Swimming is an amazing exercise that offers a great workout for your body. Swimmers are generally considered healthier than non-swimmers. Also, swimming brings about a certain freshness that stays with you throughout the day. On the other side, swimming consumes a lot of energy, which implies that swimmers can get weak unless they take proper meals before and after the swimming sessions. If you have enrolled yourself for swim lessons, it is essential that you know how to plan your meals well.
Now, your meal plan might slightly vary depending on whether you are swimming for fitness or for competing. Competitive swimmers need foods that release energy rather progressively to help them keep going. On the other hand, if you are swimming for fitness, you should opt for a low-fat easily digestible meal. Here is a detailed discussion and guide on how you can have the ideal meal before taking up swim lessons.
Foods before Swimming
Foods rich in carbohydrates (carbs) are must before you take that plunge in the pool. However, eat only a small amount of carbs and let it gradually release energy for your body as you swim. Also, make sure that there is a gap of at least an hour between your meal and the swim. This is because carbohydrates make you feel a little bloated, which is certainly not desirable at the time of swimming. Eat some pasta and wholemeal rice for carbs and accompany them with a banana, which is a great source of potassium. Drink fluids and water not only with the meal but also during the swimming sessions to stay hydrated. Do make sure staying away from fatty foods that have chances of leading to indigestion and making you to feel uncomfortable.
Foods after Swimming
Swimming leaves you exhausted. So, it is extremely essential that you plan your after-swim meals beforehand. This meal should ideally contain foods that replenish the lost nutrients and refuel your body instantly within the first 20 minutes after your swim. This is particularly important if you are an advanced level swimmer, practicing for considerably long hours.
As far as the foods are concerned, go for protein bars and fruits as these can serve as good snacks after a swim. Incorporating proteins in your diet helps in muscle repair and replenishment. When it comes to main meals, you can have fish, lean chicken, eggs, beefs and low fat cheese. Wholegrain pasta, fresh fruits and low-fat yoghurt also works well. The quantity of food intake varies widely. However, it is not advisable to overeat no matter how tired you feel.
Few Basic Meal Tips for Swimmers
While it is not always possible to abide by a strict diet plan, here is a list of a few basic tips that you can always keep in mind.
• Snack throughout the day with healthy stuff such as nuts. Snacking makes sure that your energy level never goes down below than usual. So, you will have nothing much to worry about even if you miss out on certain foods before beginning with your swimming lessons.
• Eat frequently but eat less. Instead of consuming a large portion at one time, space out your meals so that you receive the nutrients adequately and throughout the day. This practice will allow for a consistent release of energy, which is so very essential for a swimmer.
• Since, you are going to have a busy schedule throughout the week and several other activities apart from swimming, plan your meal ahead. Hence, there will be least chances of running out of some or the other item and compromising on your nutrition quotient.
• Following a proper diet certainly does not mean robbing yourself of treats completely. Just make sure that you are not consuming too much of oil or fat because these will make you feel bloated while swimming. Balancing your diet and accommodating few extravagant lunch or dinners now and then will just do the trick.
Above all, speak to your swimming trainer and get essential inputs from him/her especially if you have some disease or in case you are allergic to a certain variety of foods and supplements.
Author: Ted Dunn
Swimming Lessons in Cypress, TX.