The award-winning Shaker Heights High School student news organization

The Shakerite

The award-winning Shaker Heights High School student news organization

The Shakerite

The award-winning Shaker Heights High School student news organization

The Shakerite

The Tale of the Swimmer’s Table

You are what you eat, after all.

Few athletes know that better than swimmers. The average person is supposed to consume 2,000 calories daily. However, for swimmers, that daily allowance is just an appetizer.

Depending on the length of daily practices and the intensity of workouts, the United States Department of Agriculture recommends male swimmers consume 6,000 calories daily or more. Females are to consume 4,000 calories. Likewise, lighter swimmers will burn fewer calories, and heavier swimmers will burn more.

 “Swimming is similar to distance running and biking in the amount of calories burned. They expend a lot of energy,” dietitian and assistant field hockey coach Jennifer Clarke said. “Swimmers are burning more calories during their workouts than in most other sports.” Despite the amount of calories they are allowed to consume, swimmers need to stay conscious about their food choices.

“Their diet should be rich in carbs for lasting energy. They also need lean meats daily to rebuild and strengthen their muscles,” Clarke said. Carbohydrates should be the foundation to any swimmers diet. She recommends foods such as toast, bagels with peanut butter and jelly, yogurt and whole wheat cereal because.

Clarke said it is crucial for swimmers to refuel 15 minutes after workouts to repair and replace muscle glycogen stores or energy stores. Good choices include eggs, wheat toast, protein shakes, low-fat chocolate milk, yogurt, fruit smoothies and turkey sandwiches. Swimmers should avoid soda, dessert and high-sugar foods.

Junior swimmer Seth Beal eats six meals a day and consumes more than 6,000 calories. “My mom spends $300-$400 on groceries every two weeks or so,” Beal said. “I drink a lot of milk.”

Senior swimmer Michaela Matthews doesn’t give a second thought to her diet choices throughout the season. “Definitely during season I notice how much more I eat. None of us are very conscious of what we are eating because we swim it off,” Matthews said. Matthews also said the team loads up on carbohydrates at pre-meet dinners.

The need for calories is evident in Beal’s description of the sport. He said swimming is “the equivalent of running with weights in your hands, twisting your body and holding your breath at the same time.”


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