Her name is Jolien Lewyllie. She has been a nutritionist for the Red Devils since March of this year. Her daily life, the players’ food, the fact that she is the only female staff: we went to meet her at the Salwa Beach Hotel, the complex where the Red Devils are staying during this 2022 World Cup.
“As a nutritionist, I have a very important mission. It’s not a small role, it involves a lot of preparation. Sometimes it’s a little stressful, but everything goes well. J “I have a very good team. I work closely with the medical staff. I guess I can’t complain about the help I get, so it’s perfect. I get up early in the morning and see if everything is ready for each individual player. Then I focus on the biggest task of my day: preparing all the drinks, making sure there is enough water and it stays cold. We also prepare water with extra salt, because it is very hot here, and recovery drinks. A lot of logistical thinking is required. When all this is ready, it is usually time for lunch. We’re going to lunch with the players. Afterwards, it’s preparation for training, so we return the supplements or I take them in the morning. We’re still checking in the evening, so it’s a very busy day.” explains Jolien Lewyllie.
“Food is very individual depending on the player. Some players will prefer oatmeal or fruit with yogurt a little more. Others prefer bread. A good stock is needed every day with a large selection. Of course, during training it becomes a bit more individual: depending on their position, players will need more drinks for recovery, others will only need protein. I usually say that if the basic diet is good, I can occasionally make a small difference like a piece of pie, cake,… But on the other hand, if he skips a meal or eats less healthily, it’s not okay. Good nutrition is a priority. We do not replace a meal. You always have to have a healthy diet and in addition there may be some deviations”continues the young woman.
And to add: “On match night, everything starts with a pre-match meal. It is a meal that provides enough energy in the body because it lasts 1.5 hours. In the last two hours before the game or right before the start, we will still work on the concrete plan. Players will take isotonic sports drinks and some energy bars. Some players have a more personal agenda as a supplement.”
Special feature: Jolien Lewyllie is the only woman on the Belgian staff. “I had to adjust a little at first, but it is logical that they also had to adjust to me since I arrived in their midst. Everything is going well”he’s smiling.