Putting it all into practice!


You now have a good understanding of the main principles of sports nutrition, and the time has come to educate your swimmers. Knowing the theory is only half the battle. Getting them and their families to fit it all in with their lifestyle is the other! The following are some commonly asked questions and answers:


1.                   Eating on the run - what can I do?

Try and organise your food supply in advance. Take a supply of healthy snacks to school/college/work with you. This way you can keep up your energy levels, refuel after training and ensure that you are getting a good supply of nutrients.


2.                   I often have to eat late in the evening after training - what are my best choices?

If you train in the evening and do not arrive home until late you should plan to have most of your food during the morning and afternoon. Have a substantial breakfast, and make lunch the main meal of the day. Include frequent high carbohydrate snacks between with a snack about 1-2 hours before your evening training session. This way you will feel less hungry after training.


It is still important to eat after training to refuel your glycogen stores, but avoid a large or fatty meal which takes a long time to digest. Good late evening choices include pasta with a tomato based sauce, breakfast cereal, fruit and milk, beans on toast and thick sandwiches.


3.                   I have to eat the same meals as the rest of my family!

The whole family can benefit from eating healthy meals - there is no need for separate dishes. Simply fill up on larger portions of carbohydrates (bread, pasta and potatoes) and avoid large helpings of rich creamy or oily sauces.


Most traditional family meals can be adapted to contain less fat and more carbohydrates without affecting the taste or the enjoyment. For example:

·            Substitute low fat milk for full fat milk in sauces, custard and puddings

·            Sauté onions or meat in minimal amounts of oil

·            Omit the butter or oil in sauces and thicken with cornflour

·            Add extra vegetables to stews, bolognese, soups or curries

·            Reduce the amount of fat in puddings, cakes and desserts and serve with extra fruit or yoghurt


Hopefully this will help your swimmers to adopt healthier eating habits. They should be encouraged to try and establish which foods they like and then eat a variety of foods. If they eat well, you will find that they will pick up fewer illnesses, have fewer injuries, have more energy and feel great!