Courtesy of AthleticFoodieTM, a sports performance company that helps athletes unlock their potential
Written by Garrett Weber-Gale
NCAA’s; the most intense and grueling meet of the year. When I swam at NCAA’s I competed in 14 races over three days, with early mornings and late nights. I was dead by the time NCAA’s was over. While the hard work put in during season certainly helps you perform well, and recover after races, it’s nearly impossible not to get broken down. Thoroughly warming down after every session, resting as much as possible (get in some cat naps), stretching, and eating right all help you stay on your game during the championship meet.
At NCAA’s you might not have a lot of control over what you eat. Your only choice could be the one or two things the team serves you. What do you do if Pepperoni Pizza is the only option? Here are a few suggestions:
1. You might not control what you are given to eat, but you can control what you BRING to eat. Pack dried fruit, nutrition bars, a jar of peanut butter and a package of whole wheat bread. Bring carrot sticks or chopped up veggies.
2. Breakfast can be your salvation. Yes, it provides fuel for the day, but it is usually a time where there are more options available. Oatmeal, whole-wheat toast, fruit, yogurt, juice, and nuts are all good options. Be sure to walk out with a banana, an apple, and some oranges. Grab one of those little boxes of cereal; choose Cheerios or Shredded Wheat instead of the sugary stuff. You can eat these “take-aways” later…you’re going to need them.
3. Lunch is critical. Replenish, immediately, after the morning session. Putting down a nutritional base for your next races cannot be overlooked. Don’t make the mistake of not eating the proper food, just so you can get a few extra minutes of a nap. If you skimp on lunch, your body will be at a disadvantage to the competition.
4. You might be absolutely spent after that last relay, and just feel like going to bed. Don’t do it! After a long day of competition, your body needs nutrition more than ever. Have snacks in your bag to eat immediately after your last race. Drink plenty of fluids, including a recovery drink recommended by your nutritionist or coach. Get to the team dinner first, eat first, and get to bed first.
My NCAA experiences were some of the most memorable of my career. They were also some of the toughest. You’re going to be tired at the end of the big meet. You’re going to be physically and emotionally spent. Never let fatigue get in the way of taking care of what your body needs. How you feel and how you perform, particularly at the biggest competitions, is based on how well you eat.
AthleticFoodieTM is a sports performance company, founded by Olympic Gold Medalist Garrett Weber-Gale, which makes snacks that are specifically designed to help athletes perform. Please visit www.athleticfoodie.com for more information about ordering AthleticFoodie snacks, and getting fuel that will help you swim fast.
About Garrett Weber-Gale, Founder of AthleticFoodieTM
In 2005, Garrett was diagnosed with dangerously high blood pressure, and was almost forced to give up his Olympic dream. Luckily, a small dose of medication, and a total revamp in his diet saved his dream and put the Olympics back in sight. Garrett began to see the direct connection between what he put into his body, and what he could get out of it.
After his diagnosis with high blood pressure, Garrett made it his mission to learn how to make healthy food taste great. He’s traveled the world working in famous restaurant kitchens in Italy, France, Copenhagen, Spain, and New York City. Garrett has taken his knowledge and experience from all over the world, and shared it with others through speeches at the White House, to schools, sports teams, TEDx, universities, TV and radio appearance, cooking classes, authored articles and AthleticFoodie Events.
AthleticFoodieTM is a SwimSwam content partner.