Swimming is a great way to work out all the muscles of the body and to remain healthy and fit. If you put on your swimming goggles to swim for sport then your swimming will probably include both endurance and sprint sessions. As a consequence, the body will demand a lot of energy.
Just as being well energized before diving in the swimming pool is important, it is also highly important to eat right after your swim session. In fact, many times swimmers will be extremely hungry after they leave the pool which could be a result of energy requirements and the cold water.
This swim recovery guide explores what to eat after swimming as well as how to make a proper recovery.
When to eat after swimming
You might be wondering when is the best time to consume food after getting out of the swimming pool. In fact, the sooner you eat something the better. This is because your body will be demanding nutrients to begin the repair process.
Remember to use only the best swimmers’ shampoo for cleaning up after your session.
What should you eat after swimming?
Many people are torn between consuming carbohydrates and consuming more protein. In truth, you will need to eat both. Carbs for example are the main source of fuel for the body and will be stored as glycogen in the liver as well as in the body tissues.
On the other hand, you will need protein to help in the growth and repair process. As you swim hard, you are going to break down your tissues. The muscles are made of protein and therefore eating them will provide the building blocks for repair. Proteins can also help reduce the pain and soreness that you will feel the next day.
A useful tip when swimming is to wear the best swim caps to keep your hair dry when in the water.
What to eat when watching your weight
You can balance your swim recovery with weight loss. It all comes down to consuming the right balance of food. Carbohydrates can help you to maintain your weight and prevent you from putting on too much body fat. However, you will also need to check and adjust how much food you eat each day.
If you are wondering what to eat after swimming, you should eat more carbs when you are swimming and reduce intake on days that you did not plan to go swimming.
Make sure you view your food as a means to recovery after having that swim session.
When swimming it’s a good idea to keep your ears dry using earplugs for swimming.
Examples of carbohydrates
1. Frozen fruit smoothies
Choose smoothies that do not contain added sugars. You can add in some low-fat milk and Greek yogurt. If you want to add a sweet taste, try adding honey instead of sugar.
2. Yogurt fruit cup
If you are feeling too lazy to blend some fruits, you can opt for Greek yogurt and add raspberries, blueberries, or even blackberries. You can sweeten with brown sugar or even add honey. And if you want some extra crunch, feel free to add in a bit of granola.
3. Cereal and mixed fruit
If you are a cereal lover, you can add in a bit of fruit and consume it with low-fat milk.
You can also eat a combination of different fruits such as bananas, oranges, strawberries grapes, and top it off with some cheese.
5. Toast and bread
And when you are particularly hungry, you can try adding peanut butter to whole wheat bread. These are both high in carbs as well as protein and the great thing is that the meals will feel quite filling. Since peanut butter contains high levels of fat, it contains more calories.
One-way of conserving energy when swimming is using swim fins. They will provide more propulsion compared to just swimming with your feet.
Examples of proteins to eat.
1. Chocolate milk
Just taking two cups of chocolate milk will provide your body with both calcium for strong bone development and whey protein. Your body also gets a healthy dose of natural lactose which promotes insulin production which in turn is responsible for feeding the amino acids into the body muscles.
2. White meat
Take turkey or chicken that is unprocessed and make a sandwich with spinach. You can even add in slices of cheese for a heavy post-swim meal.
3. Tuna salad
If you are a big fan of eating fish, then tuna salad could be the perfect post swim meal for you. Add celery for more flavor and a good dose of vitamins.
4. Eggs and vegetables
Eggs are rich in protein and once included with veggies will make a great and filling post-swim meal. This is especially so for vegetarians.
5. Trails mix and edamame
This is a great way to fill up if you are in a rush to get somewhere after a swim. You can make a trail mix and add in all sorts of nuts such as peanuts and cranberries. You can also boil edamame in water and enjoy a quick, filling, and delicious meal.
Just to make your swimming more fun and less distracting, consider getting nose clips for swimming.
Helping your body recover after a swim
Swimming can often be a strenuous activity and without proper meals as well as some post-swim activities, you will find that it’s harder to swim. This is because of the lactic acid build-up. Another way to slow down lactic acid build-up is to use swimming monofins.
Most people may not be aware of the fact that being underwater doesn’t stop your body from sweating. It causes the body to lose a lot of electrolytes and become dehydrated and it’s, therefore, important to drink plenty of water after leaving the pool. Staying hydrated also allows the body to recover faster.
Stretching is an important part of the post swim workout. There are two types of stretches that you can perform. These are dynamic and static stretches. With the dynamic stretching, you will perform these moves to allow the body to warm up and to get rid of lactic acid before getting in the swimming pool.
On the other hand, it is static stretching which you will perform when you are resting. It serves to elongate the muscles which also allows the body to cool down. It is therefore going to be done after swimming.
Be sure to get yourself an active swimsuit to help reduce drag when you are in the water.
Nothing helps the body recover faster than getting adequate rest. Train your body to go to sleep at the same time each evening and get at least 8 hours of rest. Whenever that time comes, the body will automatically know that it is time to sleep and set itself up for swim recovery.
4. Power naps
Most swimming teams will have double practices with one set in the morning while the other set in the afternoon. Swimmers will have less time to take rests in between these sessions. Sometimes a swimmer will take a nap for too long and when it’s finally time to get into the water, they feel groggy.
Others will simply not get enough sleep which then prevents their bodies from getting enough rest time to fully recover. A great way to deal with these situations is to take some power naps in between sessions. Anything between 25 minutes and 100 minutes will be ideal to provide your body with sufficient rest time.
As soon as you are out of the water, use the swim towel to dry up before taking a short nap whenever possible.
5. Cooling down
This part is not a favorite of many swimmers as often all they want to do after leaving the pool is to go home. However, note that cooling down is one of the most important parts of the whole swimming practice. Cooling down is intended to reduce the tension in the muscles and allowing blood to flow freely and easily throughout the body. Always make sure that you cool down after a swim. This is also true when doing open water swimming. In this case, make sure you have good open water goggles.
6. Take a massage
Everyone enjoys a good massage. It is one of the best ways to release tension from the muscles. Even better is that it becomes easier to speed up recovery and reduce soreness. This results in faster recovery in the muscles.
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There are plenty of benefits to swimming. However, to reap these benefits, it’s important to follow certain rules before and after swimming. Such includes deciding what to eat after swimming and having a good hearty meal after leaving the water to replies much lost energy and to help the body recover faster.