Nutrition Tips for Swimmers

We're no expert nutritionists, but hear us out for a few tips..

1.Think about good carbs, bad carbs

Dinner mealSurprise! All carbohydrates are not bad for athletes. Want to know why?

It’s essential to understand how your body processes food, how various nutrients effect your body and how often you should be consuming those in order to benefit development during training. When it comes to simple sugars, they are digested quite quickly which then results in an increase in the body’s blood sugar. It only has a negative impact on the body if the blood sugar is not utilised as it will then be stored in a fat cell.

With that being said, the advantage of simple sugars is that it allows a way for us to quickly burn fuel for our muscles which is why it’s a good idea to eat simple carbs before, during and after workouts. Bananas are a good pre-workout snack because they have the nutrients to boost glycogen stores and increase blood sugar levels – essentially boosting your energy.

Don’t forget though, it’s vital your body gets the correct amount of carbs and protein after workouts to decrease muscle protein breakdown and enhance recovery. A common food people tend to eat after workouts are Energy and Recovery Bars. These are high in protein and delicious too! – We recommend specifically trying the High 5 Recovery Bars.

2.Protein before a workout is a highly recommended

Remember quality over quantity

Post workout protein has long been considered the most important part of nutrition when it comes to working out, but how many people understand the importance of fuelling your muscles before a workout? Pre-workout protein helps fuel muscles during training, especially the branched chain amino acids. After these are absorbed, they take the journey directly to the blood stream to be picked up by the muscles. When exercise comes into play, it causes the breakdown and oxidation of the amino acids.

As well as this, protein before a workout helps establish a positive nitrogen balance which in other terms means it improves the uptake of protein into the muscle and helps prevent the breakdown of muscle tissue. Make sure you’re taking care of your body before and after workouts.

3. Immune support

swimming poolWe all know it’s critical to keep our immune system at it’s best, especially during unexpected flu seasons and winter months. There are many things that we can do to ensure our body stays healthy and we’re not just talking about digesting vitamin supplements and eating the occasional fruit and vegetables. Zinc, Magnesium and Glutamine are important sources for immune function and muscle recovery. Throughout workouts and exercise sessions, zinc and magnesium get lost within sweat so it’s wise to keep track of your mineral levels and ensure they are replenished throughout training and after.

Now we’ve covered vital nutrients for immune support, it’s all about the carbs! (and we don’t mean cake, pastry or an oversized bowl of pasta, sorry). It’s proven that eating carbohydrates during intense and prolonged training sessions weakens the effects on immune parameters. We recommend combining carbohydrates with a low fat, high protein diet to maintain a healthy immune system. The right nutrition for swimmers during winter months is quite important as no sun, no vitamins!

4.Vitamin D

Vitamin DAlthough it would be great to get most of our Vitamin D from the sunshine, the British weather continues to disappoint. However, the nutrient is gaining a lot of attention in sport performance.

Vitamin D has a crucial role in muscle synthesis and muscle contraction and it’s known that 15 minutes of sunlight exposure provides us with the daily requirement. So, because that option is out of the window, foods that contain vitamin D need to be included in athlete’s diets to strengthen healthy bones. If you like a bit of tuna, cheese, egg yolks and dairy products, make sure you get your daily dose as Vitamin D deficiency seems to be quite common among swimmers


Water – the most taken for granted nutrient

water glassHydration through training is key to maintaining energy levels and ensuring a healthy recovery. Dehydration has the ability to reduce the body’s capacity to function by 30%. When preparations are in action for swimming races, hydration strategies are best to put into place. This will consist of avoiding drinks which contain caffeine and alcohol.

6-8 glasses of water are recommended per day and the most accurate test for hydration status is the colour of your urine. It’s best to consistently strive for pale yellow and fully hydrate after workouts. If you’re not one for a lot of water though, Electrolyte drinks come in quite handy. They are simple hydration solutions which make it easy to balance fluids and electrolytes. We recommend the High 5 Zero sports drink.

Mailsports understand the importance of nutrition for swimmers in sport which is why we have a wide selection of brands and nutrition products to ensure you constantly perform and swim at your best. Don’t hesitate to get in touch but in the meantime, happy swimming!