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“Energy and persistence conquer all things.” Benjamin Franklin

Energy–and specifically how to have more of it, is the topic for today.

Everything we eat is converted into energy in our body.  The better mix of whole, nutritious foods, the better results for swimmers and all athletes.

The foods your body converts to energy efficiently are healthy low fat, low sugar foods.

I like using the analogy of a very expensive racing car–what type of fuel do you put in that car to make it go fast and perform at its best?  Certainly not the lowest grade, cheapest fuel.

If you would want to put in the best fuel possible to attain the best results (high energy), for the car, then why wouldn’t you want to fuel your body to produce the same positive results?

Don’t be decieved by the “bad” fuel (sugary, starchy empty calories and drinks)–eventhough it can taste good and can even give you a little “boost” of energy for a short time–this type of fuel can come back to hurt your performances, leaving you depleted, especially during a long meet or practice.

Overly processed food,  fast food restaurant foods, and high sugar and corn syrup content foods and drinks not only make it harder for swimmers to produce the needed energy for practice and competition; it inhibits the recovery time once the physical exertion has ended.

Another very common mistake for many athletes is in not fueling at all or timing the fueling too late.  Make sure you bring good fuel with you to meets and practices.

Remember to eat a healthy snack or sandwhich an hour or so before you head to practice;  and pack small healthy whole foods during a long meet.  This will give your body the energy it needs to stay fueled and able to recover.  Waiting too long to refuel  after you exert your energy at practices or a meet causes your body to “crash” and then it does not utilize nourishment the same way it would if it was fueled properly.  Remember you are training your body how to use the fuel you put in it, just as much as you are training your muscles to perform.  Allow your body to refuel it’s system not process an energy “crisis”.

Hydration–an equally if not more important process of fueling your body; and this topic will be discussed at length at another time.

In summary–to provide proper energy for your body–plan within 20-30 minutes of finishing practice or competition,  to refuel your body with a substantial balanced meal.  If that is not possible,  rely on a protein bar or some other balanced snack {fruits/vegetables/small sandwhich), until a balanced meal of protein and carbohydrates is available.

Find great examples of good fuel here:  Swim Nutrition

Now go swim.

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