When you're training for a swimming competition or even otherwise, your diet plays an extremely important role. It is necessary to be vigilant about what you eat before and after your swim, to help you swim longer, lose weight and stay fit.
1. Basic nutrients to focus on;
> Carbohydrates: This is ideal to give you energy for your practice and to improve your performance.
> Fats: This is also a source of energy for swimmers. However, it takes about 20-30 minutes of swimming until enough fat is available to be of much use during your training.
> Protein: This is necessary to build body cells. To repair and maintain those cells and also help you build muscles and burn down fats.
> Vitamins: This help in controlling the all over growth of body tissue. However, the body does not generate most of the vitamins, hence you need to supply with your food and drinks.
> Minerals: These contribute to building cells and controlling body processes. Important minerals are calcium, iodine, phosphorous and iron.
2. What should I eat before Swimming?
Before your swimming session, eat food that is rich in carbohydrates like wholemeal pasta, brown rice, and sweet potatoes. This kind of food is a great source of energy for swimmers. Carbs take time to digest but will help you swim longer and keep you energized.
Smoothies also help with nourishing your body by providing you with all the nutrients you need. It does not build pressure on your digestive system. It is ideal to eat/ drink an hour before your swim so as to avoid feeling bloated.
3. What should I eat after Swimming?
For recovery, it is necessary to eat after you swim, even if you aim to lose weight. It's not so hard really, I feel super hungry after every swimming session.
Within 20-30 minutes of swimming, it is necessary to refuel the body with carbohydrates and proteins. Peanut butter and bread, banana, honey or oats are some effective light meal options. The main course meal could contain a steak, sweet potatoes or chicken, fish, and egg.
4. Snacks worth munching on
A protein bar, a fruit or even a bowl of yoghurt are some good options. Dates, containing natural sugars, are a great energy boosting pre-workout snack.
5. Drink Water while you're swimming
It's pretty counterintuitive but like any other sport, swimming also involves sweating even though you’re cool in the water. Your energy levels and performance may be affected by dehydration so keep a water bottle handy and have regular sips before, during and after your swimming training. An energy drink could also do the trick.