What should you be eating before and after you go swimming?

Eating the right foods before and after you go swimming is key to helping your body perform to the best of its ability and to subsequently recover more quickly and effectively. You certainly don’t have to be an Olympic athlete to benefit from the right nutrition to fuel your swimming session. If you have ever wondered what you should be eating before and after you go swimming, here are a few tips on what you should fill your plate with.

Many experts and professional sportsmen have recommended eating at least one hour before your planned swim. This will give your body time to start the digestive process to readily supply your bloodstream and help you avoid bloating.

What should you eat before swimming?

The best meal to eat before going swimming will be made up of foods which are slow to digest. These will give you a more sustained and constant source of energy to avoid feeling a large crash after only your second lap. It is well known that swimming provides a good cardio workout, however, this also means that you will be swimming anywhere from 15 minutes to more than an hour. A reliable supply of energy is therefore key to swimming for longer times.
You should try to include complex carbohydrates, these include fruits, nuts and wholegrains.

Here is a list of the most common foods eaten by swimmers before jumping in the pool:

  • Bananas and easy to digest fruits
  • Oats and porridge
  • Wholegrain bread and pasta
  • Potatoes
  • Brown rice
  • Nuts and beans 

Remember to keep your portions within sensible sizes to avoid loading up your stomach before swimming.

What should you eat after swimming?

After your swim, not only are you likely to be quite hungry but your muscles will themselves be hungry for protein to start repairing. Combining lean proteins with some vegetables and complex carbohydrates is the recipe for success that your body deserves after a good swimming session.

Lean proteins include:

  •  Turkey
  •  Chicken
  •  White fish 
  • Tofu
  • Lean beef

Feel free to add a side of your favourite leafy greens whilst topping your plate with any of the complex carbohydrates you might have eaten before your swim, be it rice or potatoes.

If your goal is to build muscle or if you are not able to have a full meal for another couple of hours, having a high protein snack or drink as you jump out of the pool is also a great way to refuel and recharge your body until your next meal.

Ultimately, there is no one meal plan to suit all swimmers, but the key thing to remember is to try to avoid high-fat foods and other hard to digest foods which may overload your stomach. It goes without saying that you should try to stay away from alcohol and other substances which could influence your physical ability.

Now that you know what you should and shouldn’t eat before and after you go swimming, why not book a swimming class to learn about the best ways to improve your stroke technique and speed. Going Swimmingly London offers a range of private swimming lessons for children and adults of all ages and abilities. Get in touch to book a class at your nearby swimming club or private pool.