Swimming is an intense workout, so if you're entered in several events at a swim meet, it's important to make sure you get adequate nutrition throughout the day. Bringing good energy foods to snack on between your events can keep your performance up. You'll also need to make sure to stay hydrated, because dehydration can slow you down.
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Just Keep Snacking
Your body will require small bursts of nutrition throughout the day during a swim meet. According to Dr. Jeannie Gazzaniga-Moloo, eating too much or consuming foods that are difficult to digest will hurt your performance during your events. Ideally, you should eat one small snack between each event. Throughout the day, swimmers also need to focus on drinking fluids to keep their muscles healthy and replenish lost water in the body.
Ready, Set, Chow Down
Preparing properly for a meet is just as important as snacking between events. Without proper meals before you get started, the small snacks won't really be able to give your body the boost it needs. The night before the meet, eat a meal that's high in carbohydrates and protein, such as pasta or rice and beans. The morning of the meet, eat a light, high-carbohydrate meal, such as a whole-grain bagel or cheese with whole-grain toast.
Munchies for Meets
Foods that you eat during a swim meet should be light, low in fat and high in carbohydrates. Good choices include fresh fruit, cheese or peanut butter on crackers, nuts, vegetable sticks with hummus, low-fat yogurt, nuts, pretzels and rice cakes. Smoothies can also be a healthful pick, especially if they're made with yogurt and consumed just a bit at a time. Make sure the snacks are fairly small and balanced so you don't become overfull or sluggish between events.
Water, Water Everywhere
Drinking water is vital during competitions, particularly during the summer months. According to the book "A Complete Guide to Fitness, Sports & Nutrition," adult swimmers should drink four to six bottles of water throughout a day-long meet. Sports drinks are OK, especially if you're feeling weak or dehydrated, but their high sugar content can make you crash. Limit yourself to a few sips of sports drink before and after each race, if you can.
Stock Your Gear Bag
Bringing your own snacks and beverages to swim meets is very important because you don't know what the concessions area will offer in terms of sustenance. High-fat snacks that are often sold at these events, such as hot dogs, candy, cookies and chips, are hard for your body to metabolize and will slow you down during races. Also, adults should stick to a 3,000-calorie diet on race days. More than that is usually unnecessary. Consume most of those calories after the competition in the form of a high-protein meal.