Courtesy of P2 Life, a SwimSwam partner.
Some athletes don’t consider nutrition as a part of training, but it is one of the most important building blocks in your swim training and can greatly impact your performance. Paying attention to what you eat, and when, could take you from amateur to elite status with some focus on what’s on your plate. Dedicate a little time to planning healthy meals and snacks with these three secrets.
1. Proper Mix of Carbs & Protein
First of all, yes you need both, but in the proper ratio for your gender and training goals. Let’s talk about carbohydrates first, since they tend to get a bad rap out there in the popular media. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the American College of Sports Medicine and the Dietitians of Canada all agree that carbohydrates should make up the majority of calories in an athlete’s diet, recommending 6 to 10 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight for swimmers. When eating carbs, stick with complex carbohydrates. Some good sources are lentils, brown rice, oats, and fruit.
Protein is just as important for proper swimming nutrition as carbs, but in the right proportion. Strive for about 3-4 servings of carbs for every 1 serving of protein. Get your protein from sources that contain high biological value protein. This is protein, which contains all of the essential amino acids that we need to improve muscle repair after a workout. Whole eggs, fish, beef, and soy beans are great sources for this nutrient that swimmers need to perform at top levels. Milk also is a great choice as it contains whey and casein, both of which have a very high biological value protein.
Definitely don’t train on an empty stomach; you’ll be putting your body through undue stress and your performance will suffer. This is where smart snacking comes in, so be prepared and have a few of these in your gym bag to munch on an hour or so before practice. Carry some fruit with you or enjoy your favorite protein powder and mix that with water or chocolate milk for an easy pre-workout snack. What about after practice or a competition? It’s just as important to have something afterwards to help your body recover, repair, and to replenish. This step is especially important for swimmers who train daily or compete in several events over the course of a day(s) during a meet.
A good post-workout snack has carbohydrates to replenish muscle glycogen and a small amount of protein to aid in muscle repair. Some healthy ones are your favorite nut butter on whole grain toast, or a whole wheat pita with tuna salad. For more ideas on snacking and when to eat them, take a look at our blog post on the importance of Timing Your Snacks. (URL: http://blog.p2life.com/snacks-for-swimmers-timing-is-important-outside-of-the-pool-too)
3. Nutritious Meal Before Bedtime
This is probably the most overlooked and most important time regarding recovery and nutrition. Let’s think about it on a logical level. The whole reason why we need to sleep is to allow our bodies to recover for the next day. So given that known fact, doesn’t it make sense to give your body all the nutrients it needs so that it can recover and prepare for the next day? This is especially true for growing athletes who not only need to repair and prepare for the next day but who also need extra nutrients to grow. So typically what you are looking for is a nutritious meal, ideally with all the vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats and carbs the body needs to recover and grow. You also want something that is low on the calorie side because we don’t want any excess calories to be converted into fat while you sleep. If you are serious about recovery take a look at some sort of nutritious snack before bedtime. We created the Nutriboost Shake for this reason. It is the perfect bedtime meal since it provides your body with a lot of the right proteins, fats, carbs and has a lot of vitamins and minerals in it. It is also tested to be free of banned or illegal substances. So consider bedtime as one of the most important times of the day nutritionally and allow your body to recover and perform at its best.
So take a little time to invest in your nutrition plan. Your body will feel better, and your swim performance will definitely improve!
P2Life is family owned, performance-based, nutritional supplement company that was designed for swimmers, by swimmers, to protect health and promote performance. P2Life takes great care in ensuring that every batch of their performance line is tested to be free of banned and illegal substances. Even though P2Life products were the preferred choice for over 40% of the USA Men’s Olympic Swim team during the London Olympics, it is not just for Olympians. It is also the preferred choice for the top high school, collegiate and masters swimmers across the globe.
P2Life was founded by Tim Shead, a Masters Swimming Hall of Fame Inductee and 42x World Record Holder, and co-founded by Michael Shead, who was a national water polo player. Tim’s expertise in swimming and years of experience and knowledge working with nutritional products, combined with Michael’s love of innovation and technical background, has enabled the P2Life team to create a technologically savvy company that is dedicated to furthering athletic potential. P2Life has a strong e-commerce platform, which allows them to spend less time and funds on retail stores, and dedicate more time to the swimming community.
A Proven Track Record:
- Over 40% of the USA Men’s Olympic Swim Team were taking P2Life products during the London Olympics. The athletes brought back 12 medals, seven of which were gold.
- P2Life Masters Swimmers have over 700 World Records to their name.
- Michael Andrew, age group phenomenon, has been taking P2Life products since 2012. He now has over 75 NAG’s to his name.
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2. “Nutrition for Swimming”, International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 2014.
3. “Top 5 Recovery Snacks For Swimmers”, www.USASwimming.org, 2013.
4. Hoffman, J. R., Falvo., M. J., “Protein – Which is Best?” International Society of Sports Nutrition Symposium, June 18-19, 2005, Las Vegas, NV, USA – Symposium- Macronutrient Utilization During Exercise: Implications for Performance And Supplementation. J Sports Sci Med. 2004 Sep; 3(3):118=130. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3905294/
5. Vintro, A. Q., “Defining and Timing Healthy Snacks,” NCAA Sports Science Institute. 2015. http://www.ncaa.org/health-and-safety/sport-science-institute/defining-and-timing-healthy-snacks
6. “Dattilo, M., Antunes, H.K., Medeiros, A. et al. “Sleep and muscle recovery: endocrinological and molecular basis for a new and promising hypothesis.” MEd Hypotheses. 2011 Aug; 77(2). doi: 10.1016/mehy. 2011.04.017.