Arsenal’s nutritional secrets, from collagen shots to lavish meals cooked by chef Raymond Blanc

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WHEN it comes to the nutritional side of the game, Arsenal don’t leave anything to chance.

Thanks to Richard Allison, Performance Nutritionist for the Gunners, and his colleague Darren Burgess, who is Director of High Performance, they are top of the league with a cutting edge nutrition programme designed to get the best out of their stars.

When it comes to nutrition, Arsenal players like Hector Bellerin are well catered for
When it comes to nutrition, Arsenal players like Hector Bellerin are well catered for

From post-match meals created by Raymond Blanc, a French chef whose Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons restaurant has two Michelin stars, to high-tech diets prepared by GPS training data and collagen shots, it’s fair to say Mesut Ozil and Co. are spoiled.

SunSport delves in Arsenal’s nutritional secrets, starting with their posh nosh.

RAYMOND BLANC

In 2017, when Arsene Wenger was still Arsenal boss, ‘Le Professeur’ was eating at one of Blanc’s restaurants.

Blanc came to Wenger’s table to tell him how big an Arsenal fan he was, to which Wenger responded how much he loved Blanc’s cooking.

In an interview with Optus Sport, Burgess revealed: “Raymond said he’d do anything at the club, to which Arsene replied, ‘How about you come to the club on match day and serve us food?’

“So either Raymond Blanc or his chef serves us food post-game. I don’t eat all day before that, because the food is unbelievable.”

Allison told Scott Baptie’s Food For Fitness Podcast: “Up to an hour after the game the players eat real food.

“We are ridiculously fortunate that food produced by Raymond Blanc and his chef is in the dressing room post-match. We don’t really ever get any complaints about that!

“We try and make it finger food, as the players don’t want to sit down at a place with a knife and fork. At that stage they just want to grab and go.

Top French chef Raymond Blanc prepares food for the Gunners stars
Top French chef Raymond Blanc prepares food for the Gunners stars
Diamond Club
Blanc was brought to the club after meeting former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger at one of his restaurants
Blanc was brought to the club after meeting former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger at one of his restaurants
Getty – Contributor
Blanc, who runs a two star Michelin star restaurant, is a lifelong Arsenal fan
Blanc, who runs a two star Michelin star restaurant, is a lifelong Arsenal fan
Diamond Club

A lot of the players will take it away and eat it in their cars on their way from the stadium.

“Hopefully that will be sufficient and stop them eating at places they shouldn’t.”

We are ridiculously fortunate that food produced by Raymond Blanc and his chef is in the dressing room post-match. We don’t really ever get any complaints about that!”


Richard Allison

GPS INDIVIDUALIZED DIETS

Allison recently revealed that Arsenal are catering for their individual players’ needs – crafting specific diets in relation to their training sessions.

He said: “One of the things we are currently in the process of creating is using GPS training data to put information on TV screens in the restaurant to tell each individual player what they should be eating based on what they’ve just done on the field.

“In the restaurant area at the training ground we have two on-site chefs who are absolutely amazing.

“There are always six or seven different choices in terms of protein sources from animals.

“We have a few members of staff and players who are vegan, so they also have to cater for that.”

While on away days and in the training ground restaurant at London Colney, a full menu can be selected on specially modified iPads.

“We have two chefs at the training ground plus one who travels with us,” Burgess said.

Darren Burgess is Arsenals Head of High Performance
Darren Burgess is Arsenal’s Head of High Performance
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Richard Allison is a Performance Nutritionist with the Gunners
Richard Allison is a Performance Nutritionist with the Gunners
Twitter @sport_dietitian
Posh nosh is the order of the day for Arsenals biggest talents
Posh nosh is the order of the day for Arsenal’s biggest talents
Instagram @RichardJAllison

“Each morning, there are a bunch of iPads on the table and the players can order whatever they want from the chef. The food is amazing up there.”

COLLAGEN SHOT RECOVERY

Protein shakes are a thing of the past for Allison, who now encourages the Arsenal squad to take an easier 60ml shot of collagen, which are believed to ease joint pain, help build muscle and burn fat and improve digestive health.

“One thing we have used a lot of recently are collagen shots. There is a lot of emerging research on those.

“They have proved to be very popular with the players. There is an element of convenience with those.

“Instead of having to take a 500ml protein shake, they just have to take a 60ml shot, so it’s more convenient for them and they are getting the benefit of the collagen itself.

“We are looking at ways of doing that for one of our players who is vegan ( Hector Bellerin), which has a similar amino acid profile, which is proving a bit of a challenge on the Informed-Sport batch-tested programme.”

DEXA SCANS

Arsenal’s nutritional team have a DEXA machine on-site that measures the body fat, lean tissue and bone in the body.

Players are regularly monitored, and a league table is published in the dressing room to motivate the athletes to work harder on their nutrition.

Arsenals London Colney training ground has a DEXA machine that measures bone density
Arsenal’s London Colney training ground has a DEXA machine that measures bone density
Getty – Contributor
Lucas Torreira has benefited from Arsenals nutritional team
Lucas Torreira has benefited from Arsenal’s nutritional team
Getty – Contributor

Allison revealed: “We use a DEXA machine quite often. We have one on-site, as a marker of success.

“We have objective markers. It’s a very, very good way of influencing or motivating players to stick to those meals.

“We republish the results of the squad in the dressing room and that’s a good motivator.

“When they are at the bottom of the list or have slipped, then their interest in nutrition suddenly picks up.

“Rob Holding has made a massive change to his nutrition intake over the last 16 months.


“He has taken a real big interest in it, is cooking at home, and is very much being the ultimate professional.

“One player has come over from South America and he’s been very similar but the challenge of that has been the language barrier, so we’re using Google Translate to communicate.

“Unfortunately, at the other end, we also have players who just don’t seem to care and perhaps have just got by on a natural talent and don’t feel the need to focus on nutrition as much.”

Aaron Ramsey takes on advice from Darren Burgess
Aaron Ramsey takes on advice from Darren Burgess
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Arsenal stars of the present and past will have been given a good lesson in nutritional needs during their careers
Arsenal stars of the present and past will have been given a good lesson in nutritional needs during their careers
Getty – Contributor

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