Dive into Swimming Nutrition for Optimal Performance

Jennifer joins us with an impressive background. She is a Registered Dietitian and a Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics who has received a Dual Masters Degree in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology from Columbia University in New York City. Jennifer has been working with youth athletes involved in many sports for over 16 years. She is also a Triathlon coach, a running coach and a certified swim technique specialist. While Jennifer has a great deal of nutrition based experience (i.e. public speaking, private practice, cardiac rehabilitation, medical nutrition therapy, corporate wellness, and media writing) her passion is sports nutrition. She is well accomplished athlete in her own right. She is a two-time All American triathlete, a two-time member of Team USA, a two-time Ironman finisher a Rev3 Sponsored athlete and a PowerBar Team Elite Sponsored Athlete. She serves as a professional member of the Academy of Food and Nutrition, SCAN (Sports and Cardiovascular and Wellness Nutritionists) and NE (Nutrition Entrepreneurs). Ms. Giles is the former Director of Corporate Wellness at Pfizer Inc. and former Wellness Director of the Farmington Valley Family YMCA. She has conducted wellness workshops in New York and Connecticut for many corporations including Pfizer, Allen and Company, General Electric and Merrill Lynch.

Jennifer Serves on the PowerBar Advisory Board, is the Sports Nutrition Expert for NutriBullet.com and blogs for many online publications including Nutriliving.com, RD411.com, Active.com, Appetite4Health and many more. She is an author and editor for an international nutrition certification program. She has also appeared in Spinervals videos, on Cannondale print and video advertisements and on local news and television shows. She does all of this while being married to an Ironman athlete and raising four very active and athletic children. Not only does she have the science based sports nutrition knowledge but she puts it into practice for herself, her husband and her children.

Jennifer has made it her mission to educate and motivate youth athletes to consume optimal nutrition in order to gain the advantage in their sport and in their life!

In this podcast you will learn:

1.When did you discover you had a love for swimming?
2. What are some challenges you have seen regarding a swimmer’s diet?
3. Swimmers put in a lot of practice time in the pool which translates to burning a lot of calories. Do you feel they struggle to meet their calorie needs?
4. I’ve always noticed, especially with college swimmers during the school year, they swim early in the morning and again in the afternoon with class in between. Just eating can be a challenge. What are some tips you could recommend to help them fuel their body or eat at the right time?
5. What should the composition of a swimmer’s diet look like (i.e. general ratio of carbs/fat/protein)? Should a young swimmer ever follow a low or very low carbohydrate diet or restrict calories?
6. Let’s talk about a high school swimmer who may have club practice after school but hasn’t eaten much since lunch (3-4 hours). What are some snacks you would recommend for them to consume before practice?
7. Is it a bad idea for a swimmer to go to an afternoon or evening practice on an empty stomach or for someone who hasn’t eaten in 3-5 hours?
8. During a two-hour practice, I’ve noticed they don’t get much opportunity to re-hydrate, what are your recommendations to ensure fluid needs are met?
9. With a long practice and lots of calories burned, do you recommend they consume any high calorie liquids to refill the gas tank?
10. Let’s talk swim meets. Not only may a swimmer have multiple heats in a day but they also may swim multiple events. What are some nutrition guidelines for someone who may have to swim every 2-3 hours or even sooner?
11. Do you find it difficult for a swimmer to put on weight with the amount of calories they burn? If someone does want to gain weight, are their particular foods you recommend they increase in their diet?
12. Athletes are always looking for an advantage and we know the food first approach will not outperform any other magical pill or powder. At the same time, if their diet is not balanced, they may feel they need a dietary supplement. Are there any dietary supplements that may enhance a swimmer’s performance? Do you recommend anything different for a sprinter vs. a long distance swimmer?
13. You just completed a great eBook on Performance Nutrition for Swimmers “Gain the Advantage” Let’s talk about that for a second. Why did you want to create this (i.e. needed something specific for young athletes)?What are some of the topics that you discuss in the Ebook?

Links and Resources Mentioned in This Episode

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  • Collier Perno

    Great podcast that discusses some of the challenges swimmers (both
    collegiate and high school) face when it comes to proper nutrition! Jenn
    does a wonderful job explaining the importance of a well balanced diet
    and how to properly fuel your body to gain muscle mass. Jenn also
    provides great suggestions on easy and portable snacks for anyone with a
    hectic schedule. I strongly recommend this podcast for any swimmers or
    competitive athletes!

    • Hanna

      I agree with you Collier! As long as athletes know how to anticipate those challenges, they will be more likely to overcome them. Proper preparation is the cornerstone of any successful training program and when an athlete incorporates a solid nutrition foundation, such as Jennifer suggests here, an athlete’s potential can shoot through the roof!

    • Nick Yonko, RD, CSCS

      There is nothing more hectic than a student’s schedule in a day. Those tips were perfect for these kids. Excellent point Collier!

  • Collier Perno

    Great podcast that discusses some of the challenges swimmers (both
    collegiate and high school) face when it comes to proper nutrition! Jenn
    does a wonderful job explaining the importance of a well balanced diet
    and how to properly fuel your body to gain muscle mass. Jenn also
    provides great suggestions on easy and portable snacks for anyone with a
    hectic schedule. I strongly recommend this podcast for any swimmers or
    competitive athletes!

    • Hanna

      I agree with you Collier! As long as athletes know how to anticipate those challenges, they will be more likely to overcome them. Proper preparation is the cornerstone of any successful training program and when an athlete incorporates a solid nutrition foundation, such as Jennifer suggests here, an athlete’s potential can shoot through the roof!

    • Nick Yonko, RD, CSCS

      There is nothing more hectic than a student’s schedule in a day. Those tips were perfect for these kids. Excellent point Collier!

  • Hanna

    I love Jennifer’s relatability. She provides information that is not only applicable to many different athletes (and not just swimmers), but it’s also easy to understand. I loved all of her great snack ideas!

  • Hanna

    I love Jennifer’s relatability. She provides information that is not only applicable to many different athletes (and not just swimmers), but it’s also easy to understand. I loved all of her great snack ideas!

  • Nick Yonko, RD, CSCS

    Jennifer’s information about swim meets is sooooooo important. The intricacy surrounding those events is critical to the success of individuals as well as teams. Having a race at 9:00a and another one at 2:00p of both short and distance swims adds to the levels of complexity involved in fueling properly. Not everyone on the team should be following the exact same cookie cutter plan. Giving this podcast a second spin already!!

  • Nick Yonko, RD, CSCS

    Jennifer’s information about swim meets is sooooooo important. The intricacy surrounding those events is critical to the success of individuals as well as teams. Having a race at 9:00a and another one at 2:00p of both short and distance swims adds to the levels of complexity involved in fueling properly. Not everyone on the team should be following the exact same cookie cutter plan. Giving this podcast a second spin already!!

  • Laura M

    Another great podcast! Swimming is an incredibly demanding sport, and Jennifer clearly understands the challenges that these athletes face. She makes a great point about how some swimmers think that they can eat whatever they want (since it tends to not show any negative impact due to their large calorie burn), but in reality there is a much bigger picture regarding nutrition’s influence on performance.

    She provides practical tips for planning and preparing food to stay constantly fueled – and keeps everything in simple terms to make it more less overwhelming for the athletes who already have so much going on. Great podcast to share with swimmers!

  • Laura M

    Another great podcast! Swimming is an incredibly demanding sport, and Jennifer clearly understands the challenges that these athletes face. She makes a great point about how some swimmers think that they can eat whatever they want (since it tends to not show any negative impact due to their large calorie burn), but in reality there is a much bigger picture regarding nutrition’s influence on performance.

    She provides practical tips for planning and preparing food to stay constantly fueled – and keeps everything in simple terms to make it more less overwhelming for the athletes who already have so much going on. Great podcast to share with swimmers!