Diet and nutrition are just as important as speed and endurance for swimmers. With a proper diet, you can take your swimming to the next level by ensuring that you are properly fueled before entering the pool and can successfully recover after. Be sure to focus on a healthy diet daily as part of your training, and follow these tips starting at least 48 hours before a big race or event for optimal performance.
Here are a few tips to consider:
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Your body sweats as you swim, although you may not be able to feel it when you’re in the water. Be sure to hydrate before, during, and after as dehydration will lower your energy levels and weaken your performance. A good rule of thumb is to drink at least half of your body weight in ounces each day.
Replenish your electrolyte supply: Water is the best source for hydration, but sports drinks have the added benefit of electrolytes which are vital to your body’s health and performance. As you sweat, you are losing electrolytes which keep your body running properly and balance your fluid levels. They support muscle contraction, neural activity, digestion, kidney and cardiac health. Adequate electrolyte supply can also help to prevent muscle cramping! You can’t go wrong with drinking your sports drink before, after, or during your swimming activity.
Fuel up with carbohydrates: Make sure you to choose wisely when it comes to carbs. Carbs will fuel your body and prepare it for the exercise it is about to endure. Go for simple carbohydrates like fruit, whole grain bread, pasta, breakfast oats, and cereals.
Recover and build muscle with protein: Swimmers tend to load up on carbs, but you must not forget about protein. Protein plays a huge part in the maintenance, repair, and growth of your muscles. Choose lean proteins such as chicken, fish, eggs, and yogurt.
Ideally, you should be eating your meals 1-2 hours before you exercise, and at a minimum, you should allow 30 minutes of digestion before jumping in the pool. Focusing on these simple nutrition tips will help pave your way to success in and out of the swimming pool!