Exclusively prepared for ASL Swimmers by Dr. Ron Moody
Protein & Amino Acids
What to drink and how much?
What to eat before swimming?
What to eat during swimming?
What to eat after swimming?
What to eat to improve performance?
Sample Pre-event Menu
-Vitamins and others
Carbohydrate is one of the most important nutrients
to athletic performance. Carbohydrate plays the major role in supplying your
brain and body with power. Exercising
with low levels of carbohydrate leads to fatigue. Maximizing glycogen stores
(stored carbohydrate) is one of the primary goals of sports nutrition.
Consuming carbohydrates during endurance exercise can postpone fatigue
and prolong peak performance. The
proper diet and endurance training influences the amount of glycogen stored in
muscle and the time it takes to exhaustion. A high carbohydrate diet can raise
the initial muscle glycogen concentration and cause a greater time to
exhaustion. Diet provides the body with the needed fuels, while training
promotes muscle storage of more carbohydrate.
The body also learns to improve its utilization of fuel.
An individual that is more fit uses less glycogen, is better able to
conserve the limited glycogen stores in the body, and utilizes more fat as a
fuel source during endurance events.
Simple carbohydrates are commonly known as sugars.
Sources of simple carbohydrates include table sugar, candies and other sweets,
sodas and bakery goods. These foods provide empty calories, i.e., calories that
supply no vitamins and minerals and should therefore be minimized.
Complex carbohydrates include all the complex starches and
fiber, such as those found in grains, cereals, breads and starchy vegetables
like potatoes, corn, peas and beans. Milk, fruit and vegetables also contain
complex carbohydrate. Complex carbohydrates contain many essential nutrients and are
the body's most effective source of energy to the athlete. Complex
carbohydrates increase glycogen stores more efficiently than sugars, or simple
carbohydrates are ideal because they are quickly digested and absorbed into the
bloodstream, leaving the stomach quickly so there is less chance of indigestion
and nausea during the event. Carbohydrates
should make up the largest portion of the athlete's diet. Research suggests
that to maintain adequate carbohydrate stores during heavy training,
carbohydrate intake should range from 7-10 grams/kg of body weight/day or 55-70%
carbohydrate. Athletes who train
exhaustively on successive days, or who compete in more prolonged endurance
events, would benefit from a diet that contains 65% to 70% of total calories
Fats, like carbohydrates, are used by the body for
fuel and are essential for the absorption of certain vitamins. The most
important role of fat is to spare carbohydrate (which are in limited supply) use
in exercise of long duration and low intensity. Fat is a valuable metabolic fuel for muscle activity. Endurance
training significantly increases the ability of muscle to utilize fat.
During aerobic exercise, fat serves as the preferred fuel source for muscle
activity; however, increasing the dietary intake of fat does not necessarily
enhance this relationship. Fat
intake for athletes, as well as healthy adults, should comprise less than 30% of
total calories. Fats in the diet may be of animal or vegetable origin. Selecting
lean meats, nonfat or low fat dairy products and limiting added fats
such as butter, margarine, salad dressing, cream sauces, gravies and fried foods
will help you achieve this goal.
& AMINO ACIDS
There is a general misunderstanding about the protein
needs of athletes. Many believe that large quantities of protein foods are
necessary to enhance muscle growth. Amino acid supplementation is not necessary
even for body builders. Training techniques and genetics are the critical
determinants of muscle size. Extra protein in the diet (in the form of food or
amino acid pills) beyond what your body demands for rebuilding and repair
doesn’t go to make extra muscle. Protein can’t be stored for later use,
if the athletes body gets more protein than it needs, extra is broken down and
stored as fat or used as energy.
High protein intakes have never been shown to be uniquely beneficial to
athletes. Intakes of protein
> 15% of total calories cannot be justified on a scientific basis. For an
individual consuming 4000 calories per day, 15% of calories represent 150 grams
of protein or 2 grams/kg body weight for 70-kg male (note RDA is 0.8 grams/kg of
body weight/day). This almost exceeds the requirement by 270%.
Protein is the toughest nutrient to digest. Your body expends a lot of
energy just breaking down high protein foods. Therefore high protein foods
should be avoided before training. Protein
can be supplied from animal food sources, such as lean meat, poultry, fish,
eggs, milk, and cheese, or vegetable food sources such as dried beans and peas,
peanut butter, nuts, seeds, and tofu.
Breads, cereals and vegetables contribute small amounts of protein in the
diet. Plant protein from vegetable sources is usually low in one or more of the
nine essential amino acids. Vegetable protein sources, in combination, can
complement one another to provide a high-quality protein.
researchers demonstrated that "sports anemia" might appear in the
early stages of training with intakes of less than 1 gram/kg of body weight per
day of high quality protein. Sports
anemia is low blood levels that will decrease your ability to exercise and cause
you to fill tired. Don’t be
afraid to eat meat particularly lean red meat.
calculate your protein needs, divide your weight in pounds by 2.2 pounds to
obtain your weight in kilograms.
multiply kilograms by the 1.8 grams of protein. This will give your recommend grams of protein.
It is probably best to eat your protein at night after practice with some
at lunch so that your body will have it available during your repair at night.
Of all the physiological factors that can cause early
fatigue during exercise, dehydration is arguably the most important.
Dehydration is a common occurrence, even during exercise in the cold.
Dehydration decreases performance, impairs heart function that can slow physical
performance, and pose serious health problems.
can lose a large amount of fluid when exercising. An athlete can become
dehydrated in as little as 30 minutes. Dehydration
occurs when fluid (sweat) loss exceeds 1% of body weight (600 ml in the case of
an 60-kg (135lbs) male). Work capacity and temperature control can be impaired
with a loss of as little as 2% of body weight and can cause a 5-10% drop in
performance. A 1/10th-temperature change can decrease performance.
any form of exercise, working muscles produces heat, and body temperature rises.
Getting rid of this heat requires fluid evaporation from the skin (sweating)
which cools the body. When fluid evaporates from the skin the body therefore
losses valuable water (as high as 1-2 quarts/hour) during heavy exercise. When
the athlete fails to ingest enough fluid and dehydration becomes sufficiently
severe, sweating decreases in an attempt to conserve body water. As a result,
blood thickens, heart rate increases and body temperature rises and you get
fatigue, headache, nausea, chills, stomach discomfort and increasing the chance
of heat cramps, exhaustion, or stroke.
is always the athlete’s best interest to prevent unnecessary increases in core
temp that will ultimately lead to premature fatigue. Most active people have experienced dehydration and probably
haven’t been aware of it. Exercise blunts the thirst mechanism and cannot
rely on thirst as an indicator of dehydration. Providing adequate fluid
intake before, during and after exercise can prevent dehydration. Fluid
replacement practices should be designed to match fluid intake and sweat loss. This
approach will require sports competitors to ingest more fluid, often more that
they are accustomed to drinking.
cool water (5° to 10°C; 40° to 50°F) is an effective fluid replacement, and
it is the most readily available and least costly alternative. Drink plain water
before or during activities lasting 60 minutes or less.
(sodium, potassium, chloride, and magnesium) are lost in sweat, but the loss of
water is considerably greater. However, in sport or training that requires
more than 1 hour of continuous effort, a carbohydrate-electrolyte solution
should be provided to improve performance.
factors can conceivably influence performance at almost any stage during
training or competition.
Table 2: Recommendations for hydration.
Drink fluids frequently
1/2 cups water
10-15 minutes during the event
cup cool (45-55 degrees) water
cups fluid for each pound of weight you lost
fluids frequently (it may take 36 hours to rehydrate completely).
competitive ability of an individual is in part, related to his or her capacity
to train maximally. Consequently, every effort must be made to ensure all
nutritional needs are met during this period.
carbohydrate and fluids are deficient in the diet it leads to fatigued muscles,
weakness and tired feeling that leads to decrease in performance. The following
explains why this happens and why the High Performance Diet is important to
goals of the pre-exercise meal:
low blood sugar and associated symptoms (light-headedness, blurred vision,
fatigue, and indecisiveness)
feelings of hunger
energy for working muscles
pre-exercise meal is important, especially before morning exercise. The body has
to draw on the liver’s supply of glycogen for energy. This supply eventually
runs low if you skip breakfast and blood sugar decreases, giving you a hungry,
tired feeling. The lowering of fuel supply to the brain can also have a negative
effect on your mental power that can further hinder performance. Consuming a
meal, or at least a light snack, before exercise helps to replenish liver
glycogen and helps to maintain normal blood sugar levels and endurance. Complex
carbohydrates are ideal because they are quickly digested and absorbed into the
bloodstream, leaving the stomach quickly so there is less chance of indigestion
and nausea during the event. Research has demonstrated that food ingested 3-4
hours prior to exercise is used for energy during exercise. However, you
must realize that you can’t rely on that day’s meal alone.
Your dietary intake of 2-3 days preceding the exercise can affect
pre-exercise meal should be low in fat. Try to avoid fat 12 hours before
exercise because fat leaves the stomach slowly and may cause a bloated, heavy
feeling. Try to avoid high protein foods right before exercise because proteins
require more energy to digest and also cause an increase in urine output
promoting the loss of needed fluid. You also need to avoid high fiber and
gas-forming foods; these foods can cause stomach discomfort during the exercise.
High fiber foods are excellent choices for general nutrition, but are not
recommended for the pre-exercise meal.
should always start exercise in a fully hydrated state.
You should be drinking about 8 to 10 cups of water during the day.
Then prior to practice drink at least 8 to 16 ounces of fluid 2 hours
before exercise and 8-20 ounces water approximately 15 minutes before exercise.
Avoid starting a workout thirsty. Liquids should be cool for faster absorption.
You also need to make a special effort to drink more water in higher altitudes
and warmer temperatures.
for nourishment during exercise:
both muscle glycogen and fluid losses
normal blood sugar levels
source of energy for the exercising muscles
Replenishing carbohydrate and fluid throughout exercise that lasts over an hour can postpone fatigue and prolong peak performance and ensure greater stamina by keeping muscle glycogen stores filled.
studies shows that after one-hour of continuous exercise, athletes are likely to
tire due to carbohydrate depletion. Research data also suggests that fatigue can
be delayed by as much as 30-60 minutes by eating carbohydrates during exercise:
30 to 60 grams of carbohydrate/hour (120-140 calories) appears to be an optimal
range of carbohydrate intake for maintaining or improving performance. Ingesting
greater quantities of carbohydrate does not further improve endurance and may,
in fact, hinder performance.
During exercise of moderate intensity, blood flow to the stomach is 60% to 70%
of normal, so the athlete can still digest food. Depending on the sport, the
food can be provided as a solid food or a liquid (Sport Drink). Since
liquid foods leave the stomach faster than solid foods, the athlete may want to
experiment with liquid meals to determine if they offer any advantage. You
should keep in mind anecdotal reports that too much liquid may "slosh"
in the stomach and contribute to nausea. Therefore, any new meal should be
experimented with during training to determine its level of acceptance.
addition to replacing carbohydrates, the athlete should be careful to replace
fluids lost through sweat. Carbohydrate-containing fluids, such as sports
beverages, replace both muscle glycogen and water losses; they are
the best choice for both good nutrition and top performance. Sports drinks
containing between 14-19 grams of carbohydrates (6-8% carbohydrates) and 50-80
calories per 8-ounce serving are appropriate before or during activities lasting
longer than 60 minutes. The carbohydrates and electrolytes can help increase the
rate of fluid absorption from the gastrointestinal tract.
Sweating is generally less during swimming than during running because of
the enhanced cooling effect provided by the water.
for after exercise nourishment:
carbohydrate (glycogen) stores to maintain exercise performance on a day-to-day
fluid that has been lost during exercise.
you want to be ready for the next day’s workout, you
must replenish your carbohydrate reserves so that subsequent exercise
performance is not impaired.
the carbohydrate supply has been depleted, it takes 24-48 hours for full
recovery. Muscles are most receptive to replacing muscle glycogen within the
first 2 hours after a hard workout. Research shows that full recovery can be
achieved if carbohydrate intake (40-60 grams) begins immediately after exercise
or within the first 30 minutes after exercise, and to continue at 2-hour
intervals up to 4 hours. This
may be a good time for a power bar on the ride back/to Aiken.
This is especially important if you are working out twice a day. Failure
to consume carbohydrates at this time may hinder optimal glycogen recovery and
Not only the timing of carbohydrate intake but type of carbohydrate consumed can affect the rate of glycogen synthesis. Glucose appears to refuel the muscles better than fructose (sugar in fruits, juices, and sodas). Research shows that athletes who consume glucose after exercise have a 50% faster rate of glycogen repletion than those who consume fructose.
Fluid replacement should be at least 8 to 16 oz of
fluid after exercise, or 1 pint (2 cups) per every pound of body weight lost.
Only athletes who exercise for more than an hour daily with heavy fluid losses
from sweat are at risk for depleting sodium and potassium. Most can replace
these electrolytes with the fluids and food they consume after exercise. For
those who report that exercise "kills the appetite," sport beverages
can provide adequate carbohydrates and also supply needed fluids. Sport
beverages can also be helpful after exercise when an athlete is unlikely to make
appropriate selections, or when the right foods are unavailable.
However, DO NOT forget your protein intact at lunch and after
to Improve Performance
nutrition is attained with sound dietary practices that are applied on a
continuing basis, not just a few hours before or during competition. Nutritional
factors can conceivably influence performance at almost any stage during
training or competition.
intake that maintains desirable body weight
grams of carbohydrate
per kilogram body weight/day (about 60-70% of total calories)
grams/kilogram body weight for one hour of training per day
grams/kilogram body weight for two hours of training per day
least 10 grams/kilogram body weight for three hours of training per day
or 1.5-2.0 grams/kilogram body weight/day
to prevent dehydration
amounts of vitamins and minerals. Recommend
taking a multivitamin twice per day.
International Olympic Committee and United States Olympic Committee has put
large doses of caffeine on the banned list. However, small amounts of caffeine
have been shown to increase performance of endurance athletes.
However, the use of caffeine should be weighed against its negative
effects. Caffeine can make you
nervous, it can upset your stomach, and cause you to urine more leading to
dehydration. In general, small
amounts of caffeine can safely be consumed. This would be 1-2 cups of coffee, 3
cups of tea, or 1 Mountain Dew. I would recommend avoiding carbonated beverages
particularly on competition days. Caffeine
or its equivalent occurs in coffee, iced tea, and chocolate.
Never try caffeine intake for the first time
before a competition. The physiological effects of caffeine vary among
individuals and are dependent on dosage and frequency of intake, body
composition, overall anxiety level, and past usage habits.
an elite athlete requires good genes (thank your parents), good training
and conditioning (listen to your coaches), and a sensible diet (this one
is your responsibility). Optimal nutrition is essential for peak
sugar (i.e. candy) or honey just before an event does not provide any
extra energy for the event. It takes about 30 minutes for the sugar to
enter the blood stream. This practice may also lead to dehydration.
Water is needed to absorb the sugar into the cells. Furthermore, sugar
eaten before an event may hinder performance because it triggers a surge
of insulin. The insulin causes a sharp drop in blood sugar level in
about 30 minutes. Competing when the blood sugar level is low leads to
fatigue, nausea and dehydration.
diet where 70 percent of calories comes from carbohydrates for three
days prior to the event is sometimes helpful for endurance athletes.
(See Table 1 for a sample menu.) Water retention often is associated
with carbohydrate loading. This may cause stiffness in the muscles and
sluggishness early in the event. A three-day regimen minimizes this
effect. The previously suggested seven days of deprivation/repletion is
not recommended due to increased risks of coronary heart disease.
Acids (the building block of proteins)
protein provides 20 essential and nonessential amino acids:
amino acids are Histidine, Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Methionine,
Phenylalanine, Threonine, Tryptophan, Valine.
amino acids are Alanine, Arginine, Asparagine, Aspartic acid, Cysteine, Glutamic
acid,Glutamine, Glycine, Proline, SerineTyrosine
effects of amino acid supplementation on endurance performance
in humans are somewhat equivocal but generally
suggest that it is not helpful.
To maximize their potential, athletes engage in
cyclic periods of high-intensity overload training, often referred to as
"overreaching" or "short-term overtraining." A cycle of
overreaching is followed by a cycle of tapering or recovery, normally leading to
supercompensation and improved performance. In
contrast, if performance incompetence persists
despite an appropriate regeneration period and an organic disease has been
excluded, overtraining syndrome may be present. The overtraining syndrome seems
to affect mainly endurance athletes. The
overtraining syndrome is defined as a state of prolonged fatigue and
underperformance caused by a failure to recover from intense training and
competition. Symptoms, which must last at least 2 weeks despite adequate rest
and no other identifiable medical cause, include fatigue, heavy muscles,
depression, sleep disturbances, irritability, increased anxiety, altered mood
state, suppressed reproductive function, loss of appetite with weight loss,
upper respiratory tract infection, loss of competitive drive, and persistent performance
incompetence. This is why daily sleep and proper nutrition is SO
IMPORTANT. This is an avoidable
condition. Due your part and listen
to your coaches instructions on level of exertion during training. A tremendous amount of thought and planning goes into
developing your training and tapering schedule.
However, the athlete (you) must still execute the plan and come
nourished, rested, and mentally prepared for training on a daily basis.
You cannot control your genes but you can control your effort and
dedication along with your diet and rest.
loading, most commonly achieved by supplementing with approximately 20 to 30 g
creatine monohydrate daily for 5 to 7 days, has been shown to increase muscle
concentrations of total creatine, including free creatine and phosphocreatine.
Research strongly suggests that the increased muscular stores of free creatine
and phosphocreatine are associated with enhanced performance,
particularly in repetitive, very high-intensity resistance exercise and cycle
ergometer exercise tasks with short recovery periods. I could find no specific studies on swimmers.
I would save my money.
is no legal supplement that can substantially alter performance.
Research is lending useful and helpful information about the many new
products continually appearing on the market.
In addition, supplements in and of themselves should not be viewed as the
sole answer to performance improvement. There is
some promise to an extremely small number of supplements that appear to enhance
performance, however they only do this in the realm of complete athletic
training, including hard work, sports-specific training and strength training,
psychological preparedness, and good nutritional intake.
Your baseline sedentary fluid requirement is 2.4 liters.
Fluids do not include caffeine containing beverages or tea.
With aerobic activity additional sweat rates of 1.5 liters/hour can
occur. Body water deficits as low
as 2% have been shown to decrease aerobic capacity and work capacity.
This means a 10 to 30% reduction in the time to fatigue.
In rowers, times increased by 8% when athletes were 3% dehydrated. The water deficit causes an increased use of your muscle
glycogen. You built up more lactic
acid but have a harder time eliminated it.
To top it off, mental performance and concentration is also affected.
2.4 liters through the course of the day.
400-600 ml of water or Gatorade 2 hours before exercise
exercising greater than 1 hour you should drink 120 to 200 ml every half hour.
This should be a drink containing no more than 6% glucose or water.
Over hydration can be dangerous.
exercising greater than 90 minutes, intake of a 6% carbohydrate solution has
been shown to prolong performance of athletic activity over use of water alone.
be done in conjunction with meals. If
following the above no appreciable deficit should be present.
Sleep deprivation can cause both acute and chronic decline in mental and
athletic performance. In general, 8 hour of sleep per day in a teenager is
recommended for optimal health. Chronic
sleep deprivation can also lower your immune system making illness more likely.
During sleep the body repair processes occur.
It is during the hours of sleep that the secretion of several hormones is
increased to include growth hormone. Chronic
sleep deprivation has been shown to result in increase in muscle aches and
The amount of sleep that you get the 3 days prior to competition is
critical. You cannot catch up on
sleep with one good nights rest.
In general a healthy diet should be consumed.
There is great disagreement of what a healthy diet is.
In the athletes, fats should account for 20 to 25 percent of calories. Diets with less that 15% of calories from fat no NOT offer a
performance benefit. Fruit and
vegetable should be a mainstay of the diet with at least 3 serving per day of
each. The amount of calories from
protein needs to be somewhat higher in the athlete. Meat protein may be particularly important as mild iron
deficiency is often found in swimmers (particularly females). This iron
deficiency comes from poor intake, increased breakdown of blood vessels, and
fluid changes in the athlete. Protein
intake should be about 1.4 to 1.7 grams per kilogram of body weight per day.
Intake above 2.0 grams per kilogram per day does not provide added
Prior to exertion (2hr to 3hr), consumption of a small carbohydrate meal
(100 to 200 grams of carbohydrates) is recommended.
Increased the time to fatigue compared to starting exercise with a 2 to 3
hour fast. Solid or liquid form did
not matter as long as the fluid volume was the same.
During exercise the intake of sucrose and glucose improved performance
but the intake of fructose did not. Fructose
also caused increased gastrointestinal symptoms.
Although best consumed from a healthy diet consisting of raw vegetables,
fruits, and meat, it is clear that not all teenagers eat healthy.
A study of collegiate endurance athletes including swimmers showed low
levels of vitamins (B6, B12, Vitamin C, and E).
Also noted to be low was iron, magnesium, and calcium.
Supplementation of 200 miu of Vitamin E per day is recommended.
Prevention of oxidative damage of tissue from prolonged exercise.
Iron supplementation has been shown to improve endurance in iron-depleted
women even if their blood count is normal (no anemia).
Supplement 100mg Ferrous sulfate per day.
Generally 3 month of repletion will be needed.
Absorption of iron is enhanced by
Calcium intake is recommended at 1200 to 1500 mg per day total (2 doses).
at least a good multivitamin per day
1 extra strength Tums twice a day. Get
the flavored kind.
Vitamin E and C (500mg bid) supplementation
Females discuss iron with your doctor
Weight kilograms Weight Pounds Daily Protein grams Daily Protein ounces
30 66 60 2.0
40 88 80 2.8
50 110 100 3.5
60 132 120 4.2
70 154 140 5.0
80 176 160 5.7