When preparing to compete at a swimming competition you need to pay careful attention to what you eat. Read on to find out what to eat the day before the event and during the day.
When competition time comes round, you’ll have plenty on your mind already. So the day before the event, keep exercise to a minimum - if anything at all - and eat meals and snacks high in complex carbohydrates. You need to keep those glycogen stores topped up.
Drink fluids little and often to stay properly hydrated.
Eat little and often, every two to four hours to keep your blood sugar levels steady and fuel your muscles in preparation for your event.
Avoid big meals or over-eating in the evening, this will almost certainly make you feel uncomfortable and lethargic the next day.
Try to stick to familiar foods. Curries, spicy foods, baked beans and pulses (unless you are used to eating them) can cause gas and bloating, so avoid eating anything that may cause stomach discomfort the next day. It’s best to stick to foods that you are familiar and compatible with!
Don’t swim on empty. Even if you feel nervous, make breakfast happen. Stick to easily digested foods – cereal with milk, porridge, banana with yoghurt, some fruit or toast with jam.
If you’re really struggling, try liquid meals such as milkshakes, yoghurt drinks or a smoothie.
It’s a good idea to rehearse your competition meal routine in training so you know exactly what agrees with you.
Try to eat as soon as possible after your swim to give yourself as long as possible to recover if you have to swim again.
High fat and simple sugar foods will do you no favours in competition – instead search out the complex carbohydrates again.
If you can't stomach anything solid try sports drinks, flavoured milk or diluted juice that will help replenish your energy supplies and assist the recovery of aching muscles.
The list below offers great food options to be snacking on in and around training for a competition. Remember to keep eating healthy foods from your regular diet though, such as fresh vegetables, nuts and fruits.
Water, diluted fruit juice with a pinch of salt or a sports drink
Plain sandwiches e.g. chicken, tuna, cheese with salad, banana, peanut butter
Bananas, grapes, apples, plums, pears
Dried fruit e.g. raisins, apricots, mango
Crackers and rice cakes with bananas and/or honey
Mini-pancakes, fruit buns
Cereal bars, fruit bars, sesame snaps
Yoghurt and yoghurt drinks
Small bags of unsalted nuts e.g. peanuts, cashews, almonds
Prepared vegetable crudités e.g. carrots, peppers, cucumber and celery