Increased volume = Increased energy use = Increased calorie intake!
Body weight should NOT drop more than 3 pounds during an intense period of training in-season. Most large training load increases in-season come in 2 or 3 week periods, and the benefits can be numerous, BUT… Losing weight quickly in-season does NOT equate to being in better shape (necessarily…) – faster swimming equates to being in better shape at this time! Losing muscle to provide energy for practice is not the path to increased recovery and faster swimming, and the idea that you need to “break down” to build back up has serious limits.
If your practices are coming close to or going beyond double your normal volume, an additional 1000 calories per day may be in order. Your body weight and recovery status will determine this need. 1000 calorie examples: 2 large protein shakes OR 4 snickers bars OR 1 Chipotle burrito.
If you lose 3+ pounds (in a 2 to 3 week period), add an additional 500 calories per practice.
If you lose 6+ pounds, add an additional 100 calories per practice.
And, as you should be doing throughout the season… drink Gatorade (or something like it) at any practice over 1 hour, and be sure to drink something (chocolate milk or a protein shake) or at the very least eat something with both carbs and protein within one hour post-practice. The first hour after practice you should try to get in somewhere between 400 and 800 calories – again coming mainly from carbs and protein.
Good luck in your training, and remember the take home message here: During intense in-season training losing weight does not equate to better shape, faster swimming equates to better shape! Improved recovery doesn’t have to be a complicated effort, just a consistent effort!