Pre-Workout Nutrition for Swimming

Snacks like fruits, grains and vegetables are solid pre-workout foods for swimmers.

Snacks like fruits, grains and vegetables are solid pre-workout foods for swimmers.

Before you jump into the pool for a grueling workout, you need to fuel your body. You can’t expect it to stay strong lap after lap without energy. You need to eat certain foods and consume fluids to push your body to its limits when you hit the water.

Nutrition Basics

For the majority of your workout, your body is probably in the aerobic state. This is when your heart rate is between 60 to 80 percent of your maximum heart rate. At this intensity, your muscles use oxygen-rich blood to break down fat and carbs located in your bloodstream for energy. Choosing a carbohydrate-heavy snack pre-workout supplies you with enough nutrients and staves off hunger while you’re in the pool.

Tracking Your Habits

Everyone is unique; how your body handles food before a workout may be different from someone else. The right mix of carbohydrates, fat, electrolytes, water and protein depends on your age, fitness level, goals and weight. You need to pay attention to your likes, dislikes and goals to design the plan that best suits your needs. Keep track of what and how much you eat and then pay attention to how you feel during your workout. If you feel super fast that day, continue to follow that plan. If you were extra sluggish in the pool, skip those foods next time.

Pre-Swim Food

If your swim workout is longer than 45 minutes, you need a pre-workout snack. This should have at least 30 grams of carbohydrates. Choose something that is low in fat and fiber and low to moderate on the glycemic index. Examples are baby carrots, bananas, cereals, bagels and potatoes. Eat them 45 minutes to one hour before your workout.

Pre-Swim Drink

Despite being surrounded by water, you’ll still sweat while you swim. This loss of fluids can lead to dehydration. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day can help prevent this. Despite all the sports drinks on the market, you can make your own at home. Just mix a bottle of water with a splash of fruit juice and a pinch of salt. This prevents you from consuming too many calories but increases your sodium levels to help you retain fluids.

 

About the Author

Fitzalan Gorman has more than 10 years of academic and commercial experience in research and writing. She has written speeches and text for CEOs, company presidents and leaders of major nonprofit organizations. Gorman has published for professional cycling teams and various health and fitness websites. She has a Master of Arts from Virginia Tech in political science and is a NASM certified personal trainer.

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