There are no superfoods that can miraculously transform someone into an expert swimmer. That said, when learning to swim or training for competitions, diet does affect athletic performance. Not getting the right nutrients can lead to health complications, slow recovery periods and low energy levels. Moreover, not getting enough fuel can lead to similar consequences.
The American Dietetic Association estimates most swimmers need 3,000 to 6,000 calories each day just to maintain their weight. That’s nothing compared to the 12,000 calories Michael Phelps consumes. Admittedly, your child will not live in the pool and will thus torch fewer calories per class.
Although water contributes no calories, it is absolutely essential to a healthy diet. Many novice swimmers do not realize they can become dehydrated in the pool because they sweat less noticeably. So take the pop cans from your children’s hands and replace with a big bottle of water!
Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamins aid in the production of energy. Likewise, minerals affect performance in the water. For example, iron transports oxygen to the cells while calcium strengthens the bones.
It’s important for your children to get adequate levels of vitamins and minerals through the right food groups. This means avoiding fast foods and favouring wholesome foods like lean protein, whole grains, vegetables and fruits. Regarding each, here are some guidelines to follow.
- Carbohydrates fuel the body with energy during the first-half of a swimming workout. Your children need at least 2.3 to 3.6 grams per pound of bodyweight. More than this may lead to energy crashes.
- Proteins build new muscle tissues and stabilize blood sugar levels, helping sustain energy levels. Your children need at least 0.55 to 0.8 grams per pound of bodyweight.
- Fats from fish, oils and nuts help the cells absorb and maintain vitamin/mineral balances. Saturated and trans-fats will only work against your kids in the pool.