Competitive swimmers have a regimented diet to help fuel their workouts, but what about the swimmer whose primary focus is fitness? What’s the best way for you to ensure you’re getting the right nutrients to support your workout and keep you fit?
The most important rule for swimmers is to avoid heavy foods before swimming. A big slice of pepperoni pizza before a swim workout? That’s not going to feel so great about mid-way through your second lap. Here are some ideas of the kind of fuel that will help your body both before and after your workout.
Before your workout
It’s always a good idea to have a small snack shortly before your workout, about 30 to 45 minutes before you get in the water. Carbohydrates are your best bet, because they digest so easily. Try to avoid fats and proteins right before a workout. Here are some small carbohydrate-rich snacks that will give you energy without weighing you down.
- A yogurt-and-fruit smoothie
- A small banana
- A small whole wheat bagel
- Low-fat yogurt topped with granola
- A couple rice cakes
Finish off your snack with some water or a small glass of fruit juice to keep yourself hydrated.
During your workout
Believe it or not, swimmers actually sweat during a strenuous workout. So be sure to bring a water bottle with you to the pool to rehydrate in between sets.
After your workout
A good workout will deplete your body of some important energy and liquids. For your muscles to recover properly, it’s important to have a small snack about 30 to 45 minutes after you get out of the pool. This snack should also be high in carbs and this time, you can add a little protein to the mix.
- Half an egg, ham, or turkey sandwich
- Low fat cottage cheese with fruit
- Low fat cheese and crackers
- An apple with almond butter
- A granola bar and a glass of milk
- A small banana with peanut butter
And again, it’s important to rehydrate after your swim workout. By treating your body to nutritious snacks and regular hydration, you should feel great before, during, and after your swim.
Making your workout perfect
Once you’ve got your nutrition in order, it’s time to think about other things that can make your workout the best it can be. To optimize your workout time, try these tips:
- Lane space. Be sure to check ahead of time for your pool’s peak hours and try to avoid them. Swimming in a pool that is too crowded can be frustrating.
- Bring a friend. Nothing makes a workout better than to swim with a friend.
- Anti-fog goggles. Your goggles should be tight enough to keep out the water, but not so tight that you get a headache.
- A chlorine resistant swimsuit. If you’re tired of your swimsuits losing their color and elasticity too quickly, you will find that chlorine resistant swimwear is the solution you’ve been looking for. Its shape, color, and elasticity last 5 to 10 times longer than regular swimwear.
- Underwater gadgets. If you like to listen to music while you work out, you will love waterproof headphones. If you don’t already own them, put them on your birthday list.
- Working out with the same routine every day can get tiresome, even for the most dedicated swimmer. Try these ways to spice up your swim workout.
Swimming is one of the best exercises you can do to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Like any sport, it takes hard work and determination to stick with it. With tips like these and other hints from our Swim School blog, you will be ready to swim like a champion.