories to keep up with your training. While adding a tablespoon of coconut oil to meals is a great way to increase calories. Coconut oil is a Medium Chain Triglyceride (MCT), which means it’s a healthy fat source that the body can easily break down for energy.

9. Multi-Probiotic

You eat and eat and eat to put on size and get stronger. But what happens if all that food you’re consuming doesn’t get digested properly? All your time, money and effort to get bigger for football is just going to waste.

A mutli-probiotic can have millions of the microorganisms found in the stomach and intestinal lining. Although it may sound gross, these microorganisms can really help your body break down food and absorb nutrients.

10. Water

Drinking water is probably the simplest thing you can do to stay healthy and strong for football games, practices and off-season workouts. The body, made up of 70 percent water, and your muscles hold most of that. When you get dehydrated, all the strength and power you worked so hard to build, not available to your body. As a rule of thumb, drink half your bodyweight in ounces each day. So if you’re 185 pounds, consume at least 92.5 ounces of water each day.

In Conclusion

If you’re working hard this off-season but not seeing the results you expected, stick a few of these best legal supplements for football  into your training and nutrition program helping take your game to the next level.