• Chris Walker-Hebborn

Feeding a full time Olympic Swimmer

For my latest blog “Nutrition” is the key focus point. When it comes to a sport like swimming, you can imagine the calories you burn on a daily/weekly basis can be HUGE. When I travel the country talking and giving information to various teams, one of the most frequent questions is “What did you eat when you used to swim” – I am sure by now you can tell that I pride myself on my honesty and that I do my best to ensure parents and swimmers understand the importance of fuelling the body correctly, but at the same time explaining a pizza or cheat meal every now and again is not going to change your career trajectory.

It goes without saying, if you fuel your body with the correct nutrients then you will most definitely get the most out of your body when it comes to training and competing. One of the toughest things I found when training 10 times a week, was being able to keep up with the calories I was burning. If you are burning 3000/4000 calories a day then you need to make sure you are replacing these calories effectively. Sometimes that isn’t as easy as it sounds, I used to eat 5/6 meals a day and two protein shakes just to make sure I wasn’t putting my body into a calorie deficit and losing unnecessary weight.

On the flip side, swimmers in general work so hard, and it’s a tough sport. Swimming thousands of meters daily. Going out for dinner on the weekend or getting a cheeky pizza on Saturday night isn’t a bad thing. You just have to make sure that it isn’t every day or every other day. Try and look at it as treating yourself or your body for working hard all week and fuelling your body correctly. Even though I don’t swim competitively anymore, I still apply these principles to my current lifestyle. I gym every day, sometimes twice a day and eat well throughout the week. When I get to the weekend, I treat myself, my body is grateful and its good for my mindset and keeps me on track to start the next week a fresh!

“snaccidents” are a thing, stop trying to fight it, life is too short. If there is something you enjoy like McDonalds or Chocolate then make sure you earn it, view these things a reward. If you know you are thinking about having one on the weekend, make sure you work super hard during the week and eat sensibly, although it may not have the nutritional values your body needs, one every now and again will have little to no impact!

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