Training for competitive swimming means spending hours in the pool day after day – top swimmers log miles in the pool every day – which places great demands on the body.
However, unlike many sports, swimming seems to make people feel hungry. Finish a long run and are usually to hot to even think about eating, but after a long session in the pool, most swimmers find that they are starving. Getting the right recovery nutrition after swimming is essential, rather than yielding to the temptation of the snack machine.
To make it easier to make good choices after your workout, you need to take your post workout nutrition to the pool with you. If you have nothing with you when you finish your swim, you are much more likely to eat the wrong things.
The first need post workout is fluids – rehydrating is crucial after any exercise, but becomes even more important for swimmers. Because you are in the water, you don’t really notice how much you are sweating, and many swimmers don’t keep a water bottle poolside.
In addition, you need to quickly replenish your body’s depleted supplies of glycogen – the fuel for your muscles – and amino acids. Amino acids are used to help muscles grow and recover, so after a long workout you need to restore your amino acids.
That means your recovery nutrition needs to include both carbohydrates – to replenish the glycogen – and protein, which is where your body will get its supply of amino acids.
Having a pre-made recovery drink or shake in your kit bag means that as soon as you finish your workout you can begin the recovery process, refueling your body during the crucial twenty to thirty minute window after exercise. If you get sufficient fluids, and carbs and protein in about a three to one ratio, your body will have what it needs to begin recovering and getting you ready for the next workout.