Nutrition and training adaptations in aquatic sports

Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2014 Aug;24(4):414-24. doi: 10.1123/ijsnem.2014-0033. Epub 2014 Jun 5.


The adaptive response to training is determined by the combination of the intensity, volume, and frequency of the training. Various periodized approaches to training are used by aquatic sports athletes to achieve performance peaks. Nutritional support to optimize training adaptations should take periodization into consideration; that is, nutrition should also be periodized to optimally support training and facilitate adaptations. Moreover, other aspects of training (e.g., overload training, tapering and detraining) should be considered when making nutrition recommendations for aquatic athletes. There is evidence, albeit not in aquatic sports, that restricting carbohydrate availability may enhance some training adaptations. More research needs to be performed, particularly in aquatic sports, to determine the optimal strategy for periodizing carbohydrate intake to optimize adaptations. Protein nutrition is an important consideration for optimal training adaptations. Factors other than the total amount of daily protein intake should be considered. For instance, the type of protein, timing and pattern of protein intake and the amount of protein ingested at any one time influence the metabolic response to protein ingestion. Body mass and composition are important for aquatic sport athletes in relation to power-to-mass and for aesthetic reasons. Protein may be particularly important for athletes desiring to maintain muscle while losing body mass. Nutritional supplements, such as b-alanine and sodium bicarbonate, may have particular usefulness for aquatic athletes' training adaptation.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological*
  • Athletic Performance*
  • Diet*
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Humans
  • Nutritional Requirements*
  • Nutritional Status
  • Periodicity
  • Physical Conditioning, Human
  • Physical Education and Training*
  • Sports
  • Sports Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Swimming / physiology*