Food for Swimming - Sports Dietitians Australia (SDA)
Getting your race day nutrition right is vital for swimmers but can be slightly confusing at Breakfast is vital for a swimmer as it is the only meal before morning. To succeed in a swim meet, you need training and good nutrition. Eating too much before a meet or eating the wrong thing can harm your performance in the pool. The rest of your diet should consist of lean protein, some unsaturated fats . Eating before a swim can be tough, whether you're training for a competition or putting the How long after eating a meal should I wait before going swimming?.
While it's not easy, once the swimmer gets into the swing of it, the habit becomes routine.
- 5 Race Day Nutrition Tips for Swimmers
- Breakfast and Recovery Strategies for Swimmers
- What to eat during swimming competitions
While the athlete doesn't want to have a full stomach, having a light snack can refuel and hydrate him or her before the workout. Swimmers should pack the foods the night before and then they can grab it and eat it in the car if they are pressed for time in the morning.
Recovery Strategies Once the workout is over, it is very important that swimmers eat a regular breakfast. Most competitive swimmers work out six days a week. To recover from the workout, both fluid and fuel must be available to the body. If the meal can be eaten within 30 minutes after the workout, then the body can start the recovery process faster and be ready by the next practice to provide a quality workout. Carbohydrates are the most efficient source of energy for muscles.
An athlete's diet should consist of approximately 60 percent of total calories from carbohydrates like breads, rice, cereal, pasta, bagels, muffins, fruits and vegetables. Athletes with low-carbohydrate diets cannot easily recover their pre-exercise muscle glycogen levels before their next workout.
Some swimmers are unable to eat after practice due to time constraints, lack of appetite or stomach discomfort. Training diet for swimming Individual nutrition requirements will be determined by training load, specific athlete needs, training goals, body composition goals, health and adjustment for growth in younger athletes.
What to eat before a swim | BBC Good Food
Typically, training sessions are held early in the morning and as a result some swimmers skip breakfast before training for stomach comfort, lack of appetite or to sneak in an extra 10 minutes sleep! Ideally, swimmers should aim to eat breakfast or a light snack prior to training to maximise performance — especially for key training sessions.
Liquid meal drinks or milk tetra packs can be useful for fuelling and stomach comfort, especially when appetite is poor. Nutrition is often based around lean proteins for muscle repair and recovery, carbohydrate appropriately timed for fuel. In addition, fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and wholegrains provide important vitamins and minerals, along with some healthy fats.
However, body fluid needs will depend on individual fluid losses, which vary depending on individual sweat rate. Although it can be difficult to identify sweat loss because of the water-based environment, pool areas especially indoors are often warm and humid which increases fluid losses.
Water bottles should be taken to training and competitions and placed in an easily accessible location to ensure fluids are consumed regularly.
For most training sessions water is sufficient to meet hydration needs.
What to eat before a swim
However, if training for maximum performance, or during very long training sessions, sports drinks can be useful as they provide carbohydrate for fuel and electrolytes and fluid for hydration goals. Fluids mainly water should be sipped regularly in the lead up the first race.
To avoid stomach discomfort foods should be relatively low in fibre and fat. Suitable pre-competition meals include: An eating plan should be developed that fits in with individual competition schedule and includes foods that are familiar. Competition eating should be practiced during training sessions or intra-club lead up competitions before major events to help identify food choices that will suit best. If less than 60 minutes between races — keep options light and easy to digest.