Coaches

Nutrition During Taper

Great nutritional habits should be part of a swimmers everyday activity. Nutrition can positively impact daily training and have swimmers better prepared to perform at their best at the end of the season.

 

Taper nutrition for age group swimmers and senior/elite swimmers needs to be viewed differently. Age group swimmers have significantly briefer and smaller changes to overall training load during taper. Considerations for optimal taper nutrition for an age group swimmer would include;

  1. A good healthy nutritious diet high in fruits & vegetables.
  2. Minimize junk food(foods high in simple sugars. Processed foods)
  3. Ensure that the swimmer is well hydrated
  4. Get appropriate amounts of carbohydrate, fat and protein in the diet (60%, 25%,15%)
  5. At the competition do not rely on the concession. Bring healthy snacks to the meet.
  6. Eat during the meet. Especially between events(if time allows)

For the senior swimmer taper represents a time of decreasing training load. The reduction in load should be followed by a reduction in caloric intake. Age, gender differences, maturity and individual metabolic rates should be taken into account in determining appropriate reductions in caloric intake. Throughout taper swimmers should make sure that they are taking in adequate carbohydrates, fats and protein. A simple ratio of 60% carbohydrate, 25% fat and 15% protein is a good guideline. After training swimmers should be sure to eat a recovery snack of carbohydrate and protein in a ratio of approximately 3:1 – 5:1. Studies have shown that small amounts of protein increase the absorption of carbohydrate. Timing is everything. The best time for a post workout or post race snack is 30 minutes to 60 minutes after the activity. Studies have shown that absorption rate of carbohydrates into the muscles is highest during this period of time. Some recommendations for optimal nutrition during taper for senior swimmers would include:

  1. A good healthy nutritious diet high in fruits & vegetables.
  2. Minimize junk food(foods high in simple sugars. Processed foods)
  3. Reduce caloric intake appropriately 
  4. Ensure that the swimmer is well hydrated
  5. After  practice eat a carbohydrate and protein snack within 30 minutes to 60 minutes
  6. At the competition do not rely on the concession. Bring healthy snacks to the meet.
    1. Eat during the meet. Especially between events(if time allows)
    2. Follow up with a good healthy meal after sessions

When in doubt about best nutrition practices seek the advice of a professional. Registered dieticians can make great recommendations to assist with nutritional decisions that will help to optimize training throughout the year. A dietician may also give more specifics in regards to individual caloric reductions requirements during taper.

 

Great nutrition is not just something to think about during tapering. Nutritional habits are developed overtime. Great practices fueled by great nutrition create an opportunity for a swimmer to perform at their best.


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