March 27, 2021
Hi Team, as we approach the return of swim meets I thought I would lend some advice on the Nutritional front. All to often this vital aspect of being an Athlete is dismissed or confusing. Below is a broad guideline. Knowing what is good for you and what is not comes through experience - trial and error. However, the advice you will find below is solid and has lots of merit. Begin today with theses approaches!
We will go into nutrition below but I'd like to headline this with the importance of sleep loading. It's real and 10 days out from a major performance athletes should be getting 8 hours per night and by 3 days out they should be up to 10 hours per night of sleep. Using electronic devices at night in a dark room, the backlight from such devices has prooven to delay the on set of the Deep Sleep state. As an athlete the importance of Deep Sleep cannot be overstated.
2 Days to Race Day:
Since there is heavy sweat loss during longer races leads to dehydration, you will want to "fluid load" starting
2 days before your race. Drink plenty of liquids (mostly water!) throughout the day, making sure your urine
color is clear or pale yellow, not dark amber. (This is a simple but effective measure of adequate hydration
The Day Before:
This day, be sure to rest, eat (without overstuffing), and drink plenty of fluids. Provided you've been eating
enough and sticking to high-carbohydrate and low protein and fat, your glycogen stores will be at their peak
by the end of this day. Eat frequently and stay with familiar foods. And just to be safe, - especially if you are
on the road - carry your own water supply and "go to the well" often to stay hydrated. REST!!!
Give close consideration to the meal you eat the night before racing. It should include about 800 to 1000
calories, and - surprise, surprise - it should be high in carbohydrates and low in fat and protein. Avoid beans,
broccoli, or other gas-causing foods, especially if they normally give you problems. Finally, the night
before is not the time to experiment with new foods; the result of the experiment could be hindered
performance the next day. REST!!!
The Evening Prior to the big Meet
* Be sure to eat carbohydrate products that have been "tried and proven" during your training period. Keep
pasta sauces simple, avoiding high fat varieties (e.g., alfredo, pesto, etc.). Avoid eating lots of salad items
and vegetables (roughage) as these may prove to be troublesome on race day and can cause digestive
* Stick to water during the evening meal. Because coffee and tea contains caffeine, these products may make
it difficult for you to fall asleep easily. Keep in mind that caffeine products are diuretics, which contributes to
Race Day Nutrition
For Evening Competition:
Breakfast: *Eat a good breakfast--This meal should top-up your blood sugar levels after the night's rest.
Lunch: Eat this meal about 2-3 hours before competition (approximately 2-3 hours before warm-up). The
meal does not have to be large, but should fill you up for the next few hours. High-carbohydrate foods are
the best options: e.g., bread, cereals, fruit, pasta, rice, etc. Ensure that the meal is low fat, this speeds up
digestion. Keep drinking fluids-pee clear. Avoid the caffeine in cola drinks, coffee, chocolate, and tea - it is
For a Morning/NOON Competition (Prelims & Finals)
A good rule of thumb: Eat a light meal the morning of your race. Taking in carbohydrates, particularly before
longer races, provides more energy for hard working muscles. If you are eating more than two hours before an
event, a meal containing a moderate amount of protein may be eaten. For instance, cooked cereal, yogurt, a
banana, and juice provide a high level of carbohydrate, a low level of fat, and a moderate amount of protein.
Your prerace meal should be eaten 2 to 4 hours before starting time and should consist of at least 200 grams
of carbohydrates, which works out to 800 calories worth. To speed digestion, select foods or beverages that
are low in fat and fiber. Bagels, raisins, bananas, sport drinks, pasta, and rice are great prerace foods.
Practice with your pre-event meal prior to your taper meet to fine tune this eating strategy.
AFTER THE WARM-UP - RECOVER FOR THE HEATS
After the warm-up, replace fluids immediately (leave your drink bottle at pool side). Sports drinks are
optimal as they replace fluids and carbohydrate simultaneously. If there is less than 1 hour between races,
just keep to fluid replacement. If there is more than 1 hour between the warm-up and your first heat, try to
eat a little. See the "top-up between events" ideas later in this article. The best approach is to eat a little and
often during the day. Seize the opportunity to eat a little "top-up" when you can. Eating and drinking a little
and often will help to keep you "firing" all day. Eating too much at once can make you feel heavy and
lethargic. Little top-ups are best - they also prevent you getting really hungry.
DRINKING AND EATING BETWEEN EVENTS
Try to eat in longer breaks (longer than 1 hour between races). In shorter breaks, use water or sports drink or
water to replace fluids. The indoor pool environment is humid and dehydrating. Adequate fluids are
essential all day to keep your blood and energy pumping. If there is a longer break (a few hours) through the
day, use it to eat a bit more. Take your own high performance foods and drinks with you (don't rely on the
water jug) A cold pack and thermos helps to keep foods and drinks fresh and pleasant. Record your food
and fluid intake to keep count of when you last ate and drank. To monitor hydration check that your urine
output is regular and "looks clear." Monitoring body-weight change over the day is another way to check
RECOVERY AFTER A HARD DAY'S COMPETITION
Have something to drink and eat immediately after your last swim. Avoid the "fast food" chains on the way
home - their high fat foods will delay recovery. Have some high-carbo food prepared so you can eat as soon
as you arrive home. If possible take a thermos with a meal inside so you can eat even earlier.
Check your body weight to ensure you are rehydrated. Drink Chocolate milk!
TOP-UP SNACKS BETWEEN EVENTS (breaks of 1-2 hours)
Snack fruits (small cans of fruit) or canned baby fruits.
Fruit that is peeled and cut up (easier to eat this way).
Plain bread rolls (white bread may be less heavy) - try pita bread!
Fruit buns (e.g., hot cross buns) or raisin bread.
Plain or fruit scones.
Home-made low-fat fruit muffins.
Rice cakes (you can top them with honey, jam, or banana).
Instant noodles (varieties that do not contain oil or the flavor sachet).
Jam or honey sandwiches.
Plain boiled pasta with a little tomato sauce.
Low-fat breakfast bar.
Plain crackers (not high-fat types).
Carbo gels (ask at sport stores).
Power bars (try gyms or sport stores).
[Note: Choose smaller amounts if you only have just over 1 hour. In longer breaks you can afford
to eat a little
more. Items in bold might be better for middle length breaks as they are smaller and perhaps easier
BEST FLUID REPLACEMENT OVER THE DAY: Water or Sports drink
IN LONGER BREAKS: Sandwiches with low-fat fillings (avoid butter and too much salad).
Pasta or rice with tomato pasta sauce (a little chicken or very lean meat in sauce is okay).
REMEMBER - Practice with these strategies prior to the championships to fine-tune your eating
for competition. Everyone is different and various combinations of the above tailored to your
individual needs will work best. Focus on high carbohydrate foods and drinks.
Carbohydrate foods play a vital role as a training fuel. The critical source of energy for exercising muscles
is your body's carbohydrate stores - a little from blood glucose, and a larger amount from glycogen stored
in your muscles. These stores can only provide for up to a couple of hours of continuous exercise, and
therefore must constantly be refilled from the carbohydrate in your diet. Running low on carbohydrate
causes fatigue - you have probably experienced how bad it feels to run out of fuel. The more you train, the
greater your daily carbohydrate needs are. Athletes who train every day can find it difficult to recover
their muscle glycogen levels, day in day out, and may gradually deplete body carbohydrate stores.
This is often the cause of tiredness and ineffective training.
FUEL YOUR ENGINE WITH CARBOHYDRATES
Nutritionists working with USA Swimming use the Glycemic Index to help recommend the best foods for
a pre-race meal, during competition snacks, and post race meals. The Glycemic Index was developed to
help diabetics control their blood sugar. The Index represents a carb's effect on blood sugar and reflects a
food's ability to contribute glucose to the bloodstream. The lower the Glycemic Index number, the slower
the glucose will enter the bloodstream. For pre competition meals, the nutritionists recommend foods
with a low GI. These would include power bars, apples, spaghetti noodles, fruit yogurt, underripe bananas.
During and after competition nutritionists recommend foods with a high GI - gatorade, baked potato,
bagels, corn flakes, waffles, bread, graham crackers, honey, watermelon. High GI foods cause a sharp
increase in blood sugar levels and then a steady decline, while low GI foods are absorbed slowly and there
is not a steady decline. After consuming low GI foods, blood glucose levels will remain up for a longer
period of time. (Some high glycemic index foods would be bananas, raisins, oranges, baked potatoes, and
bagels. If you swim in the morning, a good breakfast choice would be corn flakes with sliced bananas and
some sugar on it.)
While fat and protein percentages should remain consistent during training and competition, 2 or 3 days
prior to the start of the meet it is recommended that an athlete focus on carbohydrates that have a high GI.
This will replenish glycogen stores. But do NOT overeat! With your workload reduced in the water, it is
important not to gain weight by overeating during the taper. Remember that protein is important to
repair muscle tissue damaged during routine workouts and fat facilitates cellular reactions as well as
serves as a fuel source during prolonged exercise. Also remember, a variety of foods from all food
groups is best. Don't try new foods at the meet, however. Stick with routines and foods that you know will
not upset your stomach. It is also vital to hydrate before and during competition. The night before a meet,
an athlete should drink two full water bottles. They should drink one full water bottle at breakfast the next
morning. The environment at all the competition pools is very WARM. Extra water is a must for
successful swimming. Nutrition, hydration, timing of meals and snacks are all critical to preparing
for the best performance.
So aside from the depletion of the energy sources derived from the foods we eat, what else causes a
reduced state in our muscles? Water is the ultimate ergogenic aid--but because the body has a poor
thirst mechanism, you must drink before you feel thirsty. By the time you become really thirsty you
may be two to three percent dehydrated!
So be sure to drink some water or sport beverage every practice as well as four to six ounces every fifteen
minutes during practices. For one, we lose water during exercise, even during a swim practice! Try
weighing yourself before and after practice – the weight loss is due to water that is lost due to sweating
(yes, even in the water) and in addition for every gram of muscle glycogen that is burned, there are four
grams of water that are eliminated in the process. Thus, it is important to replenish water during and after
practices as even a two percent reduction of body stores of water can cause diminished athletic
performance and compromise the recovery process.
To stay well hydrated, you need to drink about a quart of caffeine-free fluid for every 1,000 calories of
food you eat, assuming you maintain your weight. To ensure that you are well hydrated before you
exercise, drink 2 cups of water or sports drink 2 hours beforehand. To avoid dehydration during exercise,
begin drinking early and at regular intervals. For exercise lasting an hour or less, 4 to 6 ounces of cool
water every 15 to 20 minutes provides optimal fluid replacement.
Interesting Fact Blow and KIDS LOVE THIS!!!!!
Chocolate Milk: The New Sports Drink?
Feb. 24, 2006
(WebMD) During a 2004 Summer Olympics awash in controversies over steroids and
supplements, one sportswriter wryly noticed that top American swimmer Michael Phelps was
playing it safe – he preferred to drink Carnation Instant Breakfast between races. Now it appears
that the six-time gold medalist may have been onto something. A new study shows
that plain old chocolate milk may be as good -- or better -- than sports drinks like Gatorade at
helping athletes recover from strenuous exercise.
The study, published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, was
small in scale; it was partially funded by the dairy industry. But dietitians say the study should
help to counter the notion that high-tech, expensive supplements are better than whole foods when
it comes to athletic performance. They also note that milk contains key nutrients, such as calcium
and vitamin D, in quantities that sports drinks can’t match.
"[Milk] is a sports drink ‘plus,’" Keith Ayoob, EdD, a registered dietitian and associate professor
of pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, tells WebMD. "It will supply you with
things you need whether or not you’re working out."
The study builds on findings that intense endurance exercise reduces the muscles’ supply of
stored glucose, or glycogen, a key source of fuel for exercise. To maximize glycogen
replacement, the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Dietetic Association
recommend taking in a serving of carbohydrates within 30 minutes after a long and vigorous
Milk vs. Sports Drinks
Common sports drinks such as Gatorade supply those carbs, as well as fluids and electrolytes lost
through sweat. However, more recent research suggests that adding protein to the mix may further
hasten recovery. Hence the new wave of drinks such as Endurox R4 that include protein as well
as higher doses of carbs.
In the study, nine male cyclists rode until their muscles were depleted of energy, then rested four
hours and biked again until exhaustion. During the rest period, the cyclists drank low-fat
chocolate milk, Gatorade, or Endurox R4. During a second round of exercise, the cyclists who
drank the chocolate milk were able to bike about 50% longer than those who drank Endurox, and
about as long as those who drank the Gatorade.
The findings suggest that chocolate milk has an optimal ratio of carbohydrates to protein to help
refuel tired muscles, researcher Joel M. Stager, PhD, Indiana University kinesiology professor,
But the most puzzling result of the study, experts say, was why Endurox -- which has the same
carbo-protein ratio as the chocolate milk -- fared so poorly. Researcher Jeanne D. Johnston, MA,
tells WebMD it may have to do with the different composition of the sugars in the milk. Another
theory is that the sugars in the milk may be better absorbed in the gut than those in the Endurox.
Edward F. Coyle, PhD, a researcher on exercise and hydration at the University of Texas, tells
WebMD the trial would have been stronger if the researchers had also tested the effect of flavored
water or another dummy (placebo) drink.