Reprinted from "Training Agenda"

Everything you do influences your performance, but food choices have a profound effect due to the long and short term benefits. A proper diet will help your training and performance while also achieving a healthy lifestyle once you stop competing.

To help ensure a balanced diet, remember that there are no magical nutrition remedies. So forget fads and eat a variety of wholesome foods using the USDA food pyramid as a guide. Foods in these groups provide protein, fat, carbohydrate, fiber and all necessary vitamins and minerals. Your ideal should include the following percentage of calories:

Special Note: Swimmers become dehydrated, just like other athletes. It is imperative that swimmers drink water or sports drinks during practice breaks and at competitions.

During Training

-Training represents the period in which athletes spend most of their time. During this critical period, a diet high in carbohydrates is important. This is important since it is not uncommon for training athletes to burn 2500-4000 calories a day. The best way to replenish these calories is with a high carbohydrate diet. By being conscious of this and by taking high carbohydrate foods or drink in the first 30 minutes following a workout, you can minimize depletion of energy stores.

Pre-Event Nutrition

-The major purpose of the pre-event diet is to ensure sufficient energy and fluid for the athlete. Two to three days before competition, a high carbohydrate diet with plenty of fluids should be emphasized. The pre-event meal should include a light, high carbohydrate meal three to four hours before the event.

Nutrition During Competition

-Provided that good nutrition practices were followed during training, middle distance and sprint events will not be limited by nutrition-related factors. During a three to four day competition, make sure you consume plenty of fluids and each meal should include high-carbohydrate, low-fat selections.

Nutrition After Competition

-High intensity work will deplete the muscles' energy supplies. Therefore, carbohydrates play an important role after competition to make sure energy stores are maintained.

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