Swimming is a form of exercise that provides resistance to the entire body. Therefore, it is important to fuel your body appropriately for this type of activity. Carbohydrates are an essential macronutrient for a swim workout. They are your body’s quick-burning fuel stored in the form of glycogen in your muscles. Your body will easily burn through the carbohydrates you consume before swimming!
Prior to a swimming workout, eat foods that are low in fiber and fat to minimize discomfort. The foods you should consume depend on the timing of your meals.
Here is an easy nutrition formula to use:
- Two hours prior to the workout: Include a portion of protein (eggs, cheese, chicken, etc.) plus a grain or other simple carbohydrate (cereal, banana, toast, tortilla, rice)
- One hour prior to the workout: Include a portion of dairy (low-fat yogurt, low-fat milk) plus a grain or other simple carbohydrate (cereal, banana, toast, tortilla, rice)
- Thirty minutes prior to the workout: include a grain or other simple carbohydrate (banana, toast, cereal)
- During: If the workout will be long or particularly strenuous, continue to fuel with an easily-digestible form of carbohydrate: Electrolyte drink, juice, small bits of fresh fruit
Some people struggle with discomfort if they eat a full meal prior to swimming. If this is you, it’s still important to fuel up— try a smoothie or a liquid meal, since liquids will be easier on your stomach.
By: Denise Hernandez, MS, RD, LD