View Full Version : Swimming

12-03-2004, 08:17 PM
The pre-event meal

The pre-event meal serves two main purposes: first, to prevent you from feeling hungry before or during the event, and second, to help supply fuel to the muscles during competition. Still, most of the energy needed for any sports event is provided by what you have eaten during the week prior. The best plan is to eat foods that contain lots of carbohydrates, low to moderate amounts of protein, and even less fat. Keep in mind the following guidelines:

High-fat and high-protein foods take longer to digest than carbohydrate foods and if eaten a few hours before exercising, can contribute to nausea and vomiting.
To have a relatively empty stomach while exercising or competing, you should eat no sooner than one to four hours before practice or competition.
Eating sugary foods such as candy and honey right before you swim does not provide quick energy.

Eating Before Competition

1-2 Hours Before:

Fruit or vegetable juice
Fresh fruit (low fibre e.g. plums, melons, peaches)

2-3 Hours Before:

Fruit or vegetable juice
Fresh fruit
Breads, bagels, English muffins(no margarine or cream cheese)

3-4 Hours Before:

Fruit or vegetable juice
Fresh fruit
Breads, bagels, English muffins
Peanut butter, lean meat, low-fat cheese
Low-fat yoghurt
Baked potato
Cereal with low-fat milk
Pasta with tomato sauce

All day meets

What about meets that last all day? Swim meets can last for several hours and continue for two to three days. Here are a few tips to prepare for all-day events:

With less than one hour between events, swimmers should consume easy to digest, high-carbohydrate foods like fruit juices, bananas, crackers, plain toast, or Gatorade, and limit the amount of food.

What about fluids?

Even though you may be surrounded by water you still may become dehydrated, especially during hot weather or when swimming in hot, stuffy, indoor pools. Dehydration of as little as two percent of body weight can hamper performance. Unfortunately, thirst is not a good indicator of how much fluid a swimmer needs. To prevent dehydration, you must drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after a workout or competition. Research has shown that consuming carbohydrates along with fluid can help maintain performance during training sessions. A properly formulated sports drink provides fluid and will be a more convenient way of getting carbohydrates without eating solid foods. Here are some hydration tips:

Weigh in before and after training and drink at least two cups of fluid for every pound of weight lost.

Keep a fluid bottle by the side of the pool when working out and drink between repeats and sets.

Choose sports drinks like Gatorade that taste good, stimulate fluid absorption in the body, maintain proper fluid balance in the body, and provide energy to working muscles.

Avoid carbonated drinks, which can cause stomach bloating and may reduce fluid intake.

Avoid caffeinated beverages, they actually cause fluid loss.

It may sound kind of gross, but finally, check the colour of your urine. Dark coloured urine may indicate you are dehydrated and need to drink fluids.

Post-event meals:

Studies show that swimmers who consume 70 grams of carbohydrates, (which could be a large bagel or a banana and some fruit juice) within 30 minutes after exercising, and another 75-100 grams every two to four hours thereafter will restore their muscle energy levels before the next practice or day of the meet. Swimmers who don't do this will be pretty depleted or tired by the end of a long meet or a week of practices. You should think of your body as a car and the food as fuel. If you put the wrong fuel in the engine of the car, you won't swim as fast as you would if you followed these basic tips for good nutrition.


Hope the above information will help with your swimming!