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In any sport, there are many factors that contribute to better physical performance. Like training hours, training intensity, the type of training you do, certain equipment you use like tech suits for example. In this article, we will be looking at foods swimmers should avoid at all costs.
However one of the most neglected factors in sports and competitive swimming for that matter is nutrition. Your nutrition supplements your training, if you don’t eat properly you won’t be able to perform properly in training and if you can’t perform properly in training, you can’t perform properly when the time comes to race.
Not just that, if you don’t perform well in training you won’t be able to ever reach your full potential speed.
In many cases eating healthy is more about what foods you avoid, rather than what you eat (although that still does play a huge role). As a competitive swimmer, you should be able to say no when you know this isn’t what you should be putting in your body.
Just like should know how to tell yourself NO, when you don’t feel like going to training and then getting up and going anyway.
High Sugar Foods
Sugars are bad for athletes and humans in general. You should try to avoid consuming unnecessary amounts of sugars at all costs. a Good way to do this is to check the nutritional labels on foods.
Many foods that you might consider ‘healthy’ actually contain extremely high amounts of sugars. Foods like fruit juice, sports drinks, and other so-called ‘healthy’ snacks.
a Little sugar in your diet is unavoidable, almost every food contains at least a little sugar. Foods like fruit also contain sugar, however, you shouldn’t be avoiding fruit, because they contain sugar.
Fruits contain many micro-nutrients that play an important role in keeping your body healthy and keeping you in the water.
High (unhealthy) Fat Foods
Fats are a necessary part of your diet. You shouldn’t avoid all fats, but you should avoid unhealthy fats. Avoid fats like saturated fats and trans fats and try to include unsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats. You can typically find healthy fats in foods like-
Trans fats have been linked to increasing inflammation makers like IL-6 and TNF. This can cause all sorts of problems for you as an athlete. Issues like muscle inflammation and an increase in injuries. Foods that you should avoid because they include trans fats are-
- Any Fried Foods
- Movie Popcorn
- a lot of Oils, make sure to find healthy oils, like avocado or coconut oil.
High Fiber Foods
Generally, we are taught to eat a lot of high fiber foods. High fiber foods play an important role in keeping your digestive system healthy. They can also decrease the chance for certain diabetes.
However, you only want to consume high fiber foods at certain times of the day. High fiber foods take a long time to digest, so it’s best to eat them for dinner or after training. If you consume a lot of fiber right before jumping into the pool it can cause unnecessary bloating and nausea.
Another problem with eating a lot of high fiber foods early on in the day is that you are going to stay full for a long time. For some swimmers, this could be a problem if they need to consume a lot of food to meet their daily energy consumption goals.
You shouldn’t avoid high fiber foods as a whole, but try to avoid them at certain times of the day. Foods that contain a lot of fiber include-
- Sweet potatoes
Similarly to high fiber foods, spicy foods can cause bloating. However spicy foods can also cause a lot of other stomach issues if you consume too much. Issues like-
- They could make you gassy and upset your stomach in some cases.
Try to avoid foods that contain a lot of spices and that your body isn’t used to consuming and digesting. Of course, the occasional spicy burrito is alright, but try to limit these foods. Especially in phases of intense training.
Many athletes will mistake cereals as being a healthy snack to consume. Yes, there are some cereals that could be beneficial to consume, but in most cases, they contain high levels of unnecessary sugar.
If you consume cereal for breakfast on a regular basis, try to replace them with foods like oats, eggs, and bacon.
Make sure to still enjoy life and what you eat.
If you aren’t the highest level swimmer, you might still want to enjoy your favorite fatty snack every now and then. If you feel like you can get away with it and that it won’t have too much of a dramatic effect on your training and performance, then, by all means, go for it, but don’t say I didn’t warn you. Too much of anything is bad.
The higher you move up in your swimming and the more serious you become, the more things you will have to sacrifice. If you aren’t an Elite, Professional swimmer yet, there is nothing wrong with having a piece of cake on your birthday or a nice pudding on Christmas Eve.
You should also try to come up with some healthy meals that you personally enjoy to eat. You can’t be stuffing food in your mouth that you absolutely hate.
If you do this, you won’t last very long and you will just go back to your old eating habits. Make sure to eat healthily, but still enjoy it. This is the most important factor for sustaining good nutrition throughout the year.
Nutrition is a vital factor in achieving faster times in the pool. Why put yourself at a disadvantage by eating foods that you know aren’t beneficial for your training? Here is a quick list of the foods you as a swimmer should be avoiding to achieve optimal results in training and in racing in the water-
- Avoid High Sugar Foods
- Try to Avoid Unhealthy Fat Foods
- Avoid High Fiber Foods (only at certain times of the day though)
- Avoid Spicy Foods
You want to make sure that you are eating healthy and that you are eating enough to sustain your training schedule. To make sure your nutrition is where it should be check out these articles-