A swimmer’s body needs the right levels of fuel, so you need to plan in advancewhat and when you will eat during meets.
There is an average of 2-3 hours between wake up and the first race, your body is still using energy.
A healthy breakfast an hour before warmup can help you fuel and be ready for early morning swims.
Ideally the pre-meet meal should be eaten 2-4 hours before the first race to allow the food to be digested and leave the stomach.
If there is still food in the stomach when it comes time to race, oxygen-rich blood will be going to the stomach to aid digestion instead of the muscles where it is needed.
The meal should be about 500-1000 calories and should be high in complex carbohydrates and low in fat and protein.
Schedule WHAT and WHEN to eat.
Don’t rely on the pre-meet meal to supply the energy for the meet. The energy that will be used during the races should already be stored in the muscles from nutrient-rich meals eaten during the previous two to three days.
Don’t skip the pre-meet meal even if there is every early start to the meet.
EAT mostly carbohydrates.
Diluted juice (1 part juice, 2 parts water)
“Energy” or sports drinks (i.e.: Gatorade, Red bull, etc.)
DURING THE MEET
Drink plenty of fluids and eat in small amounts
Eat plenty of carbohydrate-rich foods
If there is food in your stomach, blood goes to aiding in digestion rather than supplying the muscles with oxygen.
Meet days are not times to try something new, stick to what your body is familiar with. Always plan ahead and pack nutritious foods that you are familiar with.
Don’t rely on snack bars at swim meets to provide you with food during the meet. They often do not provide very nutritious selections. Stay away from the pizza, nachos, hot dogs, and candy and go for the bagels, vegetables, water, and fruit.
Don’t sacrifice health for convenience
Fruit & fruit Juices (diluted)
Fruit smoothies (small and avoid sugar filled)
Breads, bagels, muffins
Oatmeal in a cup
Sandwiches of turkey or other low-fat meat
If you have less then an hourbetween events, stick to
Diluted fruit juices
Part of a high carbohydrate energy bar
A few low-fat crackers
If you have 2-4 hours between events you can eat something more substantial such as
Processed sugar & caffeine. They will cause the swimmers to crash in energy toward at end of the meet.
Anything that has too much fat, fiber, or protein as these nutrients slow down digestion.
Recovery nutrition is about planning an eating and drinking strategy that helps your body:
Recover from the physical stresses of racing
Prepare for the racing to come. This is also called the REPAIR-PREPARE approach to swim meet eating.
In between races, recovery nutrition is about replenishing energy stores quickly and effectively so that the next race can be completed at maximum speed. To maximize the impact of these “recovery foods” they need to be eaten or drunk as soon as possible after racing, in small amounts! Do not fill yourself up!
Carbohydrates to replace used up energy
Proteins for muscle building and repair.
RECOVERY FOODS GREAT FOR BETWEEN RACES
To speed up recovery after meets, be sure to drink 16 to 24 ounces of fluids such as water or fruit juice before your last race. Also, within a half hour after your last race eat a high-carbohydrate snack with some protein. This will aid in your recovery. Then within two hours of the end of the meet, eat a full balanced meal.
Spaghetti with meat sauce
Bean burritos with rice
Low-fat beef or chicken with potatoes or rice
Fruit & vegetables
RECOMMENDED MEAL SCHEDULE
EARLY MORNING HEATS (8am-10am)
Eat breakfast between 6am-7am– light meal, complex carbohydrates
AFTERNOON HEATS/SEMI-FINALS/FINALS (2pm-4pm)
Eat between 11am-1pmdepending on start time – allow approx 2 hours
Cup of noodles
EVENING HEATS (6pm-9pm)
Eat between 4 pm – 5 pm meal (early dinner) – small quantities