All athletes need fuel to power them through their sport. Competitive swimmers are no exception.\nWhile most of us will never experience the thrill of competing on a world stage, we can still benefit from the same sound nutritional advice the pros follow\u00a0during training and before a big meet.\nJeff Lucchino, MS, RDN, CSSD, a sports nutritionist at UPMC Sports Medicine, has provided five nutrition tips for swimmers \u2014 and non-swimmers \u2014 alike:\n1. Choose carbs wisely\nCarbohydrates are an important part of any athlete’s training. Carbohydrates are the primary fuel source for moderate to high intensity activity. They assist with muscle repair, muscle preparation, and of course, performance.\nAccording to the American College of Sports Medicine, when you are training at a competitive level, carbohydrates should make up the majority of calories in your diet. For example, the average 160-pound swimmer needs between 580 to 720 grams of carbohydrates each day, or roughly 3.5 to 4.5 grams per pound of body weight.\nBut not all carbs are created equal. You’ll want to consume simple carbohydrates \u2014 such as energy drinks, sports gels, fruit, and pretzels \u2014 before, during, and immediately after a workout, because your body digests them very quickly, which provides you with needed bursts of energy.\nThe rest of the time you should focus on complex carbs such as whole grains, beans, lentils, rice, and vegetables. These types of carbs break down more slowly, keeping blood sugar steady over time.\nIt’s important to note that both types of carbohydrates do assist with carbohydrate replacement, but the timing of each is invaluable for optimal athletic performance.\n\n2. Pick quality proteins\nConsuming reasonable amounts of protein \u2014 about 15 grams for a 160-pound person \u2014 two to four hours before a workout can help your muscles recover after training. Choose nutrient-dense sources of protein, such as eggs, milk, chicken, pork, nuts, fish, beef, and soy.\n3. Stay balanced\nWe all need a well-balanced diet to cover our nutritional bases. Your everyday diet should consist of complex carbs, lean meats, dairy, and plenty of fruits and vegetables.\nImmediately following\u00a0a workout, you can replenish your body and prime yourself for recovery by eating meals or snacks that contain a ratio of 3 to 4 grams of carbs for every 1 gram of protein. Replenish within 15 minutes of workout\/training completion.\u00a0For example, a 1 gram protein profile is an 8 ounce serving of low-fat chocolate milk.\n4. Pack a snack\nKeep your blood sugar even by enjoying a small snack about an hour or two before you begin a training session. Good choices include fresh or dried fruit, trail mix, yogurt, whole-grain cereal or toast, and energy bars.\n5. Wet your whistle\nIronically, as you swim in water, your body requires more of it. In fact, dehydration can sap your performance. Stay hydrated by drinking water, consuming a diet high in fruits and vegetables that naturally contain a high water percentage, and swigging other healthy fluids throughout the day. The best measure of\u00a0hydration is the color of your urine, which should be pale yellow.