There's plenty of general nutrition information out there for swimmers, but if you're a female athlete is there anything you should change about your training program? In short, yes, there are certain elements that female should focus on and integrate into their training. Doing this will not only keep you healthy, but give you a competitive edge over personal training goals and the competition.
Shockingly, data shows that about 50% of female swimmers have osteopenia, which is a precursor to the more devastating and life altering disease of osteoporosis. Studies from the Journal of Athletic Training show that collegiate female swimmers had lower bone mineral density (BMD) during the preseason by 10-15% compared to all other sports with the largest difference in the lower body. This difference puts female swimmers at risk for osteoporosis and other complications. So how can female swimmers prevent and reverse this trend?
Second, what you are eating is key. Female swimmers tend to adhere to strict dietary restrictions in order to prevent weight and mass gain. But if a swimmer does not eat adequately, her body will run on fumes and will be forced to use gluconeogenesis to form glucose (energy) by degrading amino acids. Instead of cutting back on portions, eat a balanced diet with enough carbs and protein to sustain your body through the rigorous training that swimmers put their bodies through.
RESISTANCE WEIGHT TRAINING
First, women swimmers should integrate weight-training exercises into their workout programs. This type of exercise increases bone mineral density (BMD) and lean body mass, which may help to prevent stress fractures and osteoporosis later in life. This issue with bone density leads to a cascade of events termed the "Female Athlete Triad" by the American College of Sports Medicine. This triad, which refers to the causal relationships between low energy intake, menstrual function and bone health, may ultimately manifest as eating disorders, amenorrhea or osteoporosis. By integrating a weight-resistance exercise program into their training, female athletes are getting on the right track to preventing these health issues and giving themselves a competitive edge.
Benefits of training:
- Increases bone mineral density
- Improves core strength
- Injury prevention
- Helps generate more power.
- Helps you learn the correct biomechanics
Things for women remember with weight training:
- It will not bulk you up. Unless you have an absurd diet and lift for hours daily.
- Make sure you do it in a supervised setting, with a strength coach who knows what he is doing.
- Technique is key so when you start, make sure you are taught the proper technique.
FOCUS ON RECOVERY
Finally, when you are eating is just as important for female athletes. Post workout recovery is often neglected by female athletes who are trying to cut calories. This is dangerous because instead of providing your body with the nutrients it needs to recover, you are putting your body at risk for injury, fatigue, and muscle tears. Drink our Nutriboost recovery shake after a workout to refuel your system of lost nutrients and to aid in recovery, or drink it before bedtime to replenish your body during sleep.
Female swimmers can achieve maximum performance by eating a balanced diet, maintaining a healthy body weight, and integrating proper fitness training. Doing this will give you help you feel healthy inside and outside, while giving you a competitive edge!