Eating Right For Everyone

Eating Right For Everyone

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Athletes and coaches often discuss what foods and drinks are optimal for sports, especially endurance sports.

Sometimes, athletes and coaches refer to formal research studies conducted and published in peer-review articles.

But we wonder if these optimal sustenance and hydration account for the totality of the endurance athlete’s experience?

Do food and drinks with the optimal mix of carbohydrates, proteins and fats take into account swallowing of salt water, human emotions, cultural differences and the dynamic conditions of the open water?

For example, a home-baked cookie from a girlfriend, wife or mother may provide the greatest emotional lift to an athlete in the throes of discomfort in an open water swim or channel attempt. A chocolate bar handed down by a boyfriend, husband or father with some kind words of assurance at the optimal moment may be the difference between success and failure.

Bruckner Chase talks about Oreo cookies; John Muenzer talks about potato chips; Abdul Latif Abou Heif, considered to be the best marathon swimmer of the 20th century, did not flinch at chicken. If an athlete believes the food or drink works, then it is highly likely that it does…for them.

Does a Japanese swimmer who is raised on rice, fish and other Japanese delicacies thrive on the same pre-swim and in-swim menu as a South African? Does the Mexican enjoy the same as a Norwegian? What about vegetarians like Mark Ransom, Karteek Clarke or Vedika Bolliger? Or a ketotic diet as advocated by Dr. Peter Attia?

It takes all kinds…of food and drink.

Copyright © 2012 by World Open Water Swimming Association