Competitive diving involves grace, power, balance, and flexibility, which all require satisfying daily energy and nutrient needs. Divers are short, well-muscled, and lean, giving them a distinct biomechanical advantage. Although little diving-specific nutrition research on performance and health outcomes exists, there is concern that divers are excessively focused on body weight and composition, which may result in reduced dietary intake to achieve desired physique goals. This will result in low energy availability, which may have a negative impact on their power-to-weight ratio and health risks. Evidence is increasing that restrictive dietary practices leading to low energy availability also result in micronutrient deficiencies, premature fatigue, frequent injuries, and poor athletic performance. On the basis of daily training demands, estimated energy requirements for male and female divers are 3,500 kcal and 2,650 kcal, respectively. Divers should consume a diet that provides 3–8 g/kg/day of carbohydrate, with the higher values accommodating growth and development. Total daily protein intake (1.2–1.7 g/kg) should be spread evenly throughout the day in 20 to 30 g amounts and timed appropriately after training sessions. Divers should consume nutrient-dense foods and fluids and, with medical supervision, certain dietary supplements (i.e., calcium and iron) may be advisable. Although sweat loss during indoor training is relatively low, divers should follow appropriate fluid-intake strategies to accommodate anticipated sweat losses in hot and humid outdoor settings. A multidisciplinary sports medicine team should be integral to the daily training environment, and suitable foods and fluids should be made available during prolonged practices and competitions.
Dan Benardot, Wes Zimmermann, Gregory R. Cox and Saul Marks
Anna Melin, Monica Klungland Torstveit, Louise Burke, Saul Marks and Jorunn Sundgot-Borgen
Disordered eating behavior (DE) and eating disorders (EDs) are of great concern because of their associations with physical and mental health risks and, in the case of athletes, impaired performance. The syndrome originally known as the Female Athlete Triad, which focused on the interaction of energy availability, reproductive function, and bone health in female athletes, has recently been expanded to recognize that Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-S) has a broader range of negative effects on body systems with functional impairments in both male and female athletes. Athletes in leanness-demanding sports have an increased risk for RED-S and for developing EDs/DE. Special risk factors in aquatic sports related to weight and body composition management include the wearing of skimpy and tight-fitting bathing suits, and in the case of diving and synchronized swimming, the involvement of subjective judgments of performance. The reported prevalence of DE and EDs in athletic populations, including athletes from aquatic sports, ranges from 18 to 45% in female athletes and from 0 to 28% in male athletes. To prevent EDs, aquatic athletes should practice healthy eating behavior at all periods of development pathway, and coaches and members of the athletes’ health care team should be able to recognize early symptoms indicating risk for energy deficiency, DE, and EDs. Coaches and leaders must accept that DE/EDs can be a problem in aquatic disciplines and that openness regarding this challenge is important.