Diving Deep: 10 Diet Myths for Swimmers Busted


Diving Deep: 10 Diet Myths for Swimmers Busted

By: Natalia Diamond, reviewed by James Richardson, registered dietitian and sports activities nutritionist


Earlier than we bust numerous widespread diet myths for swimmers, we really feel a preamble is important.

Diving into the world of swimming calls for dedication, lengthy hours and plenty of very early mornings. It’s additionally plain that correct fuelling is essential for swimmers. Regardless of this reality, many swimmers fail to satisfy and prioritize their dietary wants.

A latest examine involving feminine collegiate swimmers discovered that 95.9% fell wanting assembly the beneficial dietary allowances (RDA) for carbohydrates, protein and fats. It is very important spotlight that the RDA is simply the baseline well being requirement. It doesn’t even think about the extra vitality and dietary wants of athletes like swimmers. Having insufficient diet for an athlete not solely negatively impacts efficiency when it comes to fatigue, restoration, and maximal capability but in addition will increase the chance of sickness and harm.

On this planet of aggressive swimming, the place each stroke and switch counts, correct diet isn’t just vital, it’s essential for peak efficiency and optimum restoration. But, regardless of its significance, many nonetheless fall sufferer to widespread diet myths for swimmers. 

Due to this fact, on this publish, we’ll dive deep into the pool of misinformation and bust 10 prevalent myths that could be hindering your swimming efficiency.

Let’s leap in and uncover the reality.

Diet Myths for Swimmers:

Delusion 1: Exercising on an empty abdomen is superior and skipping pre-workout meals is okay

This can be a comparatively widespread diet fantasy for swimmers.

Fuelling up earlier than a exercise is essential, not just for peak efficiency throughout apply but in addition for optimum restoration afterward. It’s beneficial to have a pre-workout meal 3-4 hours previous to your coaching session, together with smaller, simply digestible snacks 1-2 hours earlier than.

When planning your pre-workout meal, think about these three key elements:

1. Prioritize Carbohydrates

Ensuring you’ve a adequate quantity of carbohydrates earlier than your exercise ensures your vitality shops are absolutely stocked in your muscular tissues and liver. This lets you push your self to the max, particularly throughout high-intensity workout routines.

Goal to eat 1-4 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of your physique weight in your pre-workout meal.

What would this appear like?

For a 70 kg athlete (154 lbs.), this is able to translate to roughly 70-140 grams of carbohydrates.

Instance: 2 slices of entire wheat bread with peanut butter present round 60 grams of carbohydrates, whereas 1 cup of oatmeal with fruits provides one other 60 grams.

2. Embody Protein

Analysis has proven that consuming protein earlier than train can increase muscle protein synthesis and forestall muscle breakdown in comparison with having a pre-exercise meal missing in protein. Goal for 20-25 grams of high-quality protein.

3. Restrict Fibre and Fats Consumption

Meals which are excessive in fats and fibre can result in bloating, gasoline and an upset abdomen, which is much from perfect earlier than or throughout a coaching session.

Nonetheless, it’s vital to notice that tolerance ranges range amongst athletes based mostly on their regular dietary consumption. Some athletes might deal with these vitamins higher and will regulate accordingly.

Tip: As a result of it’s not all the time attainable for a lot of athletes to get a full meal in 2-4 hours earlier than coaching, be sure you have a pre-workout snack (easy carbohydrates with some protein).


Delusion 2: All athletes require the identical quantity of carbohydrates

That is one other prevalent diet fantasy for swimmers.

Carbohydrates play a elementary function in an athlete’s weight-reduction plan, serving as the first supply of vitality for each muscular tissues and the mind. It’s no secret that low carbohydrate consumption can result in opposed results for athletes. This consists of fatigue, diminished focus, impaired coaching adaptation and an elevated threat of harm.

One widespread false impression is that carbohydrate wants are uniform throughout all athletes or stay static inside every particular person.

Carbohydrate consumption, nevertheless, ought to fluctuate based mostly on the vitality calls for of coaching. Put merely, as coaching depth will increase, so ought to carbohydrate consumption.

Moreover, it’s essential to grasp that carbohydrate wants are extremely customized. They’re influenced by elements resembling gender, coaching quantity and depth, vitality expenditure, sort of train and environmental circumstances.

Whereas analysis means that athletes ought to intention for consuming 6-10 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of physique weight on common, it’s important for athletes to fine-tune their carbohydrate consumption to go well with their distinctive circumstances and optimize efficiency.

The Worldwide Olympic Committee (IOC) outlines carbohydrate consumption outlined by coaching load:

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) outlines carbohydrate intake defined by training load

Chart courtesy of The Worldwide Olympic Committee (IOC)


Delusion 3: Protein serves as a gasoline supply for working muscular tissues

No swimmer’s diet myths checklist can be full with out this one.

Protein holds a significant place in an athlete’s weight-reduction plan, however not as a major gasoline supply. Its major operate lies in being the important constructing block for our our bodies, aiding within the restore and synthesis of tissues, resembling muscular tissues.

When you’ve got an sufficient consumption of carbohydrates, your physique will use nearly all of your protein consumption in the direction of constructing and repairing tissue (protein-sparing impact).

If you’re following a low-carb weight-reduction plan, nevertheless, your physique is much extra doubtless to make use of these proteins for vitality. That is much less optimum for athletes.


Delusion 4: Athletes require extraordinarily excessive ranges of protein

A prevalent false impression relating to protein consumption is the assumption that athletes want it excessively excessive quantities.

Whereas adequate protein consumption is essential, the effectivity of protein utilization really will increase with excessive coaching volumes.

Educated people, like swimmers, can derive larger advantages from the identical quantity of protein. There is no such thing as a proof supporting the notion of elevated protein necessities for athletes so long as they meet their vitality wants. Any extra protein is solely excreted, reasonably than utilized.

So, how a lot protein do you really want?

Research counsel that athletes ought to intention to eat roughly 20-40 grams of high-quality protein per meal. That is equal to 0.25-0.4 grams of protein per kilogram of physique weight ( or 1.5-2g/kg BW per day).

These meals needs to be spaced out each 3-4 hours all through the day to maximise your muscle protein synthesis charges.

When it comes to your post-workout meals, athletes ought to intention to eat a post-exercise meal containing at the least 20-25 grams of high-quality protein inside an hour after their exercise, alongside carbohydrates.

Research point out that post-workout meals containing each carbohydrates and protein supply probably the most optimum results on vitality storage and muscle restoration in comparison with meals with solely protein or carbohydrates.


Delusion 5: Carb-loading earlier than a race is an outdated and ineffective method

One of many extra widespread diet myths for swimmers pertains to carb–loading.

Ensuring you’re correctly fuelled earlier than a contest is paramount in sports activities efficiency.

Whereas some might view carb-loading as an antiquated methodology, it stays an efficient method for gearing up earlier than a contest.

Carb-loading includes tremendous compensating glycogen shops, guaranteeing ample gasoline to carry out at peak ranges throughout the occasion. Glycogen shops are only a fancy method of claiming your physique’s vitality shops.

If you eat extra vitality (within the type of carbohydrates) than your physique wants instantly, it shops this extra vitality in your muscular tissues and liver for later use.

Unquestionably, optimizing glycogen shops earlier than a contest is essential to keep away from relying solely on carbohydrates throughout the occasion, which may result in efficiency declines and fatigue.

What’s extra, carb-loading is especially helpful for athletes engaged in occasions lasting longer than 90 minutes.

For efficient carb-loading, intention for a carbohydrate consumption of 9-12 grams per kilogram of physique weight per day within the 24-48 hours main as much as the occasion.


Delusion 6: Skipping breakfast earlier than morning apply is okay

This needs to be one of many extra prevalent diet myths for swimmers. Little doubt.

Early morning exercises are a trademark of swimming. That stated, many swimmers discover themselves skipping breakfast as a consequence of lack of urge for food at such an early hour.

This behavior, nevertheless, could be counterproductive, resulting in early fatigue and compromised restoration.

Analysis signifies that consuming as little as 30 grams of simply digestible carbohydrates earlier than a morning coaching session can considerably improve efficiency. This may very well be so simple as consuming a single banana, which incorporates roughly 31 grams of carbohydrates.

Consequently, fuelling up even with a small snack earlier than morning apply could make an enormous distinction in your efficiency.

Tip: Make certain to have a extra full well-rounded breakfast or meal following the apply, as soon as your urge for food returns.facilitating the absorption of fat-soluble nutritional vitamins (A, D, E, Okay).


Delusion 7: Fats is unhealthy, and a low-fat weight-reduction plan is right for athletes

This isn’t solely a standard diet fantasy for swimmers, but in addition a standard diet fantasy, interval.

Regardless of the detrimental portrayal of fats within the media, it’s really a vital part of a nutritious diet, particularly for younger, energetic athletes.

Fatty acids function the first vitality supply for low to reasonable depth and extended workout routines.

Past vitality provision, fat play important roles in regulating hormones, sustaining nerve operate, controlling physique temperature, supporting immune operate and facilitating the absorption of fat-soluble nutritional vitamins (A, D, E, Okay).

In response to the Dietitians of Canada Diet and Athletic Efficiency tips, roughly 20-25% of an athlete’s complete vitality consumption ought to come from numerous sources of fat, together with each animal and plant-based choices.

Inside this consumption, prioritizing wholesome fat resembling mono- and polyunsaturated fat is beneficial.

Moreover, incorporating sources wealthy in omega-3 fatty acids, together with EPA, DHA, and ALA, is useful. Some proof even means that EPA and DHA might cut back muscle soreness and improve endurance capability.

To this finish, reasonably than hating on fat, athletes ought to deal with together with a various vary of wholesome fat of their diets to help optimum efficiency and general well being.


Delusion 8: Since I’m within the water, I don’t sweat

Let’s take a more in-depth have a look at this swimmer’s diet fantasy.

Whereas it’s true that swimmers might not sweat as visibly as athletes who participate in different sports activities, they nonetheless lose a big quantity of fluid by means of sweating. That is very true in hotter water temperatures.

Indisputably, steady hydration is essential for sustaining efficiency and supporting restoration.

Making certain correct hydration earlier than and through apply is important for swimmers.

Whereas the normal strategy is to drink when thirsty, relying solely on thirst will not be adequate for athletes.

Associated: The significance of consuming water

New suggestions counsel that athletes develop a customized fluid plan to make sure sufficient hydration. A normal guideline is to drink at a charge that replaces the fluid misplaced by means of sweat throughout train.

After train, it’s vital to deal with replenishing misplaced fluids. This sometimes includes consuming 1.2-1.5 litres of fluid for each kilogram of weight misplaced throughout train.

Moreover, replenishing electrolytes misplaced by means of sweating, resembling sodium and potassium, is required as effectively. By prioritizing hydration earlier than, throughout, and after coaching periods, swimmers can optimize their efficiency and restoration.


Delusion 9: I don’t must eat throughout a exercise since I eat earlier than and after

Though this can be a much less widespread swimmer’s diet fantasy, it’s one which warrants a deeper dive.

Opposite to widespread perception, analysis suggests in any other case.

Quite a few research have demonstrated that consuming gasoline throughout coaching can considerably improve efficiency. This consists of advantages resembling sustaining an optimum tempo, spending extra time at increased intensities and sustaining abilities and focus all through the exercise.

Associated: How one can Enhance Power

Latest suggestions spotlight the significance of adjusting carbohydrate fuelling methods based mostly on the period and depth of the exercise. It’s suggested to refuel throughout workout routines lasting longer than an hour. Throughout this time, the main focus needs to be on consuming simply digestible carbohydrates together with fluids. This could embody choices resembling sports activities drinks, vitality gels, gummies, and fruits resembling dates, apricots, bananas and applesauce.

The Worldwide Olympic Committee (IOC) gives normal suggestions for carbohydrate consumption throughout train:

  • For periods lasting 45 minutes to 75 minutes at sustained excessive depth, small quantities of carbohydrates (e.g., mouth rinse) are beneficial.
  • For endurance actions lasting 1 to 2.5 hours, together with intermittent stops and begins, 30-60 grams of carbohydrates per hour are suggested.
  • For ultra-endurance actions lasting over 2.5 hours, consumption of as much as 90 grams of carbohydrates per hour is beneficial.

By incorporating fuelling methods throughout exercises, athletes can optimize their efficiency and endurance ranges.


Delusion 10: I must take dietary supplements to carry out effectively

Unquestionably, this can be a diet fantasy for swimmers (and different athletes) that we really feel we should tackle.

The usage of dietary supplements is a extremely debated matter within the diet world. Whereas it’s extensively believed that athletes can meet their dietary wants by means of a balanced and diversified weight-reduction plan, we acknowledge that this can be more difficult for some people.

It’s essential to acknowledge that each athlete’s dietary necessities are distinctive, and they need to rigorously think about the dangers and advantages of dietary supplements earlier than incorporating them into their routine.

There’s a huge array of dietary supplements in the marketplace, starting from these aimed toward stopping deficiencies to these promising to boost vitality, efficiency and restoration.

Potential drawbacks to dietary supplements

Whereas some dietary supplements might supply advantages to athletes, others might doubtlessly hurt their well being, efficiency, and even their repute, particularly in the event that they end in an anti-doping rule violation.

Quite a few research have revealed that many complement merchandise don’t comprise the substances they declare are there. Some might even comprise undisclosed substances that may very well be dangerous or prohibited beneath anti-doping laws.

Due to this fact, it’s important for athletes to hunt professional skilled recommendation or help earlier than beginning any complement routine.

To help athletes in making knowledgeable selections about dietary supplements, the Worldwide Olympic Committee (IOC) has developed a flowchart to information them by means of the method. This device may help athletes navigate the complicated panorama of dietary supplements and make decisions that align with their well being, efficiency and moral concerns.


Diet Myths for Swimmers Ultimate Phrases

There you’ve it, an inventory of the most typical diet myths for swimmers. When you really feel we missed an vital fantasy or false impression, please be at liberty to tell us.



When you’re involved in partaking our nutritionist who works with endurance athletes resembling swimmers, ebook a free session or contact us for an appointment, and we are going to gladly assist.


Different Associated & Fashionable Posts:

How one can Construct Muscle and Lose Fats

Pre-Exercise Diet

Diet Myths and Information

Diet Myths for Endurance Athletes

Power Coaching Weight loss program Diet Myths



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