insport Identity Guidelines_2


Eat Well – Train Well – Compete Well


Your day should start with BREAKFAST. Eat a high carbohydrate breakfast accompanied by some fruit or juice. Remember to have a drink.

Mid Morning
Cereal bar and a drink, avoid fizzy drinks.

If you eat school lunch select the healthy option such as pasta, rice or baked potato plus some fruit and a drink.
If you have a packed lunch eat all your sandwiches plus some fruit and a drink.

Mid Afternoon
Banana or cereal bar plus a drink.

Home from School
Home by 4.00pm. Training at 6.00 don’t eat after 5.00. In other words don’t eat less than an hour before training. Have a light meal or snack plus a drink.

During Training

Drink the contents of your water bottle. If taking part in club championships or Pembs League gala, bring some fruit or a cereal bar to nibble on.

After Training / On Journey Home

Drink a carton of fruit juice but no fizzy drinks. Have a snack in your bag ready to eat, a banana, cereal bar or small sandwich to build up your energy levels again. Try to eat within 30 minutes of the end of your session.


Have a high carbohydrate meal with some protein. Add to your meal by eating bread (wholemeal) with it or drinking fruit juice. If you are really tired when you get home at least have a bowl of cereal with some semi-skimmed milk.


Sleep is important because it is the time when you grow and recovery from daily activity takes place. Get a good nights sleep before a competition to enable you to swim fast.


Food and Meal Examples


High Carbohydrate Breakfasts

Cereals – wholegrain varieties. Branflakes, Shredded Wheat, Weetabix, muesli.  

Toast – use wholemeal or wholegrain bread. Go for thick sliced.  

Porridge sweetened with honey, raisins and dried apricots.  

Scotch pancakes with syrup.  

Toasted crumpets/teacakes with a little butter.  

English muffins and marmite.  

Low fat milkshake with banana/fresh fruit/low fat yogurt.  

Fresh fruit and yogurts.  

Beans on toast.  

Boiled egg and toast. 



Light Meals and Snacks (ideal for lunch)   

Filled sandwiches, rolls, pitta breads – go for brown or wholemeal bread, not white. Choose fillings like cottage cheese, peanut butter, banana, salad, honey, marmite, tuna, chicken, turkey, ham or combinations of these (ham salad).  

Thick vegetable/ pulse based ( made with beans) soups and crackers.  

Rice or pasta salad.  

Beans or scrambled/poached eggs on toast.  

Toasted sandwiches – thick sliced with one of the fillings listed above.

Jacket potato and filling – opt for low fat fillings such as tuna (no mayo) or cottage cheese.  


Tinned spaghetti in a tomato sauce.  

Pasta with a light tomato based sauce.


Snacks on the run

Sandwiches as described above.

Low fat yogurts and fromage frais.

Fresh fruit – apples, bananas, nectarines, oranges, grapes etc.

English muffins, scones, crumpets

Scotch pancakes – no butter or margarine

Dried fruit – raisins, apricots etc

Cereal bars

Nuts and dried fruit combinations

Rice cakes, crackers and dry breakfast cereal.


Main Meals  

Spaghetti Bolognese.  

Chili Con Carne.  

Chicken with Potatoes.  

Jacket potato with tuna.  

Have fresh fruit and/or yogurt for desert.  



Snacks to have between events (1-2 hour breaks)

Bananas and other fruit.

Hot cross bun or raisin bread.

A small sandwich with a light filling. Try a banana sandwich.

Rice cakes – you can top them with honey or jam.

Fruit scones.

Plain crackers with a little jam.


At Competition  


Breakfast before you leave.  

Arrive on time for warm up.  

30 mins warm up.  

Replace fluids. 

Less than one hour before race just keep to fluid replacement.  

More than one hour try to eat a little.  

Best to eat little and often during the day to keep energy levels high.  

Eating too much at once can make you feel heavy and tired.  

Try to eat during the longer breaks. 

Take your own food with you. 

Take enough fluid to last the whole day.  

Have something to eat and drink immediately after your last race.  

Avoid Burger King on your way home – high fat foods delay recovery.  

Prepare high carbohydrate foods + protein to eat when you get home.  

Have a good nights rest. 


The Eatwell Plate

In order to be able to train hard and swim fast at competition, you need to eat a well balanced diet.

This should consist of 50-60% carbohydrate (eg. pasta, potatoes, beans, cereals, bread, etc); 10-15% protein (meat, fish, eggs and soya substitutes, etc); and 25-30% fat (concentrating more on vegetable and fish oils rather than dairy produce).

Fish like salmon, tuna and mackerel are among the best oily fish to eat and things like olives, avacados and nuts provide useful fats.



Also, guard against dehydration. Hydrate before you come to training and drink the contents of your water bottle during the session and rehydrate afterwards.

As a rough guide, you should be drinking 6-8 glasses of water (rather than fizzy drinks) a day. Not only will this help you train, it will also help you concentrate better at school and work.

Eat FIVE portions of fruit and/or vegetables a day. Remember that half a tin of baked beans counts as one portion. The vitamins contained in these foods not only help make and keep you healthy but assist your body in producing the energy you need for training and competition.

The most efficient source of energy comes from carbohydrate but needs to be eaten well in advance of training and competition to be effective. The easiest way of doing this is to eat regular meals and to plan your meals in such a way that you are not swimming on a full stomach.

Imagine the sugar contained in sweets and fizzy drinks like a firework. There is a big bang (ie. energy) and then nothing soon after.



Carbohydrates are more like a lump of coal which burns more slowly (also providing energy) but does this over a longer period of time.

In other words, a bowl of pasta eaten the evening before a gala will have a longer lasting effect than a chocolate bar in the morning.

Begin reloading your carbohydrate stores after training in preparation for the next session. Eating a tuna sandwich and an apple within fifteen minutes after your training session would be ideal and will be a lot better than a bar of chocolate.

You need to plan your eating during a gala as getting it wrong could be costly in terms of your performance.

Have something like a bowl of cereal and some fruit for breakfast. Make sure that you get up early enough to be able to eat breakfast and do not be tempted to eat nothing.

For lunch some pasta and fruit (preferably not at the same time!) is a good idea. Try to eat as soon as the lunch break starts rather than at the end just before the afternoon warm up.

Most important, do not eat too much as this will leave you feeling sluggish. It is much better if you snack during the day between races (without overdoing it) rather than just the one meal at lunch time.

For snacks, bananas and cashew nuts are an ideal and tasty combination and will do you a lot more good than chocolate bars. Potassium, found in bananas, is important when competing.

It works for the top swimmers so why not give it a try yourself.