One of the building blocks of quality training is proper nutrition. Eating the right amount of nutrients is important for muscle development & repair, as well as providing energy to support training. The articles in this section offer a variety of tips to help swimmers fuel themselves for training and competition.
There are many fads and misinformation about what constitutes proper nutrition. What may be suitable for the average Age Group child, is different for competitive swimmers. This does not mean swimmers can eat whatever they want because the burn a lot of calories. It does mean that swimmers need different ratios of protein, fat and carbohydrates. Sugar is sugar, so juices, soda and other similar drinks should be avoided. The best thing your body needs is plain water!
Check out these articles for more information on swimmer nutrition.
Nutrition to Performance
Mike Mejia,M.S.,C.S.C.S//Special Correspondent
Eat Breakfast…Start out with a proper breakfast. This does not entail grabbing a bagel with cream cheese and eating it in the car with a large orange juice on the way there. The bagel, especially if it's made with white flour can really jack up your blood sugar levels. Granted, the fat in the cream cheese will blunt this affect somewhat, but add in the OJ and you'll be all fired up for warm-ups and likely crash shortly thereafter.
The best-case scenario is to sit down and eat some slow cooked oatmeal (prepared the night before) with fruit, or some eggs and whole grain toast, or whole grain cereal with skim, or low fat milk. If it's an early meet and you must eat on the run, at least make it a whole grain bagel with peanut butter, as the these two foods together make up what is known as a complete protein by providing your body with all the essential amino acids it needs. Trade in the OJ for a lower sugar sports drink and you're good to go. Some more foods to stay away from include bacon, sausage, croissants, doughnuts and sugary breakfast cereals.
As far as what you should have in your bag for snacking, I think the best way to address this is with a list of what you should bring, vs. what you should not bring.
What to Bring to a swim meet
- At least 32 oz. of water to drink during and after the meet.
- No more than 16-20 oz. of sports drinks that meet the above criteria.
- Energy bars with less than less than 10 grams of fat, and less than 35% of their calories from sugar (the lower the better). To calculate this: multiply the number of grams of sugar by 4 and then divide that number into the total calories. Some recommended brands include: Kashi TLC Bars, and Odwalla Bars.
- Whole grain pretzels, crackers and cereals.
- Nuts, seeds and dried fruit (in limited quantity due to the relatively high sugar content).
- Lower Sugar Fruits: Strawberries, Apples, Cantaloupe, Blueberries, Raspberries and peaches.
What not to bring, or bring less of:
- Chips of any type. Most are loaded with fat and calories.
- Goldfish, Cheese Nips, or any other types of crackers made with white, enriched flower.
- White Bagels and Breads.
- High Sugar Fruits: Bananas, Raisins, Pineapple and Grapes.
- High Sugar Energy Bars: Many types of Power Bars fall into this category.
- Fruit Juices of any type: Too high in sugar and don't clear the gut as rapidly as sports drinks, possibly leading to stomach cramping
- Soda. This one's an absolute no-no!
- Cookies, candy, gummy bears, or anything else along those lines.