Hot Topic: Kieran Bird talks nutrition, training and supplements for new season

The new swimming season is now in full swing, meaning athletes’ training schedules are well established and their time in the water is on the up and up, after the summer break and the steady return to the pool following a busy period of competition in 2022.

In partnership with Healthspan, British Swimming’s official vitamin and supplement supplier, we caught up European champion Kieran Bird to find out how his training is going at the British Swimming Performance Centre, Bath, what Healthspan Elite products he uses as he brings the intensity back up to normal levels, and what helps him get ready for action come race-day.

Q: What products do you use in the early season?

“The first product I use early season from Healthspan Elite is Vitamin D tablets. This is to ensure my Vitamin D levels remain optimal through the winter period as this can support my immune system and recovery. I also take the Sport Essentials everyday which consist of a multivitamin, probiotic and omega-3 tablets. Again, this helps keep me healthy by supporting my immune system which is especially important during early season when there’s a big influx of people who are doing a lot of socialising around the university and Performance Centre.”

Kieran Bird Healthspan image

Q: How do these differ to when regular training begins?  

“During regular season I keep using the sports essentials daily. They’re good for helping the immune system and helping with general health supplementation as well. In training I like to use the Healthspan Elite Energy gels when we’ve got longer or more intense training sessions, these really help me to maintain a high output and focus when it gets tough. On race days I’ll use the caffeine gum, as caffeine is a supplement which I like to use before racing. The gum is my favourite method of consumption due to its fast-acting properties”

Q: Are there any products you use on a more sporadic basis?

My nutritionist Rich (Richard Chessor, British Swimming Head of Physical Performance) and I have spoken about me taking Healthspan Elite’s Beta Alanine, as this is a buffering agent during racing, when things start to get hard in the middle of a race. I also enjoy the protein bars they provide for us, as they are very good for recovery – handy and tasty as well! They’re also vegan, so they’re suited to all consumers.

Q: How does training differ in the pre-season compared to the regular season?

At Bath Performance Centre, we’ve settled in to the early season and the intense schedule. We’re very privileged that we can settle in over six week pre-season cycles - so each week we add a little bit more load. I add an extra session of swim or an extra session of land, it helps to get back into the rhythm and not overload the body so injury isn’t as likely to occur. It also helps mentally prepare us as well so we’re not going from 0-100 immediately and we can still enjoy life outside the pool and have that slow introduction back into a full training week.

Healthspan Elite is British Swimming’s official vitamin and supplement supplier, providing certified and Informed Sport-tested high-performance nutrition products to the British Swimming’s world-class para-swimming, diving and swimming teams. To find out more about the partnership and our exclusive 20% discount code, click HERE.