When you're heading from work or class to your next swimming workout, nutrition might be the last thing on your mind. But to eliminate the possibility of you crashing during the middle of your session, it's best to keep these nutrition tips in mind.
1. Prevent hunger
Depending on how much time you have before your workout will impact how much food you eat. But you still need to eat and drink something to prevent hunger pangs which could keep you outside of the pool with a cramp or sudden fatigue. Get a proper mix of carbs and protein before your workout to fuel up properly.
Eat at least 30 grams of carbohydrates with moderate protein and low fat as part of your pre-workout meal. If you've got more than 3-4 hours before a workout, enjoy something more substantial like a sandwich on whole wheat bread that has lean meat and a slice of low fat cheese. If you've got only an hour or less before your workout, stick to carbs that are easily digested like a fruit smoothie or fresh fruit or veggie juice. Our Nutriboost recipe winner shares a great smoothie recipe here!
2. Stay hydrated
Getting the right nutrition before your workout also impacts your hydration levels. Staying hydrated is important for swimmers because it contributes to our metabolic processes and ensures that the nutrients you're eating are properly absorbed. Our bodies are 73% water so drinking at least 6-8 glasses a day is recommended.
Staying hydrated is also important for optimal cardiovascular function, which is critical for swimmers who are pushing their heart rates to the max during a swim session. Our blood is made up of about 90% water, allowing for the transport of oxygen to our cells and our bodies. When swimmers workout, they often underestimate the amount of fluids lost since they are working out in water. But when we sweat, we lose important nutrients. Enjoy a banana as a pre-workout meal if you're in a hurry and don't have much time before a swimming workout. They are full of potassium, an important electrolyte lost in sweat. Read more about electrolytes for swimmers and find out how they contribute to your performance.
3. Eliminate overeating
One of the worst things you can do to your body and your nutrition performance plan is starve yourself before a swimming workout. You'll not only put yourself at risk for fainting or cramps, you may overeat after the practice is over. When you feel famished, you're also more likely to indulge in foods that aren't as healthy for your diet. Appetite management throughout the day allows you "to avoid back loading, or eating large amounts late in the day."1 Going to bed with a full stomach weighed down by a heavy meal is one of the worst things that you can do. Instead, opt for a light pre-bedtime meal like the Nutriboost shake to aid with muscle recovery while you sleep.
So before your swimming workouts, make sure you fuel up properly to have your best performance all season long!