Why Spurs players must be keen to be lean
Written by Simon Austin — November 18, 2017
TOTTENHAM’S ex-nutritionist has given an insight into how the club monitors body composition and says players are in ‘serious trouble’ if they put on even a ‘tiny bit’ of fat.
Matt Lovell was a consultant for the club from April 2010 to June 2017 and now works with Bournemouth and Swansea.
"If a player is testing even a tiny bit higher on body fat the management will know about it and there will be pressure put on the player to get as lean as they possibly can,” he told football.london.
"If a player is not looking after themselves in terms of lifestyle and diet, one of the first places you see that is with a small accumulation in some belly fat. It might be they're choosing the wrong food groups or having a few too many treats.
"Jesus [Perez] is the man who will come down and if the fat scores are off he will be giving the players some serious trouble. He's a lovely fella, but he's fierce.
"One of my responsibilities was skin-folding the squad, body composition testing effectively. Spurs are a team that put a lot of emphasis on that part of performance.
“We do all kind of tests. I was in charge of doing all the blood results, we test for every nutritional deficiency you can think of. I've got a machine that scans players for pigment in their skin that tells you how many vegetables a player is eating. They can't get away with anything.”
Lovell said one of the major reasons for Harry Kane’s transformation from perennial loanee to Spurs star was fat loss.
“Take someone like Harry Kane, who was on loan at Norwich and was essentially on the wrong side of 15% body fat,” Lovell added.
"Then over quite a short period of time he suddenly knuckled down, lost all the fat and got down to round about 10% and now he's banging in the goals left, right and centre. Then they're saying: ‘You're not going on loan anymore.’
"He's always been a strong, big lad, but from that lifestyle change, when he leaned up, it correlated massively with a huge increase in his performance.”
Hannah Sheridan took over as a full-time nutritionist at Spurs in the summer. Kane has also spoken about how he recruited a personal chef at the turn of the year.
Lovell added: "I played a big part in that [change in Kane’s body composition], but I would add that he has his own helper as well. In the last couple of years he started on a whole load of different things with him, an old friend of his who knows a bit about it all.
“He's started Harry on a few things that were things I wanted to start the whole squad on anyway. It was a help rather than a hindrance.
"I was with Spurs until the end of the 2016/17 season. I was pretty gutted to move on, it's just the nature of the beast. It was really good fun. They brought in three new nutritionists, which is good and shows how important they see that area."