Swimming requires a lot of physical exertion, and you can be sure that your body burns a lot of energy. Whether for lessons, exercise, or competitive training, swimming provides a great workout. This tends to make swimmers very hungry, and it’s important to refuel your body properly.
Eating properly after your swim workout provides your body with the essential nutrients it needs in order to repair and recover. It’s suggested that you eat a well rounded meal (or snack) within one hour from completing you workout. Swimmers are also suggested to eat healthy carbohydrates and protein.
Carbohydrates help fuel your body and is stored as glycogen in your muscles and liver. While it’s more common to eat carbs before a workout, it’s actually still beneficial to have a healthy portion of carbs afterwards as well. Since these energy stores are depleted after a vigorous workout, you will need to replace what was lost— especially if you still have the rest of the day ahead of you!
As swimming breaks down muscle tissue, you need to eat food that helps care for your muscles. Protein does exactly that, as it provides amino acids to aid in muscle growth and repair. Having protein after a workout also reduces muscle soreness you might experience the following day, and supports your overall immune system.
When battling post swimming hunger, opt for more protein than carbohydrates. It’s suggested to have around 20g of protein after a hard workout to aid in recovery.
In your post-swimming meal, seek to have adequate amounts of protein and carbs, but make sure to choose the right ones. You could easily find unhealthy carbohydrates and protein, but they may give you unfavorable results. Here are some examples of snacks/meals you can have after your swim.
For lighter exercises, you may simply opt for a snack to restore some energy and hold you off until your next regular meal:
Frozen fruit and yogurt smoothies - Blend together your favorite fruits and yogurt for a dose of carbs and protein! Opt for natural sweeteners, if needed, such as honey.
Toast and spread - Spread some peanut butter, almond butter, or mashed avocado over your toast. For a healthier alternative, use whole wheat or multigrain bread.
Cup of yogurt with mixed fruit - You could also add in some granola, nuts, or seeds for some extra crunch!
For heavier workouts, have a full meal with an adequate serving of protein to aid in muscle recovery:
Eggs - These are a great source of protein! Have an omelette mixed with some of your favorite vegetables.
Fish and other lean meats - Take in protein through healthy, lean meats. You can have them grilled with some brown rice, in a sandwich, paired with some vegetables… the options go on and on!
Here’s to swimming well and eating well, too!