Diet and Nutrition for Competitive Swimmers

Don’t try to cover up poor quality food by swimming and during lifeguard training more. To get results and improve your performance, you need to eat smart. We will explain here how to do it.

  • Swimming and calorie intake
  • Adopt a balanced diet
  • Eat little and often
  • Eat before and after swimming

How to stay hydrated

If you spend hours in the pool, work tirelessly, and follow your workout routine to the letter, but everything goes wrong in the kitchen, you could end up shooting yourself in the foot. Don’t let bad eating habits ruin your work and training. Instead, empower yourself to optimize your performance by eating the nutritious, high-energy foods your body needs.

How many calories do competitive swimmers need?

The amount of energy needed depends on your training, height, weight, and muscle mass. For example, a 60 kg swimmer will burn between 800 and 1000 calories per hour of training. Add to that your average daily calorie needs, which is almost 1,800 calories for a woman and 2,000 for a man, and you get an estimate of how much food you need per day.

However, keep in mind that the needs and training programs are different for each swimmer. It is therefore up to you to find the nutritional and dietary approach that suits you. Assessing your energy levels and your hunger will help you determine if your calorie intake is adequate.

What should competitive swimmers eat?

Before a race, some elite swimmers may opt for a burger. But it’s unlikely that it will work for the rest of us. A diet high in complex carbohydrates (whole grains, green vegetables, beans, and sweet potatoes, for example) and lean protein (chicken and fish) will give you the energy you need to be at your best once in. the swimming pool.

Make carbohydrates half of your meal, and be sure to accompany them with protein (to help promote muscle regeneration) after each session, as well as vegetables and healthy fats such as avocados, walnuts. cashew, pumpkin seeds, or coconut meat.

How often should I eat?

Competitive swimming is a very strenuous activity, so it is important to eat small, nutrient-dense snacks at regular intervals. This will give you the feeling of being full and managing to maintain a balanced sugar level and constantly high energy levels. Go for this approach, rather than the traditional three big meals a day, which might make you fell asleep during your workouts and runs.

And if you are a morning swimmer, try to burn calories before going to the pool; swimming after fasting overnight can make you feel exhausted and hungry for long hours.

What should I eat before and after training?

It is strongly recommended that you eat foods rich in carbohydrates and proteins such as eggs, wholemeal bread, pasta, beans, and chicken, approximately 2 to 3 hours before swimming.

Pre- and post-workout snacks and meals are very important in maintaining balanced blood sugar levels, especially right after swimming. Try to replenish your body 20-30 minutes after training with a blend of muscle-building proteins and carbohydrates that can restore glycogen. A banana and a peanut butter sandwich will be perfect!

Avoid fatty foods, which demand more of your digestive system, and avoid nutrient-free foods from your diet. Instead, opt for healthy, light snacks, such as fresh fruit, smoothies, whole grains, nuts, seeds, protein shakes, and cereal bars.

How much should I drink?

Dehydration can impact your energy level and performance. So take a water bottle with you and leave it at the side of the pool.

2nd best Opinion’s foods for swimming

What should you eat before and after swimming? These foods and snacks will help you swim longer, and potentially lose weight.

What to eat before and after swimming?

Which energy foods will help you swim longer, and which ones should you avoid? Here’s how to eat smart, before and after swimming.

  • Pre-swim foods
  • Post-swim foods
  • Healthy snacks for swimmers
  • Swimming to lose weight
  • Foods swimmers should avoid
  • Hydrate in the pool

What should I eat before swimming?

Foods high in complex carbohydrates, such as whole-wheat pasta, sweet potatoes, and brown rice, are great sources of energy for swimmers. A diet high in slow sugars will give you the energy you need to swim longer, but digestion will be slower.

If you need a boost of energy just before swimming, go for a mixture of lean protein and carbohydrates: smoothies are great for providing your body with all the nutrients it needs, without putting excessive strain on your digestive system. . Allow yourself some time (ideally up to an hour) before taking a dip in the pool, to avoid feeling bloated. And if you are swimming to lose weight, go for a low fat and calorie pre-workout case or a smaller portion, to shed those pounds faster.

What and when to eat after swimming?

It is very important to eat after training, even if your goal is to lose weight. Try to replenish your body 20-30 minutes after training with a blend of muscle-building proteins and carbohydrates that can restore glycogen. For a light meal, opt for almond butter on oatmeal cakes, or nut butter, a banana, honey, and chia seeds on a toast (see recipe below). After training, for example, opt for cooked sweet potatoes with lean protein such as chicken or fish.

Healthy snacks for swimmers

Dates are great for boosting energy before training because they contain a significant amount of natural sugars. They’re also easy to digest and shouldn’t weigh your stomach down before training. After a swim, you can also opt for a protein bar, fruit or yogurt. Swimming in the morning will boost your metabolism for the rest of the day. Remember to keep a few healthy snacks on hand to avoid low energy.

What foods should swimmers avoid?

Avoid fatty foods before diving in the water: they will be more difficult to digest and can cause indigestion, discomfort or bloating while swimming.

Should I drink during the session?

Yes. All forms of physical activity will make you sweat, including swimming, although you won’t sweat as much in cold water as you do in the open. Dehydration can impact your energy level and performance. So take a water bottle with you and leave it at the side of the pool. Drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after training.

Post-swim refueling: Nut butter, banana, honey, and chia seeds on a toast *

This kind of healthy, post-swim snack is delicious and extremely beneficial for your body.

Easy and quick to prepare, the peanut butter wholemeal bread toast, accompanied by sliced ​​bananas, honey, and chia seeds, will fill you up after training. Nut butter and chia seeds are rich in protein, to promote muscle regeneration. Wholemeal bread and bananas provide slow sugars to replenish your energy reserves and honey provides a rapid supply of sugar for an instant boost of energy.


  • 1 slice of wholemeal bread
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of nut butter (or peanut or cashew, but make sure it’s sugar-free)
  • ½ banana
  • ½ tablespoon of honey
  • A pinch of chia (or pumpkin or sunflower seeds)
  • Allergy Information: Please note that this recipe includes nuts.

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Warning: Always consult a healthcare practitioner before starting any nutritional or training program. These exercise suggestions are not a substitute for proper health advice.

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