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Old 08-01-2014, 01:53 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Athlete diet

I am a 5"0 female competitive synchronized swimmer (and I trains up to nine hours each day, so my metabolism is relatively forgiving). About a year ago, I implemented several dietary changes in attempt to maximize my performance energy. I did not want to lose weight (at the time, I was under 100lbs. Now I am just above that, but it is muscle weight), so I made a set of rules for eating as follows:

---Eat 3-5 times each day (to keep my blood sugar from fluxuating too much, and to compensate for energy expenditure at practice)
---Eat between 2000 and 3000 calories each day, averaging about 2500.
---All meals must contain at least one decent protein source. Daily protein intake must always exceed 50 grams, preferably much more. (Realistically, I consume more calories from protein than calories from fat on many days.)
---No more than four different significant sources of fat may be consumed each day. No more than 25% of the saturated fat RDA may be consumed in a single meal.
---Seek foods low in refined sugar and low in fat (because the excess calories aren't needed.)
---When in doubt, pick fruit, especially that which has antioxidants.
---Watch the calcium and iron. It stinks to be deprived of both at once.


In addition, I have a simple "ban" list for processed foods containing these ingredients:
---Hydrogenated oils, or shortening, or any form of artificial trans fat.
---Artificial food dyes. (Red 40, Yellow 5, etc.)
---Sugar alcohols (phenalkalene/aspartame, sucrulose, etc.)
---"Natural flavor" from a potentially nonkosher source (because at least that way I know I'm not eating anything too weird)

I also have a "severely restrict" (where essentially I don't eat them, but at some point I may indulge in a spoonful), for stuff with:
---Added fructose, especially HFCS
---Anything I can't pronounce or define.

So my question is whether I am on the right track with this. Are there ways in which I may modify it to further optimize my performance and health? Am I missing things that should be on these lists? Or is my dietary experimentation a dangerous mistake with other considerations that must be made?

Thank you.
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Old 08-01-2014, 03:24 PM   #2 (permalink)
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You have a coach for your swimming. What does he or she think of your guidelines?

They are not controversial. If they work for you, fine. The thing is, it's difficult to test how something works with a single individual and see the impact on performance when there are so many factors involved with athletics.

You can really go 'overboard' specifying diet restrictions - I think the term used these days is 'orthorexia' if it gets to be an extreme preoccupation (I don't think that is the case with you, just noting that there is such a disorder...)

Athletes, of all people, have good reasons to pay attention to diet because it does affect performance. All the more reason to have someone who is experienced and knowledgeable about diet for athletes working with you.
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Old 08-01-2014, 05:18 PM   #3 (permalink)
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My coach told me she has no dietary experience, so she was no more qualified to analyze my diet than I was...aside from instituting a junk food ban during parts of our competitive season. Because of this, I based my diet off of what seems to work decently for me and what the oodles of online literature recommends. But I know that neither is especially credible (because, as you say, there are too many factors affecting my performance, and there is enough contradiction online between what to eat or not that I can't really know what to trust.)
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Old 08-01-2014, 08:58 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Then maybe your doctor can recommend someone who will go through your checklist. Your doctor - who knows your medical history and latest lab results, etc. - could provide some insights, too.
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Old 08-06-2014, 12:33 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Just take doctor to check your checklist and all guidelines.ok
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