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  • Jan

    Six Nutrition Tips for the New Year

    By Garrett Weber-Gale, Two-Time Gold Medalist

    The New Year brings excitement, anticipation, and a fresh slate to draw up new dreams. Whether you’re just starting your swim workouts, or far along on your journey, it’s never too late to take a hard look at ‘the little things’ that add up to making a huge impact on whether or not you’ll achieve your goals.

    I vividly remember getting a ride home from seven-time Olympic medalist Aaron Peirsol, my sophomore year at Texas, and him impressing upon me the importance of paying close attention to the little things. Whether it’s stretching after a workout, doing five minutes of shoulder exercises before lifting weights, getting to sleep by 9pm every night, or focusing on all the aspects of your diet, all of these little things add up.

    If you’re committing to make this year the most productive year of your life, take particular focus on what you’re using to fuel your body. Athletes often fall into two camps; thinking they can eat anything and everything because they burn it all off anyways, or being scared to tackle the nutrition front for fear of it being too complex. First, don’t kid yourself into believing that you’re unstoppable and can eat anything and everything – you can’t. Second, have confidence in knowing that nutrition isn’t a super complex puzzle that is impossible to figure out. Here’s some quick tips to get you started right in 2017!

    Six (Easy) Nutrition Tips to Kick Off the New Year:

    1. Always keep a water bottle with you. Dehydration is a common problem for athletes, particularly for swimmers who often don’t realize the amount of sweat they lose during in-the-water workout. Keeping a filled water bottle with you will help keep you on track for proper hydration, so your muscles can perform at their most optimal level.

    2. Eat breakfast, EVERY DAY! After a long night’s rest, your body is literally in starvation mode. Start your day off with a breakfast that includes carbohydrates, protein, and fat.

    3. Eat simple carbohydrates immediately post-workout. When you work-out you’re using a fuel source called glycogen, which is effectively simple carbohydrates. Glycogen is stored in your muscles, and must be replenished immediately post-workout. Go for fruits like bananas, oranges, mango, pineapple, or plums. You can even do the dried versions, if you like.

    4. Eat smaller meals, with higher frequency. Training can be a huge strain on your body, and will make it require constant fuel throughout the day. During intense periods of training I eat five meals per day.

    5. Eat until you feel good, not until you feel full. Athletes in general, but particularly swimmers, often gorge until they are totally full, leaving them lethargic and feeling bloated. Chances are you can always come back for more food when you’re hungry. Leave meals feeling satisfied, but still feeling lean and agile.

    6. Find a nutrition expert to talk to. You almost certainly have coaches in other areas of your training, so why wouldn’t you have one in arguably the most important area…what you put in your body? Find a nutrition expert who can help you understand how to begin building an eating plan that is tailored specifically to your body type, training schedule, and goals.

    You’ve entered a new year in 2017, and the time to begin making small, consistent improvements could never be better. Believe in the power of ‘the little things’. Trust that everything you do will make an impact on your journey towards achieving your dream. You have the power to control your performance. Go, get after it!

    Freestyle sprinter Garrett Weber-Gale won two gold medals in relays at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, three years after nearly quitting the sport with high-blood pressure. With medical support and a total revamp of his diet, Weber-Gale qualified for Beijing in the 50m & 100m freestyle and was part of what many consider to be the greatest 4x100m men’s freestyle relay of all time. Today, Weber-Gale makes appearances, gives classes and lectures on nutrition and is the founder of AthleticFoodie.

    Email Address Invalid. Please enter an email address in the format: xx@yy.zz
    4 years ago.
    Any thoughts on a "keto" type diet....supposed to be good for losing body fat which i need to do...thanks
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