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How An Olympic Swimmer Stays Fit
- Updated: March 4, 2013
By Fonthip Maspithak –
Practice is the key to perfection. The average Olympic swimmer trains for at least two hours per day and swims between 3,000 and 8,000 meters during a two-hour session. This is equivalent to 1.86 to 4.97 miles. Not only do athletes focus on increasing their mileage and speed, but they also focus on improving their technique. When swimmers improve their technique, they are able to automatically improve their speed and mileage.
Nutrition plays a major role in maintaining one’s fitness. An athlete can very easily burn over 1,400 calories during a two-hour swimming session. That is why Olympic swimmers are required to consume more calories than the average person. Some athletes swim eat over 5,000 calories per day. In fact, Michael Phelps consumed 12,000 calories per day when he was competing in the 2008 summer Olympics.
Athletes have to make sure that they are getting plenty of protein. Protein is a macronutrient that rebuilds damaged tissue. The tiny fibers in the muscles begin to deteriorate during an intense swimming session. Protein helps rebuild those damaged muscle fibers. The average swimmer needs to take in 1.2 to 1.7 grams of protein per kilogram body weight. For example, an athlete who weighs 75 Kg will need to take in between 90 and 127.5 grams of protein.
Furthermore, it is important for swimmers to make sure that they are getting the right balance of fats and carbohydrates. Twenty to 25 percent of the calories in a swimmer’s diet should come from fat, and 50 to 70 percent should come from carbohydrates. One gram of fat is equal to nine calories, and one gram of carbohydrates is equal to four calories.
Swimmers need to have strong muscles to compete, which is why weight training is an essential part of their training regime. Most swimmers weight train for at least 30 minutes, two times per week.
Even though training is one of the keys to being a successful athlete, it is important for athletes to take the time out to rest. When athletes rest, they give their bodies the chance to recuperate from all of the damage that was done during training. Trained athletes have to make sure that they get between seven and nine hours of sleep at night. Many swimmers also take ice baths. Ice baths help reduce soreness and swelling, which allows a swimmer to train more. Furthermore, some swimmers see a massage therapist. Massages help reduce the soreness, pain and increase blood flow to the area.
Swimmers not only have to be physically prepared for their competition, but they also have to be mentally prepared. Competing before huge crowds and being interviewed can be quite stressful. That is why many swimmers mentally prepare themselves by listening to music or practicing positive self talk.