Training Information

Pre-training Food

Training food = fuel

Having a pre training meal will ensure you to get the most out of your swim. So what should you include in yours?

The timing of the meal and what you include in it are both important factors. Having a meal 2-3 hours prior to training will allow enough time for your body to digest and will provide fuel for your workout. Having a snack 30-60min prior to your swim will also work to provide you with the energy you need if you weren’t able to eat a meal 2-3 hours prior or if you’re feeling hungry.

Good pre- training food includes a carbohydrate rich meal that you’re comfortable with. Ideally you should aim to consume something low fibre and high carb to avoid stomach discomfort and get the best out of your swim. Your pre-competition meal should be very similar to your pre-training meal, to avoid any unexpected digestion discomfort before the big event. Some

training AB foodfuel

Good pre-swim meals and snack include the following:

Pre-training meal

  • Sandwich – on whole grain bread
  • Oatmeal with fruit
  • Omelette
  • Whole grain cereal with milk of choice and fruit

Pre-training snack

  • Greek yogurt and fruit
  • Muesli bar
  • Dried fruit and nut trail mix
  • Rice cakes with almond or peanut butter

Individual nutrition needs can vary and should be adjusted if you’re training load increases as you prepare for the Jetty swim. If you usually train early in the morning try not to skip breakfast before you head to the pool or beach, as getting a light breakfast or snack in before training will assist in performance and allow you to get the most out of your session.

Eat up and good luck for the big day!

Reference:

Aird, T., Davies, R., & Carson, B. (2018). Effects of fasted vs fed-state exercise on performance and post-exercise metabolism: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Scandinavian Journal Of Medicine & Science In Sports, 28(5), 1476-1493. doi: 10.1111/sms.13054
Burdon, C., Spronk, I., Cheng, H., & O’Connor, H. (2016). Effect of Glycemic Index of a Pre-exercise Meal on Endurance Exercise Performance: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Sports Medicine, 47(6), 1087-1101. doi: 10.1007/s40279-016-0632-8

Post Training Food

Swimming in the next SunSmart Busselton Jetty Swim?

Swimming 3.6km can put a massive strain on our body so it is crucial to start our recovery nutrition plan as soon as possible for quicker muscle recovery. While we might be in a celebratory mood after completing the race, eating lots of fast food and chugging down a beer or two can negatively impact the body’s recovery. If we don’t pay close attention to what we consume, we will feel exhausted and may risk injuring ourselves when we even return to light physical activity.

To maximise our recovery process, it is vital to remember these key post-training nutrition goals:

  1. Replenish muscle glycogen (carbohydrate) stores
  2. Restore fluid and electrolytes lost in sweat
  3. Provide nutrients to aid in muscle repair
training AB post training food

Immediately after training

The sooner we eat, the better. It is recommended that we eat within a 30-minute window after training, so our body gets all the nutrients it requires to repair itself afterwards and start the recovery process. Carbohydrates are important as these are the main fuel source that our body burns. Delaying our carbohydrate intake by just two hours has been shown to slow the process of glycogen replenishment by 50%. We can replenish muscle glycogen stores by eating carbohydrate-rich foods such as:

  • Bananas
  • Granola bars
  • Brown rice
  • Chicken breast
  • Avocado

Protein Intake

As important as carbohydrates are, protein is equally as important post-training. In fact, protein is also required to aid in muscle recovery. For optimal recovery, our muscles need around 20g of protein and these protein-rich foods include:

  • Protein shakes
  • Natural yoghurt-based fruit smoothies
  • Lean meats, eggs, or low-fat cheese
  • Greek yoghurt, granola, and mixed berries

Electrolytes

Sodium and potassium are minerals that we lose through sweat. These minerals aid in sustaining fluid balance and controlling muscle contractions. Sports drinks are good alternatives but there are plenty of other sodium/potassium-rich whole foods that can replenish our electrolyte stores such as:

  • Milk
  • Bread
  • Juice
  • Nuts
  • Bananas
  • Raisins
  • Leafy greens

These nutritious foods will supplement our body with all the necessary vitamins and minerals needed to aid in muscle repair. Our body repairs itself mostly when we are asleep so consuming a nutritious meal will assist with overall recovery.

Reference:

Aragon, A., & Schoenfeld, B. (2013). Nutrient timing revisited: is there a post-exercise anabolic window?. Journal Of The International Society Of Sports Nutrition, 10(1). doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-10-5

Shoulder Range Of Motion

How do I improve my shoulder range of motion?

The Busselton Jetty Swim will see competitors swim either 3.6km or 1.6km before making their way to the pub for a well-earned beverage. It is important to note that elite distance swimmers will complete an average of 85/100 strokes per minute, now that’s a lot of strokes!

So, if I was to advise you that shoulder pain is the most common musculoskeletal injury found in swimmers, would that surprise you?
Let’s be honest, the swim stroke Freestyle, is by far the most popular and well renowned swim stroke on the planet. The Freestyle swim stroke is divided into four primary phases referred to as the catch, pull, exit and recovery. When these four phases are repeated multiple times, its easy to see why the shoulder joint and surrounding musculature are put under a lot of stress.

absolute balance logo

Now let’s get into the fun stuff, I’m about to take you through three shoulder mobility exercises to not only improve your range of motion, but also improve your stroke efficiency in the pool or open water.

Throughout these three exercises, make sure you breathe and can smile—if you can’t, then it’s too intense and you need to back off. Your body will only make lasting changes that it’s comfortable with and your facial expression and breathing are strong indicators of this.

Shoulder Mobility + Tennis Ball

This can be uncomfortable at first, but over time it really helps to open up the shoulder joint. Lie on your back and place a tennis ball between your spine and scapula with your palm up and arm on the floor. Bring the arm across your body toward the opposite hip and bring it back up overhead in a diagonal motion. You can also take your arm across your body, then bring it up overhead, and then return it to your slide in a snow angel motion.

T-Spine Mobility + Double Tennis Ball

Lying on your, back place two tennis balls (either taped together or in a tied-off sock) at the bottom of your spine where your ribs connect. Perform a quarter sit-up movement a few times and then slide the balls up one vertebra. Perform the same sit-up movement on this vertebra and then scoot up to the next one. Continue until you’ve reached where your shoulder meets your spine. Focus on the mid-back and not the lower back or neck for this exercise.

training AB shoulder blog

Seated Wall Angel Knees Bent

Sit on the floor with your back upright against a wall. Place your forearms and elbows against the wall. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and while holding them tight, move your arms up and down the wall as long as you can keep contact with the wall and your elbows.

Reference:

Shapiro C, Shamus E, (2001). Sports injury prevention and rehabilitation. New York: McGraw-Hill: Vol 103-154.

Tovin, B. (2006). North American Journal of Sports Physical Therapy. Atlanta, Georgia: Vol 1-4

Picture References: https://www.google.com/search?q=Spikey+ball+release+spine&tbm=isch&ved=2ahUKEwjmvcCq7pH0AhWbjtgFHXyyBZcQ2
https://www.google.com/search?q=seated+wall+angel&tbm=isch&ved=2ahUKEwiM09Ko7pH0AhW2yXMBHV5cAuMQ2-%20366&rlz=1C1CHBF_en-GBAU976AU976#imgrc=K5XJ3m0NaGLmJM

training AB shoulder blog2
Tips - Controlled Breathing

Swimming tips on controlled breathing

It sounds funny but learning to breath properly is often the first major improvement in new swimmers looking to be more competitive. Mastering this challenge will set you up to progress further into the world of ocean swimming as well as making you a force to be reckoned with.

Firstly, good swimming posture is vital. The ideal swimming posture is eyes mostly pointed down with a very slight tilt up, hips towards the surface of the water and feet just below the surface with small fast kicks. An optimal swimmer will be able to maintain this posture throughout the event.

training AB breathing tips

Below are some further steps you can take to improve your breathe control in the water.

  1. Start all swims lowering your stress and anxiety. This may include breathing before getting in the water, writing a journal or even going for a walk. This step will help reduce your heart rate and make you feel more comfortable in the water.
  2. Breathe every 2 strokes. But why not breathe every 3 or 4 or 5 strokes? Well after about 30-60 seconds our body switches from the anaerobic energy system to the aerobic energy system. This means that after this time, the body needs more oxygen to produce energy and therefore breathing more can potentially give you better energy production, so you have more power to push your arms and kick your feet.
  3. It is a common myth that we breath from an urge to have oxygen. When we breath, carbon dioxide is produced as a waste product. The body senses this build up and creates an urge to exhale and inhale for ‘fresh air’. This is commonly known as the CO2 reflex. Moral of the story? Don’t hold your breath!
  4. Following from point #3 holding your breath while your head is under water is a waste of time. Instead, try to exhale constantly whilst you are face down, and thus when you turn your head to catch a breath all you must do is breathe in for a split second whilst continuing your stroke. This can significantly increase your speed as you will need less time with your mouth out of the water and can therefore speed up your stroke pace. When first learning this, it can be helpful to think ‘breath In, Out, In, Out.’
  5. Lastly, you don’t want to lift your head when you go to breathe. Ideally, you will rotate your head to the side just until your mouth is clear of the water to breathe. This will keep your body better aligned in the water and increase your streamline speed.

Most importantly, just like everything else worth doing in life practice makes perfect.  So, Practice. Practice. Practice.

References:

Gaal, M., n.d. Proper Breathing Technique for Swimming. ACTIVE.com. Available at: <https://www.active.com/triathlon/articles/proper-breathing-technique-for-swimming-875008> [Accessed 11 November 2021].
Dawson-Cook, S., 2016. Don’t Hold Your Breath. Usms.org. Available at: <https://www.usms.org/fitness-and-training/articles-and-videos/articles/dont-hold-your-breath?Oldid=3250> [Accessed 11 November 2021].
Riewald, S. and Rodeo, S., 2015. Science of swimming faster. Human Kinetics.

 

Fuel - Ready To Go

The time has arrived, the Busselton Jetty Swimming event is here and all those hours training are about to pay off.

Here is some advice on how to set yourself ready to give yourself maximal effort.

Going into a major event there are some specific eating habits you should follow prior to the event, ensuring you are well fueled and hydrated. You can’t guarantee how well you will perform on the day but what you can control is your event nutrition, hydration, and energy levels. Getting yourself ready for your pre-event food, will allow you to feel strong and have positive memories of the day.

Swimming requires a lot of energy, but as we all know, swimming and eating don’t really mix. The aim for your pre-event food would be to target carbohydrates and lots of it. It’s important that the body is well fuelled before the event so the carbohydrates can be stored in your muscles as glycogen. Carbohydrates are good sources of energy without being too fatty and heavy. All breads, pastas, noodles, rice, fruit, yoghurts, and milks contain carbohydrate. It’s best to have these as the main part of every meal to fill up the glycogen tanks in your muscles.

training AB fuel ready to go

The morning of the swim eat breakfast. Don’t swim on empty. Even if you feel nervous, make it happen. This will kick start your metabolism and helps your body prepare for what is to come while helping maximise performance. Have something light and that is easily digestible such as:

  • Cereal
  • Yoghurt
  • Oatmeal
  • Toast, banana & honey

The things to avoid having before the event are processed sugar, energy drinks and high fibre foods. You don’t want to make your stomach and digestive system work overtime on the day.

Fuel your body ready to go and smash out the Busselton Jetty Swim. Good Luck.

Reference:

Sports Dietitians Australia, 2021, Swimming Factsheet <https://www.sportsdietitians.com.au/factsheets/food-for-your-sport/food-for-your-sport-swimming/>
Shaw, G.C., et al. (2014). Nutrition Considerations for Open-Water Swimming. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 375

Improving Freestyle Kick

Why should you be working on your freestyle kick?

A focus toward an efficient freestyle kick is often underappreciated when looking from the outside in. Usually there is a stronger emphasis on what the upper body is doing, for example the number of strokes performed, how much drive the upper body provides when pulling one through the water and how elite swimmer’s can make their stroke look effortless. However, under the surfaces, there is a lot of work happening by the hips that can sometimes go un-noticed.

When you kick through the water, the drive that your ankle, knees, and hips provide allows your body to stay higher in the water. What this in turn does is minimizes the amount of ‘drag’ that you have in the water. The higher your body stays in the water, the more streamlined you become which means there is less water working against you in your stroke. This ideally allows you to then launch into your stroked with greater force through your core and hips with a stronger kick.

Now back to my main question, why should you work on your freestyle kick? Well, here are some benefits that focusing on a kicking technique will give us, specifically, ‘added drive or propulsion’ and ‘a higher swimming posture’. These two benefits can be seen when time is put into developing and maintaining an effective flutter kick. So, you see, if you aren’t focusing some training attention to your kicking technique, then you are missing out!

training AB kick technique

How to improve your ankle mobility and strength for your freestyle kick!

Dynamic Ankle Mobility
Most people know what passive stretching is but doing active and dynamic movements targeting the ankle specifically can be highly beneficial to increase your ankle mobility. Adding into your warmup movements such as, a) walking on your toes and b) walking on your heels, can significantly improve upon your ankle mobility. Flexible hips and ankles can lead to a more powerful kick! You can also include exercises like drawing circles with your ankle or a ‘figure 8’, bouncing on the balls of your foot, can also be beneficial for you ankle flexibility and mobility.

Ankle Strength and Stability
Heel raises are a fantastic exercise that allow you to strengthen your calves and increase ankle stability at the same time. The great thing about this exercise is that you can perform this at any given time! All you need is a step or ledge to allow your heels to work lower past and then drive up through the balls of your feet. See the video below on how to perform this exercise.

Who here can skip?

Something that may benefit by adding into your warmups is skipping! Why you ask, well it is a great way to get your ankles to strengthen and develop stability and as above you can do this anywhere! Skipping is also good for your overall fitness and a great way to get the heart rate up prior to getting into the pool. Some other benefits of skipping are that it helps keep your posture upright, is a low impact way to train fast twitch fibers, develop ankle strength and proprioception and develop ‘fast feet’ which is great for your turns on the wall!

The most important thing to remember is spend more time on your kick! Don’t forget about the lower body, so kick often and kick more! No number of dry-land exercises is going to compare to that extra 10-15mins you spend on your kick with your kickboard. Don’t forget to alternate between high intensity kicks and if you get cramped for space or want a new challenge, why not try some vertical kicking. Make sure you enjoy and have fun along the way!

References:

Mullen G J, (2018) Swimming Science: Optimum Performance in the Water
Lucero, B (2011) Strength Training for Faster Swimming
Rosen, M (2019) Open Water: The History and Technique of Swimming

Training Tips by Absolute Balance

Swimming 3.6km can put a massive strain on our body so it is crucial to start our recovery nutrition plan as soon as possible for quicker muscle recovery. While we might be in a celebratory mood after completing the race, eating lots of fast food and chugging down a beer or two can negatively impact the body’s recovery. If we don’t pay close attention to what we consume, we will feel exhausted and may risk injuring ourselves when we even return to light physical activity.

To maximise our recovery process, it is vital to remember these key post-training nutrition goals:

  1. Replenish muscle glycogen (carbohydrate) stores
  2. Restore fluid and electrolytes lost in sweat
  3. Provide nutrients to aid in muscle repair
absolute balance logo