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What Are the Best Foods to Eat Before and After a Swim?

on 28th June 2016

What Are the Best Foods to Eat Before and After a Swim?Whether you swim for exercise, competition or fun, taking on the right fuel can make a real difference to your performance in the pool and your body’s ability to recover once you leave it, but what should you eat and when? Take a quick look at the Zoggs’ guide to the best foods to eat before and after your swim:

Best Foods Before a Swim

Swimming works your cardiovascular system and muscles without putting too much strain on your joints, that’s what makes it such a great form of exercise, but in order to get the full health benefits from your swim you need to give your body the right fuel at the right time.  We’ve tackled the common questions around eating before swimming:

When should you eat?

You can limit these problems by eating the right foods at least one hour before getting into the pool. When you eat, your blood supply gets directed to your digestive system to break down and process foods and extract the nutritional goodness from them. When you exercise, that blood flow gets redirected to muscles to make them work effectively and efficiently. If you swim too soon after eating, neither your digestive system nor your muscles will get the blood flow levels they need to work efficiently and this increases your risk of developing indigestion, gastric reflux, cramps and abdominal discomfort.

What should you eat?

Good, pre-swim foods that give you a consistent supply of energy include porridge oats, wholegrain breads and pasta, sweet potatoes, peas, beans and unsalted nuts. For those who just want to feel energised and are after more exciting foods then try foods such as bagels, smoothies, yogurt and bananas. If you swim in the morning and find it difficult to wait an hour after breakfast before getting into the pool, try eating foods that are easy to digest like bananas, raisins and eggs.

Best Foods After a Swim

After a swim, your body needs foods that help it to recover from physical exertion so that you can maintain good general health and get the energy and strength you need for your next visit to the pool. For those who are unsure about what foods to eat and when, we thought we’d lend a helping hand:

When should you eat?

You could burn considerable amounts of energy and nutrients during a swim, especially when using Zoggs training aids in the water to challenge your muscles and make them work harder to build strength. Aim to eat healthy foods that will replenish energy and nutrient levels within an hour of leaving the pool.

What should you eat?

Your body breaks down complex carbohydrates and converts them into glycogen which it then stores in the muscles for energy and healthy muscle function. Swimming can deplete those stores but you can replenish them with lean proteins. Healthy sources include lean chicken, turkey, oily fish, Quorn, peanut butter, brown rice, low fat milk, cheese. To restore vital nutrients, it’s important to pair those lean proteins with a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables that are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. If you’re swimming for weight loss, be aware that water workouts may increase your appetite and make snacks harder to resist, so choose post-swim foods that have a low Glycaemic Index (GI) score which will help you to feel fuller for longer. When undertaking any form of exercise, it’s vital that you remain hydrated in order to prevent fatigue, dizziness, nausea or cramp from setting in; although it’s not as noticeable as when you run or cycle, you will sweat while you swim so take a water bottle with you and take sips regularly.

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