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The Importance of Proper Hydration and Nutrition

What kind of things should I be eating in order to help me have more energy during practice or a competition? This question is something that most coaches face. Keeping your body hydrated throughout the day and during practice is necessary for overall health and athletic performance. An athlete needs to stay hydrated throughout the day, this includes during workouts, and especially after a workout has concluded.

During the day an athlete needs to stay hydrated. Most athletes and parents look to water as the main source for hydration. Don’t forget, real fruit juice, milk, and even eating soups can support the hydration process. Sports drinks tend to be a popular choice both before and during a workout, but they contain large amounts of sugar. Be weary when we reach for a Gatorade or Powerade to lead the hydration process.

During your workout, all athletes need to keep hydrated. This is something that can happen very easily by drinking a few sips of water every few minutes. If we wait to drink when we are thirsty, it’s just too late. The water drinking shouldn’t stop when we get out of the water at the conclusion of the day’s workout, continuing to drink water after practice will ensure that the body is rehydrated and refueled for the next day.

Here are a few fluid replacement tips for swimmers:

– Always have a bottle of water at practice next to your equipment.
– Avoid having a carbonated drink during practice because they can cause stomach bloating and could reduce fluid intake.
– Avoid caffeine-filled drinks that are diuretics and will contribute to fluid loss.

Proper nutrition is also a huge part of being an athlete. Basic nutrients include carbs, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and water. Carbs are the primary fuel source for the body. Athletes should aim for a diet with 60 % carbs, 15 % protein and 25 % fats. Where most young swimmers suffer is what to eat or how much to eat before practice or during a swim meet. Below are a few ideas of snacks and meals for before meets or during meets.

Two-Three hours before a meet:

– Fruit or vegetable juice
– Breads including bagels, English muffins. If you use butter or cream cheese don’t use very much.
– A handful of nuts, Peanut Butter, turkey, fish and chicken are good sources of Protein
– Water, water and more water

An hour or less to go before a meet:

– Fruits and vegetable juice that include orange or tomato
– Fresh fruits including grapes, peaches, apples or oranges
– Granola Bars, Power/Protein Bars
– Water

Coach Andrea

  • dtait
  • Posted at 3:00pm on Jan 31, 2011

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