Nutritional Guidelines for Swimmers

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					                                                Nutritional Guidelines for
                                                                     By Ernest W. Maglischo, Ph.D.
                                                                           Men’s Swim Coach
                                                                        Arizona State University

CARBOHYDRATES, FATS &                        intake through the use of dairy products      glycogen in any one session so that
PROTEINS                                     and nuts should not be a concern              they can swim more intensely more
These nutrients provide energy for mus-      because these athletes are not eating         often during each week. The carbohy-
cular contraction, and chemical compo -      red meats, a common source of dietary         drate content of these sports drinks
nents for the development of body tis-       fat.                                          should be between 6% to 7% (14-15g/8
sues. Carbohydrates are the preferred                                                      oz.) of the total volume. Sports drinks
                                             VITAMINS AND MINERALS                         should be administered in amounts of 4
fuel for exercise because they are
metabolized rapidly.                         Swimmers in training, may need more           to 8 ounces every 20 minutes.
                                             than the recommended daily allowances
Fats are good sources of energy for          of certain vitamins and minerals.             PRE-MEET MEAL
extended endurance training, but pro -       However, their large caloric intakes will     Contrary to popular belief, the pre-meet
vide very little energy during high-inten-   usually supply the extra vitamins and         meal does not generally provide very
sity training because they are metabo-       minerals they need. Nevertheless, as a        much energy for competition. That
lized slowly. The primary purpose of         safeguard it may be wise to take a multi-     energy should already be stored in the
proteins is to repair and build muscle       vitamin/mineral supplement daily.             muscles from carbohydrate-rich meals
tissue, but they can also supply small                                                     eaten during the previous 2 to 3 days.
amounts of energy for muscular               Female swimmers are especially sus-           If the muscles contain insufficient
contraction.                                 ceptible to deficiencies of iron and calci-   amounts of energy, the endurance
                                             um. They can increase their calcium           swimmer will probably not perform very
Swimmers can easily expend between           intake with skim or low fat milk, yogurt,
2000 to 5000 calories daily during work-                                                   well even if the pre-meet meal is high in
                                             cheese, sardines. Good sources of iron        carbohydrates.
outs, depending upon their age, gender,      are lean meats, raisins, poultry, beans,
size and hours spent in training.            whole grains, breads & cereals.               The pre-meet meal should consist of
Between 1500 and 2400 calories in the                                                      500 to 1000 calories. Most of those
daily diet should be made up of carbo-       FLUIDS                                        calories should come from easily digest-
hydrates (400 to 600 grams). Carbo-                                                        ed carbohydrates. The meal should be
hydrates should account for 55% to 65%       Swimmers can lose more then three
                                             liters (about 3 quarts) of fluid each day     eaten two to four hours before competi-
of the total calories that swimmers                                                        tion to allow time for it to be digested
consume every day.                           through breathing, urination, and sweat -
                                             ing; yes swimmers do sweat during             and leave the stomach. Swimmers
Since carbohydrates generally provide        training. Therefore, it is important for      should avoid any heavily spiced foods
only 46% of the calories in the typical      swimmers to consume adequate                  that might cause nausea, or large
American diet, most swimmers should          amounts of fluid daily. An athlete’s body     amounts of fats and proteins.
increase their consumption of high-          weight can be an excellent guide to           Carbohydrate loading before important
carbohydrate foods such as breads,           his/her fluid replacement needs. If the       competitions is really not necessary.
cereals, pasta, potatoes, corn, rice,        fluid intake is sufficient, the normal body   Swimmers can elevate their muscle
beans, peas, apples, bananas, dates,         weight lost in one training session will      glycogen levels to greater than normal
grapes, oranges and milk.                    be replaced by the next training session.     levels by reducing their training volume
                                             A good rule of thumb is to drink 2-8 oz.      for two or more days prior to competi-
Fats make up about 38% of the daily          glasses of fluid for every pound of
calories in the typical American diet,                                                     tion, and making sure they eat high-
                                             weight that is lost.                          carbohydrate meals.
which is close to twice the amount
needed for health and performance.           SNACKS
Consequently, most swimmers would do                                                           Ernest Maglischo, Ph.D., is the Men’s
well to reduce their fat calories by con-    Swimmers who tend to lose weight easi-          swim coach at Arizona State University,
suming fewer amounts of eggs, cheese,        ly should eat a mid-morning and mid-            and a former member of the GSSI
                                             afternoon snack in addition to normal           Education Advisory Board. Dr. Maglischo
butter, fried foods, nuts, saturated salad                                                   has previously coached 12 NCAADivision
oils, gravy, and fatty meats. Skim or low    meals at breakfast, lunch and dinner.
                                             These snacks should consist of 500-600          II or Division III National Championships
fat milk should also be substituted for                                                      and he was chosen NCAA Division II
whole milk.                                  calories of nutritious carbohydrate-rich        SwimmingCoach of the Year five times
                                             foods. Carbohydrates help to maintain           between 1980 and 1990.
Most swimmers consume approximately          blood sugar (glucose) levels during
two grams of protein per kilogram of         training and provide a rapid source of
body weight per day, which is more than      muscle glycogen replacement after
enough to meet the protein require-          training.                                     The Coaches’ Corner is a service of the
ments of the most active athlete. On                                                       Gatorade Sports Science Institute ®.
the other hand, vegetarian athletes are      Ingesting sports drinks during training       For more information, contact:
sometimes at risk of inadequate protein      sessions can also help maintain blood
                                             sugar at a high level. By doing so, more      Gatorade Sports Science Institute ®
intake. Vegetarians are advised to                                                         617 West Main Street
increase their intake of dairy products      carbohydrate is made available to the
                                             muscles during training. Consequently,        Barrington, Illinois 60010
and/or nuts and soy products to make                                                       800-616-GSSI (4774)
certain they ingest enough high-quality      athletes can train more intensely, partic-
protein each day. Increasing the fat         ularly during the latter stages of a work-
                                             out. They may also use less muscle  

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