How to Fuel for Performance Before and After Swimming

By: Calum McLellan, CISSN, CSCS, NASM-PESSports Nutritionist and Sports Performance SpecialistSpectrum Sports Performance

You are expected to be at your best when you’re in the water, but are you doing everything to be your best? What you eat before and immediately after can have an enormous impact on your performance and recovery! First, we are going to set a time frame of when your should be eating and then we are going to talk about what foods would best benefit you before and after your training. Knowing what and when to eat is an easy fix to any athletes diet and the improvements will be noticeable.

You should aim to have a small meal at least an hour before you first get the in the water. If you train first thing in the morning you may want to make sure you are up in time to let your body digest the snack so it doesn’t backfire on you!

Example:Early morning swim (6AM): Snack at 5:00
Afternoon swim (4PM): Snack at 3:00
The other piece to the equation is when you should fuel after your training session and the answer is immediately! The sooner you can provide nutrients to your body after a difficult training session the better your going to recover.
Now that you know when you should be eating, it’s important to know what foods are best to provide your muscles with the right fuel before and after you work. There are two things we should provide the body with before and after training:

1) Carbohydrates: provide energy to your muscles
2) Protein: which give your muscles the building blocks to start repairing as quickly as you can after swimming.
The amount of each is dependent on your body weight. Shoot for ¼ of your body weight in grams of protein and carbohydrates for both meals. Here are some foods that can be helpful in meeting your protein and carb needs:Carbs:
Bread Pasta

Whey protein
Eggs/Egg whites
Lean meats
Dairy (save for post workout)

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