Swimming is arguably one of the most physically demanding sports out there. It involves almost every muscle in the human body and makes for a very effective workout. Whether you're just swimming recreationally, or swimming 125 km around the island of ibiza, you'll certainly burn an extensive number of calories. Competitive swimmers are known for having high calorie diets, this is quite necessary for the amount of nutrients and fluids lost during a challenging workout.
I’m sure you’re wondering, how much do swimmers really eat?
Competitive swimmers often have very intense training schedules. Two sessions per day is fairly common within most programs, especially at a high level. Olympic level swimmers have always been known for their abnormal caloric intake, so much that the “Phelps Diet” has been coined and heavily searched on the web.
The metabolism of a competitive swimmer is generally faster than the average person. The more calories an athlete burns, the more they need to take in. As you can imagine, grueling training sessions multiple times per day result in a very hungry swimmer. Your average competitive swimmer burns anywhere from 2,000 to 10,000 calories per day, depending on workout duration, workout intensity, and the weight of the athlete. The recommended caloric intake for a female collegiate swimmer is a whopping 4,000-5,000 calories per day.
The Importance of Carbohydrates
Although swimmers can get away with eating more food, what’s more important is what swimmers eat. A junk food, sugar filled diet is not exactly ideal in terms of nutritional value. It’s not solely about the quantity of food consumed, but the quality as well.
Every swimmer needs carbs in their diet. Carbs fulfill the body’s most immediate energy needs and serve as the main fuel for an athlete's workout. Some foods that are rich in carbs and fit well into a swimmers diet include:
Whole grain pasta
Whole grain breads
The importance of Protein
Protein is also instrumental in properly fueling and recovering the body after vigorous physical exercise. It’s important to consume protein and carbohydrates together during meals, this allows for proper nutrient balance and reduces spikes in blood sugar. Some foods that are rich in protein include:
Skinless, white meat poultry
Low-fat greek yogurt
Of course, It’s important for athletes to consume other nutrients as well. Things such as fiber, calcium, potassium, antioxidants, and various fats are all necessary to keep the body healthy and in working shape.