March 13, 2012
Hello all LAC swimmers and parents. What a great meet the kids had at Montclair! We won lots of T-shirts, made several new JO times, and qualified a new relay for Far Westerns. Along with great performance comes added responsibility to take care of our bodies and to focus on the details that will lead to greater health and future success.
Recently Coach Lisa and I have noticed that for the most part, swimmers on our team are not taking care of fluid replacement and calorie replacement during and immediately after practice. Many of our swimmers use water bottles, which is a great start, but Coach Lisa and I both have had conversations with teenage swimmers who bring nothing more than a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to school for the entire day. Here are some facts from USA swimming to consider when planning for nutritional needs throughout the day:
Athletes should eat 5-6 small meals a day
Skipping a meal leads to lower performance in school and swimming and also increases body fat content
Athletes should never go more than 3-4 hours without a snack or a meal except during sleep
If an athlete is swimming for less than 90 minutes, water is fine for fluid uptake but if the practice is longer than 90 minutes, a drink which has 6-8% carbohydrates and has electrolytes is recommended
The optimal window for caloric and fluid replacement is within 30 minutes of intense exercise. After this the positive effects are greatly diminished
Optimal strategy for caloric replacement is a snack and drink immediately after practice, then a meal as soon as the athlete arrives home
We will be posting a USA Swimming Powerpoint presentation on this website shortly for those of you who would like to read more about the role of proper nutrition in an athlete's life
Parents of female swimmers, be aware that most female swimmers will test above average in body mass index because of the muscle gained through their sport. There are many swimmers on our team who have a very low percentage of body fat who will test above the average in body mass index. Please help your female child be aware of this and make sure she is eating enough to give herself the proper fuel for the activity she does.
Many of our older swimmers practice from 415-7pm, then get in the hot tub, and by the time they eat something it is 8pm. Assuming that they had their last meal at 330pm, that is a 4.5 hour window of intense exercise with no replenishment. It is a lot to ask for our swimmers to do what they do each day without replacing their caloric intake! Parents, you do such a great job supporting your children in this awesome sport. Please train them to bring snacks to practice so they can continue to improve in a healthy way. Thanks,