Nutrition Planning for Your Training Season

While swimmers, parents, and coaches start to set goals and plans for a new  training season, make sure to include nutrition as part of your seasonal planning and daily goals.  The best and most successful athletes do!

Here are some simple actionable guidelines for every swimmer:

In-Season Nutrition: (Hard Training)

  • You need carbs!  Target 50% Grains, 25% Lean Protein, and 25% Vegetables each meal.
  • FATs: include 2 tablespoons portion of healthy fats with your meal.  Avocadoes toast sounds yum yum…
  • Fruits: We highly recommend Pineapples, Oranges, Apples, Bananas, and all kinds of berries for recovery and snacking
  • Our pick for between meal snacking: Acai Berry Greek Yogurt Smoothie
  • Supplements: Add a teaspoonful of Whey Protein Isolate or Probiotics will boost your workout and help you body last through one more training set.  Beta-alanine is also an excellent natural supplement.  It is a naturally occurring amino acid in the body. Supplementing it with your diet will help improve exercise capacity. It is a great supplement for those working mid-distance or long-sprint training.
  • Who needs five meals a day?  Swimmers do!  Having smaller meals, smaller portions of protein, but more often, is a much better meal plan than downing 5 portions of chicken pasta in one sitting.
  • Don’t forget to monitor your hydration.  For every pound lost during training, drink 16-24 fl oz (2-3 cups) of water.

Initial Taper (Moderate Training)

  • During initial taper, slowly reduce your grain/carb intake to target a 1/3 Grain, 1/3 Lean Protein, and 1/3 Vegetables balance.  Make your food colorful for the best nutrient density.
  • FATs: 1 tablespoon.  Add the nuts and seeds to your portion of salad

Final Taper (Easy Training)

  • The final taper (10 day count down to the Championships) is when you need to watch the weight gain/loss very carefully.  Think about it, no one will want to swim the championships in a totally different body than what the swimmer trained in all season.  So, sticking to this diet guideline is really important.
  • 50% Fruits and Vegetables, 30% Lean Protein, 20% Whole Grains
  • FATs: reduce to 1 teaspoon
  • Supplements: High dietary nitrate concentration helps increase blood flow to the working muscles to increase oxygen availability and improve muscle efficiency during high intensity activity.  Beets Juice is a great source of dietary nitrate.  We recommend adding beets to your diet during the final taper period.

Race Day

  • The biggest fallacy young athletes often make is to think that what you eat on race day is only time that matters.  We have to break it to you that if you haven’t done your in-season and taper diets dealing up to race day, you will see very little benefit and perhaps a negative effect to changing your diet on race day. That said, there are some simple guidelines that you should follow non-the-less.
  • Go for the fast digesting lunch options between your prelim and final: Chipotle (brown rice, chicken, black beans, corn, lettuce are a good easy combo) always works!
  • Pack your bags with natural quick absorbing natural antioxidant foods such as oranges for a quick boost of energy 45 minutes before your race.  Fresh pineapples, chocolate milk and a bottle of tart cherry juice for post race recovery. These foods can help you recover quickly from your races by increasing total antioxidation capacity, reducing inflammation and helping the muscles recover.  Natural sources of antioxidants can help to decrease stress markers increased during activity.
  • Keep to the natural foods, skip the dietary supplements on race day — whatever the label might say — unnatural supplements forms of nutrients take much longer for the body to absorb, and may actually inhibit the natural training response and be detrimental to performance.

Do you have a favorite swimmer meal recipe to share?  Send us your suggestions to

Swimmerbook wishes all of you good luck to a new season ahead!




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