BASC Swimmer Nutrition & Diet Information Center -



BASC Overall Nutrition Views - 

    Nutrition is a vital part of success in a swimmers life. Without proper foods, swimmers won't be able to reach their full potential. Researching nutrition and applying it can be a daunting or scary task. Our goal here is to make this process easier, and to ultimately increase the overall health of our team.

 

SMALL MEALS

“According to natural health and fitness expert Brue Baker, swimmers who are training intensely for more than two hours daily should eat four to seven light meals a day. Eating large meals or too much in one sitting will leave the swimmer feeling lethargic and will inhibit your performance.”

Swimmers should try to reduce the amount of food they're eating in one sitting. Instead, swimmers and athletes overall should be trying to eat 4-7 smaller meals everyday instead of the standard 3 large meals. 

When choosing to eat small meals over large ones, the body is more readily able to digest these meals, leading to the full digestion of nutrients that will be ready to use. Hunger shows a lack of nutrients in the body, and can be aided with these small meals, but swimmers should ensure these meals are nutritious, so they aren't just filling up with “empty” calories.

 

NUTRIENTS

Carbohydrates should make up one half of a swimmer’s diet, as they are the fuel swimmers need to get through that tough practice or meet. Some good sources of carbs are rice, cereal, pasta, potatoes, beans, peas, vegetables, fruits, and lentils.

Proteins the other half of a swimmers diet good examples consist of, whole grains, lean meats, fish, eggs, and low-fat dairy, which are proteins, as well as healthy fats (olive oil, nuts, avocados, and seeds),

Water should be consumed continuously through the day. Many don't understand how much water is released while swimming through sweat, since you don't see or feel it in the water. Replacing these minerals and electrolytes lost in sweat is important and often not accounted for. 

 

BASC Athlete Diet & Nutrition Clinic -

Parent Clinic Page      - Swimmer Clinic Page

 



Different Nutrients for Boys vs. Girls -

The main difference for male to female swimmers are in Iron, Protein, and Calcium.

Iron

 Iron is a mineral that is vital for various biologic pathways including its part in creating hemoglobin, which is responsible for transporting oxygen in the blood. In addition, athletes may be more prone to iron deficiency. Women are more likely to be iron deficient: a study published by the European journal of Applied Physiology found 15%-35% of female athletes are iron deficient where only 5%-11% of male athletes are. A lack of Iion can lead to higher fatigue and a lessened immune system, both of which greatly affect swimming performance.

To get more iron we recommend: spinach, lean protein (lean red meat or turkey), iron-fortified cereals (like oatmeal), beans and kale. Pair these with foods high in Vitamin C: such as oranges, strawberries, green and red bell peppers, broccoli, and cauliflower, as vitamin C aids the absorption of non-heme iron into the body. 

Calcium

A large majority of these iron providing foods also help with calcium intake which has a huge impact on bone strength. Calcium is directly related to the sleep cycle, an element of recovery that is critical for athletes. Calcium also helps to regulate muscle contraction and nerve conduction. Given this role, if you’re someone who struggles with muscle cramps you may benefit from taking some time to review your diet and assess whether you’re getting enough calcium.

Protein + Calcium

Female swimmers need different amounts of proteins and calcium compared to male swimmers. A high level male swimmer may eat more protein than the equivalent female swimmer. But during age groups and high school, they are swapped and the female should be eating more protein than the male. On top of that, calcium should be eaten more often, as in this period of time female swimmers will be hit with more muscle cramps compared to male swimmers, and some studies have shown calcium and potassium to be helpful in muscle cramp relief. 



Recovery Supplements

In our experience, female athletes tend to be more reluctant to supplement than their male counterparts. This reluctance can put them at a disadvantage, especially if their competition has a more comprehensive nutrition plan, or is taking a superior supplement. It’s impossible to work off of a bad diet, but sometimes even healthy, well-structured diets have holes in them, and the right supplements can be an effective tool in filling in any gaps in an athlete’s diet. Athletes who are not getting adequate nutrition are at risk for weakened immune systems and are also more prone to injuries, and less likely to power through demanding practices. 

Some Supplements to look into are Protein Isolate, Iron,  Electrolyte Powder, Daily Vitamins

When looking for supplements we can't stress enough how important it is too look for something as close to natural and vegan as you can, as these two things mean less additives and more of what you need. We also recommend talking with a doctor before beginning any supplements like Iron, to make sure they are safe for your body and you get what you need. 

 


Pre Meet Meals -

The day before a meet, swimmers should eat foods that are high in complex carbs. Swim England Masters advises to “eat little and often—every two to four hours to keep blood sugar levels steady and fuel muscles.” Stick to foods that you are familiar with and avoid big meals. Even if you don't have an appetite, you should still find something you can snack on.

Complex Carbs to eat before the meet: Oatmeal, Brown rice, Sweet potatoes or white potatoes with skin, 100% whole wheat bread and pasta, Grapefruit, Apples, Bananas, Blueberries, Cantaloupe

Pre-Meet Breakfast

Eating breakfast kick-starts your metabolism and helps your body prepare for the day. Eat something light and easily digestible such as cereal, oatmeal, banana, toast, fresh fruit or yogurt. If you have very little appetite in the morning, look into fruit smoothies, they are packed with the vitamins and minerals you need for the meet and are easy to digest.

Snacks for Meets and Practice

One to two hours before, swimmers should start up with a light snack such as fresh fruit or a sports bar. Swimmers should make sure to eat and drink between events to aid in recovery and to ward off dehydration. 

If the swimmer has less than one hour between events, the snack should be light and easy to digest. Sport Dietitians of Australia recommends juice, yogurt pouches and small pieces of fresh fruit.

If a swimmer has more than one to two hours between races, they can fuel with the following: pasta, sandwiches (whole grain or whole wheat bread and organic meat) or sushi. Be sure not to over eat. Small meals are the best.

After Meets and Practice

Carbs: fruit smoothies, yogurt fruit cup, fresh fruit or toast and jelly (or peanut butter with bananas).

Proteins: whole wheat pita and hummus, white meat sandwich, chocolate milk (protein and calcium to strengthen bones and feed amino acids in the muscles), tuna salad, eggs, nuts, edamame, smoothie with dairy and omelets or fried eggs on toast.



BASC and Nutrition in Conclusion -

These are some guidelines to help stay on top of your nutrition and get the most out of your practices and races. If you don't come in refueled and ready for the day it'll be that much harder to improve. These guidelines are not strict, so feel free to find your own resources and have them sent in to be checked by a coach!



Other Resources -

Other resources for those who are looking for more.

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Citations -

2018, B. (2018, July 10). The Big Deal About a Swimmer's Nutrition. Retrieved November 13, 2020, from https://www.swimmingworldmagazine.com/news/the-big-deal-about-a-swimmers-nutrition/

Nutrition: What Men and Women Should Be Doing Differently. (2020, August 28). Retrieved November 18, 2020, from https://swimswam.com/nutrition-what-men-and-women-should-be-doing-differently