- Skinny on Physiology of Swimming
Regardless of age or length of workout, all swimmers need fluids during and after practice to stay well hydrated. Bringing a water bottle with you to practice and meets is very important. During practice, a couple sips of water every 15-20 minutes will keep you hydrated. Only if practice is longer than 90 minutes will a supplemental fuel source (such as Gatorade) aid in hydration, otherwise water is your best fuel source.
To know your individual needs, the easiest way to accomplish this is by weighing yourself before and after practice or a meet. If you weigh the same or close, hooray for you! But if you have lost or gained substantial weight (greater than 1-2%), adjust your fluid intake accordingly. Slight dehydration may lead to a decrease in optimal performance.
Guidelines for before practice or pre-race meal:
The best pre-practice, or pre-meet meal should contain primarily carbohydrates. Carbohydrate-rich foods like pasta, breads and cereal are easily digested and absorbed. Rule of thumb: 0.5 - 2.0 grams of carbohydrate per pound of body weight one to four hours prior to exercise.
Meals that provide 100 grams of carbohydrates
1 bagel with peanut butter and 2/3 cup of raisins
1 cup of low-fat yogurt, 1 banana and 1 cup of orange juice
1 turkey sandwich with 1 cup of applesauce
2 cups of spaghetti with meat sauce and 1 piece of garlic bread
8 oz. of skim milk, 1 apple, 1 orange, 2 slices of bread and 3 pancakes
1 serving of Gatorade and 1 bagel
Refer to www.usaswimming.org for more information. Using “nutrition” in a word search will provide additional tips from this website.