Warnecke: “The use of painkillers is very alarming”

Physician and former swimmer Mark Warnecke is available to Kicker as a health expert. On this occasion, the 52-year-old takes a look at amateur football, warning of popular drugs and that at the end of the match it’s not just about muscles.

Ibuprofen and Co. Warns: Dr. Mark Warnecke.

Ibuprofen and Co. Warns: Dr. Mark Warnecke.
M Warnecke

Let’s start from behind. What about the popular beer after the game?

Non-alcoholic beer is definitely a drink that you can drink. But it must also be made very clear that a normal beer does not contribute positively to regeneration. Alcohol is and remains a poison for the body that must be broken down.

There are many young players in amateur football who like to go out with their friends the night before and who sometimes start out with a slight hangover. What is happening in the body and is it dangerous?

The general opinion is that alcohol or beer dehydrates the body. Other studies don’t see dehydration as the problem at all. In the end, though, that doesn’t really matter. Because the hangover the next day is a sign that you have not done anything good for your body. Alcohol is a neurotoxin, that’s why you behave the way you do when you’re intoxicated (laughs). If you then go out into the field the next day, it doesn’t have a good effect either. You usually don’t feel good with a hangover, you start sweating for no reason, you have cardiovascular problems and you don’t really get going. Common sense tells you that this is not good. Therefore, kicking with a hangover should definitely be avoided for health reasons. In some cases, it can even be life-threatening.

Many fans take the sport very, very seriously: there is no beer before or after the game. What can I drink before and during the match to maximize my performance on the pitch?

Information about Mark Warnecke

  • Mark Warnecke is a medical doctor and a former elite swimmer. He won the bronze medal in the breaststroke at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. At the age of 35, Warnecke celebrated a remarkable comeback and became the oldest swimming world champion in 2005. A self-developed amino acid preparation at that time it was the starting signal for his company AMSport.
  • The path of former swimmer Warnecke: from a media hype to an entrepreneur

Fortunately, that’s not as difficult in soccer as it is in triathlons or marathon events. In these sports, close attention must be paid to the effectiveness of fluid intake. It’s not that important in football. You shouldn’t go to the game thirsty. There is a saying: ‘Thirst always comes too late’. That’s only partially true, but there’s something to it. You should feel completely at ease, and that applies equally to food. Neither full nor hungry, not thirsty and not have a watery stomach.

Of course, in summer you have to compensate for the loss of liquids. By the way, an isotonic drink is not the fastest source of fluid, but ‘slightly below isotonic’. This means that if you make an isotonic drink with a powder and use ten percent more fluid, the drink is in the optimal range and the fluid loss is compensated for faster. At the same time, you can work with a carbohydrate-rich drink, especially in the second half, to keep your performance going a bit longer.

Marco Reus can often be seen before games taking out a small blister. What is there?

Gels, Powershots and Co.: Food supplements have long since come to football.

Gels, Powershots and Co.: Food supplements have long since come to football.
imago images/Revierfoto

The little blue vial is the Powershot, which I know quite well because I developed it. Many players take this to boost themselves. But that’s very different for gamers. Some players don’t take it until halftime. It’s actually about extra activation and better concentration, for example, there’s caffeine in there. However, it is not for everyone, it must be said clearly. It is often underestimated that at the end of the game not only the performance of the muscles decreases, but also the concentration. Shots well over the goal can also be a result of this combination, the powerful shot can help focus better.

Even the fan should not have a barbecue before the match.

Does nutrition play a role or does it only apply to professionals? So does it make sense to stock up on carbs the night before, or are the normal reserves in the body enough for 90 minutes anyway?

Food in general plays a very important role and the same happens in the amateur sector. But nutrition should never be complicated, it should be simple. A healthy mixed diet throughout the day is completely sufficient.

Of course, a professional has to consider completely different things, if only because of the high frequency of gaming today. The diet is optimized and controlled for sport. You live from one game to another and from one training session to another and the diet has to adapt to that. On the other hand, the hobbyist can also err in the middle, no matter which way. But not even the fan should have a barbecue before the game.

Pregame painkillers are widely used, which a NADA study recently confirmed. How dangerous are ibuprofen and co.?

Of course it is dangerous. Ibuprofen and diclofenac even delay the healing of this type of injury. Tissue that is actually injured regenerates more slowly. The problem with drugs is that they also put a strain on the cardiovascular system, up to and including a heart attack. Bleeding GI ulcers are also common, so it’s more than just a minor stomach irritation. The use of painkillers is really very alarming and not only in football. I know several ice hockey or handball players and competitive athletes who cannot do without this medication. Athletes really need to pay attention and recover.

Superfoods like quinoa, seaweed, and chia seeds are very popular. Is there anything hot that would be interesting for the amateur footballer?

Although I pick on him myself, I wouldn’t recommend anything hotly and say, ‘It’ll make your life better.’ I am very pragmatic and the years in which I have dealt with it very intensively have also shown that the so-called superfoods change rapidly. I am a strong advocate and fan of the normal healthy mixed diet and not the fads that come up again and again, especially with superfoods. I use these superfoods as regular raw materials and reap the benefits, but not for purely interpreted miracles.

How can I help my muscles regenerate after the game?

Yes, there are very interesting studies about it. For example, we know that a classic high-quality whey protein shake promotes regeneration and also reduces susceptibility to injury, that is, the classic high-quality protein shake. Of course, after a high level of exertion, carbohydrates are also part of it in order to regenerate as quickly as possible.

Olympia-Verlag cooperates with Mark Warnecke GmbH and sells products through the kicker shop, among other things.

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