BOSSES at Bromley FC have revealed how a strict new focus on nutrition helped them to their fastest-ever start to a season.
In the early stages, Bromley sat at the summit of the National League - the fifth tier of the English soccer pyramid - level on points with top of the league Barrow.
This year’s effort represents their best start to a season in history and they put it down to their new approach to nutrition.
For the first time ever, the club employed Performance Nutritionist Kate Shilland (pictured, left) in pre-season to draw up a structured plan, as they seek to adopt Premier League methods in the lower leagues.
And they’ve revealed their key secret weapon - CurraNZ, which they claim is helping players run and run in the latter stages of the game.
Kate says: “It’s so great that the manager embraces everything that has the potential to give his team an edge.
“This includes nutrition, as well as weekly yoga sessions for the players, adding two extra cogs into the performance wheel.
“This is a unique approach to player wellbeing, particularly in the National League.”
The club’s Strength and Conditioning Coach Ben May says he personally petitioned the board to bring in a performance nutritionist this season.
The 35-year-old, a former Millwall and Scunthorpe United striker, said: “Nutrition is key to boosting performance. It’s absolutely essential if players are to get the best out of their game.
“In previous seasons, we had a budget, and nutrition wasn’t part of it. In my opinion, we didn’t do enough on that front.
“But I knew nutrition could be a massive part of what we wanted to achieve and bringing in a performance nutritionist was something I really pushed for in pre-season, in order to give us a head start on the opposition."
Kate adds: “Another function of nutrition is that it gives you confidence - it feels good to walk onto a pitch or into the ring knowing that you’re well fuelled and primed to perform.
“When one person in the squad feels that way - great. But when the whole team feels like they’re flying, then you’re collectively going to be a force to be reckoned with.”
As well as pioneering attention to diet, Kate is also using CurraNZ, which is increasingly being used by top-flight clubs.
Kate has designed a plan that focuses on nutrition for players pre match, at half time, and post match.
She particularly values the role of CurraNZ in the recovery process.
She adds: “Recovery is the best preparation for sport, particularly when you’re increasing your training load and taking to the pitches on consecutive days.
“Bromley’s routine involves matches on a Tuesday and Saturday. It’s intense so needs managing well to avoid injury and fatigue.
“The player’s recovery has been brilliant with CurraNZ - they’ve been particularly strong when playing games in quick succession - and the players have been reporting that they’re feeling great on it.
“The research is showing that with CurraNZ, elite footballers experience less fatigue, can run for longer and at a higher intensity - factors that heavily influence the latter stages of game play.
“We’re seeing this in practice - Bromley have had a lot of good second half performances as well as late goals.
“They’re still firing right up until the end. Obviously, nutrition is just one part of this, team-work is very much at the heart of Bromley FC and they’re a great advert for how much can be achieved when no one cares who takes the credit for it. It’s a refreshing mindset in sport.”
Coach Ben is also an advocate of CurraNZ.
He explains: “We were playing a game on a Saturday and the following Monday when we first introduced it to the lads.
“And I’m quite certain it was a massive help in the players’ recovery process. We won both games and we were just full of energy.”
The world-leading authorities on blackcurrant for sports performance is Mark Willems, Professor of Exercise Physiology at the University of Chichester.
He’s led several studies into the properties of CurraNZ, including the 2017 research looking at trained footballers - which involved 15 University team football players and nine academy players from an English professional club youth team.
Players consumed 600mg of the New Zealand blackcurrant anthocyanin extract, CurraNZ, for seven days leading up to, and including, testing.
And Mark says: “We have shown that blackcurrant is beneficial for endurance athletes and for sports that require high-intensity, repeated bursts of activity with long recovery times.
“This study focused on repeated sprints with short recovery times and the blackcurrant clearly worked under those conditions for the trained footballers. There was a strong message that trained football players tended to benefit more from blackcurrant supplementation.”