Nutrition for Swimmers

Nutrition is really important for maximising performance and growth.

After talent and effective training, good nutrition is the next most important factor for enhancing training and performance.

Swimmers should eat a variety of foods and a diet which is high in fruit and vegetables and low in fat and sugar.

Loss of fluid and a reduction in carbohydrate stores and two major causes of fatigue in a swimmer.

Carbohydrate produces energy, protein builds and repairs muscles.

Effects of poor nutrition on swimmers:



* Heavy legs

* Can’t keep up

* Tired


* Can usually feel it at back end of a meet

* Feelings of fatigue

* Longer recovery

Effects of fluid loss on swimmers:

* Reduction in muscular strength

* Perception of effort is increased

* Fatigue

* Reduced skill

* Inability to concentrate

Drink before, during and after exercise

Eat to compete

Boosting Carbohydrates for competition:

* Start the day with a bowl of cereal (not sugary) or toast.(wholemeal)

* Porridge with banana and honey

* Wholemeal rice and pasta with tomato based sauce

* Baked beans

* Sweet potato, jacket potato

* Low fat snacks such as dried fruit, malt loaf, bagels, bananas,


Pre event meals and snacks:

* Breakfast cereal with milk

* Porridge with syrup and raisins

* Wholemeal Toast with scraping of honey or jam

* Banana or jam sandwiches

* Muffins, crumpets, pancakes

* Beans on toast

* Jacket potato with low fat filling

The night before competition:

* Rice or pasta with low fat sauce

* Noodle dish

* Beans on toast

* Egg on toast

* Chunky vegetable based soup and sandwich

* Boiled or mashed potato with meat or fish


Between races:

* Diluted squash

* Bananas and raisins

* Energy bars ( check sugar content)

* Plain biscuits

* Rice cakes

* Fruit


The purpose of a recovery snack or drink is to replace the energy that has been used and the sweat that has been lost during a training session.

* Think about the timing of your recovery snack. The sooner you eat after training, the better your recovery will be. You want to be eating within 30 minutes after a training session. Keep food handy in your bags.


* Meals and snacks must be carbohydrate rich, with a little bit of protein. The protein will help you to recover quicker. Protein is used to build and repair muscles.


* Chicken salad sandwich

* Peanut butter sandwich

* Egg sandwich

* Bagel

* Yogurt

* Fruit

* Dried fruit, nuts and seeds

* Low fat cereal bar


* Make sure that you drink plenty of fluids to avoid becoming dehydrated. It is important that you are replacing the water lost by sweating in training.

* Water

* Squash

* Fruit juice

A healthy balanced diet rich in carbohydrates with vegetable and fruit will help to keep you healthy and in form.

There is no point in training hard if you do not follow the guidelines.

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