Thursday, July 27, 2017

8 Nutritional Reccomendations for Swimmers

Aaron Schwartz M.S., R.D., L.D.
https://swimswam.com/8-nutritional-recommendations-for-swimmers/
1. Make the majority of your carbohydrates complex outside of workouts.

Carbohydrates have taken a beating lately from the most recent fad diets to the popularity of both the Atkin’s and Paleo diet. No, carbohydrates are not inherently bad for you but I will agree the Western Diet consists of entirely too many carbohydrates. With that being said, carbohydrates are, or should be, an aerobic athlete’s best friend. The literature is riddled with study after study demonstrating the benefit and importance of a high carbohydrate diet for athletes, particularly aerobic athletes. Simply put, carbohydrates are the body’s fuel currency. No other nutrient burns as efficiently as the carbohydrate does. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the American College of Sports Medicine and the Dietitians of Canada all agree that carbohydrates should make up the majority of calories in your diet. Want numbers? A range, albeit large, of 6 to 10 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight is recommended. Swimmers and other mostly aerobic athletes will need closer to 8-10 g/kg.1 For a 160 pound person, this turns into 580-720 grams of carbohydrates. Outside of the actual workout itself, the carbohydrates that you want to focus on are complex carbohydrates. Examples include: Legumes (lentils, beans and peas), Whole Grains (oats, brown rice, and whole grain breads), Fruits and Vegetables.

2. Simple carbs directly before, during and directly after workouts.

It may come as a surprise to you that simple carbohydrates (or simple sugars) are not always bad, especially for athletes. Simple sugars are digested very quickly (thus the name simple) and will result in a rapid rise in our body’s blood sugar. This is typically unwarranted because if that blood sugar is not utilized, say, through exercise for example, then it will be stored in a fat cell. However, the up-side to simple sugars is that it provides a quick, easy-to-burn fuel for our muscles. Sports drinks are an excellent example of this. The carbohydrates in sports drinks are simple sugar which makes it a great, ready-to-burn fuel source during a workout. Simple sugars are important directly after a workout due to the insulin response which will be discussed shortly. Other examples include pretzels, honey and fruits.

3. A little protein before a workout goes a long way.

Protein before a workout may sound counterintuitive. However, a small dose of protein can prime your muscles for recovery even before you start your workout. In fact, The ISSN recommends consuming 0.15-0.25 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight an hour or so before a workout (about 15 grams for a 160 lb. person).2 The reason? Protein before a workout helps establish a positive nitrogen balance thus improving the uptake of protein into the muscle, preventing the breakdown of muscle tissue and delays gastric (fancy word for stomach) emptying which in turn increases satiety and prevents hunger during training.

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