cereals. Other types of carbohydrates that can be useful to give you instant quick energy are called simple carbohydrates and are foods like honey, chocolate, biscuits and sweets. But these should only be eaten in small amounts.
TIPS FOR GETTING ENOUGH CARBOHYDRATE FOODS:
Base each meal around one of the following – rice, pasta, noodles, pizza, breads or potatoes Eat puddings that contain a lot of carbohydrates – fruits, yogurts, or rice pudding
Snack on high carbohydrate foods and take these snacks to school and training
Have a carbohydrate rich snack after training
Drink juices or squash every time you eat.
You should avoid eating all your carbohydrates in one huge meal each day – this is not the best way to refuel your energy stores, meals should be spread out throughout the day. Therefore top-ups with carbohydrate foods are important.
The second aim in achieving a good athletes diet is to eat the right amounts of protein.
Protein can be found in foods such as meat, fish, peas, beans and dairy products i.e. cheese, eggs
This part of your diet is important because:
It helps repairs your body after training
Helps you grow properly
Helps your muscles get stronger
Protein is not as important as carbohydrates for swimmers but you still need some protein foods in your diet everyday. Make sure the protein sources you eat are lean and low in fat. Cooking methods are also important – try and opt for grilled or baked foods and avoid fried foods whenever possible.
Remember that high fat diets aren’t good for anyone, especially swimmers. When you are training and competing eating a lot of fatty foods such as pies or sausage rolls can make you feel full and uncomfortable and can hamper your performance, this is especially important during competition. Another negative aspect of high fat diets is that the high fat foods make it difficult for you to meet the high carbohydrate requirements because you would usually choose fatty foods over carbohydrates. So keep the amount of fatty foods you eat down to a minimum.
FRUIT AND VEGETABLES
You should aim to eat 5 portions of fruit and vegetables per day. Fruit and vegetables give you all the vitamins and minerals your body needs to work properly and to its full potential. Calcium, iron and zinc are especially important for growth and to help your immune system fight off infections. A portion of fruit is an apple, 2 plums, a pear, glass of fruit juice for example. A portion of vegetables is two spoonfuls of peas or carrots, two – three florets of broccoli for example. Remember frozen vegetables count, so no excuses!
Contrary to popular belief swimmers do sweat – just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean its not there! The atmosphere in most swimming pools is very hot and humid and these conditions can lead very easily to dehydration. So you are losing fluid/water all the time and you must replace it. Being dehydrated affects your coordination, concentration and reduces the length of time you can keep swimming for.
DRINKING LITTLE AND OFTEN AND BEFORE THIRST SETS IN IS THE KEY TO STAYING WELL HYDRATED.
Weighing – weigh before a training session and immediately after - weight loss of 1kg is the equivalent of 1 litre of sweat lost. Work out how much is lost and you should aim to drink the same amount.
An easier test that you can do is the ‘pee test’. This involves looking at your urine – if your going to the toilet regularly, producing lots of urine and it is clear in colour then you are well hydrated. If you are not going often and the urine is dark in colour, smelly and not much of it then dehydration has set in and you need to get drinking!!