The Swimmer's Diet

We now have masses of scientific information which tells us that athletic performance is closely linked to diet. In other words, the more healthily you eat, the better you are going to swim!

Peggy's Nutrition Manual for Swimmers

The nutrition manual for competitive swimmers below has been produced by Swimming Nutritionist Peggy Jameson. In the 1990s, Peggy was Nutrition Advisor to the British Swimming Team. Today, she continues to help many young swimmers get their nutrition on track as part of various ASA talent programmes. She also acts as Nutrition Advisor for Ealing SC. The below manual was produced for the 2012 West London Beacon Programme (part of the wider England Talent Development Programme) and Peggy has kindly agreed to make the document available to ESS for all our swimmers to benefit. The manual comprises of 9 sections:


Fish Fuel - a Quick Guide to the Swimmer's Good Nutrition

In order to be able to train hard and swim fast at competition, you need to eat a well balanced diet consisting of 50-60% carbohydrate (eg. pasta, potatoes, beans, cereals, bread, etc) 10-15% protein (meat, fish, eggs and soya substitutes, etc) and 25-30% fat (concentrating more on vegetable and fish oils rather than dairy produce - fish like salmon, tuna and mackerel are among the best oily fish to eat and things like olives, avocados and nuts provide useful fats). Also, guard against dehydration. Pre-hydrate before you come to training and drink the contents of your water bottle during the session and re-hydrate afterwards. As a rough guide, you should be drinking 6-8 glasses of water (rather than fizzy drinks) a day. Not only will this help you train, it will also help you concentrate better at school and work.

Eat FIVE portions of fruit and/or vegetables a day. Remember that half a tin of baked beans counts as one portion. The vitamins contained in these foods not only help make and keep you healthy but assist your body in producing the energy you need for training and competition.

The most efficient source of energy comes from carbohydrate but needs to be eaten well in advance of training and competition to be effective. The easiest way of doing this is to eat regular meals and to plan your meals in such a way that you are not swimming on a full stomach. Imagine the sugar contained in sweets and fizzy drinks like a firework. There is a big bang (ie. energy) and then nothing soon after. Carbohydrates are more like a lump of coal which burns more slowly (also providing energy) but does this over a longer period of time. In other words, a bowl of pasta eaten the evening before a gala will have a longer lasting effect than a chocolate bar in the morning.

Begin reloading your carbohydrate stores after training in preparation for the next session. Eating a tuna sandwich and an apple within fifteen minutes after your training session would be ideal and will be a lot better than a bar of chocolate.

You need to plan your eating during a gala as getting it wrong could be costly in terms of your performance. Have something like a bowl of cereal and some fruit for breakfast. Make sure that you get up early enough to be able to eat breakfast and do not be tempted to eat nothing. For lunch some pasta and tinned fruit (preferably not at the same time!) is a good idea. Try to eat as soon as the lunch break starts rather than at the end just before the afternoon warm up. Most important, do not eat too much as this will leave you feeling sluggish. It is much better if you snack during the day between races (without overdoing it) rather than just the one meal at lunch time. For snacks, bananas and cashew nuts are an ideal and tasty combination and will do you a lot more good than chocolate bars! Potassium intake is important when competing.

To find out more about nutrition, visit the BBC website where you can learn how to avoid dehydration, what to eat and when to eat. It works for the top swimmers so why not give it a try yourself!


(Article extracted from Stirling Amateur SC website)

The Importance of Rehydration

Just like any other form of intense exercise, intense swimming training in the steamy environment of a heated indoor pool leads to sweat loss. Of course sweating in swimming is not obvious to an already wet athlete! This is why remembering to rehydrate regularly before, during and after training is even more important in swimming. Smart swimmers bring drink bottles to the poolside and drink during rest periods or between sets. Your drinks bottle should be part of your kit, just like your goggles are!

Sports drinks provide an additional fuel supply for long training sessions. For swimmers who train for longer, sometimes multiple daily sessions, or who double up "swim & gym", ESS are able to offer a carbohydrate sports drink supplied by ALLSPORTS, a sports nutrition company based in Yorkshire. Basic Training Fuel (BTF) is being offered by the club in 5kg tubs @ £25.00. The drink comes in powdered form, is neutral flavoured (so you can add your favourite squash). We sell at retail prices but when you buy from us a percentage goes to the Club to help with running costs.

1kg makes approximately 35 x 750ml bottles - about 35p per drink (possibly less than a third of what you may be paying for some ready mixed brands which will include the cost of bottles and packaging).

To order your Basic Training Fuel, contact Vicki McCarthy.