Most often when any State or National Meet comes to an end, Swimmers usually break for a few days to recover better and get back to training for the upcoming meet. This break however makes it slightly difficult to get back in full form and the endurance usually drops. Although many continue to keep up for 50 and 100 events, 200s and above usually suffer.
Here’s a list of nutrients important to improve endurance performance:
- Iron: One of the main nutrients to improve endurance is iron; it is responsible for making hemoglobin which then binds with oxygen and delivers it to the muscle cells for energy production. Most swimmers have been found to have borderline hemoglobin levels. Meat & meat products, leafy vegetables, nuts and oilseeds are great sources of iron.
- Copper: Not only does it play a crucial role in hemoglobin formation, but also in efficient energy production. Copper is widely distributed in foods such as whole grains, pulses, nuts, beans and organ meats.
- Magnesium: It aids in facilitating over 300 enzymatic processes most of which are involved in energy production. Magnesium deficiency is sure to slow you down with early fatigue and muscle soreness.
- Zinc: Zinc status is an indicator of performance and most endurance athletes have been reported to be deficient. Zinc is involved in energy metabolism as well as in hemoglobin synthesis. Make sure you include high protein foods such as meats, pulses, nuts in your plan to avail maximum amounts of zinc.
- Folate & B12: Deficiencies of both of these can cause anemia, which can further reduce the oxygen carrying capacity to muscle cells, resulting in fatigue. For B12, focus on more meat & meat products, egg yolk and dairy products and for folate consume a wide variety of green leafy vegetables.
- Other B Vitamins: Many B Vitamins play a crucial role in energy metabolism, a deficiency of which can affect energy production. Make sure you consume enough whole grains, nuts and dairy.
- Vitamin E: Often all of the above nutrients are in correct proportions but because of poor immunity or increased oxidative stress, the red blood cells (RBC’s) fail to survive and hence cannot make adequate hemoglobin. For this very reason consuming an antioxidant like Vitamin E can protect the RBC’s from dying away. Nuts and oilseeds are often the best sources of Vitamin E.
The school swim meets are just around the corner, make sure you include all of these nutrients in your daily plan to keep your endurance high up.
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.