As you can imagine, in a sport like swimming, the calories you burn on a daily and weekly basis can be HUGE. When I travel the country talking and giving information to various teams, one of the most frequent questions is - “What did you eat when you used to swim?”. I’m sure by now you can tell that I pride myself on my honesty and I’ll always do my best to ensure that parents and swimmers understand the importance of fuelling their body correctly. However, at the same I need to explain that enjoying a pizza or cheat meal every now and again is not going to change your career trajectory.
Fuelling Your Body
It goes without saying, if you fuel your body with the correct nutrients then you will most definitely get the most out of your performance when it comes to training and competing. One of the toughest things I found when training 10 times a week, was being able to keep up with the calories I was burning through. If you’re burning 3000-4000 calories a day, then you need to make sure you are replacing them effectively. Sometimes that isn’t as easy as it sounds - I used to eat 5 or 6 meals a day and two protein shakes just to make sure I wasn’t putting my body into a calorie deficit and losing unnecessary weight.
Nutrition Is A Balance
On the flip side, swimmers in general work so hard, and it’s a tough sport when swimming thousands of meters daily. Going out for dinner on the weekend or getting a cheeky pizza on Saturday night isn’t a bad thing. You just have to make sure that it isn’t every day or every other day. Try and look at it as a reward for working hard all week and fuelling your body correctly. Even though I don’t swim competitively anymore, I still apply these principles to my current lifestyle. I gym every day, sometimes twice a day and eat well throughout the week. When I get to the weekend, I treat myself so that my body is grateful, and my mindset is positive before starting the next week fresh!
It’s true - “snaccidents” are a thing, so stop trying to fight it because life is too short. If there is something you enjoy like McDonalds or Chocolate then make sure you earn it – again, view these treats as a reward. If you know you’re thinking about having one on the weekend, make sure you work super hard during the week and eat sensibly. Although your treats may not have the nutritional values your body needs, one every now and again will have little to no impact!
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