As we discussed in the last article about the tremendous benefits of endurance training, whether it had to be gain in mitochondria or improvement in capillarization; None of those could really be accomplished in its full potential without the right nutrition to support it!
Today’s article shall briefly discuss the top 5 nutrients & food components important to support your endurance swim sessions.
- Carbohydrates: A swim session usually lasts between 1.5-2 hours covering on an average about 4-6 Km. The major source of fuel during a session therefore are stored carbohydrates in the form of glycogen. Usually these get exhausted by the end of 90 min- which is why it becomes extremely important to: 1. Load the muscles with enough glycogen with a pre-swim meal having brown rice, sweet potatoes, millet rotis with paneer/ chicken and 2. Fuel the session with a sports drink to avoid fatigue towards the end of the workout! Ignoring these two essentials can deplete the body of amino acids which could act as an energy source in the depletion of carbohydrates!
- B-vitamins: Without these, all the stored glycogen is useless. B Vitamins play a crucial role in the energy giving pathways- the pathways causing the breakdown of all nutrients for energy including carbohydrates. Most carbohydrate sources are also therefore rich in B-Vitamins. Choose from whole grains, pulses, legumes, groundnuts to meet your B-vitamin requirement.
- Iron-Zinc-Copper: Iron found in meat, eggs, leafy vegetables, dates, zinc found in all protein rich foods such as meat, eggs, nuts and copper present in various nuts and seeds are all essential to again like B-Vitamins assist in the process of energy metabolism. Lack of any of these nutrients in the diet can cause fatigue. Also, Iron is responsible for hemoglobin which is responsible for carrying oxygen inside the muscle cells.
- Caffeine: Swimming for longer hours especially doing sets that ask for holding set times can make your mind think you are fatigued out. Caffeine as a potent stimulant plays a very important role in keeping your mind active and alert. A coffee shot before the session can keep you focused!
- Nitrates: These amazing components found in beetroot help in the release of nitric oxide which plays a role in opening up blood vessels so that more nutrients, more oxygen can reach the muscle cell and so can waste products from the cell such as carbon di oxide and lactic acid removed easily and quickly from the cells.
Include these in your daily diet at the right times to witness maximum improvements in endurance performance.
Author: Mihira A R Khopkar
B.Sc. Dietetics, M.Sc. Sports Nutrition
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SwimIndia does not guarantee results of any sort, before making any changes to your diet plans, please consult an expert.