FOOD AND NUTRITION FOR SWIMMERS

OBJECTIVE:

To provide basic information on how proper eating and hydration can improve health and swimming performance.

BASIC NUTRIENTS:

Carbohydrates, Fat and Protein supply energy (or calories). They are the energy or fuel source for your body, just as gasoline is the fuel for cars.

Carbohydrates:

Your body needs glucose for energy. The main source of glucose is the carbohydrate - sugars and starches - in your diet. If you do not have sufficient carbohydrates in your diet you will not be able to train as hard or as long and fatigue (tiredness) will set in. Any foods consisting of Carbohydrates can be digested quicker than other foods.

Fat:

Fat is also an energy source for swimmers, but it takes 20-30 minutes from the time an athlete starts to exercise until enough fat is available to be of much help during exercise. Cakes, pies, French fries, chips and pastries are foods high in fat. Swimmers have no problems in consuming fatty foods. As a matter of fact, they usually consume too much fat and as a result don't eat enough carbohydrates.

Protein:

Protein, found throughout the body, is necessary to build all body cells. It is possible to use protein for energy; however, that is one of its least important functions in the body. Only during starvation or extreme malnutrition does the body use protein as a source of fue.

Vitamin:

Vitamins helps to control the growth of all body tissues. They are also essential for the release of energy in the body. The body cannot make most of the vitamins therefore you must supply these vitamins to your body in what you eat and drink. Vitamins are widely distributed in the foods that make up the typical diet. Most swimmers can obtain all essential vitamins they need by eating a wide variety of foods, from the basic food group which includes meat dairy products, vegetables and grain products.

Food guide pyramid:

Food guide pyramid is an advantageous tool because it emphasizes the high carbohydrate foods: grains, vegetables, fruits, and milks. The consumption of high carbohydrate meals is important for the swimmer because carbohydrates replete muscle glycogen, which is the primary fuel used by swimmers. Without muscle glycogen, the athlete's performance gradually decreases and even an easy workout causes.

Fluid replacement:

It is important for the swimmer to realize that drinking water is very important even one and a half cup of water every 10-15 minutes helps to replace body fluid lost as the swimmer sweats. Many swimmers are unaware that they are sweating as they swim. This means during training and before training a swimmer should.

  • Drink 10-14 cups of water before training.
  • Drink 3-4 cups of water every 15 minutes during the training.
  • Drink 2 cups of water after the training.
Minerals:

Minerals are involved in an endless number of tasks in the body. The major functions of minerals are building cells and controlling body processes. Swimmers who constantly eat inadequate diets may require specific minerals. Important minerals include calcium, iodine, iron and phosphorous.

Do swimmers need to take extra vitamins and minerals?

Although deficiencies of vitamins and minerals can result in poor performance there is no evidence that vitamins and minerals taken in excess of the normal daily requirements will enhance performance.

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