Everyone knows that baking in the sun and lounging by the water can be incredibly draining. It also can make you work up the appetite! It is important to know the best foods to eat before and after a swim.
Eating the right foods can make a huge difference in your performance while you are swimming and your body’s ability to recover after you are finished.
It does not matter if you swim competitively or recreationally; making sure your body has the right fuel before taking a swim has numerous benefits.
Eating Before Swimming
It is best to eat at least one hour before your swim. This is because your body needs time for your food to digest. When food enters your body, your blood supply gets directed to your digestive system.
Once this happens, food begins to break down and nutrients are extracted. After your food is digested and you begin to work out, your blood flow gets redirected to your muscles. This allows for smooth, efficient and effective physical activity.
The below foods are what we suggest snacking on before a swim:
- Whole grain pasta
- Sweet potato
- Whole grain bagels/bread/muffins
- Rice cakes
- Trail mix
The foods mentioned above are rich in complex carbohydrates. They will provide a consistent energy supply. We suggest eating something as opposed to not eating anything before a swim.
If you swim on an empty stomach you will be tired and lose energy much faster than if you had eaten prior. To avoid any stomach discomfort while swimming, stay away from any foods high in fiber and fat.
Eating After Swimming
What you eat after a swim is just as important as what you eat before. After a swim session the main goal is to help your body recover from all the movements and physical activity that took place.
Eating foods with protein helps to repair the muscles in your body; eating foods with carbohydrates helps to restore your body’s glycogen levels.
While swimming, you are burning calories but you also are burning energy and nutrients. We suggest having a healthy meal or snack one hour after you are done swimming.
The below foods are some of our top recommended favorites:
- Lean chicken
- Ground turkey
- Ham and cheese
- Brown rice
- Sweet potato
- Protein bars
- Pita with hummus
- Homemade pizza
- Peanut butter with crackers
- Low fat milk or yogurt
Protein is one of the BEST things to have after a workout! If you eat the right amount of protein, it can help reduce any soreness you may have in your muscles from swimming.
While protein is very important, we suggest pairing with fresh fruits and vegetables that are rich in vitamins, antioxidants and minerals.
If you are primarily swimming for weight loss purposes, it is important to note that water workouts are known to increase your appetite, which may make resisting the urge to snack harder!
Foods To Avoid While Swimming
We have talked about what to eat before and after a swim, but knowing what NOT to eat is also extremely important.
Avoid fatty foods at all costs! You should also avoid spicy foods, alcohol and coffee beverages. Fatty foods make it harder for your body to digest and can lead to multiple disadvantages.
For example, eating food that is high in fat before swimming can cause indigestion or discomfort while swimming.
A few examples of what you should avoid while swimming are:
- Ice Cream
- Fruit juice
- Granola bars
- Fried foods
- Movie popcorn
Conclusion: Best Foods To Eat Before And After A Swim
In any sport or physical activity, there are many factors that can determine one’s physical performance. In this blog we decided to tackle food and nutrition in regards to the best foods to eat before and after a swim.
Although we mostly discussed foods, it is also vital that you stay HYDRATED throughout the day. Swimmers and loungers should drink fluids before, during and after their day at the pool. It is important to note that body fluid needs depend on individual fluid losses.
This varies depending on your sweat rate. Water based workouts make it hard to identify sweat loss but because pool areas are usually warm, we know that this will increase your fluid loss. We suggest water be your primary source of fluid but also acknowledge that sport drinks can be extremely useful.
Sport drinks provide carbohydrates for fuel and electrolytes for hydration. Selecting the right foods to eat ultimately depends on your own individual goals. It depends on if you are swimming for fun, competitively or weight loss.
The foods mentioned above are our top suggestions that will enhance your swim session while making the experience more enjoyable, before, during and after.
Here at InstaSwim, we want all of our students to feel good before and after swim class! Nutrition is commonly an over looked subject. We hope you enjoyed this blog about the best foods to eat before and after a swim!