What to Eat Before Swimming

Swimming is an intensive exercise that is widely regarded as the best form of workout. Training for swimming includes many types of exercises, ranging from endurance training to sprint training. Therefore, a swimmer should provide his body with the proper nutrition. Swimmers have to know what they can eat before swimming. Eating the proper food before going for a swim not only energizes your muscles, but also prevents cramps and muscle injuries that might occur.

What to Eat Before Swimming

Here are four food items that can be eaten before going for a swim.

1. Bagels

Bagels are a great source of instant energy since they are rich in carbohydrates. Composed of many complex carbohydrates, bagels supply you with adequate amounts of energy for swimming. Bagels can be eaten by themselves or, if you want an extra boost, with peanut butter.

2. Smoothies

Apart from being great in taste, smoothies are also a great source of calcium and Vitamin C. This is suitable for the swimmers who find it hard to digest anything solid during their training. Smoothies are not only easy to digest but also have a great taste, making them the perfect drink before a swim.

3. Energy Gels

Energy gels are the modern day equivalent of traditional protein and energy drinks. A simple energy gel of just 100 calories will provide you with enough punch to push through your training. Apart from being light on the stomach, these also provide you with adequate proteins that prevent muscle fatigue.

4. Bananas

Banana is the staple food for people who often work out. It is small, rich in proteins, potassium, and fiber. What more could you ask for? So the next time you go for a swim, peel a banana and get that extra energy to push you through the training.

What If I Swim for Competition?

The nutritional needs for competitive swimmers' bodies are vastly different from normal swimmers. If you are a competitive swimmer and are wondering what to eat before swimming, below is your answer:

  • Complex Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are the major source of energy for your body. They are broken down almost immediately and prove to be an instant source of energy. Swimming with a body that is depleted of carbohydrates can result in severe muscle cramps, nausea and even muscle tear. Therefore, it is important to supply the body with adequate amount of complex carbohydrates the night before the competition. Food rich in complex carbohydrates include whole grain foods and whole wheat breads.

  • Proteins

Proteins are the compounds behind the growth and development of your muscles and tissues. Having a healthy dose of protein before swimming can not only prevent muscle damage, but also provide additional energy to last the entire race. Lean proteins such as chicken breast or baked salmons should be eaten a night before the race to ensure proper protein intake.

  • Low Fat Foods

Fatty food tends to slow you down by impeding your digestion. Always ensure that you consume only low fat food before a race. This will keep you light, active and ready to compete. Instead of using saturated oils to cook your food, use some spices and herbs to pep up your food.

What Should I Eat If I Swim Early in the Morning?

Many morning swimmers are confused as to what to eat before swimming. First of all, keep in mind that swimming with an empty stomach is never advised. The body has no source of energy and prolonging the exercise can lead to dizziness and fatigue. Therefore, if you want to go for a swim early in the morning, consider the following foods:

  • Porridge made with linseed and apples
  • American pancakes (preferably blueberry pancakes)
  • Muesli with honey (add dry fruits like hazelnuts if possible)
  • Salmon (smoked) and pea frittata
  • Yogurt pots (add some banana into the mixture for some extra energy)

When to Eat Before Swimming

It is often recommended to allow a gap of 2-4 hours in between a heavy meal and swimming, and 30 minutes to 2 hours between snacks and swimming, as this allows the body to digest the food properly.

Is It Dangerous to Swim Within an Hour After Eating?

Doing any form of exercise within an hour of eating can cause stomach cramps. As swimming places an intense load on the stomach, it is possible that swimming can cause severe stomach cramps and other discomfort if done within an hour of eating. However, there is no conclusive proof that the discomforts can cause drowning. Since you already know what to eat before swimming, it is best to exercise some common sense and go for a swim only when your stomach feels comfortable. However, it is not dangerous or fatal to swim within an hour of eating.

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