Nutrition - Eat to Swim - Swim to Win!
Competitive swimming is a high calorie burning activity. To stay competitive, what you eat is just as important as how hard you train. Without proper nutrition, including hydration, your training may sink before it gets going.
Fast Facts to Remember:
• Consuming excess protein will not build muscle faster. A normal diet gives you plenty of protein.
• Energy for specific events is provided by foods eaten several days before competition, not in the minutes just before the race.
• Drinking enough water is vital to nutrition and performance. Especially in hot and humid environments.
• Pre-competition meals should be low in fat and high in carbohydrates.
• Most fast-food menus provide the exact opposite of the above.
• Foods that are mainly carbohydrates take the least time to digest and leave the stomach, making them ideal pre-competition choices.
Suggestions for Eating to Win:
• Lots of Carbohydrates - A swimmer gets most of their energy from their body breaking down food that is rich in this. A carbohydrate is like a wick on a candle. It burns slowly for long lasting energy to give you the power to perform at long meets or practices. You should eat as much as possible daily, but always eat a lot more a week before a meet. Don't wait until the night or day before the meet. Examples: potatoes, pizza, spaghetti or pasta, pancakes, bread and cereal.
• Fats are important, but don't over do them! Fats are used by the body for energy. The difference between them and carbohydrates is that they take a whole lot longer to be broken down for us to use, so they sit there and end up making swimmers get fat. Remember, fat gets in fast when you're hungry, but takes its time leaving!!! Fat is also very heavy. If you feel heavy you swim slower and it makes it harder to sprint. Examples: Fast food hamburgers, french fries and potato chips
• Drink lots of water - Just remember that you need water to swim and your body needs water too. Make sure and drink at least 8 glasses of water a day! It is also very important to keep your body full of fluids while you work out. So drink a big glass before practice, during practice, and after practice. You do sweat while you swim! Sports drinks are also good at any time, but don't stop drinking water.
• Vitamins and minerals are important - If you eat a good balanced diet, it should always include lots of fruits and vegetables. They are loaded with the power of vitamins and minerals that add extra energy the body need to perform to its best. Milk also has lots of vitamins and minerals the body uses to build strength so you can last through that 100 butterfly.
• Eat light snacks at swim meets - When you have long waits before you swim or just FEEL hungry, its good to have nutritious snacks on hand. Things like a 1/2 of a bagel, a small box of dry cereal, fruit (apples or oranges are great), granola or power bar are good choices. It is not a good idea to eat too close to your race, so give yourself time to digest the food. Sports drinks (watered down) or water are great if you are thirsty.
• AVOID SODA! It is a quick sugar high that only makes you feel tired when it wears off. The same goes for candy. It is the sugar that gives you all the energy, but it doesn't last too long.
This personal SuperTracking System is designed to provide you with an opportunity to have your diet evaluated for energy and nutrient content. Use it to: look up a single food item to see what's in it; enter an entire day's food intake to see how much carbohydrate, protein, fat and calories you consumed; compare what you ate to your individual needs; enter a recipe to see a nutrient breakdown per serving; track your habits throughout the season and off-season and more. Click here to get started.
Coach Bob's Recommended Reading for Nutrition:
How to Get Young Swimmers to Eat Well
Orange Juice in the Swimmer
Top 5 Reasons Milk is Good for Swimmers
Top 5 Recovery Snacks
Top Healthy High-Fat Foods
Top Nutrition Tips from a Former Collegiate Swimmer
Three Easy Ways to Check for Dehydration
Six Health Tips for National Nutrition Month
Ten Nutrition Strategies for the Big Race Day
Seven Signs the Young Swimmer Isn't Eating Enough Food
Ten Foods Swimmers Should be Eating
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